TULSA, Okla. — Multiple Tulsa agencies sent a strong message Tuesday that they need drivers to slow down and move over for first responders on the roadway.
Earlier this week, three people including two Tulsa police officers were injured when a car hit them during a traffic stop at 3rd and Garnett. The damaged vehicle from the incident on display at the event. Police said a drunk driver was responsible for that incident but as EMSA points out distractions such as cellphones can lead to danger.
The eastern division of EMSA responded to more than 6500 just in Tulsa County in the last year. Paramedic Josh Yoachim said during an emergency situation every second counts, but distracted drivers or drivers that don't move over could mean life or death.
“There’s times in which I’m doing something for a patient and I can feel the truck shake and I know a big car just got really close or a semi just got really close to us. And you have one patient who is in critical condition, you’re about to have one patient and two EMT’s in critical condition," said Yoachim.
He said with so many distractions while driving, it's important to pay attention to the road and those around you.
“That’s why it’s good to put them down and be consciously aware of the dangers of driving while distracted. Dangerous for you, because I’m sure of the accidents that we run are due to people on their cellphones and danger to first responders because I’m sure a lot of the people who almost hit us and one day will hit us unfortunately are going to be people who are looking at their phones," said Yoachim.
On top of the lights and sirens, EMSA has also implemented a strategy for letting drivers know when their on their way to an emergency on the roadway.
"The sub-woofers hopefully gets driver’s attention because you can actually feel it in your chest if you’re close enough to it. So if you’re listening to loud music or you’re just not paying attention and you feel your car vibrate and you look in your rear view mirror and there’s one of us behind you, you’re like oh shoot I’m going to slow down and move over to the right and let this ambulance pass us," said Yoachim.
He said next time you see a first responder on the shoulder or roadway, think of how it could be a loved one. He said when drivers see those flashing lights, follow the law and move over, it could save a life.
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