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Some people concerned roundabouts slow firetrucks in Carmel

Posted at 12:23 AM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 00:24:52-04

CARMEL — A firetruck with its siren blaring brought to a complete stop as it goes through a roundabout is not what you want if you're waiting for help, but a video posted on social media shows just that.

Traffic typically moves slow at Rangeline Road and Executive Drive at rush hour, and that has folks worried about what happens when emergency vehicles need to get through.

Tim Griffin, a firefighter with the Carmel Fire Department, said waits happen.

"I see a truck that is obviously having to wait for traffic," he said. "That's something that we've always had to do during rush hour or construction situations."

Southbound Rangeline is one lane at Executive and the roundabout, normally two lanes, is also one lane due to construction. Griffin said the Carmel Fire Department works with the city's engineering department to account for those changes around town.

"We will plan accordingly in the direction we go for a run and or even change the way that the run cards come out to make sure that the fastest piece of equipment will get there," Griffin said.

Griffin has been with the department for 16 years, and he said crashes have gotten less dangerous since Carmel started installing roundabouts because it changes the impact angle of a collision.

"We've seen such a decrease in major incidents due to the roundabouts," Griffin said. "With roundabouts it takes out that side impact. People have to slow."

He also said run times around town have gotten faster, but Griffin acknowledges narrow roads and roundabouts can be confusing for drivers when there's a rescue vehicle trying to get through.

"The big thing is remain calm," Griffin said. "We understand you have nowhere to go and just traffic to continue to flow as it can."

Griffin wants people to remember to keep their radios turned down so they can hear first-responders coming and to move over when they have enough space and stay calm if a firetruck comes up behind them in a roundabout.

"Don't stop in the roundabout just continue either through the roundabout and then stop or just continue to that circle that way you're out of the way and you're not in the roundabout stopped," he said.

Griffin said in spite of the slowdown seen in the video, responding units were able to make it to the call in six minutes or less, which is the standard time the fire department uses to get on-scene. The call was for an alarm and all the units were called off.

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