Volunteer firefighters in western Labrador say they're having a hard time dealing with traffic on the roadways when responding to emergency calls.

According to Todd Canning, fire chief in Wabush, firefighters have noticed drivers aren't moving aside for emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens the way they should be.

"It's becoming a real problem here," Canning said.

"It could be their house that they're responding to, and they're not heeding to the people that are behind them."

Canning said people in the community need to understand the seriousness of the situation.

He said traffic that doesn't give the right of way to the emergency vehicles can have a significant impact on response times.

"Seconds count in a fire," Canning said.

"If we don't get there on time, it could mean the difference between saving your house or losing your house — or between life and death."

Canning said in order to combat the problem, volunteer firefighters have started writing down licence plate numbers of the vehicles causing problems and handing them over to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.