Give ambulances the right of way

To the editor:

Who isn’t busy? Really in today’s world, who isn’t in a hurry? We are in such a hurry to get to where we are going to get done what we need to do so that we can move on to the next important thing. I truly do understand this, as like you, I am a busy person with things to do.

As I do understand it in theory, I do not understand people not moving over for an ambulance or fire truck with its lights going. Is where you are headed off to going to miss you for the 60 seconds it would take to slow down, move over, and give us the right of way? I can promise you that some of our patients do notice the difference.

First off, it’s the law. In the campaign by the Iowa Department of Transportation – “Move over or slow down” – the state recognized the life-threatening situation some motorists put our police, fire and rescue people as they are on an accident scene, responding to a scene, or transporting a patient. If you aren’t sure of the law, I invite you to read Iowa Code 321.324.

According to the Department of Public Health, there are 11,679 providers in Iowa and 52 percent are volunteers, which amounts to over 6,000. This means these people left their jobs, family, meals, and sleep to help protect their town and its surrounding area and for no pay. These people are dedicated to serving their communities and all they are asking is that you let them do this. Remember this is a job that you are either not willing to do or are unable to do. Either way, they are asking (sometimes pleading by using sirens) for the respect that is need to care for their patients. They might be carrying your grandparent with a broken (and painful) hip, or your parent with a heart attack or your child that has stopped breathing or possible you from a vehicle accident. They are asking that you respect them, their patient, and the patient’s family enough to give them the right away.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Terry Towne

Director, Southwest Webster Ambulance


President, Webster County EMS