As I listen to a police siren wail its way to some unhappy event I wonder -

How often do you hear police/ambulance/fire sirens at night? How often do you hear or see police helicopter chases?

I live less than a mile from a major hospital so ambulance sirens and Careflight helicopters aren’t unusual.

I think I hear police sirens about every second night (now that I’ve brought it up I’ll keep a proper record). Once or twice a year there seems to be a dramatic helicopter chase.

How about you folks.

Sirens about every ten or fifteen minutes - seriously. I live on a main road, the main through route for police, fire and ambulance to some interesting neighbourhoods.

In the early hours of the morning I would estimate it slows down to about once an hour, but between about 5pm and 1am it’s almost constant.

Helicopters are less frequent, maybe once a month at most.

Wow, sorry I asked. Hope you got earplugs for Christmas. Sympathies.

I wouldn’t know. I’ve long since tuned them out.

Since I work in a hospital, I do hear ambulances all the time, and I notice them because they are so loud.

Only once did I see a police chase, and it wasn’t really a chase. About 25 years ago I happened to look out my bedroom window and saw a car going the wrong way down a one way street. A car going the right way swerved to avoid it and crashed into an apartment building. The driver exited the car and ran away. Several men came out of nowhere (and two out of the wrong way car) and shot and killed the fleeing man. It turns out the shooters were cops, and the fleeing man was wanted for a number of crimes, including grand theft auto.

Very, very rarely, but I usually assume a speeding police officer is going to assist another officer who needs backup for some unruly person.

My Mom was coming home from work about 20 years ago and saw a police officer quickly pull his gun on a guy. She said it actually took her breath away to see it happen.

I live 1/2 mile from a fire station and police HQ but I almost never hear sirens at home. Emergency vehicles in my suburban town mainly use their lights on the side streets and only blare sirens on the main roads. I see flashing lights in my neighborhood once or twice a year.

Near my house; every couple of months. I live about 1 mile up a hill.

That I can hear; couple times a week, but I can hardly hear the sirens. Usually afternoon when I’m at the pool. There’s a fire station and police station less than 3/4 mile from the house.

Luckily, I’ve never lived anywhere where surrounding noises were too bothersome.

I live close to a fire station, a police station, and several major hospitals, so I hear them a fair bit, but they don’t really bother me at all.

I always say a little prayer, whenever I hear a siren or a helicopter. (Where I live a helicopter is almost always a medivac). It’s just a habit, but I like it. Someone CLEARLY needs a prayer or two, at that moment. I just keep repeating it till I can’t hear the siren anymore.

Not at all. We hear lots of trains, but no sirens.

I only hear them when I’m traveling Pretty common in downtown hotels to hear sirens. At home, we’re very isolated and I don’t think I’ve ever heard one in the 7 years we’ve lived here.

I live near several fire stations. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear fire trucks/ambulances/speeding police cars roaring down the main artery outside this development. It used to drive my nervous neighbor to distraction because she always was afraid it would be one of her kids in an accident :rolleyes: - I said, we live in the middle of a triangle of fire stations, that’s why we hear sirens all the time, and why would it be YOUR kids in an accident? But that’s the way human nature is. Wasn’t it the mother of Mr. Rogers who told him when he was little and afraid of the sound of police or fire sirens - she said to him, don’t think of it as someone in pain, think of it as people going to the rescue of those people. The sound of sirens is the sound of help on the way .


I live in “the country”. I am sure there are emergency vehicles traveling on the nearest major road, but I am not close enough to hear them. My gf’s house (5 miles from mine) is even more secluded, since it is a dirt road that dead ends at her property.

Frequently. We live 2ish miles from one of the larger hospitals in Minneapolis (and one of three Level 1 trauma centers in the Twin Cities). We also live in one of the first-ring suburbs, just to the north of north Minneapolis (which is considered not a great area).

We hear police sirens and ambulances and helicopters, oh, probably 2-3 times a week. Regardless of that, I feel quite safe in my suburb.

Same here. 17 years and never heard a siren. If I ever do, it’s gonna be bad news (though I doubt they would run anything but lights)

Flight for life will pass right over our house if they are travelling south though. They have to pick the passes that they can hop over.

My neighbor keeps three small yappy dogs in his back yard, 24/7. Breeds that were developed to stay indoors and hunt mice, or be held and attract fleas off the owner, not stay outside in a yard like a mastiff, or in all weather like a husky. Whenever a siren goes off within their still-keen dog hearing, they go nuts, at any hour of the day.

So no, I don’t get to contmeplate “for whom the siren wails”

Really not very often from my house. We don’t hear very much at all despite living in the centre of a town.

However if I walked onto the nearby main road that runs through the town, I guess I see an ambulance once a week or so. Police cars and fire engines are heard much less frequently.

Usually a feeling of dread runs from my top to bottom. If it is an ambulance I wonder if it is coming or going and if someone is inside. I wonder what makes an emergency vehicle use it’s sirens. How bad does the person or emergency have to be?

And also I wonder if police cars, fire engines and ambulances do have a different siren noise. People say they do but I can never hear a difference. Does anyone know if they actually do or not?

Very infrequently we have a police helicopter, complete with spotlight, making passes over the neighborhood in the middle of the night, searching the ground for felons. This creeps me out, I either think there’s an escaped convict hiding in my backyard or (the aliens are coming to get me). The zoo here is right on the edge of the city. We walked by the outdoor wolf enclosure and heard a police siren screaming down the nearby road - all the wolves set up the most mournful, loud howling - wooooOOOOoooooo - responding to that sound.

I used to hear them all the time. At one time in my life, I was a cop. Later, I was an EMT.

It depends on your area, and what type and brand of sirens the emergency vehicles use. Where I live, they’re definitely different. Some people think they all sound alike, but I can tell the difference. (I’m an EMT, though, so that’s probably why I can tell the difference.)

Living in West Philadelphia as I do, near two large hospitals, I hear sirens of some sort every other night or so. Unless it’s a fire siren and it’s on my street, I tune them out; I learned the skill long ago. (I’ve seen plenty of cops and some ambulances turn on their sirens just long enough to get through an intersection, which helped train me to ignore them.)

Helicopters are much less common, but are usually headed to the hospital or to film a traffic jam; only if they stop and hover do I pay attention. The most memorable time a chopper parked overhead at night was about five years ago, when the steeple of a neighborhood church collapsed in the middle of the night. (No injuries–lucky/miraculous, as the church was doubling as a homeless shelter at the time. It was a Protestant church or I would have nicknamed it Our Lady of Deferred Maintenance.)

When I lived on 42nd Street I learned to ignore flashing lights as well; usually they were either traffic stops or tow trucks removing double-parked cars that blocked the trolley tracks. One night the lights flashed on and on and on right outside my window, and I eventually got curious and looked out to see what kind of traffic stop was taking so long. Surprise! The guys around the car were wearing DEA shirts.

42nd Street was also where I saw my first police chase–on foot; a uniformed cop was calling “Don’t run!” and running, well, jogging really, after a crying young woman who was running very slowly (too distraught to really get some speed on, I think). Never did learn what that was all about.

(There’s a distant siren right now. Can’t tell if it’s police or fire.)

I’ve only seen one police car chase, on a Sunday morning; at least two marked cars were following a young man in a dull black sedan down Walnut Street, not at a very high speed.