It's a problem Lubbock emergency crews tell NewsChannel 11 they cope with on a daily basis. Many Lubbock drivers get confused over what they're supposed to do when they encounter an ambulance, fire truck or police vehicle that has lights on and sirens blaring.
Jarred Pierson, an EMS Paramedic says, "A lot of times they dont' even see us, they'll just stay in the lane where they're at or slam the brakes on as hard as they can."
Lt. Shaun Fogerson, of the Lubbock Fire Department says, "The biggest problem, especially in summer, people have radios and air conditioning on in the car. Sometimes they don't hear us until we're right behind them and they get a little confused or scared."
Emergency crews say first and foremost, don't panic when you see them. Then, follow proper procedure which is this: whether you're traveling in the same or opposite direction of the emergency vehicle, slow down, pull to the right (never to the left) and then stop. Pierson says, "They need to look first to see if there's anybody there. If there is somebody there, slow down and get in behind them. Never stop in front of us. Never jerk one way or the other."
Fogerson says, "The longer we have to wait on someone to pull over because they don't want to pull over or they dont' hear us or see us, then that delays us from getting to the call and getting medical help or fire supression to the scene."
Fogerson also urges you to stay alert after you see an emergency vehicle and look for more to come. Also, if you see crews pulled over working on a roadway, please slow down and move around them. Pierson recalls a recent close call on the highway, saying, "They're not slowing down, they're not moving over a lane. Last call we had on the interstate we got out of the ambulance and a car came 70 mph and just missed us by a few inches."
Drivers also cause problems for emergency crews when they park in fire lanes. Even if a driver plans to just run in somplace for a minute, that minute could be precious in saving someone's life. Fogerson says, "You never know when an emergency is going to happen there and if there's a car in the way then that's going to keep us from getting help where it needs to be." It is against the law to park in a fire lane. Even if someone stays in the car, emergency crews say it slows them down.