Watch Out For Emergency Vehicles

Medic responded to more than 114,000 calls for help in 2013. As the Agency’s Paramedic teams try to navigate the busy streets of Mecklenburg County they will incur large volumes of traffic. It is imperative that Medic’s Paramedic teams reach each destination safely and quickly; this ability is greatly impacted by the other drivers on the road and how they react to oncoming emergency traffic.

Medic’s Emergency Medical Dispatchers use a nationally recognized program known as Medical Priority Dispatching (MPD) when evaluating and prioritizing the 911 calls that come into the Agency. When a call is not considered life-threatening, Medic’s ambulances generally respond to the scene without using lights and sirens. If a situation is considered more serious, a Medic unit is then dispatched in emergency mode which will require the use of lights and sirens to help the Paramedic team safely and quickly navigate traffic.

You can help ensure that all of Medic’s Paramedic teams are able to reach their destination safely and quickly. If you hear or see an emergency vehicle approaching simply slow down and pull to the right, coming to a complete stop once you’re safely out of harm’s way. It only takes a couple of seconds, but it can mean all the difference to a person who is waiting for help in a life or death situation.

North Carolina is one of 43 states that have passed "Move Over Laws" that require drivers to slow down and move one lane away, if possible, from stopped emergency vehicles. North Carolina’s Move Over law imposes a fine of $250 and drivers can be charged with a felony if a serious injury or death occurs due to them not moving over.

Staying clear of emergency crews who have stopped to respond to a motor vehicle accident along a roadway is equally important. Each year, hundreds of emergency workers are injured or killed across the country while trying to assist people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, Medic has experienced this unthinkable scenario.

On January 23, 2003, Medic partners Bobby Suarez and Tim Hayes were caring for patients at the scene of a minor car crash along I-77 in northern Mecklenburg County. A tractor-trailer slid on icy roads causing a chain reaction crash that pinned Hayes against a guardrail, severing his legs. Just before the impact, Tim was able to push the patient to safety. Immediately after the crash, Bobby used all of his paramedic skills to help save his partner’s life. Miraculously, Tim did survive this horrific accident. He now spends a great deal of his time today traveling the region, discussing the need for improved safety with regard to emergency workers in the field.