Troop’s tips. Traffic: The most dangerous part of an emergency

February 16, 2012






Lt. Matt Bryant

By Lt. MATT BRYANT columnist




One of the scariest jobs I perform working for the fire department is traffic control.  In the over 15 years I have been on, I cannot tell you the number of close calls myself and my fellow emergency responders have had.  Today I would like to give a few tips that can help all of us be safe on the scene.

Starting off would be yielding the right of way to emergency vehicles. When an emergency vehicle is approaching you running code, (emergency lights and siren running) immediately slow your vehicle and merge as far to the right as safely as possible. Coming to a complete stop until the emergency vehicle or vehicles have passed. I often see where a vehicle will not yield or pulls over to the far right and continues at the same speed they were driving.  This makes an unsafe situation for both of us.  Please yield and come to a complete stop. It only takes a few seconds.

Now let’s get on the scene for a few things.  When an accident or other situation occurs on or near a roadway.  Emergency personnel and vehicles are used for controlling traffic.  Some times traffic is allowed to pass by a scene but sometimes it needs to be diverted around.  When approaching a scene slow down and be cautious.  Watch for emergency personnel to give directions as you approach.  You may have to stop and wait for traffic from the other direction.  Many times there is only one lane of traffic allowed to pass at a time.  When you are clear to pass.  Drive slow and stay alert.  Do not speed up until you have cleared all emergency personnel and vehilces.  This could be a short distance, a mile or more.  If traffic is being re-routed.  Follow posted speed limits on that detour.  

Please be patient.  Emergency personnel are there for safety.  Safety for our patients, personnel , and you.




Matt Bryant is a lieutenant on the Hamlin Twp. Fire Dept. He also serves on the Mason-Oceana 911 board and owns Bryant Irrigation. You may contact him at

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