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What to do when emergency vehicles come up, on icy roads

Winter roads and construction can make it even more difficult for first responders to get to a scene. Rochester Fire Department has some tips to make sure everyone stays safe.

Posted: Dec. 6, 2018 7:50 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – You hear the sirens and see the lights and know to pull over.

But that can be hard when roads are icy and narrowed with snow. It makes driving difficult for everyone, including first responders.

“In the winter months, icy road conditions don't help matters,” Chad Kuhlman, firefighter with RFD, said. “We can’t stop on a dime and it makes maneuvering these vehicles pretty challenging.”

It can also be dangerous. According to the International Public Safety Association, vehicle accidents caused 81 line of duty deaths in 2017.

RFD has some tips on how to keep everyone safe when emergency vehicles are on their way to a scene:

  1. Don’t slam on brakes
  2. Don’t stop in middle of traffic lane
  3. Slowly steer car to the right, and stop. Don’t keep driving in shoulder of the lane.

If the shoulder of the road is blocked by snow, or even closed because of construction:

“In those conditions just do your best, move all the way to the side of the road and stop your vehicle,” Kuhlman said.

Even though the lights and sirens can be startling, it also helps to stay calm.

“It's hard not to lock up and hit the brakes and stop right there in the middle of traffic,” he said. “We know it's nerve racking. We're doing our best to communicate with you just slowly move over to the side and stop.”

Being a safe driver will aid first responders in getting to where they need to go to help the community.

“We just got to take it a little bit easier, get there in a safe matter, that's the important thing: Kuhlman said.

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