PORT HAWKESBURY: Town officials are reminding drivers to make way for emergency vehicles.

This week, the Town of Port Hawkesbury will be launching a Move Over campaign to raise awareness of the law requiring motorists to slow down or pull over when encountering first responders on the road.

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton says the town has been engaging with local first responders including RCMP, the Port Hawkesbury Volunteer Fire Department, and Emergency Health Services, who will roll out their own Move Over programs periodically.

“The campaign that we will launch on behalf of the Town of Port Hawkesbury will be in support of and hopefully will add to their own independent Move Over campaigns,” said Chisholm-Beaton. “It’s just to have our citizens be mindful of the safety of our first responders, if they’re either responding to an emergency, or maybe in the case of EHS, where they may have somebody’s safety in their hands in the back of an ambulance.”

Chisholm-Beaton says she hopes to begin sending out flyers to residents this week. Information will also be distributed on social media and on the town’s Web site.

“We will likely run it for the month of February and continue to share in on an ongoing basis,” she said.

When approaching or being approached by an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing, drivers are required to safely pull over to the side of the road to let the emergency vehicle pass by. When passing a stopped emergency vehicle, the law requires drivers to slow down to 60 kilometers per hour or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower. Drivers should also move into the lane farthest from the stopped emergency vehicle if it is safe to do so.

Chisholm-Beaton says that citizens need to follow the rules of the road to ensure that all first responders are able to do their jobs without putting themselves or others in danger.

“Our desired result, obviously, is to have people abide by the law and to make it as easy as possible for our first responders to be able to do their job,” she said.

“Sometimes they need to go faster to get somebody safely from point A to point B if they’re having a life threatening incident, and we don’t need to get in the way.”