COQUITLAM, BC, August 3, 2021 – When an emergency takes place nearby, you can help responders do their job and keep everyone safe by staying clear and following instructions.
Flashing emergency lights are a signal for the public to slow down and move over, be aware and follow any guidance provided – whether that is a detour sign, a person directing traffic or tape cordoning off a scene.
The reminder from Coquitlam Fire/Rescue follows a recent house fire on Nestor Street, during which time a driver sped through the fire scene and ran over a water supply line, putting the lives of firefighters and the public at risk.
Potential Dangers to Crews and Public
Inattentive or curious bystanders or passersby near emergency scenes can be distracting and, in some cases, threaten the safety of the public and personnel. Even if they are well-meaning, people crowding a scene can impede or divert crews from their important work protecting lives and property.
At the Nestor Street fire in May, the motorist, driving at high speed, permanently damaged a water supply line by punching holes into it. The potential consequences are frightening:
- If a supply line is charged (filled with water) and becomes severed, it can whip around and hit a member of the public or crew – potentially killing them if the heavy metal coupling was attached.
- If a line is providing water to the engine for hoses being used to actively fight a structure fire, a puncture would cut off a critical lifeline to firefighters and anyone inside a building.
We All Have a Role to Play in Emergency Scene Safety
Drivers and pedestrians at or near an emergency scene are requested to:
- Slow down and pay attention to what is happening around you.
- Follow the direction of personnel or signs at the scene.
- Curious passersby driving to the scene to have a look is strongly discouraged as vehicles could impede firefighters’ progress.
- Leave the scene unless you are required or asked to remain there (e.g. an accident witness or participant, owner of property on fire). If you must remain at the scene, stay back from emergency response personnel, vehicles, equipment and hoses and avoid blocking or disturbing neighbours. Ensure your own vehicle is parked well out of the way.
Driving over a supply line is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act, and tickets may be issued to those who impede the work of fire crews or get too close to fire hoses through Coquitlam’s Fire Prevention and Life Safety Bylaw.
For other fire safety information and resources, visit www.coquitlam.ca/firesafety.
City of Coquitlam