Year-round South Fork residents know well what it means when an otherwise nondescript vehicle appears in their rearview mirrors with a flashing green or blue light on the dash. Other drivers, particularly those passing through just for a day or weekend, may have no idea that the signals say, “Get out of the way — and fast!”
Though police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances run with lights, accompanied by loud sirens and horns, the vehicles driven by volunteers can only carry a simple colored light — which is sometimes difficult to notice in bright sunshine or amid confusing summer traffic.
For example, we heard recently from a member of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association who said another driver did not yield, during a mutual-aid call, all the way to Bridgehampton.
Seasonal visitors and day-trippers may not be aware that these modest signals may mean life or death, as they identify firefighters and ambulance personnel on their way to an emergency. The region’s hospitality industry, landlords, and public officials alike must do more to get the word out. Lives may depend on it.