Select Page

High Risk Using Lights & Siren

emergency vehicle operationsEmergency vehicle operators are at higher risk when driving with lights and sirens. Responding with lights and sirens (L&S) not only endangers providers but also their passengers and the public. Studies have shown that L & S response is used 74% of the time¹, yet only a very small percentage (6.9%) of medical emergencies have a better outcome when used. However, an L&S response increases the risk of a crash by over 50% during a response and triples during transport². In addition to this high risk, the time saved is negligible, on average, only 44 seconds to 3 minutes. These studies and statistics have led to the release of a Joint Position statement outlining best practices for emergency vehicle response when using lights and sirens.

emergency drivingPosition Statement Released on Responding with Lights & Siren

Earlier this year fourteen agencies released a joint position statement citing research and making recommendations for agencies when developing SOPs for emergency vehicle operations and response. In addition, the statement suggested that all emergency vehicle operators should successfully complete a robust initial emergency vehicle driver training program.  They should also be required to have regular continuing education on emergency vehicle driving and the appropriate use of lights and sirens.³  These recommendations, along with other accepted national standards were used in the development of a new series from Action Training Systems.

New Series –  Emergency Vehicle Operations

responding with lights and sirenAction Training Systems’ Emergency Vehicle Operations series reviews best practices for emergency driving, and the use of warning devices based on standards and industry recommendations. Demonstrations include basic driving skill requirements, backup procedures, roadway safety, and scene positioning. Driver responsibilities are outlined including ensuring the safety of their crew, patients, and the public.  Topics also include the importance of vehicle maintenance, record keeping, and the regulations and laws that the EVO must know when operating an emergency vehicle.

Emergency Vehicle Operations Course

Instructors can use this 4-title series from Action Training Systems to enhance their driver training curriculum, for initial EVO training, or to use as continuing education.  Instructor support tools include textbook and standards Correlation Guides, PowerPoints, Question Banks, and a Facilitator Guide with outlines, tests, and scenarios. For more information about this series, contact Action Training Systems at 800-744-1440.




1. https://www.ems.gov/pdf/Lights_and_Sirens_Use_by_EMS_May_2017.pdf

2. Watanabe BL, Patterson GS, Kempema JM, Magailanes O, Brown LH. Is the use of warning lights and sirens associated with an increased risk of ambulance crashes? A contemporary analysis using national EMS information system (NEMSIS) data. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74(1):101-109. 12.

3. https://naemsp.org/NAEMSP/media/NAEMSP-Documents/Annual%20Meeting/2021%20MDC%20Handouts/Joint-Statement-on-Red-Light-and-Siren-Operations-with-Logos-FINAL-(003).pdf

4. Jarvis JL, Hamilton V, Taigman M, Brown LH. Using red lights and sirens for emergency ambulance response: How often are potentially life-saving interventions performed? Prehosp Emerg Care. 2021; 25(4): 549-555