Right of way for vehicular flashing green lights – it’s a courtesy

Stittsville businessman, Phil Sweetnam, has expressed a concern to Stittsville Central and wants to ensure that it is shared with the community. Phil exclaimed, “on a trip along Main Street, I noticed more than half the people were not providing volunteer firemen the courtesy of priority right-of-way. Without that priority access it will take longer to get to the Fire Station and thereby increase response time. Stittsville has been blessed with low-cost but very effective volunteer fire service for many decades! If the response times are too long there will be a call from full-time firefighters to make Station #81 a station manned by full-time firefighters.”

It is recommended that everyone pull to the right and allow firefighters with a green flashing light the courtesy of the right-of-way. It is in everyone’s self interest to be courteous to volunteer firefighters who are on the way to respond to a call at the fire station. This will only aid in the continued quick response times that Stittsville currently experiences with the use of volunteer firefighters — postponing any thoughts to changing the status of Fire Station #81 to become a full-time station. By retaining the reduced response times currently in place, Stittsville residents will continue to utilize the cost-effective volunteer service provided by Station #81 for years to come.

Because of the lack of courtesy that Phil experienced first hand, he contacted Todd Horricks, the Deputy Chief of Ottawa Fire Services. Phil wanted to know what he had to say about the importance and purpose of the ‘Flashing Green Light’.

Deputy Chief Horricks provided his response, along with two videos, which was also shared with Stittsville Central.

Deputy Chief Horricks – Firstly, thank you very much for your advocacy for the volunteer firefighters working in your community. We appreciate that you have a vested interest in your community’s safety and the safety of the responders that protect it. Most recently, the City of Ottawa, Rural Ward Councillors and Safer Roads Ottawa have collaborated to bring awareness to our suburban and rural areas. We have placed “Green Light Awareness” signs strategically throughout the areas of the City covered by Volunteer Firefighters, with the hope of making more residents aware of green lights and their purpose. Although, green lights do not allow any deviation from the Highway Traffic Act our hope is that residents will provide the right of way in an effort to allow our Rural Firefighters the opportunity to arrive at their respective stations in a safe and timely fashion. We typically provide the same messages for green lights as we would for other emergency vehicles lights which is: Slow Down. Move Over.

Here are the videos created. They may be a helpful link for your readership.

Green Light Awareness Campaign

Slow Down, Move Over Campaign for Fire Apparatus

We do have Firefighters close to their response stations. Hiring managers factor in proximity to stations, when hiring, in an effort to ensure the best service delivery possible (response) throughout rural suburban areas.

Thank you for allowing me to comment and your interest in our green light program.

Heed this important information from the Deputy Chief of Ottawa Fire and please give the right of way to a flashing green light — the person in the vehicle trying to get through traffic could be on the way to save your residence from fire or someone in an emergency situation.



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