From our vantage point here on West Broad Street in downtown Elizabethtown, we are witness to a lot of things on the other side of our front windows.
Some of them are good things — like folks walking by with arms loaded down with bags filled with goodies from the local merchants, parades passing by people who have lined the sidewalks and the sight of folks who stop by to read our pages displayed in the window.
There are also some not-so-good things that we’ve been witness to — things like the aftermath of the First Citizens Bank last year, vehicles that make illegal U-turns and vehicle alarms that go off and blare on and on and on.
But perhaps one of the most egregious things we have seen, and it’s on a regular basis, is the complete and total disregard for the emergency vehicles that must navigate their way through the downtown area while responding to a call.
Time after time, we see fire trucks or ambulances or police cars slowly making their way through the business district like it was some kind of obstacle course — and the biggest obstacles are vehicles that don’t slow down and don’t pull over.
We feel sure there are numerous reasons folks don’t adhere to the law when an emergency vehicle approaches. Among those reasons are loud music, texting or talking on a cell phone, interacting with others in the vehicle and simply a blatant disregard for what’s going on around you.
None of which are the characteristics of a good driver.
But here’s the thing: How can you be sure that it’s not your house that’s on fire, or your grandmother who has just had a heart attack or your child that’s just been assaulted? If it is, wouldn’t you want the emergency responders to get where they need to be as quickly as possible?
Streets passing through downtown areas are a bigger challenge than almost anywhere else for emergency vehicles, simply because they are usually far more congested with traffic and pedestrians. So making it even more difficult by not following the law when you hear the siren and/or see the lights flashing just raises the chances for bad things to happen.
And those precious few seconds could mean the difference between life and death.