Obstacles impeding first responders’ response times

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You know what to do when the blaring emergency sound is heard on the roadway and seen on the rear-view mirror. You get out of the way so first responders can get to an emergency. But that is not always the case.

Being a first responder is no easy task, especially when trying to get an emergency call as fast as possible.

Heather Mazurkiewicz said the number one reason cars on the road do not get out of the way of a first responder is anxiety.

“People generally want to do the right thing,” Mazurkiewicz said. “They just get really nervous when it happens and that’s why we would like to make it very clear to remain calm, take their breath and figure out what you’re going to be able to do to move.”

First responders said people could do simple things around their home that makes a huge difference in saving lives when lacking time. It is all to reach their goal of responding to the call for help within five minutes.

“These are life and death situations,” said Gene Rogers, a first responder. “Anything you can do as a homeowner or property manager to shave seconds off these response times.”

Keeping the front of the home clear of vegetation, along with anything else that would provide a potential obstacle. Also, making sure the front of the home has the house number on the front, ideally in contrasting colors, so it is easy to see.

Having the family pet, such as a dog, inside a crate when first responders arrive will prevent a potential obstacle.

“They may not be so friendly to us,” Rogers said. “We have to take precautions to keep my responders safe, so securing those animals are key.”

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