Fire officials using decals to warn motorists

By Jared Tucker: PNT staff writer

The Portales Fire Department has new safety decals on two of its vehicles that firefighters say should make responding to emergencies much safer.

The new decals are part of a campaign designed to create awareness about pulling to the right side of the street when emergency vehicles are approaching, according to Jesse Breedlove, founder and CEO of Keep Right America.

“Keep Right America was founded to address the problems that undisciplined motorists create on our roadways”, said Breedlove.

He said motorists who stop in the middle of the road, or pull to the left side of the road are a major safety hazard, and diminish emergency response times. Fire officials across eastern New Mexico use Breedlove’s decals, and had them installed on emergency vehicles in Hobbs, Artesia, Roswell, Lovington, and Seminole, Texas.

Keep Right’s first law enforcement agency to use the decals was the Artesia Police Department.

Portales fire officials liked the idea of the decals, and decided to do a trial period with them on an ambulance and a pumper, according to Deputy Fire Chief Lance Hill.

“Anytime that we can have a campaign that reminds people to keep to the right is good because sometimes seconds can mean the difference between life or death” said Hill.

Hill said the city will evaluate the use of the decals, to see how well they work in the city, and make a decision to place the decals on all of the fire trucks and ambulances in the future.