When responding to a call, first responders prioritize getting there safely and quickly.
Our Malique Rankin spoke with police officers, paramedics, and firefighters about the biggest obstacle in reaching their destination.
Their biggest challenge is YOU.
Drivers that don’t know what to do when they see sirens and flashing lights can cause serious problems. Knowing how to handle emergency vehicles is not only important…
Brooklyn Zenker, EMT Metro-Area Ambulance: “When we’re going lights and sirens, either people are stopping in front of us and we have to go around them, which is a danger to us and everybody around us. When we’re passing people, we don’t know for sure if they see us.”
But it’s also the law. The MOVE OVER LAW mandates drivers proceed with caution and yield the right of way by moving a lane over from the emergency vehicle.
Andrew Beck; Mandan Fire Department: “People dont realize is the amount of tasks that we have to perform, while we’re responding so the officer riding in the passenger seat is probably interacting with the radio in our dispatch tablets. The driver is not only getting them there safely and looking for safe routes to the incident and if its a fire incident we are already. “
LT. Jeff Solemsaas: “It’s people not yielding. They’ll stop directly in front of you, they will stop right in front or they won’t pull over and keep driving as they normally would.”
All three first responders said the same thing: Don’t panic, pull off to the right, and stop until they pass you.
Emergency vehicles can’t pass you on the right side, and there’s a reason why.
Andrew Beck; Mandan Fire Department: “We try to always pull over to the left and pass on the left side, on the left most lane, because we’re allowing the most room for people to move to the right and yield to us and clear the area for us to move through”
Accident do happen. The national highway traffic safety administration reported about ,6500 ambulance involved accidents a year. 300 police car involved car accidents annually.
And for firefighters, firetruck accidents are the second leading cause of on-the-job deaths.