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Road Safety, Cycling and Sustainable Transports

Research revealed at the launch of the Road Safety Authority's (RSA) new booklet, 'Sharing the Road with Emergency Service Vehicles' has shown that in the period 2007 to 2011, there were 54 collisions* on Irish roads involving an ambulance or fire engine. In these collisions, 81 people were injured and 2 people were killed. The launch of the booklet took place today, Thursday 6 December in McKee Barracks at the Irish Defence Forces in thePhoenixPark.

 To help road-users to understand how to share the roads with emergency vehicles, the RSA has joined forces with a number of emergency service organisations to produce a booklet called 'Sharing the Road with Emergency Service Vehicles'. The purpose of the booklet is to advise motorists how to summon emergency services when required, what to do when they encounter emergency vehicles on the road and how to share the road safely with these vehicles. The booklet is the result of collaboration between the RSA and An Garda Síochána, Civil Defence, Defence Forces, Irish Coast Guard, Irish Prison Service, National Ambulance Service and the Chief Fire Officers Association and Emergency Services.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said: 'This important booklet will provide road users with clear information on how to share the road with emergency service vehicles. Road users react in very different ways to the sight of an emergency vehicle, without realising there is a recommended set of procedures. I also want to thank the emergency services for the lifesaving work they do every day'.

Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said, "Every day, the Emergency Services save lives in the course of their work and as is the nature of their work, every second counts when they are responding to an emergency.  However, many road users don't know what to do when they hear sirens, and sometimes they panic and take actions that impede the emergency services in their response to emergency situations or which put other road users at risk."

"This booklet will help road-users to understand how to behave on the roads if they are sharing the road with an emergency service vehicle so that they can give adequate space and time to those responding to an emergency situation."

Kildare County Council\\\'s Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh is delighted to support this initiative. "All too often motorists do not know what action to take when an emergency vehicle is approaching them from ahead or behind, and thankfully this initiative will provide more clarify and safer information to drivers and other road users on the safest and proper cousre of action. I am delighted to support this campaign"

Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) Major-General Conor O'Boyle said, "The Defence Forces is delighted to be part of this campaign which will ultimately lead to safer roads by helping road-users to better understand how to share the road safely with emergency service vehicles."

Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips, An Garda Síochána said, "I would urge all road-users to exercise caution when they are sharing the roads with emergency vehicles. It is particularly important to anticipate the presence of emergency services vehicles on the roads which means regularly checking your mirrors and correct observation of the roads so that you can respond in good time."

Robert Morton, Director of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), welcoming the publication of the new Emergency Services Booklet by the RSA, said that "NAS Emergency Vehicles cover approx. 14 million miles per annum. While the number of traffic related incidents are extremely low, the launch of this Booklet will be of invaluable assistance in our efforts to improve the safety of services to for staff, other road users and most importantly to our patients."

Irish Coat Guard congratulated the RSA on this excellent initiative. He went on to say that "IRCG, continually seeks to impress on its emergency response drivers that use of Blue Lights impacts all other road users and can generate unusual reactions. The RSA booklet will fill an important gap in safe driving and all road users are strongly encouraged to take the time to read and reflect on its very coherent and sensible recommendations".

Mr. Seamus Murphy, Chairman of the Chief Fire Officers' Association welcomed the launch of the booklet and expressed his thanks to the Road Safety Authority in developing such an initiative. Chief Fire Officer Murphy went on to say that "Every second counts in an emergency situation and anything that the public can do to assist the emergency services in making progress to these incidents, by way of the guidance published today, is to be welcomed"