Lights and Sirens Help Save Lives

It happens on occasion in Port Ludlow and it happened on August 24. Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue responded to back-to-back priority calls in the core of Port Ludlow. Upon arriving at the first call with sirens and flashing lights, medics determined the patient would need to be air-lifted to a Seattle-area hospital in order to save a life. This required additional help to set up a landing zone for the helicopter, which was only 15 minutes away from Port Ludlow at the time of the call. That engine came from Naval Magazine Indian Island with sirens and flashing lights.

A short time later, a second Port Ludlow resident called 911 for help in an area close to the first call, requiring another engine and medic unit. Crews from East Jefferson Fire Rescue responded down Oak Bay Road to assist.

Emergency vehicle lights and sirens are regulated by the state under Washington Law RCW 46.61.210. All firefighters and EMS personnel go through extensive training on emergency vehicle operations which includes the use of lights and sirens. Emergency vehicles can weigh 20,000 to 60,000 pounds; they are not maneuverable and take a long time to stop.

“Fire and EMS vehicles respond to high priority calls with lights and sirens when lives are at risk. Warning and clearing the roadway with our lights and sirens is essential to a safe and timely response in order to reduce injuries or even save a life,” said Port Ludlow Fire Chief Bret Black. “When there are vehicles, pedestrians or other hazards on the road our training and associated regulations dictate siren usage.” He added, “All fire and EMS vehicles in Jefferson County and the fire service are obliged to follow the same regulations.”

Residents are welcome to join Board of Fire Commissioners meetings to comment on any issues of concern. Meeting dates can be found at