San Diego

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When You Hear a Siren

Photo of Fire at Night

To help firefighters and paramedics get to an emergency more quickly remember, when you hear a siren:

  • Look in all directions for emergency vehicles as you plan your next move. Be aware there may be more than one responding crew.
  • If you are at a green traffic light, look for emergency vehicles before proceeding through the intersection.
  • Never stop in an intersection. Continue through the intersection and then drive to the right as soon as possible.
  • Don't slam on your brakes.
  • Don't pull over suddenly.
  • Use your blinker to show emergency crews the direction you are moving.
  • On the freeway, carefully move out of the lane used by emergency crews; again, use your blinker.
  • Don't try to outrun the emergency vehicle.
  • It is illegal to follow within 300 feet of any emergency vehicle when it is answering an emergency call.
  • Don't stop in a place where the emergency vehicle can't get around you.
  • You must follow any traffic direction or signal given to you by a police officer or firefighter, even if it conflicts with existing signs, signals or laws.
  • After the crew passes, carefully merge back into traffic.
  • Anyone driving to the scene of a fire, accident or other emergency merely for sight-seeing purposes may be arrested.

The City of San Diego's emergency crews are seeing a growing number of motorists who don't yield for the lights and sirens of fire engines and ambulances. It's not only unlawful to impede the response of emergency vehicles, you could be delaying life-saving medical help.