ALBANY, GA (WALB) - First Responders in Dougherty County said they are seeing more drivers responding badly to emergency sirens and lights, often slowing the emergency response and causing big stress problems for the first responders.
In recent weeks, WALB has put a camera inside Albany Fire Trucks and Dougherty County ambulances during emergency responses to see some of the issues their drivers are reporting.
"Unfortunately over the last few years, it's gotten worse for emergency vehicles trying to make their way through traffic," said Albany Fire Chief Ron Rowe.
Ambulance and fire truck drivers reported many times they are pulling up directly behind cars, and the other drivers don't hear the siren.
"They got the air conditioner going. They got the radio going. And one of the things we've actually seen a big increase in is people have those earplugs with the phone for the Bluetooth," said Dougherty County EMS Director Greg Rowe.
Drivers not moving over not only slows their response time, both departments said the drive to emergencies is causing increasing stress on their first responders.
"Then when you have to start dealing with traffic it takes your mind odd what you are fixing to do. When you are looking at how am I going to get through this. We're just struck in traffic," said Director Rowe.
First responders urge drivers to stay alert behind the wheel for emergency vehicles.
"Regardless if the vehicle is coming up behind you or coming toward you, the best thing is slow down, and pull over to the right, and stop if necessary," said Chief Rowe.
Safety is the key point for these first responders. Drivers responses to emergency vehicles have an effect on response time, and literally life or death for the victims.
Dougherty County Fire Trucks and ambulances follow all traffic laws, like stopping at intersections and red lights. The fire trucks have a top speed of 63 miles per hour.