Friday, November 30, 2012

It’s the Red and Blue, what do I do?

Constable David A. Rondeau, Fort Vermilion RCMP

I have been a member of the RCMP in Fort Vermilion for the past four months. As a provincial member of the RCMP I serve the communities of Fort Vermilion, Boyer River, La Crete and all the highways in the surrounding area. Before becoming a member of the RCMP, I was an Emergency Medical Technician for four years, and spent a short amount of time as a volunteer Fire Fighter in a small Northern Alberta town.

In all the years that I have spent as an emergency services employee and the time I have spent as a member of the RCMP, I have noticed, while responding to emergency situations, numerous drivers don’t know what to do when they look into the mirror and say “It’s the Red and Blue, what do I do?”  I have been in a number of close calls because drivers don’t know what to do and panic when they see flashing emergency lights approaching.

The first thing you need to do is remain calm and pull your vehicle over to the right side of the road and STOP. Some drivers think it is ok to just pullover and slow down.  This still puts members of the RCMP and other Emergency Services responding to calls at a great deal of risk, not to mention drivers are putting themselves at risk by not pulling over to the right and stopping. When you pull over to the right and stop, do it with care and control. I have seen drivers almost hit the ditch, run over curbs and cause a collision to let the emergency vehicles pass.  When you do see the Red and Blue or other Emergency vehicle lights behind you, please do not make a left hand turn off the road to get out of the way. Pulling over to the right and stopping also goes for the driver travelling toward the emergency light, not just when their behind you.  Once the Emergency Vehicle passes and it is safe to do so, please proceed with caution back into traffic. The violation ticket for not stopping for an emergency vehicle with its emergency equipment activated is a substantial amount at $287.00

When you’re approaching an RCMP vehicle, an Ambulance, Fire truck or a Tow truck with its emergency lights on, it is mandatory for drivers to Slow Down to 60km/hr on the highway. If you don’t, you are risking the lives of the emergency workers, and the possibility of receiving a violation ticket of $402.00

While on the topic of flashing lights, this also includes school buses. When you see the Red flashing lights, it is the law for you as a driver to stop until the Red lights stop flashing. When those lights are flashing, there is an energetic and curious child possibly not paying attention to the traffic and the hazards. It is your responsibility to ensure you are looking out for the safety of the children. A violation ticket for this infraction is $402.00 but the life of that child is priceless.

Now that you know what to do when you see the Red and Blue, safe travels and don’t forget to wear your seat belt.

Thank you and have a safe Holiday Season,

Constable David A. Rondeau
Fort Vermilion RCMP

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