62
      Friday
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      Safety first, saving lives second

      For Tuesday's Facebook Story of the Day, you wanted to know more about emergency vehicle drivers. What are their responsibilities and do they follow different rules of the road?

      Emergency vehicle drivers get a yearly refresher course on equipment use, CPR and other techniques, but one thing they're not always required to brush up on is their driving skills. It's a skill they use more than any other.

      The call comes in and they get behind the wheel.

      "You may never use a ladder that time, you may never use a hose," said Terry Bykerk, a retired police officer with '2 The Rescue.' "It's the only task in the EMS service that you will do every single time you're called out: drive."

      These emergency vehicle drivers are held accountable for their actions. But if you hear the sirens and see the lights, they get special privileges.

      "I think emergency vehicles with lights and sirens activated are merely 'requesting' the right of way. They cannot just simply disregard traffic control devices," said Facebook fan Riley Purcell.

      That's true. In an emergency, under state law, drivers can exceed the posted speed limit and roll through a red light or intersection if other cars have pulled over.

      "When an emergency occurs, time is critical, and it's important to get there as fast as possible and as safe as possible," said Risk Control Consultant Allen Smolen.

      But there are some rules they can't break, and some say it happens more than it should.

      "Everybody will tell you they wear their seatbelts, but it's not the case because we actually witnessed it here where several of them left on a call out last night and didn't have their seatbelts on," Bykerk said.

      It's a case of responsibility. Safety classes target the mindset of these everyday heroes.

      "What this class does is, first of all, explain the laws for emergency drivers and how emergency responders can get to an emergency quickly but also safely," Smolen said.

      To learn more about the '2 The Rescue' classes, visit their website.