Fire­fight­ers frus­trated by dis­re­spect­ful driv­ers

Driv­ers ig­nore fire­fight­ers’ direc­tions at least once a week, says spokesper­son EX­AM­PLES OF DRIV­ERS BE­HAV­ING BADLY THES­TAR.COM/ VAN­COU­VER

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - WANYEE LI

It was one of hun­dreds of split-sec­ond de­ci­sions Van­cou­ver fire­fight­ers make ev­ery day.

Jonathan Gormick saw a bus driver as­sist­ing an in­jured crow on a busy street, and de­cided to turn on his fire truck’s sirens to stop traf­fic and help. Within sec­onds, a man drove by, honk­ing, yelling and ges­tur­ing to­ward the fire truck.

Gormick, the fire depart­ment’s pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer, made an­other split-sec­ond de­ci­sion. He logged into Van­cou­ver Fire and Res­cue’s Twit­ter ac­count, typed a snarky tweet, and hit send.

“To the gen­tle­man who honked yelled, and ges­tured at one of our units that stopped traf­fic for 15 sec­onds this af­ter­noon to as­sist a Translink driver get an in­jured an­i­mal off the road,” he wrote. “Please come by any fire­hall where our pro­fes­sion­als can as­sess if you’re hu­man and have a heart.”

Gormick told Starmetro he im­me­di­ately re­gret­ted the de­ci­sion. But that was Tues­day, and by Wed­nes­day more than 1,000 peo­ple had retweeted it.

“It was a sense of frus­tra­tion. And I gen­er­ally try not to tweet out of emo­tion, but this is a sit­u­a­tion we en­counter all too of­ten,” Gormick said.

He es­ti­mated fire­fight­ers en­counter that level of dis­re­spect to­ward emer­gency per­son­nel once a week.

Some­times peo­ple drive through fire-line tape, some­times they move traf­fic cones, some­times they drive over fire­hoses. Some­times they do all of the above.

As Van­cou­ver’s pop­u­la­tion in­creases and traf­fic con­ges­tion wors­ens, Gormick wor­ries more peo­ple will be ag­i­tated on the road and more in­clined to act in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward am­bu­lances, po­lice cars, and fire trucks.


Jonathan Gormick is a spokesper­son for Van­cou­ver Fire and Res­cue who sent a snarky tweet af­ter a driver yelled and honked at fire­fight­ers help­ing a bus driver save an in­jured crow on the road.

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