Seattle Fire Department urges drivers to move right for emergency vehicles

December 14, 2023
Seattle Fire Department Engine

Understanding the law and safety measures

The Seattle Fire Department recently issued a reminder to drivers about the importance of yielding to emergency vehicles.

Under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.210, drivers must move to the right and stop when they encounter emergency vehicles with lights and sirens.

This requirement is crucial for ensuring the safety of both the public and emergency responders.

Key safety tips for drivers

To enhance road safety, the department offered several tips:

  • Move right and stop when an emergency vehicle approaches.
  • Do not enter an intersection while moving right.
  • If unable to move right, slow down and stop.
  • Stay stopped unless directed to move.
  • The law applies to emergency vehicles from any direction.
  • Maintain a 500-foot distance from a following emergency vehicle.
  • Pedestrians should not cross the street until the emergency vehicle has passed.

Special considerations for parked emergency vehicles

When emergency vehicles are parked at an incident scene, drivers are required by RCW 46.61.212 to approach with caution and, if possible, change lanes to the left.

This ensures a safe environment for emergency responders to operate.

FSJA Comment

The Seattle Fire Department’s reminder about moving right for emergency vehicles is a critical public safety message.

It underscores the importance of driver awareness and adherence to traffic laws, especially when encountering emergency situations.

The specific guidelines provided serve as a valuable resource for drivers, helping them understand their role in ensuring safe and efficient emergency response.

This initiative reflects the ongoing efforts by emergency services to educate the public and enhance safety protocols, ultimately aiming to reduce response times and save lives.

It also serves as a reminder of the shared responsibility between emergency services and the public in creating a safe and responsive environment during emergencies.

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