Emergency Responders Remind Drivers Of Rules When Encountering Emergency Vehicles - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/04/05 - Nacogdoches

Emergency Responders Remind Drivers Of Rules When Encountering Emergency Vehicles

by Stuart Burson

A Fort Worth ambulance company has been fined one million dollars because of slow response times getting to emergencies. The company blames staffing shortages at a time when the number of calls is increasing.

But there are other ways ambulances and emergency vehicles right here in East Texas get slowed down when they're in a hurry.

Getting to the scene of a fire, accident or any other type of emergency call quickly and safely is a high priority for emergency responders. But, there's one thing many of us are guilty of doing that can hinder the arrival of emergency help where it's needed.

We have a lot of trouble sometimes with people... they won't yield right of way, they won't yield right of way properly, instead of pulling over to the lane nearest the curb, they'll often times get in the center turn lane, which some of the time that is the lane that we have to use to respond in because of traffic problems." says Del Birdwell with the Nacogdoches Fire Department.

Getting to the scene as quickly as possible is good not only for those who are in need of help, but it's good for the city.

"Our response times are good from the time we get the call till we're out of the station. We have to keep our response times down. It effects public safety it also affects ISO ratings as far as insurance goes for the city."

So remember, if you see those flashing lights heading your way. Stay calm, pull over as far to the right as you can... and stop.

And by all means, if you're at an intersection, just stay put. Birdwell says he's even seen people run red lights at an intersection to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle.

The rules about yielding to emergency vehicles are now being taught to drivers at an early age in drivers education classes.

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