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Firefighters say drivers need to pull over during emergencies

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - In an effort to better serve the community this new year, the Salt Lake City Fire Department is offering weekly safety tips.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah)- In an effort to better serve the community this new year, the Salt Lake City Fire Department is offering weekly safety tips that all Utah residents can use no matter where you live. The first, a reminder to the public to pull over to the right when they see or hear an emergency vehicle.

Every day the Salt Lake Fire Department responds to multiple emergency calls, but how quickly they can get to their destination is often interrupted by people who simply don't pull over and it’s a problem.

"Either they just panic and they stop right in their place or they just don’t yield at all, or they try to speed up and out run us,” said Captain Kelly Carter with the Salt Lake Fire Department.

During a ride along Captain Carter tells ABC 4 Utah in his 13 years with the fire department the problem with people not pulling over isn't necessarily getting worse, but it’s not getting any better either. He says one common question they get asked is if traffic is at a stand steal what drivers should do. “If you absolutely can’t move, your grid locked in traffic, the best thing you can do is just stay put because then we'll get around you, we'll figure out a way around you," said Captain Carter.

Plus, yielding to emergency vehicles with flashing lights doesn't just apply to drivers. Pedestrians also need to be aware, and not assume they always have the right away.

"We’re obviously looking out, like when we see people in cross walks and when we are in an emergency situation we would be watching to make sure they see us,” said Captain Carter.

So, next time you see or hear an emergency vehicle whether it’s an ambulance or fire truck remember to yield to the right or as close as possible.

Sometimes getting there just seconds earlier can make a difference of whether saving a victim out of a house fire, a cardiac problem, a breathing problem it could definitely make a difference,” said Captain Carter.

Unfortunately, unless there is a collision, people who do not yield the right away are not held accountable. Firefighters not only lack the manpower, but they also don’t have the time to write down license plate numbers while responding to emergencies.
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