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Firefighters need us to slow down

Friday, 21 June 2019

Firefighters and emergency service workers risk their lives day in and day out attending incidents on the side of some of the state’s busiest roads and highways. And yet they have only one ask, please slow down when you see their flashing lights.

The Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) continues to back the law that requires NSW drivers to slow down to 40 kilometres an hour when passing emergency services vehicles with flashing lights.

Ian Dollery from the Cambewarra fire brigade in the Shoalhaven area, says the 40km/h rule helps both paid and volunteer firefighters get to accidents earlier and stay safe while helping to save the lives of the people of this state.

“I understand that new road rules can sometimes take some time to get used to but slowing down while we are assisting those in need on the side of the road is vital to ensuring our safety,” Mr. Dollery said.

“For example, when we attend incidents on the highway with semis and B-doubles zooming by, some of the crew can easily alight from the passenger side of the fire vehicle, but the driver has to get out on the driver side with the traffic directly next to them.

“There are other dangers to contend with aside from the speed of traffic - the draught from a big truck can easily cause a person to fall, or it can pick up debris from a motor vehicle accident and propel it towards working fire fighters. It’s also enough to pull open a partly open door and potentially drag the driver out onto the road.

“With the red and blue flashing lights, you really can’t miss us – so please slow down to 40km/h when you see us and let us go home to our families at night,” he said.

NSW RFSA President, Ken Middleton, echoes Ian’s sentiment saying the 40km/h legislation saves people’s lives and allows emergency service workers to feel safe at work.

“We need to think of the men and women who volunteer at the risk of their own lives to save others, we need to do all we can to minimise the risk to them,” said Mr. Middleton.

“Slowing down when you see flashing lights is a simple way we can all help to ensure we don’t make some of the more harrowing situations on our roads worse and allow our emergency service workers can do their job.”

The law, which requires drivers to slow down to 40km/h upon seeing emergency services flashing lights, was introduced in NSW in September 2018, and already exists in other states around Australia including Western

Australia and Victoria and in South Australia where they require drivers to slow down to 25km/h.

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