Sometimes you see an emergency service driving that is clearly speeding, but does not use flashing lights or sirens. And no, that’s not because the food is ready and they have a cold mash. It might even happen more often than you think. according to Brandweer.nl A survey found that 87 percent of firefighters don’t always drive with flashing lights and sirens, even if they’re speeding or going through a red light.
Why the fire brigade doesn’t always use sirens
The fire service calls it OGS (optical and sound signals). Sometimes they consciously choose not to use sirens and flashing lights at night to reduce nuisance. There is something in that, because according to the law, the siren must be at least 100 dB at night and a maximum of 125 dB. That’s pretty close to the pain threshold, if you’re standing right next to it. Enough to wake people up from their beauty sleep. In the case of the police, it may be to not alarm any crooks and be able to catch them; slightly different rules apply to agents.
That is a problem
If emergency services drive with flashing lights and sirens, they have certain exemptions when it comes to speed and red traffic lights. If they choose to turn off the signals, they are liable if something goes wrong, the Fire Department website reports. They are therefore legally required to cause noise nuisance at night. According to the Institute for Physical Safety, there is a gap between regulations and practice.
The IFV sees two solutions: ‘Reducing the sound level of the siren and creating awareness among drivers and their employers about the possible legal consequences of an accident at night when not using OGS.’ In any case, the conclusion is: don’t hate on emergency services if they drive too fast without flashing lights or sirens, they are probably on the way urgently.