Lori Fullbright: Emergency Workers Need Space

News On 6 Anchor Lori Fullbright has decades of crime-reporting experience, and in this column, she's giving you one of her biggest tips: give first responders their space on the road.

Wednesday, May 15th 2024, 4:50 pm



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I’ve done hundreds of ride-alongs over the years with police officers, sheriff’s deputies, troopers, paramedics, and even some with firefighters, and I’ve seen it over and over again… people hear sirens and freak out and don’t know what to do or even worse, don’t hear the sirens or see the emergency vehicles at all, because their music is too loud or they are distracted by a cell phone.

I have seen people slam on their brakes right in the middle of the road. I have seen people swerve and stop on the wrong side of the street. I have seen people try to race the emergency vehicle and others just ignore it and refuse to budge at all.

The correct thing to do when an emergency vehicle comes up behind you or next to or at an intersection is to pull to the right and stop. (unless you’re on a street or road divided by medians)

It is so easy, but emergency workers will tell you that driving with their lights and sirens on is one of the most dangerous things they do because people don’t know how to respond.

Now, we also have a law that says if you see emergency lights on the side of the road, you need to move over to the other lane and slow down, but we still see wrecker drivers, officers and road crews on the side of the road, hit and injured or killed on a frequent basis.

I hear people criticize law enforcement officers sometimes for speeding without their lights and sirens on. They’ll grumble that the officer is probably rushing to a dinner break. But, I can tell you many times, officers know they can get to the scene of an emergency to help a victim in need, faster and safer without their lights and sirens.

That emergency worker could be racing to save the life of someone you know or love.

Give them plenty of space and respect.

Give them the road.

Pull to the right and stop until they pass.

Their job is stressful and heart-breaking enough.

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