JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - It’s 9:30 p.m. and snow is beginning to build up on the ground when Tech. Sgt. Ranjo responds to his first call from the Base Defense Operating Center concerning a disabled vehicle on Broidy Road. He ventures out realizing the frozen rain from earlier in the day and the accumulating snow has made for treacherous road conditions.
Ranjo, 87th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, and other 87th SFS members patrolled the base and helped determine road conditions Feb. 9, 2013, here.
The damaged vehicle’s driver lost control while turning on to the road and driving into a curb, leaving the car’s front axle cracked. The road conditions were yellow at the time due to slippery roads, ice, snow and limited visibility.
Security forces and 87th Mission Support Group personnel collaborate to determine joint base road conditions.
“The 87th SFS members patrol and report road conditions to the BDOC,” said Ranjo. “The BDOC then makes recommendations to the 87th MSG commander about increasing road condition advisory levels, if necessary.”
Police make observations on weather factors including rain, snow, ice, sleet, hail, high winds and reduced visibility to report to the police sergeant at the BDOC, said Ranjo.
The police sergeant then decides to remain at current road conditions or to suggest increasing the road condition color. The police sergeant will also take other factors, such as higher conditions affecting reporting procedures and overall safety, into consideration when making the suggestion.
The road conditions led to two more disabled vehicles within the hour following the response to the vehicle on Broidy Road. Ranjo came across the first disabled vehicle after a young woman lost control, slid off the road and became stuck in the snow on Route 68. The young woman explained to Ranjo that she was all right and he proceeded to rock her car while she accelerated, freeing her car from the side of the road with no damage.
Ranjo discovered another disabled vehicle en route back to base. The young woman he found was not as fortunate as the last motorist, as she had drifted off the road into a guard rail.
“I was able to help her, despite the site being outside of my jurisdiction,” said Ranjo. “The Good Samaritan Act, which allows anyone to give reasonable assistance to someone who is injured, ill or in peril, covered me to assist her.”
The Good Samaritan Act is a law that gives any person immunization from civil liability when rendering care to a person at the scene of an accident or emergency. Many states, cities and counties have similar laws to protect a good Samaritan.
Ranjo made his way back to base after helping the motorist and assisted several others that night.
“I enjoy helping others, regardless of my job,” said Ranjo. “It wasn’t required for me to assist the woman who wasn’t in my jurisdiction. I helped her because I would want someone to do the same for me if I were in that situation.”