Mesquite, TX – March 3, 2023 – The Mesquite Fire Department rolled out an innovative new unit to make the city’s highways safer while emergency personnel are responding to incidents.
The truck-mounted crash barrier, called an attenuator, was put in service on March 1 and is built to protect first responders from distracted drivers.
“Public safety personnel risk their own safety to save lives when there is a crash or other incident on the highways,” said Assistant Fire Chief Billy Massey. “The attenuator ‘protects the protectors’ by blocking the scene.”
The new unit, called Blocker 4, provides a two-sectioned bumper between the vehicle and oncoming traffic when fully unfolded. In addition to providing a barricade for emergency responders and tow operators working the accident, the Scorpion® is designed to withstand crashes from passing motorists and absorb most of the blow if struck.
Blocker 4 will operate out of Station 4 and will be used for emergency responses in Mesquite on Interstates 635, 20, 30, and U.S. Highway 80. The new equipment was purchased using grant funds, and the city purchased the 25-foot T270 Kenworth truck for $120,000, approved by City Council a year ago.
The Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2021, nearly 240,000 people were injured in car crashes on Texas roadways. According to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, nationally 65 emergency responders were struck and killed in 2022 while assisting others on the roadways, with thousands more injured.