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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 12-05-2014, 10:13 PM   #1
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Siren on emergency on emergency vehicles

I've noticed for the past few years emergency service vehicle turns on and off their siren whenever they want. Why is that? Almost got into an accident because of this. Was at a light on 2nd and main. I was on the left lane heading east and when the light turned green me and the other car started rolling and about 1/4 way started through the intersection I hear the ambulance turns on the siren and was going north on main and he was rushing into the intersection and freaked the car on the right of me that was just ahead of me by a bit that moved into my lane suddenly and he almost smashed into me if I did not jammed on to my brakes. Why do they not leave the siren on full time anymore? This was not early morning or late night it was about 8 am.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:38 AM   #2
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seems more common from cruisers/ambulance than fire trucks.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:20 AM   #3
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As someone who drove/rode emergency vehicles "code 3", I often found that having the siren on caused more problems than not. Drivers would suddenly slam on the brakes in front of me or swerve to the left or right as I tried to pass, or slow down and stop in the middle of the road blocking my path.

On occasion, based on my reading of the traffic in front of me and the available room, I would just run with the lights and slip past before they had a chance to jam me up. Other times I just ran lights and siren and waited until people finally noticed me, obeyed the law and pulled over & stopped....and waited until I passed. In spite of what you may have been told, emerg veh drivers will not pass you on the right..they would rather go into oncoming traffic than risk being rammed by some driver who jerks the wheel to the right without first checking.

If you are running code 3 you are already stressed thinking about what to do when you get to the scene. You are also terribly stressed and frustrated by people who don't pay attention and get out of your way. I had many occasions when drivers just flat out refused to stop or move over. A nice .50cal Browning mounted on the push bars seemed to be a better choice to clear the road than a siren and lights....at times... Same for you Spidey?
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:05 AM   #4
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I had many occasions when drivers just flat out refused to stop or move over. A nice .50cal Browning mounted on the push bars seemed to be a better choice to clear the road than a siren and lights....at times... Same for you Spidey?
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:09 PM   #6
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I see, I guess it makes sense as there are many stupid drivers out there that run late lights or try to beat the emergency vehicle or just plain stupid out on the road.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zulutango View Post
As someone who drove/rode emergency vehicles "code 3", I often found that having the siren on caused more problems than not. Drivers would suddenly slam on the brakes in front of me or swerve to the left or right as I tried to pass, or slow down and stop in the middle of the road blocking my path.

On occasion, based on my reading of the traffic in front of me and the available room, I would just run with the lights and slip past before they had a chance to jam me up. Other times I just ran lights and siren and waited until people finally noticed me, obeyed the law and pulled over & stopped....and waited until I passed. In spite of what you may have been told, emerg veh drivers will not pass you on the right..they would rather go into oncoming traffic than risk being rammed by some driver who jerks the wheel to the right without first checking.

If you are running code 3 you are already stressed thinking about what to do when you get to the scene. You are also terribly stressed and frustrated by people who don't pay attention and get out of your way. I had many occasions when drivers just flat out refused to stop or move over. A nice .50cal Browning mounted on the push bars seemed to be a better choice to clear the road than a siren and lights....at times... Same for you Spidey?
Sounds like a normal day in Richmond.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #8
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a path usually clears up pretty quick?
in asia it gets so congested that often the emerg vehicles have to use the sidewalk

Also, who's at fault in an accident when the sirens/lights are on? Technical they should yield but would the passenger car be 100% at fault if they were oblivious/music too loud etc?
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:11 PM   #9
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on the bright side a path clears up pretty quick?
Not often, no.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:11 PM   #10
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I've noticed that they turn off sirens when they are I'm traffic at a red light and cannot move around traffic so they just leave the lights on and sirens off. I guess it's to make sure people don't get irritated from the noise
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:30 PM   #11
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I always thought they turn the sirens off when they're in a residential area at night.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:07 PM   #12
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I always thought they turn the sirens off when they're in a residential area at night.

Naa, they still have it on in residential area even if it's early morning around 3am
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Old 12-07-2014, 10:39 AM   #13
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I can't remember ever seeing an ambulance with lights and no sirens. It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. I always thought they either are going full code 3 lights and sirens, or routine which is neither. Police on the other hand might have lights only but no sirens for a specific reason.

But regardless, the way I read the OP's story, it sounds like perhaps the ambulance had been dispatched to a call code 3 right at that moment. And it they went from dark to code 3 the moment the traffic light turned green for the OP. I guess that is a possibility, no?
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:04 PM   #14
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^ I don't think they just got the code 3 as they were travelling at a fairly fast speed from what I can see at the moment I hear the siren and was looking for them. It happened so fast it caught the three first car by surprise.
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:46 PM   #15
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Right now ambulance crews are going thru a period of frustration over when the can/must run lights and siren and when they cannot. The status can change in a second, depending on many different conditions and restrictions. They get passed by fire trucks running full code three lights & siren, going to the same medical call they are attending, but they cannot light up. Politics. Go figure?
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:17 PM   #16
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The sooner the firefighters get there, the sooner they can clear and go back to sleep/their bbq....
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:26 PM   #17
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Old 12-07-2014, 10:28 PM   #18
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Right now ambulance crews are going thru a period of frustration over when the can/must run lights and siren and when they cannot. The status can change in a second, depending on many different conditions and restrictions. They get passed by fire trucks running full code three lights & siren, going to the same medical call they are attending, but they cannot light up. Politics. Go figure?
To your knowledge, are ambulance crews permitted to operate with lights but no siren?
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:47 AM   #19
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I've seen it before where an emergency vehicle got stuck in traffic and there was no where to go and they just turned off the lights and sirens cause it was pointless. Probably didn't want to cause another accident from people trying to get out of the way when they couldn't.

Also, to the OP, maybe the ambulance just got the call and then turned on the siren. In that case, it may seem like her turned it on just to get through the intersection when in actual fact it was just coincidence that the call came in right at that time.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:53 PM   #20
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You would be surprised at the number of numpties that fail to yield to emergency vehicles.. Oh how I wish our PCs had rumblers....
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:53 PM   #21
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To your knowledge, are ambulance crews permitted to operate with lights but no siren?
I don't know their official policy, but PCs can...and I often did when circumstances demanded...and I have seen ambulances with lights only as recently as a couple of days ago. Check this out..
http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/...statreg/133_98
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:35 AM   #22
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The sooner the firefighters get there, the sooner they can clear and go back to sleep/their bbq....
I thought ambulance crews worked the same no?

I thought they don't get dispatched from hospitals itself but from their own lots
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #23
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Fire Fighters don't get paid $2 an hour standby pay like the EMTs.
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:15 PM   #24
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You would be surprised at the number of numpties that fail to yield to emergency vehicles.. Oh how I wish our PCs had rumblers....
I honestly wonder why they don't mount cameras to the front of ambulances and automatically issue tickets to anyone who doesn't get out of the way.
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Old 12-16-2014, 02:58 PM   #25
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I honestly wonder why they don't mount cameras to the front of ambulances and automatically issue tickets to anyone who doesn't get out of the way.
Because paramedics cannot issue tickets... But I guess they could forward the evidence to Police... If that were the case, they would probably need a new section that dealt with just that.. On a given code run by an ambulance getting from point a to point b, I am sure there would be at least 20 cars that could be charged for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.... Not to mention cars failing to slow down when passing a police vehicle at a traffic stop...
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