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Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

What to do when lights and sirens approach

When an emergency vehicle (ambulance, fire or police), sounding an alarm and flashing lights, is approaching from any direction you must yield right-of-way by:

  • immediately moving clear of an intersection if you are stopped for a red light or stop sign (If blocking the path of an emergency vehicle, you must proceed through a red light or stop sign with caution, to clear the way.)

  • driving as closely as possible to the right curb or edge of roadway

  • remaining stopped at the edge of the road until the emergency vehicles have passed

Note:On one-way streets, pull right or left to the nearest curb so as not to block the emergency vehicle.

For more details see the Drivers Handbook from Manitoba Public Insurance


Use the letters S I R E N to remember the right way to yield to an emergency vehicle.

SStay Alert - Drive defensively, keep the noise level down in your car and look for more than one emergency vehicle approaching when you hear a siren.
I Investigate - Check your rear-view mirror, and look in all directions before pulling over to the right. Estimate the closing speed of the emergency vehicle, and look for any other emergency vehicles before you plan your next move.
RReact - React quickly, but calmly. Always use a turn signal when exiting the roadway and don't slam on the brakes or pull over suddenly.
EEnter - Make another visual sweep in all directions, turn on your turn signal, and gradually and safely merge back into traffic.
NNever stop at a place that doesn't have enough room to pull over safely and never follow or try to outrun an emergency vehicle.


Remember, it is important to let emergency vehicles through ... next time; they could be trying to reach you, or your loved one.
Last update: January 23, 2018
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