Different Sirens Emergency Vehicles Australia

Different Sirens For Emergency Vehicles Australia

Emergency sirens are hard to ignore. How could you when they were designed to be heard? It is supposed to be loud and attention-grabbing. It is meant to warn. It is a universal warning that is understood by anyone in the world. 

Sirens have to be loud to get people’s attention. Nowadays, people are too busy and too distracted to notice their surroundings. The noise a siren makes is design to get your attention and snap you out of your bubble.

It is meant to keep everyone safe and help the emergency vehicles get to their destination faster and safer. Emergency lights and sirens on a vehicle are warning to road users that the vehicle is not operating under standard traffic rules. That they take priority on the road because life(s) depends on it. 

There is no specific siren assigned to any department. Law enforcement, fire protection, and medical responders use the standard types of emergency sirens – wail, yelp and phaser. 

Different Sirens Emergency Vehicles Australia lights


This refers to how quick and fast the siren’s pitch moves up and down. There is no different meanings in the different variations of the sirens. t is a warning to get out of the way, it’s an emergency! 

Different types of emergency sirens work in different circumstances. A slow, low-toned siren may work better in urban areas while louder, more high-pitched sirens are better used for high-speed city operations. But a sire is a siren. 

  • Wailing Siren – a wailing is a slow, low-toned sound that rises up and down at pre-determined intervals. The most common is the 4-second ON and 4-second OFF time. The turning on and off common is operated through a Warbling Relay Control Unit. It is a special type of siren that is commonly used by ambulances and other medical responders.
  • Yelp Siren – much like the wailing siren only faster. It alternates the high-low sound pitch at a medium or fast interval. Some prefer the yelp siren because it can be heard better than the wail. Some police cars, when responding to one location, use different types of sirens. 
  • Phaser – this is louder and faster. This is popular to fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles. It catches attention better than the two types.


This is an old school siren that uses compressed air to produce the sounds. It usually uses a small, low powered air compressor through the siren disk. Pneumatic sirens area also call mechanical sirens. 


A more popular type today that uses amplifiers, modulators, and oscillators to synthesize a tone – wail, yelp or phaser. The sound is played through a speaker.

This is the easiest and most convenient way to operate a sire. It is just like playing music except you are blasting it out through amplifiers as loud as possible. 

We all know what an emergency siren means. It does not matter the type, what matters is that you take action immediately when you hear it. If you are in front of an emergency vehicle, give way. If you are within the vicinity of the emergency car, keep distance and do not block or chase it. 

Different Sirens Emergency Vehicles Australia fire truck

Sirens That Can Be Heard And Felt

In the last few years, Australia has rolled out new sirens for fire and rescue trucks. They are called the Rumbler sirens. The sirens give out low-frequency soundwaves through large subwoofers installed under the front of the truck.

This is designed to create vibrations when the siren is blasted through the subwoofers. This way both the siren is heard and felt by drivers and pedestrians. 

This is a breakthrough and a great innovation because people nowadays are always distracted and tuned out. Pedestrians and even drivers are always on their phones and headphones multitasking between walking and driving with music, games, watching videos and being on social media.

Distraction is one of the reasons we have more road accidents today more than ever. The new rumbler siren gives pedestrians and motorists no choice but to notice the siren and the emergency vehicle right away. 

This means it is safer and for the emergency vehicle to maneuver the road and safer for the road users. It will make road users pay attention and take action quickly so the emergency vehicle can get to their destination quicker.

What to do when you hear emergency sirens or see emergency vehicles approaching:

  1. Do not panic.
  2. Do not make a sudden stop. Do not brake all of a sudden.
  3. Slow down and assess your options.
  4. Give way.
  5. Move to the next vacant lane.
  6. Use your indicators to let others know especially the emergency vehicle of the direction you are going.
  7. Be aware of your surroundings and other vehicles around you.
  8. Keep a decent distance from the emergency vehicle.

The types of emergency sirens do not matter. What is important is how quick you act when you hear it. Act quick. Act appropriately. Help save lives. Get out of the way!