There's an old saying that time is money. For Roanoke Fire-EMS, it's way more than that.
"In our business, response time is extremely important," said Deputy Chief Ralph Tartaglia. "When people need us, they need us quickly."
He says mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death or having a home and not having one. That's why it's critical emergency responders avoid any delays -- something that much more difficult to do when drivers don't help them.
"It's very important that when people hear the sirens, see the lights, they pull their vehicle to the right side of the road," said Tartaglia. "Don't do anything drastic, don't slam on your brakes in front of these trucks. These trucks are very large and they're moving at a high rate of speed."
Tartaglia says that was particularly an issue during the recent derecho storm; an ambulance and fire truck suffered minor damage that weekend while crews were responding to calls because drivers did not pull over.
In those instances, he says, crews have to stop and deal with the accident rather than continue to the emergency they were trying to get to. Another crew then has to take over.
"If your home is on fire, if it's your loved one that's sick, any delay is not good," said Tartaglia.
Roanoke Fire-EMS says the two areas they run into the issue of people not pulling over most are along East Orange Avenue and downtown.
"Our guys are exceptionally well-trained as drivers and operators, but they don't stop on a dime," said Tartaglia. "The best thing you can do is pull to the right and stop. As long as you stop, then the trucks can negotiate you."