Motorists are failing to get out of the way of emergency vehicles, putting lives at risk, say the top brass from NSW's emergency services.

A collective warning has been issued by the commissioners of police, firefighters and State Emergency Service (SES) to drivers who chose to ignore the blaring sirens and flashing lights.

"An obstructed journey can be the difference between life and death," NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher said on Friday.

It follows reports from firefighters, paramedics, police and emergency service volunteers, who have all raised concerns about drivers not moving out of their way.

"Seconds count in an emergency," Mr Gallacher warned.

Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said new air horns were being installed to further alert drivers of the need to get out of the way.

"We're hoping these new air horns, with their distinctive sound, will draw the attention of drivers and pedestrians when fire engines respond to emergencies," he said.

Mr Mullins said fire engines weigh up to 15 tonnes and can be carrying 2000 litres of water when en route to an emergency.

"They don't stop easily when a driver brakes suddenly or pulls out in front of them."

NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Murray Kear said their vehicles responded to a variety of life threatening situations in regional areas, including flood rescues and road crash rescues.

"In these situations optimising the response time is vital," he added.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons thanked those drivers who abide by the rules but said there were others who blocked emergency services vehicles.

Centre for Road Safety general manager Marg Prendergast said the road rules were simple:

* don't block or move into the path of an emergency vehicle when they are using their lights or sirens

* move to the left as quickly and safely as possible

* never stop near an incident in a position that obstructs traffic

* drivers must always give way to emergency services.

 

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