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