It happens all the time. First you see the flashing lights in your rear-view mirror. Then you hear the siren. Itís an ambulance coming up quickly with lights and siren on.
What do you do?
When minutes can affect a patientís outcome, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) paramedics use lights and siren to reach their destination as quickly as possible ówhether itís getting to a patient or getting a patient to hospital.
Stay alert while driving. Avoid distractions. Keep the noise level down in your vehicle.
Signal, move to the side of the road, come to a safe stop Ė this is required in B.C.
Donít block or drive on the shoulder of the road. Stop, so others can pull over as well.
All traffic moving in both directions must stop (except on a divided highway when the emergency vehicle is on the opposite side).
Itís illegal to follow an ambulance or any emergency vehicle responding to a call. Stay at least 150 metres behind.
ďParamedics are intently focused on patient care and safety, particularly when serious injuries or medical needs are involved,Ē said Tyrone Trotter, an advanced care paramedic with BCAS. ďAll patients deserve timely care ó†and itís in the hands of all motorists to help make sure ambulances can get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.Ē
BCAS crews respond to more than 486,000 events every year throughout the province, nearly one call every minute 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lights and siren are used only when necessary.