Frequently Asked Questions
When I call for an ambulance, why do I sometimes get an ambulance from another town?
Marshall Area EMS has mutual aid agreements with neighboring towns to ensure coverage. It is possible for several calls for an ambulance to come in at the same time. If our ambulance (and backup ambulance, when staffed) is already on a call, the next closest ambulance will be dispatched. You may see ambulances from Sun Prairie, Waterloo, Deer Grove, etc. The mutual aid agreements work both ways, so you may see Marshall Area EMS ambulances and fire trucks dispatched to other municipalities.
When I see an emergency vehicle approaching while I am driving, should I always pull over to the right and stop?
State law dictates that vehicles yield to emergency vehicles that are operating their emergency lights and siren. Emergency vehicle drivers are taught to pass on the left whenever possible when responding in an emergency mode. When it is safe, slow down, pull over to the right and stop. Never slam on the brakes and stop in the middle of the road when you see an emergency vehicle approaching. Do not tailgate, "draft", or follow a responding emergency vehicle closely. Not only is this illegal, but you also run the risk of collision as vehicles pull back out into traffic after the emergency vehicle passes them. If an emergency vehicle does not have lights and siren running, it is traveling as non-emergency and you do not have to yield to it.
When I call an ambulance, why does a fire engine or law enforcement officer sometimes come as well?
All firefighters are trained to assist ambulance personnel with lifting or carrying equipment and patients. Law enforcement officers are also available to assist ambulance personnel with caring for the patient or making sure the scene is safe for our personnel to enter.
Why do I see fire trucks or ambulances driving with their lights and sirens on and then turn them off? Are they just in a hurry to go somewhere?
Emergency lights and sirens are used when the information received from the 9-1-1 dispatch deems it necessary. Emergency vehicles responding to calls are sometimes cancelled, or the first arriving unit determines that the call is not an emergency and tells other units to respond in a non-emergency mode, or to return to their station.