Local News

Firefighters Remind Drivers To Yield To Sirens

Posted October 24, 2001

— When firefighters hit the horn and blow the siren of their firetrucks, it is a signal for drivers to get out of their way. However, many people ignore the warnings.

Members of the

Durham Fire Department

say that after Sept. 11, that changed -- for awhile.

"The first couple of weeks they pulled over way before you got to them. You'd have plenty of room to go down the street, but now people are kind of getting in the laid back mode they were in before," says firefighter Kevin Cates.

Capt. David Roberts says that laid back mode nearly ended in a crash last week.

"This car pulled to the right and then right back in front to the left in front of us. As we tried to go to the left, [the driver] slammed on the brakes," he says.

According to the

U.S. Fire Administration

, accidents on the way to or from an emergency are the second leading cause of firefighter deaths.

"A simple accident on the way to responding to an accident could just as easily take someone's life as a building collapse," says firefighter Mike Clumpner.

Firetrucks are heavy and fast.

"You see a car coming through, going to run a red light or turn right on red when it shouldn't. You've got to slam on the brakes and sometimes you just can't stop in time," says Cates.

It is a fact that firefighters hope drivers will keep in mind the next time they see the lights and hear the siren.

Firefighters say if you cannot pull off to the right, stay still so they can decide how to move around you.

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