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Wis. fire department to cut back on sirens, lights

The new protocol aims to improve safety by reducing the amount of emergency vehicle crashes


GREENFIELD, Wis. — First responders in Wisconsin are debating the safety and efficiency of using lights and sirens when responding to emergency calls.

WISN.com reported researchers estimate about 12,000 emergency vehicles crash on their way to an emergency every year. First responders are trying to bring that number down by saving lights and sirens for critical emergencies only.

“Some people will tend to panic when they see the lights and sirens coming up behind them. Their reaction can be unpredictable,” said Lt. Zach Zimmer.

An ambulance with its lights and sirens on arrive just one minute sooner than a fire engine that drives through the flow of traffic, according to the report.

“It's almost easier and safer for us to navigate through traffic when we just kind of blend in so to speak,” said Lt. Ben Krueger.

Next week, Milwaukee County will advise all first responders to keep their lights and sirens off while transporting patients to the hospital unless the situation escalates.

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