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Public-images-osm logo.svg emergency
Krankenwagen in Berlin. April 2020.jpg
Describes various emergency services, facilities, amenities or the possibility of access for emergency services Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: emergencies
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Documented values: 63
See also
Status: de facto

emergency=* is used in multiple ways, all related to emergency services, and facilities and amenities related to emergency and disaster response.

Emergency facilities and amenities

emergency=* is the key used for a wide variety of emergency related facilities and amenities, such as emergency=fire_hydrant, emergency=defibrillator, and emergency=lifeguard. For the full list of common documented values, see Emergency facilities and amenities.

As access tag

emergency=yes can be used as a vehicle use-class access key, and is used to indicate that a given highway=* is accessible to the vehicles of emergency services. As emergency vehicles are by definition not restricted by legal access, this tag is mainly useful to clarify that a way is mapped specifically for the purposes of emergency vehicle routing, or that emergency vehicles can use a way where this might otherwise not be expected unimpeded.

For example, take a minor service road tagged as:

highway = service
access = private
emergency = yes

A road tagged like this can be reasonably assumed to lack any impassable barriers and physical obstacles (unless mapped explicitly) and be suitable for emergency vehicles. Note that emergency=yes on its own does not override physical limits, and in cases where a legal limit (like maxwidth=*) is tagged without an accompanying physical limit (like maxwidth:physical=*), having emergency=yes should not be read to imply that there is no physical limit for emergency services.

If a legal limit can be safely overridden for emergency services because there is no physical limit, this can be done explicitly using the relevant tag suffixed with *:emergency=* or *:conditional=* — e.g., on a road with a traffic sign declaring maxweight=* a few kilometres before a bridge that has the actual physical limit, the stretch of road up to the bridge (but not the bridge itself obviously) may have no physical limit despite having an enforceable legal limit, which could be indicated by maxweight:emergency=none or maxweight:conditional=none @ emergency. In general though, overriding such tags should not be done light-heartedly, and should be done in accordance with the local mapper community's conventions for this.

When emergency=yes is used on a barrier=* node node along a way, it means that emergency services have a way of negotiating this barrier — e.g., an automatic bollard which drops for emergency services, or a gate or bollard for which emergency services have a passkey.

For places explicitly designated for emergency access consider emergency=designated. For highway=service in combination with emergency=designated, service=emergency_access (for marking ways as dedicated emergency ways) may apply as well.

As hospital property

emergency=yes is also used to indicate whether a hospital (amenity=hospital or healthcare=hospital) is equipped to deal with emergencies. See also emergency=emergency_ward_entrance.

As namespace prefix

The emergency namespace prefix is used to disambiguate multi-function facilities between their primary, and emergency use. This prefix is used in Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan (where it was first used), for mapping designated emergency shelters that normally serve a different, primary function (e.g. school, community centre, place of worship, etcetera.)

See emergency:*=* page for usage details.