SINGAPORE - More emergency vehicles from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be allowed to drive past red traffic lights and make U-turns at non-designated junctions when responding to emergencies.
The change takes effect from Saturday (June 1).
For the SCDF, only ambulances are currently exempted from laws under the Road Traffic Act, which defines an officer's duty to comply with traffic directions and signs.
This has been the case for SCDF vehicles since 2017.
But from Saturday, fire engines, red rhinos and fire-medical vehicles will also be exempted, the organisation said in a statement on Friday.
Officers operating these emergency vehicles must comply with SCDF procedures to ensure the safety of road users and personnel.
For instance, an SCDF emergency vehicle driver who intends to proceed past a red light or make a U-turn at a non-designated junction must sound the siren and activate the blinker lights to alert road users.
When approaching a traffic junction, the driver must slow down and come to a complete stop so that he can assess the traffic situation before proceeding further.
Other road users must continue to play their part by exercising civic responsibility and giving way to emergency vehicles.
Said the SCDF: "In a medical emergency, every minute saved can improve health outcomes for the patient."
The move follows recent updates made to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Tiered Response framework.
With the changes, the SCDF no longer sends non-emergency cases to the hospitals, to free up resources for life-threatening cases.
In its statement, the SCDF said that when road users hear or see approaching SCDF emergency vehicles, they should slow down and give way to the vehicles by signalling early and moving to the left.
If it is unsafe to move to the left, drivers should slow down to let the emergency vehicle overtake them.
At traffic light junctions, drivers should give way to the emergency vehicles even if the lights are in their favour.
In the SCDF's advisory, drivers were reminded to not obstruct, outrun or tailgate an emergency vehicle, as it can endanger themselves and other road users.
They were also reminded not to break traffic rules to give way to an emergency vehicle.