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Lights, Sirens, Action!

January 23, 2013

One of the biggest pet peeves for all EMS providers, firefighters, and police officers is the negligence of the people who do not give us the right of way when we are flashing our lights until we go blind and blare our sirens until the cows come home. It’s not that people do not pay attention. Its the thought process of  ‘maybe if I drive fast enough I won’t have to pull over’ or ‘they must be turning off soon’. I understand that lights and sirens only gain us a few seconds during our response, but it is the principle behind them that needs to be followed.

Several officers I have spoken with stated that when they pull people over for not pulling over for EMS or the FD they get the excuses of ‘oh that (insert emergency vehicle) didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere’ or ‘I didn’t pull over because I didn’t think they actually had a call’. These are the same people who complain about our response time when they actually need us.

Just the other night we had cleared the scene of vehicle sliding off the road and were dispatched to another call. A truck had just gone past us before we pulled back into the lane, so when we started heading lights in sirens behind him he failed to pull over. We were just barely able to squeeze by him on this road before another car started coming the other way. We would have had plenty of room had he pulled over. When we were passing him he had the audacity to laugh at us.

If there was a more serious fine or punishment I think there would be more adherence to the law. What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever not pulled over? Why?

Pull over please, when you see these.

Pull over please, when you see these.



  1. Joey, there are so many emergency vehicles in London, that the locals become completely inured to us, and just can’t be bothered to make life easier for you. Not everyone of course. I once saw a man scrape a new car all the way along a crash barrier, doing untold damage to the side of his vehicle, just so we could get by, to make a left turn. It was the opposite to the norm, and very extreme. We used to ask that drivers just stay still, and we would weave our way around them, but it is always a matter of contention, especially in a large city. I see that some places in America have ‘Fire Lanes’ for emergency vehicles, and I think that this would be a good idea everywhere. Trouble is, London’s streets have been around since the Romans, and have no room for them! Regards, Pete.

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