Comments: 81 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

aphtirbyrnir36 karma

How do you manage to get to the locations correctly? I’m assuming GPS but are you also well versed on the maps of the local area? What if the emergency isn’t easily vehicle accessible?

DruncanIdaho39 karma

We have a mapped location on our terminals inside the unit, and I know my area really really well from doing this job for so long.

If it's not vehicle accessible we wing it. Sometimes we have to park far away and walk it. Keep that in mind if you live in an area where cars are parked so tightly a fire truck can't get through: that means we're going to have to manually lay hose a long distance, delaying the fire attack for precious minutes.

djspacebunny16 karma

What is your suggestion for folks at lights who need to get out of the way when there's traffic light cameras? Should we blow the light and get the ticket?

I would anyway. All the dudes in my fam are first responders. What color is your vehicle? Please don't let it be yellow or white...

DruncanIdaho20 karma

Oof. Yeah idk because we don't have those here. All I can say is use your best judgement. If you have red light cams check your local laws on yielding to emergency traffic through red lights; if the camera sends you a ticket it should be easily appealable but that's a question for your local authorities.

djspacebunny13 karma

I'm pretty sure the state of Delaware would be like HAHAHAHA you still have to pay. It's damn near impossible to contest their light tickets.

DruncanIdaho13 karma

That's one of the many reasons they got voted away here. Hopefully your emergency vehicle operators are aware and considerate of that problem.

Fuzzy_Yogurt_Bucket2 karma

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the Opticomm actually worked like it’s supposed to?

DruncanIdaho2 karma

Supposedly it's there, but I've yet to see that claim evidenced in practice lol

DruncanIdaho6 karma

Oh and red. As is proper!

farrenkm5 karma

Why are you advising people to move to the left if the shoulder is the only option to move right?

This advice contradicts general driving instruction and adds uncertainty. The reason drivers are told to move to the right is because it's predictable for you. You know where they're supposed to go, so you can anticipate how to plot your way through traffic. If the car in front of you isn't moving out of your way, and you decide to move left, and then THEY recognize you're there and THEY move left, you're risking a collision.

Keep it predictable for non-EMS personnel. Move right. Or stay where you are (if you're already in the right lane) and let the emergency vehicle operator figure out their way around you. Predictability is what keeps the response safe.

Former EMT.

DruncanIdaho16 karma

Read my post carefully: I'm saying don't move to the shoulder at highway speed. At low speeds absolutely use the shoulder, as I said.

Moving to the left is sometimes necessary because sometimes I need to be in the right lane.

farrenkm-6 karma

I did read your post and I understand. But that advice puts an element of unpredictable judgment on the vehicle you need to get out of the way, increasing your risk of a crash.

This is what my own state's driver manual says about handling emergency vehicles:

You must yield right of way to emergency vehicles, such as fire
trucks, police vehicles, and ambulances, when they approach from any
direction using a light or siren.

When you see or hear an emergency vehicle warning, you must
immediately drive as close as you safely can to the right side of the road
and stop. Do not stop in an intersection. Do not drive or stop in a way
that interferes with these vehicles. Stay stopped until the emergency
vehicle has passed or until a police officer tells you to move.

After the emergency vehicle passes, you must stay at least 500 feet
behind the vehicle.

Nowhere in that section does it state or imply it's a good idea to try to use your judgment to move to the left. And again, adding that element of judgment to a driver you don't know and have no control over risks your getting into a crash as well. If a driver chooses to drive on the shoulder at highway speed -- first of all, they're supposed to slow down, and second of all, that's not driving safely. If staying in the right lane is as safe as they can get, without going on the shoulder, then they're following the rule. Make it simple for the non-EMS driver.


DruncanIdaho15 karma

Yep very similar here. And because of people trying to "follow the rule" I get people slamming on the brakes in front of me because they think they have to be in the right lane.

Really what I'm saying is: use your head. If what you're going to do is going to make me slam on my brakes, please don't do that.

farrenkm1 karma

Absolutely. I agree with that.

I admit the wording is a little absolute, but I think it's the best that can be done under the circumstances. A driver tends to get an adrenaline kick when they see an emergency vehicle running code behind them. Sometimes it shows up at the last second because they don't hear the siren. Take your pick as to why -- they've got the radio going, their vehicle is good at blocking out external sounds, they've got noisy kids in the car, they don't check their mirrors often enough, whathaveyou. When the adrenaline hits is not the best time for them to analyze what that vehicle behind them is doing.

And you can't read their mind, but they can't read your mind even moreso. "Moving to the left is sometimes necessary because sometimes I need to be in the right lane." They don't know that, nor do they have any way of knowing that. You can anticipate a driver being stupid because you know the general instructions they've been given. They can't anticipate you because they have zero clue where you're going or where you need to be or why (are you transporting or responding), just that you need to get there fast and they don't want to be cited for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. So their reaction tends to be over the top, and that just needs to be anticipated.

DruncanIdaho2 karma

Yeah, I agree it's a good general rule -- I just get extra frustrated when much better options seem to exist than stopping directly in front of me. It's also a reason I don't drive aggressively except in extreme circumstances.

[deleted]-6 karma


DruncanIdaho16 karma

Honestly, as long as you're out of my way I don't care what you're doing.

But it's probably a dick move to use the space created by other drivers for me, as a way for you to get through the traffic too.

chzsteak-in-paradise-17 karma


DruncanIdaho19 karma

I can't speak for anybody but myself because I drive according to the "smooth is fast" principle. If I'm hauling ass, there's a really good reason (based on dispatch notes); most calls I'm doing just a little over the speed limit and I always fully stop before going through red lights.

Some operators do drive unnecessarily recklessly, but most departments are clamping down on that behavior.