VICTORIA – It happens all the time. First you see the flashing lights in your rear-view mirror. Then you hear the siren. It’s an ambulance coming up quickly with lights and siren on.
What do you do?
When minutes can affect a patient’s outcome, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) paramedics use lights and siren to reach their destination as quickly as possible – whether it’s getting to a patient or getting a patient to hospital.
* Stay alert while driving. Avoid distractions. Keep the noise level down in your vehicle.
* Signal, move to the side of the road, come to a safe stop – this is required in B.C.
* Don’t block or drive on the shoulder of the road. Stop, so others can pull over as well.
* All traffic moving in both directions must stop (except on a divided highway when the emergency vehicle is on the opposite side).
* It’s illegal to follow an ambulance or any emergency vehicle responding to a call. Stay at least 150 metres behind.
“Paramedics are intently focused on patient care and safety, particularly when serious injuries or medical needs are involved,” said Tyrone Trotter, an advanced care paramedic with BCAS. “All patients deserve timely care – and it’s in the hands of all motorists to help make sure ambulances can get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”
BCAS crews respond to more than 486,000 events every year throughout the province, nearly one call every minute 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lights and siren are used only when necessary.
Operating under the authority of the Emergency and Health Services Commission, BCAS provides public ambulance service throughout BC. The EHSC has the legislated mandate under the Emergency and Health Services Act to provide B.C. residents and healthcare professionals with access to pre-hospital emergency and patient transfer services.
EHSC also oversees BC Bedline and Trauma Services BC.
EHSC is a division of the Provincial Health Services Authority, which manages specialized health care services across B.C.