QAS officer in charge for the Mackay Station Chris Rendall Day.
QAS officer in charge for the Mackay Station Chris Rendall Day. Justin Van Heerden

Delays of just seconds a matter of life and death

'STUBBORN and unaware' Mackay drivers are delaying emergency vehicles on our roads, and when it's a matter of life and death minutes matter.

QAS Officer In Charge for the Mackay Station Chris Rendall Day says it's not every driver, but there are road users who forget their emergency vehicle etiquette.

Mr Day has been working for the Queensland Ambulance Service for 14 years.

"Delays may sometimes only be seconds, but seconds add up to minutes and those minutes can be the difference between saving a life or not in some cases," he said.

"For the most part people in Mackay are good, although there are always circumstances where it's an issue."

Mr Day said that for the most part it's good out on Mackay roads.

"Every so often we get a few people who don't hear or notice us," he said.

"Sometimes we get people who are stubborn, who don't want to pull over, because it means going out of their way."

Mr Day said drivers should always be aware that often more than one vehicle will attend an incident.

"So once you are pulled over check your mirrors," he said.

"Make sure you check to see if all vehicles have come past."

Common distractions:

Drivers have their windows up

Air cons on high in summer

Drivers have their radio or music volume up

Drivers failing to check their mirrors often

Mr Day asks Mackay drivers to follow the etiquette when it comes to emergency vehicles.

"If you do see an emergency vehicle, indicate and pull over to the left in a safe manner," he said.

"It's highly important driver still follow road rules to avoid causing collisions.

"The last thing we want is a traffic collision on the way to another serious incident.

"This led to needing more services, it slows us down and that can be detrimental to the outcome for patients."

Fortunately for Mr Day in his career he hasn't had any negative outcomes caused by delays.

"I haven't had any patients affected, so for that I am grateful," he said.

"Paramedics are lucky to be appreciated, we get respect and help from the community.

"That is something we want to see continue but sometimes it doesn't hurt to remind people to be safe."

Mr Day believes following etiquette when it comes to emergency vehicles has a positive impact.

"You don't want to be the person that holds up an ambulance, putting someone in danger," he said.

He said "you never know" ... the next emergency could be for someone you know.

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