Time to Reflect on How We Respond
In recent years, the emergency services, especially fire departments and EMS agencies, have been consistently reminded of the dangers of operating emergency vehicles. Through training, research, and unfortunately experience, these dangers have been exposed both within the services and to the general public. Tragically, a young New Jersey Emergency Medical Technician recently died from injuries as a result of a motor vehicle collision while operating an ambulance that was responding to an emergency. This scenario plays itself out numerous times per year throughout the country, with emergency responders injured or killed. It is so important that those operating an emergency vehicle do so with the utmost of caution. Although there is legislation that dictates the need for vehicles on the road to yield to an emergency vehicle, there are a number of reasons that it still does not happen. Ultimately, it is time that administrators review their policies and recommend/enforce limited use of emergency lights and sirens; reserved for its intended purpose-true emergencies. It is also prudent that emergency responders police themselves to be safe when operating an emergency vehicle. It would only make perfect sense that those who are there to protect life and property would take any action necessary to prevent a loss of life from a potentially preventable tragedy.