Ambulances and police are two major services for any country across the globe. Proper law enforcement and public health are the consequences of the free flow of these services. When an ambulance or a police vehicle runs in the streets, one can easily distinguish between them by their appearance but,, nowadays ambulances and police vehicles have different types of sirens too. Along with the flashing lights, a unique siren is also important to alert people while they are running to deal with an emergency. These are meant to alert the traffic about the nature of the emergency in their respective manner.
It was really confusing for people when there was no difference between an ambulance and a police siren but, now it is easier to differentiate whether it is a police vehicle or a medical emergency vehicle. It was also problematic because some of the private ambulances used to use sirens of their own choice which was rather misguiding. People could not know if there is any ambulance arriving and that could be fatal for the patient.
As the population grows up, the number of emergencies also increases. It is important to have a separate siren for different emergency departments so that no one gets confused. In some cities like Kolkata, it is already an official instruction to use police and ambulance sirens need to be distinctive. Using any fancy siren is strictly prohibited as it provides wrong information.
Ambulances are now an inevitable part of our lifestyle. By increasing the number of health emergencies, the intervention of ambulances is also growing. They run to save lives and often they come as a difference between life and death. Considering this, it is essential to clear the traffic while they are heading towards an emergency situation or transporting a critical patient.
You might have seen white and red, or yellow vans with blue flashing lights running on the roads blowing a certain type of siren. Ambulances have a bawling sound that rises and fall on a loop along with flashing lights.
The basic motive behind the siren is to alert people that the vehicle is carrying a patient who is facing a medical emergency. People could hear the siren and make way for the ambulance to pass. They are likely to alert the traffic about the ambulance before it is visible to people so that there is no sudden chaos on the road. Ambulances use sirens not just because it provides a greater audible warning to the public about their arrival but, also because it is an artifact of an emergency and can be heard from a longer distance.
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There are some occasions when ambulances avoid using a siren. Although it depends on the driver whether he uses the siren or not. Also when there is no intense traffic, they avoid sirens so that no one gets panicked without reason. Having said that, there are some specific situations too when sirens are muted intentionally: When the patient is struggling with extreme chest pain and falling in a fainting situation, it is smart to avoid sirens and lights. Thus he might not panic which lessens the pain a little. If the patient is shot by a gun or facing an extremely critical condition, he might panic due to loud sirens and flashing lights. To avoid bothering old citizens, children, vulnerable passers and animals in the street. During the night, in non-critical situations, they use lights and avoid sirens. When there is no traffic, they might not use sirens.
When a cop is heading towards a crime scene or a riot area, they use a similar sound to an ambulance siren but with a different effect. Unlike ambulance sirens, police vehicles have a siren that yelps with an effect of a short burst. Instead of a falling and rising loop, they shoot a loud bawling sound so that people easily understand if a police vehicle is arriving.
Police are meant to maintain the law and also handle anti-social situations. You must have seen them clearing the way during a VVIP’s convoy. If the police don’t stand there to clear the way, the city might end up falling into a frustrating traffic jam. Although hospitals can alert the traffic police if they are sending or receiving an ambulance, carrying a critical patient so that an ambulance needs not break the traffic rules. In this regard, again police sirens can be useful to clear the traffic before an ambulance arrived.
Sirens are alerting the bell to tell people about the need of the hour. Since there are now different sirens for police and ambulances, it is easier to recognize the type of emergency. So next time when you hear a siren you would be able to understand which emergency vehicle is this.