HALIFAX -- Emergency officials in Nova Scotia are raising awareness about a strategy aimed at reducing the number of repeat calls about vehicles spotted on the side of the road.

While the Blue Tape Initiative isn’t new, it isn’t widely known, and first responders are trying to change that.

“We would end up getting multiple calls for the same collision, especially on the 100-series highways,” explains Bud Sanford, manger of operations for Emergency Health Services.

“We would get calls for cars left in the ditch due to bad weather, and we would get called four or five times.”

If you spot a vehicle covered in blue tape, that means first responders have already been to the scene.

EHS launched the Blue Tape Initiative in 2018 and recently expanded the program to include fire departments across the province.

“For them, sometimes they would get to the scene and clear it before we would even get there, so it was beneficial for them to have the tape as well,” says Sanford.

He says the simple initiative is already making a big difference for first responders in the province.

“The impact really is that we’re not sending ambulances out in really bad weather two or three or four times for the one incident, and it really was two, three, four times,” says Sanford. “Now it’s usually just one.”

The Nova Scotia RCMP and Halifax Regional Police still use traditional yellow tape to mark off vehicles.

“To advise people to stay away from areas or to let them know that we’ve been there,” explains RCMP Cpl. Lisa Croteau.

Croteau says the RCMP hasn’t been approached to make the switch to blue tape, and that a change would have to be approved nationally.

While the initiative is intended to cut down on repeat calls, EHS does want to make it clear that people should call 911 if they aren’t certain whether a vehicle has been taped off.

“We don’t want to stop people from calling 911,” says Sanford. “We just want to make it easier to determine if we’ve already been there.”