It is a frustrating situation for ambulance drivers. They're trying to get somewhere, possibly to save someone's life, but other drivers on the road don't seem to know, understand, or care about what to do when sirens are blaring.
Eleanor Harrast says a Leon County EMS crew saved her life when she was suffering from shortness of breath caused by a blood clot. She says it was their response time that helped make the difference.
"If I have to call someone, they'll probably be fast, and they were. Probably five minutes.”
And it's that issue of speed, quick response times that have the chief of Leon County EMS voicing concerns about drivers who aren't pulling over for ambulances with sirens and lights going.
"The number one thing would be to not panic when you see those lights behind you. Just pull over to the closest side of the highway and let the emergency vehicle."
Eyewitness News camera's caught on tape while riding with EMS crews. Some drivers did pull over. Others didn't even seem to notice the ambulances. Chief says these holdups could end with someone dying if crews can't get there, so pay attention and move.
"For every minute that goes by for let's say a cardiac arrest call, the most serious one we respond to, your chances of survival drops. So when we're stuck in traffic...."
"Get out of their way!"
Chief Moynihan says another obvious concern is an ambulance being involved in an accident on the way to a call. He says that just as many paramedics are killed in the line of duty as police and firefighters. With paramedics, most are killed in vehicle accidents.
Since the county took over the ambulance service almost a year ago, last January, there have been two fender benders, and witnesses say that was caused by other drivers being indecisive and not knowing what to do.
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