GETTING out of the way for emergency vehicles is a must but people in the Tweed struggle to understand the concept.
Under NSW road rules "a driver must give way to a police or emergency vehicle that is displaying a flashing blue or red light (whether or not it is also displaying other lights) or sounding an alarm and the driver must move out of the path of the vehicle as soon as the driver can do so safely."
Tweed Fire & Rescue station officer Steve Sharp said it was frustrating when people did not clear the way for the fire trucks.
"The trucks are quick and I don't think people realise how quickly we can come up behind them," he said.
"We stand out very well with lots of flashing lights and sirens.
"People need to use their rear-view mirror."
Station officer Sharp said every time the fire brigade are called out they usually get stuck behind a car not giving way.
"Modern cars are very sound proof and if people have their air con on and music they often won't hear us," he said.
"It impedes our jobs."
When firefighters arrive on scene they have an eight to 12-minute time period where they can set an offensive attack on a fire to minimise the possibility of death, damage and destruction.
Station officer Sharp said if they are caught in traffic they lose precious time.
"The best we can do after that is try and put it out from the outside and by that time usually a person is deceased if trapped inside," he said.
Tweed Heads Ambulance station officer Leon Cribb is a little more optimistic about motorists.
He said in his 30 years on the job most people tried to give way.
"People eventually get out of the way," he said.
"Newer cars are sound proof and have a great sound system which can make it harder.
"It's not due to ignorance."
Ambulances at the Tweed are equipped with new-age warning lights that help to alert drivers.
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