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Emergency workers rally for road safety

Emergency vehicles lined up along Highway 16 on March 7 to drive home a message on safety. Tow-trucks, fire trucks, the Lloydminster Rescue Squad and others with emergency lights rallied along the western part of the highway encouraging drivers to slow down.

The demonstration falls on the anniversary of a young tow-truck driver’s death. Courtney Schaefer, a young Saskatchewan tow-truck driver, was killed two years ago working on a vehicle crash in Esterhazy, Sask. Jon Bunhai, the owner of Action Towing, organized the demonstration to remind drivers to slow down when passing emergency vehicles.

“Ever since then, we’ve been having these rallies around the provinces, and we’re trying to get people to slow down and pull over, and give us some safe room to work,” says Bunhai.

The Canadian Automobile Association reports that more than 100 tow-truck drivers die on the job per year in North America. In America, a tow-truck driver dies on the job every six days. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a two-truck museum features a “Wall of the Fallen”; pictures of tow-truck drivers who’ve died on the job across North America.

Bunhai says that, while the rallies happen across the country, Lloydminster didn’t have one scheduled. It took a few phone calls on his part to organize members from various emergency services, and permission from the police. As of dinnertime Thursday, the rally was set to flash its lights along Yellowhead Trail.

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“This is all cooperation. Everybody came out here to support the same cause; slow down and move over, give us some safe room to work. We all want to go home tonight.”

This rally is the first for Lloydminster, and Bunhai says it won’t be the last.

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