Online story by Jay Powell
Video story by Amanda Dix
RICHMOND, Va. — “Stop, look, listen.”
Though the phrase may seem like common sense, the Richmond Ambulance Authority is taking pedestrians back to the basics in their latest campaign.
According to the RAA, a vehicle hits a pedestrian every three and a half days in the Richmond area.
Those statistics struck a chord with the RAA and their response came in the form of a new “Crossing Alert” campaign, which was introduced to the public in early September.
“You’ve got a lot of students and a high population walking to and from class coupled with the fact that there of very large roads and very large intersections in the college and campus area and of course those two combined together mean a higher risk,” said Rob Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer for RAA.
Lawrence reached out to Sean Burton, an RAA employee and songwriter, to write a rap song to bring awareness and appeal to the younger demographic. The new song and campaign blend familiar messages with a more modern approach. The song was featured in a YouTube video and by mid September it had reached over 5,000 views.
“I was amazed to learn how many people get hit by cars on a regular basis,” said Burton. “It’s very important that this message gets out there because it’s not talked about a lot. People need to be aware of how dangerous it can be to cross the street and pay attention.”
Martha Mitchell Meade, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said, “AAA salutes Richmond Ambulance Authority for their continued and strong outreach efforts as a member of the transportation safety advocacy community. We have all seen the alarming videos, most often on YouTube, of folks walking off of the edge of train platforms onto live train tracks, into barriers or fountains, down steps and even worse into oncoming traffic, thus using YouTube to reach out to the same audience is a positive way to convey this important message.”
Public Safety and EMS agencies across the nation are encouraged to join the Crossing Alert campaign. Leading EMS journal, EMS World, has launched the PSA on their website to coincide with RAA’s national launch, as is the American Ambulance Association.