Missoula Fire Chief Urges Drivers to Pull to the Right or Stop
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Missoula Rural Fire Battalion Chief Greg Orr told KGVO News on Wednesday that the most basic advice is often the most important, such as ‘when you see emergency vehicles coming in your rearview mirror, pull over to the right to let them pass’.
“We just wanted to send out a quick message to everybody just to remind everyone that if you do see those red lights behind you and you hear that siren, whether it's a fire engine or an ambulance or police car, that the best thing they can do is pull to the right,” began Orr. “It's going to make it easier for us to get around you and that way we know you're over there and you're safe. That we can get around you and we can continue on to that emergency that we're responding to.”
One of the Basic Rules is 'Move to the Right for Emergency Vehicles'
Orr acknowledged that sometimes moving to the right just isn’t possible.
“Oftentimes they can't,” he said. “They get stuck, then the best thing they can do is just stop. As long as they’re stopped, that gives us the opportunity to at least go around them safely. We certainly understand sometimes it's just not possible to pull to the right. And our folks are trained to drive as safe as possible and we're prepared for those situations. But again, the best thing drivers can do is pull to the right when they see that and that just makes everything a lot easier for those folks responding.”
A Video Featuring Heroic MHP Trooper Wade Palmer was Referenced
KGVO News referenced a startling video released several years ago in which MHP Troopers Palmer and Templeton responded to a crash on an icy I-90 near Frenchtown where Palmer rescued a woman from being run over by a truck. Orr provided his advice.
“If you see an accident, you want to call it in as quickly as you can, but if you're driving then slow down and slow down to a point where maybe you're even stopped, because you just never know what you're going to come upon. You never know if there's a vehicle or a person in the road or an animal in the road. There are so many variables, so the best thing they can do is slow down. Be very aware of your surroundings. Check the rearview mirror because we're probably coming and just be very, very cautious.”
Obviously Cell Phone Usage leads to Distracted Driving
Orr also addressed the issue of distracted driving, especially those drivers with cell phones.
“It's certainly dangerous to do that,” he said. “When you take your eyes off the road just for a second, you can travel quite a ways depending on how fast you're going. Oftentimes you see folks swerving in or drifting into the other lanes. It's a very dangerous thing to do and when we're traveling 70 to 75 miles per hour down the road a lot can happen, and it should be taking your full attention while you're doing it.”