Move to the Right for Sirens and Lights
By Lieutenant James Whyte, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue
If you or someone you love is in need of emergency assistance, you want help to get there right away. Did you know that there’s one thing you can do to help your TVF&R Station 61 firefighters get to an emergency as quickly as possible? It’s as simple as “Moving to the Right for Sirens and Lights!”
The one thing I notice most, from the passenger seat of Engine 61 as I give my driver directions to our destination, is that many motorists panic, are distracted, or simply don’t adhere to the rules of the road at all when we approach an intersection.
The law is very specific; drivers must yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. Failure to do so can cause serious accidents or delays for ambulances, police vehicles, and fire engines and trucks arriving at the scene of an emergency. Firefighters are careful to avoid vehicle collisions by driving slowly when traveling against traffic, sounding their siren and horn, and coming to a complete stop at intersections. However, the cooperation of ALL vehicles on the roadway is essential.
Here are some simple rules you can follow next time you hear a siren and see emergency lights flashing:
Pull to the right and come to a complete stop.
If you’re traveling on a high-speed road or if there is no room to stop, slow down as much as possible.
If you are in the left lane, pull over into the right lane as traffic in the lane to your right moves over.
If you cannot move to the right because of another vehicle or obstacle, just stop.
Your action will let the driver of the emergency vehicle know what you are doing and allow the driver to anticipate where to drive.
When an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind while you are stopped at an intersection, stay where you are unless you can pull to the right.
On a four-lane highway or street without barriers, both sides of traffic should pull to the right.
Play music so loud that you are unable to hear sirens.
Stop in the middle lane when there is room to pull to the right.
Pull to the left in the center lane or left turn lane.
Race ahead to make the green light or turn before the emergency vehicle gets there.
Drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
Our drivers take the safety of their crew, motorists, and pedestrians very seriously every time they roll out of the station. You can help us reach the next emergency in the Cedar Mill area quickly and safely by “Moving to the Right for Sirens and Lights.” For tips on other safety issues, visit our website at www.tvfr.com.