LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Early on Sunday, the Louisa County Volunteer Rescue Squad hosted a vehicle operator course to help prepare drivers for when real emergencies happen.

The course not only taught volunteers how to drive ambulances and fire trucks, but what to look for on the road with other drivers to make sure service is as quick and safe as possible. The sound of sirens on the road can be alarming.  

"Most people when they hear the siren or see an emergency vehicle approaching, they either freeze, lock up the breaks because they're not sure what do, some people now pull to the left, some people pull to the right so, it's kind of a guessing game,” said Gary Morris, chief of Louisa County Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Since driving can be unpredictable, the Louisa County Volunteer Rescue Squad is teaching volunteers how to better predict the moves of other drivers on the road, so they can transport patients quickly and safely. 

"It teaches you how to avoid, recover from skids, those types of things and weight distribution," said Morris.

During the training, drivers have to navigate emergency vehicles through narrow cones, practicing backing up, parallel parking, turning and weaving in and out f traffic.

"The ambulance was kind of harder for me. I have a little trouble backing up," said Penny Carver, a volunteer. "I like the fire truck, which I thought I was going to hate. I was really nervous about it but after I did it it was great."

First responders said a lot more effort goes into driving an emergency vehicle than you might think.

"Your personal car weighs a lot less than a fire truck and an ambulance so the weight transfer is a little different, reaction time has to be on point in recognition of not just what we're doing and paying attention to what we have to do, but also what the general public is doing,” said Morris.

Officials said the roles those drivers play in getting patients to the hospital safely is just as important as the medics tending to patients.

"Don't ever let anybody tell you-you're just a driver because you're just as important as the EMT in the back of the truck," said Morris.

This training takes place four times a year. The Louisa County Volunteer Rescue Squad said it is always looking for more volunteers because there can never be too much help during an emergency.