Pull over for safer passage
CARS stopping dead in the middle of the road are just one difficulty firefighters must face when they are heading to an emergency.
Tweed Heads firefighters understand how daunting a flashing red truck and loud siren can be, therefore want to remind drivers of how they should react.
“We get a lot of people freezing up when we come up behind them,” senior firefighter Conor Maguire said.
“A lot of people jump on the brakes and a few people speed up because they just don’t know what to do.
“At the end of the day, all they need to do is look where we are, put their indicator on and pull over to the left.”
If everyone safely pulls to the left it will give the fire truck a straight run through, Mr Maguire said.
“We don’t like to undertake, only overtake.”
Mr Maguire said despite their loud siren, drivers often do not hear them until the truck is very close.
“Cars are so well insulated these days they don’t hear us,” he said.
“And then they freak out because by the time they do hear us we’re right behind them.”
Just like all road users, firefighters have strict rules they have to follow.
“We still have to follow the road rules but there are clauses in the legislation that will cover us if an accident occurs while we’re responding to a call,” Mr Maguire said.
“If we’re going through a red light we have to come to a complete stop at the intersection and then go through at a walking speed.
“We always wait for the traffic to stop.”
When responding to a call, Mr Maguire said, they do not have to follow the speed limit but always drive to suit conditions.
“It takes us about 15 minutes to get to Murwillumbah with the sirens on and half an hour to get back without them.”
Tweed firefighters said they try to acknowledge drivers when they indicate and pull to the left.
“We’ll give them a wave to convey the message they did the right thing.”