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Drivers, be on lookout for emergency vehicles



Published: Thu, November 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The public is still not doing all it can to help out those paid to look out for others' lives.

Although many residents have started showing a greater appreciation for emergency workers, their gratitude hasn't translated into a simple move that could make a difference.

Drivers still are slow to stop and move to the right for emergency vehicles rushing to save lives.

"We've always, traditionally, had problems," said Rick Pellin Jr., who does emergency medical work at Pellin Ambulance Services Inc. "I haven't seen much of a change."

Distractions: Pellin said drivers are often oblivious to red lights and sirens due to loud music or other distractions in their vehicles. Other times, he said, they simply disregard emergency vehicles.

"It makes it dangerous and it makes our response time increase," he said.

Annually, in Ohio, public safety vehicles are involved in an average of 2,327 collisions, based on 1996 to 2000 data compiled by the state Department of Public Safety.

Drivers can do something to help make those numbers lower.

When they see an emergency vehicle approaching from the rear or the front, they should slow down as quickly as possible, move to the farthest right lane possible and stop, Pellin said.

Drivers at intersections or those who are already stopped should stay put. Emergency drivers can generally maneuver around you. They will always attempt to pass other vehicles on the left.

"Never, never pull to the left or turn in front of us," Pellin said. "Those are big no-nos."




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