Silent Sirens?

The Newschannel 6 newsroom received emails and Facebook messages from viewers saying its not always easy to hear emergency vehicle sirens.

This comes after the deadly crash involving an ambulance on April 16 where a driver hit the ambulance, flipping it over on its side, all while the ambulance's sirens were turned on.

American Medical Response General Manager, Charles Grady says increasing the volume of sirens can actually be a safety issue for emergency vehicle drivers.

Grady said, "There were studies done and when the sirens used to be on top of the vehicles it was causing some hearing loss."

Now sirens are located in the grills or on the bumpers of emergency vehicles, but still the volume cannot be increased.  While they are loud, Grady does agree that under some circumstances they can be difficult to hear.

"You usually do not hear the sirens until they are close," he said.

It's distractions like cell phones and even passengers that can keep drivers from hearing sirens.  Nowadays luxury car manufactures make silent car cabins.  Grady says that doesn't help either.

He said,"It's just muffling out the outside noise and they don't hear."

That's why he says it's important to take a few extra steps to make sure you can hear sirens coming.

"Keep your windows cracked a little bit to where you are not completely sealed out from the outside noise and also to not have your radios blaring inside your vehicle," said Grady.

Also, check your rear view and side mirrors.  Being aware of your surroundings makes you safer and helps emergency responders.

Grady reminds drivers that you must pull over to the right side of the road when you hear sirens, even if the emergency vehicle is on the opposite side of the street.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6.