Monday, February 28, 2011

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

“Please Abide – Pull Aside”

Do you know what to do when approached by an emergency vehicle?  The metropolitan area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by commuters, collisions, work zones and sometimes just “normal” traffic.
Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally drivers will HEAR us first, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.


C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

C – Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.

L – Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.

E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.

A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.

R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle ha passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment.

Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles.

Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction.

Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you.

Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near emergency scenes.

Don’t speed – slow down.

Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate your full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.

Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas.

Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment.

Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s have been called to the scene and are working to help someone.

In Montgomery County pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding everyone what to do! I often see close calls from drivers who don't know how to get out of your way. It would be great to see this reminder on the news, or in a Public Service Announcement, so the message could reach more people. Thank you for all you do!

nferl said...

I always wonder what to do at an intersection where the lights are red and the lanes are filled with other vehicles? How best to get out of the way? Which lanes should try to clear or not clear?

Anonymous said...

I understand that in this notice you can't possibly cover all situations that come up. However. I have run into the situation where the only alternative to get out of the way is to cross an intersection on a red light. I've done it a couple of times after I was sure that the intersection was clear and there are no oncoming vehicles. Your advice please.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder. The problem I have is when all lanes are congested, say like at 355 and Gude and there is no where to pull off. It requires that if the light is red that the first car pull out into the intersection on a red light. What are we supposed to do when we cannot move?

billd said...

This has always been a tricky issue. The hope is everyone should be able to pull off to their nearest side, right or left, which then leaves what should be enough room down the middle for the fire truck or ambulance to go through without anyone having to “run” the red light and go into the intersection. It should hold true even on a two lane road if everyone does the right thing.

If some unusual situation presents itself and you feel as though you have no where else to go; it is your call and only move into intersection once traffic in other directions have come to a complete stop. Only then proceed slowly in as, technically, the cars with the green light have the right of way. Do not put your safety at risk if you do not feel you can get out of the way safely.