scroll down


North Dakota Tourism

Bowman County Courthouse
104 1st St NW
Bowman, ND 58623

Volunteering for the Chaos

October 11, 2018


By Chris Slone

Richard “Dick” Fredrick has been the sheriff of Bowman County for the last year and a half. He’s been in law enforcement for 30-plus years. He’s also the Slope County Emergency Manager, the Fire Chief, Fire Protection District and he’s a certified EMR.

Fredrick admitted he’s seen just about any scenario possible.

“Just about anything your imagination can cover, I’ve been to it,” Fredrick said.

Fredrick said when he’s talking about first responders, he’s speaking from a firemen’s perspective. He’s speaking from an EMT’s perspective.

“We are all in the same situation. We all end up at the scene together. We all go through the same thing pretty much,” Fredrick said.

Each situation is different for first responders. Fredrick said some of the hardest scenes to deal with are the ones involving children. Furthermore, he said as a small community, most of the first responders know the victims, which can impact the situation.

“That does put a lot more stress and strain on a person,” Fredrick said. “Maybe it helps you a little more. Maybe you try a little harder. We’re dealing with people and we realize that. That’s why we do this. We want to help people. Is something a lot of people have, that’s why they volunteer.

“Training, exercising and then actually responding to one of these scenes where a lot of what you see at these scenes is pretty heart wrenching. It takes a certain person to be able to handle that and to be able to react to it. I can’t say enough about the people that do it.”

According to Fredrick, most of the first responders in the area — Bowman and Slope Counties — are volunteers. Even though they aren’t full-time employees, Fredrick stressed the value of training between each unit to chorograph a rescue and not cause a more chaotic scene. 

“There’s a lot of coordination that’s involved in that,” Fredrick said. “When we first get there, it is a little chaotic until we get straightened around. It gets more choreographed. We know we have to have a rescue unit at a certain place so they can get their equipment available. We have to have the ambulances at a certain place so they can get in and out. They have to be able to get their patients to that ambulance be able to get that ambulance out.”

According to Fredrick, one of the biggest problems local first responders face is traffic control at scenes that involve car accidents.

“We have to get everything shut down. A lot of people don’t pay attention to our emergency lighting,” Fredrick said. “Partially, I think a lot of the reason is because every truck out here has blinking lights anymore.

“The general public doesn’t pay attention to whether they are reds and blues, or orange. And we have a hard time controlling that. If the people trying to save the people get hurt, then we’re in trouble.”

Fredrick said the general public also needs to play its part when an accident occurs. He said it’s possible to do more harm than good if a person isn’t properly trained and tries to provide aid to an injured person.

“A lot of times what they’ll do is reach in there and try to yank people out of a car wreck, which is something we don’t want them to do because that might just exacerbate the injuries more than what are already there,” Fredrick said.

Anyone who is at a scene of an accident, Fredrick said to remember to listen to first responders and give them room to work.

“We’re there to do a job. We’re trained to do that job,” Fredrick said.