On June 25, 2015 there was a structure fire in the Town of Grand Bay-Westfield. I had the opportunity to experience the drive to the structure fire with the Fire Chief. We were on our way back from attending Emergency Measures Organization meetings in Fredericton, when the call came in. The Fire Chief proceeded to respond to the call.

I work in health care so maybe I am sensitive to the sound of the siren and automatically pull over. If it is an ambulance I do not want to cause them delay, as it might be my loved one that needs medical care.

I was surprized at the lack of response by vehicles as we came upon them. Some pulled over, many did not. Some just moved over just enough to let us get through the two lanes by coming down the center. As I experienced the lack of response, the Fire Chief informed me that this was the usual response by drivers.

I will not identify the drivers or companies, whose names were on the sides of the vehicles that did not pull over, however, I will encourage everyone to remember the Fire Department or any other emergency vehicles are responding to an emergency; in this case a home was on fire. The first responders need to be safe on our roads. If you do not pull over you could be risking the life of our first responders. They may be responding to an emergency that involves your loved ones or property.

I know I want them to arrive at the emergency safely in a timely manner to help my loved ones or property.

The NB Motor Vehicle Act states “Authorized emergency vehicle” is:

(a) a motor vehicle operated by a peace officer in the course of his duties or employment,

(a.1) a motor vehicle of a search and rescue organization authorized by the Minister under section 110.1 to operate motor vehicles as authorized emergency vehicles under this Act,

(b) a fire department or fire fighting vehicle, and

(c) an ambulance;

Under the Authorized Emergency Vehicles section it states:

168(1) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle equipped with at least one lighted lamp exhibiting a flashing red light visible from the front of such vehicle, and when the driver is giving an audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to such authorized emergency vehicle and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a peace officer.

So if you have authorized emergency vehicle approaching you from behind or towards you with flashing light and siren – what should you do?

PULL OVER – Clear out of the lane SO THEY CAN RESPOND to the EMERGENCY.