GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Tuesday in Greene County, two emergency responders with ASAP were killed in a fiery accident involving a tractor trailer. WLOX spoke with AMR officials to learn more about how emergency responders and drivers can travel the roadways together, safely.
Greg Doyle is the operations manager for AMR, and has 25 years of experience. He said the most frustrating thing is when they are driving with lights and sirens to an emergency, and people don't get out of the way.
"They will want to stop where they are. They will pull to the left in front of you. What we really need them to do is just stop, pull to the right as far as they can and pay attention to what's going on around them," said Doyle.
State law requires that drivers pull to the right and come to a complete stop when they see an emergency vehicle, but this law is often broken because of distracted drivers.
"Newer model cars are well insulated, and with air conditioners running, or [drivers] probably on your cell phone, not really paying attention to what's going on around you, all of a sudden there is an ambulance behind you," said Doyle.
AMR drivers must complete 16 classroom hours of Emergency Vehicle Operator Training, and 60 hours of driving with an evaluator.
"We have to stop at all red lights and stop signs. So we may run up on a stop sign or red light, just lights and sirens going, and we have to come to a complete stop at the intersection. And people think it's okay and they jump out in front of us almost causing a wreck," said Doyle.
Doyle said the last two accidents involving AMR ambulances both happened at intersections, as a result of drivers not letting the ambulance have the right of way.
According to Mississippi Highway Patrol, the accident involving an ASAP ambulance was caused after the ambulance tried to pass two 18 wheelers. The ambulance successfully passed one, but unfortunately hit the second.