Lights and sirens
Every minute that goes by not only decreases the chances of surviving a major emergency, such as cardiac arrest, but also affects a patient’s quality of recovery. It is therefore essential that paramedics who are highly trained in helping to save lives, reach patients as quickly as possible.
Paramedics understand sirens – or the prospect of the use of sirens – can be distressing to the community and therefore adopt an attitude of caution, thoughtfulness and respect towards the neighbourhood.
- Sirens are generally turned on only when necessary (Code 1 call-outs) to warn other road users, once the vehicle has left the branch.
- Sirens are generally not used in residential streets, especially at night.
- Lights and sirens on ambulance vehicles are used for approximately half of all cases.
- Paramedics will generally only use one or both when conditions require them for safe vehicle egress and public safety.
- Ambulance lights can be used independently of the sirens.
Unlike fire stations, ambulance branches do not have a continuous siren. No other activities at any given ambulance branch will have a major noise impact on surrounding areas.
When occupied, an ambulance branch generates a similar amount of noise as a normal domestic residence. When paramedics are present, their usual tasks include attending to administrative duties, restocking or cleaning the interior of ambulance vehicles or resting.
Ambulance branches do not have a PA system as paramedics are contacted by hand-held radios and pagers.