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Emergency services call for more care from Raro motorists

Monday 7 August 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National


Emergency services call for more care from Raro motorists
Five fire trucks responded to the blaze behind the National Sports Arena in Nikao yesterday morning. SUPPLIED/23080245

A senior fire officer has called out Rarotonga motorists following hold ups during an emergency on the island.

Teimurimotia Volunteer Fire Brigade’s Alistair Macquarie says the major issue is traffic not pulling clear of the roadway as experienced by one of the brigade’s drivers last week.

Ambulance drivers are facing the same problem, with acting Director of Hospital Health Services Dr Deacon Teapa confirming shared concerns on Thursday.

Police spokesman Trevor Pitt said he wasn’t aware of any issues.

Fifteen firefighters and five fire trucks responded to a residential property fire on Wednesday morning behind the National Sports Arena in Nikao.

The firefighters fought for about 30 minutes to put out the blaze. The two-storey home, which is believed to belong to a retired couple, sustained significant damage. No one was injured in the blaze.

Cook Islands News understands the property caught fire around 7.30am.

Macquarie said he received the initial call at 7.45am before receiving confirmation from the Rescue Fire Service at 7.49am.

“We have big trucks and we need a lot of room for safety and not pulling away slows us down,” Macquarie said.

“It is important to arrive at the scene in five to ten minutes because most of the places (properties on fire) are gone by 10 or so minutes.

“We find that they (motorists) have their earphones on and windows of the car up with music on so that they cannot clearly hear the siren.

“It is important that when they drive, they are fully aware of the surroundings.”

Dr Teapa said paramedics faced similar challenges, with traffic not giving way to ambulance services.

“We have had a few recent near misses.

“The public need to be aware of road traffic, particularly emergency services.

“Give way appropriately and avoid use of distractive devices.”