Ambulance Sirens Information and Resources

If you have ever heard ambulance sirens on the road, you may notice that ambulances don't always operate the same way. Sometimes an ambulance will be traveling at a high rate of speed with emergency lights and its siren blaring. Other times, an ambulance may be traveling with lights activated but no siren, or else traveling at a normal rate of speed with no lights or sirens activated. To learn why ambulances operate differently, keep reading below.

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Activated Ambulance Sirens and Lights Warn of a Medical Emergency

Usually, when ambulance sirens are activated and accompanied by lights, an ambulance is en route to an emergency call for help or is transporting a patient to a hospital for emergency treatment. However, there are times when an ambulance can be transporting a patient that is in need of emergency help, but the EMS workers choose not to use the siren.

Why EMS Workers May Choose Not to Activate Ambulance Sirens

The most common reason EMS workers may not activate their ambulance siren is because the patient they are transporting is in need of emergency intervention that cannot be administered in the ambulance, but the patient is also suffering from a condition that could be exacerbated by the use of the vehicle's siren. In these particular instances, it is up to the EMS worker to make the decision that best meets the patient's need. However, even if an EMS worker chooses not to activate the ambulance sirens, they may choose to activate ambulance emergency lights to speed up their drive to the hospital.

Absence of Ambulance Sirens and Lights Doesn't Mean the Emergency Vehicle is Empty

Many people assume when an ambulance is being driven without its sirens or lights activated that the emergency vehicle is empty. However, this simply isn't true. In fact, many times ambulance will transport patients without any emergency vehicle equipment being used. This particular situation occurs when a patient needs transportation to a medical facility, but cannot be transported in a regular vehicle. Often times this occurs when a patient must be transported to another facility for a procedure, or needs to be monitored for an emergency situation during transport. It is also important to note that this mode of transportation is popular with unstable patients because it ensures that should an emergency occur, the EMS workers could easily activate their emergency lights and ambulance sirens to reach their intended destination much quicker.

If you aren’t sure what ambulances sirens are right for your emergency rig, check out our State-by-State-Guide to Emergency Vehicle Lights.