1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    31

    Lightbulb Undercover Fire Apparatus

    What do people think of Undercover Fire apparatus - Chief vehicles, utilities etc? We seem to have "undercover" fire vehicles becoming more and more popular in my area, and Personally I think it is a bad idea. From my experience, It seems like most people who are interested in it are doing it because it "looks cooler". But, in my opinion, it is a department owned vehicle, and should be lit up with an overhead light bar; we don't sneak up on fires....

    some say cost, but in my experience, putting together an undercover package can be more expensive due to the amount of lights, extra install time, and extra wiring costs it takes to place them all over the rest of the vehicle to give it sufficient lighting, whereas a lightbar serves a better all around purpose.

    Some say they want to be more incognito when they have a take-home vehicle, I think it is because a light bar slows people down in front of you while driving because they think you are a cop..

    I guess I feel like some departments put looks in front of safety, but I would like to be proved wrong. is there benefits? any good/bad experiences out there? opinions?

    My opinion? Light it up on top! 360 degree visability and makes the vehicle more official.

    Thanks!

    BTW, our state law says "an overhead light capable of displaying warning 360 degrees shall be placed on the upper most practical point possible of the vehicle." So could this bring up legal issues in court if an "undercover" fire vehicle gets in a crash?

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    dmleblanc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
    Posts
    2,318

    Default

    I don't know....if we ever get a chief's vehicle or utility vehicle I'll let you know.

    I guess you could say I have my take-home chief's vehicle is "undercover", then....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    if emergency response is an ancillary function of the vehicle, I can see the benefit of what you called "under cover". If the car is going to be used by staff personnel who only respond to large incidents or some other unique incident, I don't see why they need something that looks like a chief's vehicle.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    300

    Default

    You can always go with a marked slicktop. You increase fuel economy with interior mounted lights while maintaining visibility.

  5. #5
    ...
    ... is offline
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    420

    Default

    It's not like your are going to scare the fire away! It's not like you are the police scaring criminals away!

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FireRescue61 View Post
    It's not like your are going to scare the fire away! It's not like you are the police scaring criminals away!
    I agree.

    Several of the police departments in this area of Kansas City run stealth cars. I would not call em that. They may have stealth graphics, but they still have the spotlight and strobes in the mirrors.

    So calling them stealth or low profile just does not cut it.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    npfd801's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Somewhere in Illinois
    Posts
    2,223

    Default

    I think some around here are utilizing hidden lighting and no graphics to not draw attention to themselves when they're driving their chief vehicles for everything they do, which isn't always department related. I'm not passing judgement on that aspect, but pointing it out. When I get a take-home buggy for the week (we're volunteer) I always get looks when I stop by the store for a gallon of milk or something on the way home from the station...
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    243

    Default

    The Austin Police Dept has dark charcoal grey Crown Vics with graphics of the same color. Can't see them during the day, but when the headlights hit them at night, it's all lite up. Actually looks good. Used mostly for highway enforcement.

    Trying to hide the fact it's a police cruiser. Any person with one eye will know it's a police car thou.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801
    I think some around here are utilizing hidden lighting and no graphics to not draw attention to themselves when they're driving their chief vehicles for everything they do, which isn't always department related. I'm not passing judgement on that aspect, but pointing it out. When I get a take-home buggy for the week (we're volunteer) I always get looks when I stop by the store for a gallon of milk or something on the way home from the station...
    Our Asst. Chief(s) Tahoe is unmarked with hidden lights all around it. It is kept at the station, and makes all working fire calls. It is never taken home.

    I made a beef about it not being recognizable as an official FD vehicle. I was told "Not to rock the boat". As far as Joe Blow is concerned, it's an unmarked police car when running lights and siren. And that could cause a few problems.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    31

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    Our Asst. Chief(s) Tahoe is unmarked with hidden lights all around it. It is kept at the station, and makes all working fire calls. It is never taken home.

    I made a beef about it not being recognizable as an official FD vehicle. I was told "Not to rock the boat". As far as Joe Blow is concerned, it's an unmarked police car when running lights and siren. And that could cause a few problems.

    FM1
    Undercover is one thing I don't like, but not having graphics while still being utilized as normal response, that just seems rediculous. I get it for cop cars, even though I always pass "undercover" cop cars and say, hey, thats an undercover cop car. But for a fire vehicle, it should be well marked. Most of the "undercover" Fire vehicles in my city have extensive graphics packages.

    as far as fuel economy, is there anyone who really notices a difference? let me tell you, when I drove department vehicles the last thing I thought of was the fuel economy I was getting, however one of the first things I would think (when running hot) is, do people see me?
    Patrick - Former Fire fighter.
    WIRED HDH

  11. #11
    FF-EMT
    Mzanghetti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    183

    Default "Undercover" Fire Vehicles

    They have their place, it can be useful if the vehicle is used by many different people and not all of them are fire officers or EMT's. I can recall one instance where a secretary was driving a marked vehicle and was flagged down for a medical emergency and had no idea what to do or how to help other than get on the radio and yell "Help!" That department went to only unmarked cars for admin personnel. Another incident involved a chief officer transporting his son and someone complaining about the chief using it for personal use, he paid for most of the gas he burned and was a volunteer available 24/7 so the district allowed personal use. He turned the vehicle back into the department and went to a POV, the town ended up paying him far more money than if he had just continued to use the town vehicle. He sought reimbursement for every dime he could for a year after he returned the vehicle and proved that it cost the town more than if he had kept the town truck. Undercover vehicles may work but it is not a cure-all for the primary issue which is that somebody won't like something they see and will complain about it. BTW, you may find that people will complain about the undercover vehicle because they think you are trying to hide something! I am not convinced they are worth the trouble or cost.
    Mark Zanghetti
    FF-EMT
    Goshen Fire Dept.
    Waterford, CT

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Recelect View Post
    Undercover is one thing I don't like, but not having graphics while still being utilized as normal response, that just seems rediculous. I get it for cop cars, even though I always pass "undercover" cop cars and say, hey, thats an undercover cop car. But for a fire vehicle, it should be well marked. Most of the "undercover" Fire vehicles in my city have extensive graphics packages.

    as far as fuel economy, is there anyone who really notices a difference? let me tell you, when I drove department vehicles the last thing I thought of was the fuel economy I was getting, however one of the first things I would think (when running hot) is, do people see me?
    You would be surprised at the fuel economy savings. And trust me with the newer interior lighting packages these days, you can be seen plenty well (sometimes better than just a lightbar). Dont believe me? Go to youtube and type SWPS.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    KENTUCKY
    Posts
    410

    Default

    As earlier stated, some of our vehicles (inspectors, investigators, staff chiefs) have marked vehicles with all interior light packages. Asst. Chief's have no markings and interior light packages. These vehicles do not normally make emergency runs. All other vehicles that make emergent responses are marked and have exterior lighting.
    If the interior light packages keeps the staff chiefs from making emergency runs, I'm all for it.

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Valley of Death, CA
    Posts
    151

    Default

    Bad idea all around except for admin staff. Our LEO will not allow an unmarked vehicle in an emergency scene unless it's an LEO they know personally. And even with all the wacker lights you put on the inside, nothing works as good as a good graphics package on the side and rear for alerting the HUA traveling motorist.

  15. #15
    FF-EMT
    Mzanghetti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    183

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathValleyCap View Post
    Bad idea all around except for admin staff. Our LEO will not allow an unmarked vehicle in an emergency scene unless it's an LEO they know personally. And even with all the wacker lights you put on the inside, nothing works as good as a good graphics package on the side and rear for alerting the HUA traveling motorist.
    HUA?? Not familar with that acronymn!
    Mark Zanghetti
    FF-EMT
    Goshen Fire Dept.
    Waterford, CT

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    islandfire03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,657

    Talking

    HUA - Cranial vault up their posterior.

  17. #17
    FF-EMT
    Mzanghetti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    183

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    HUA - Cranial vault up their posterior.
    OK, Got it!
    Mark Zanghetti
    FF-EMT
    Goshen Fire Dept.
    Waterford, CT

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Valley of Death, CA
    Posts
    151

    Default

    Thanks Island

  19. #19
    Forum Member
    islandfire03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,657

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathValleyCap View Post
    Thanks Island
    Back in a former life as a Seabee, we had a lot of college boy ensigns & luey's that suffered from this condition. Very familiar with the term. :-}

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,273

    Default

    The undercover cars were used by the arson squad and those came from the impound lot and were used. No light, sirens, radios, antennas, markings, or anything that look official. They would fit in most areas.

    Plain Jane's!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Our FD is the same with the investigators. All plain janes, with no lights and sirens. They do have radio's so they can hear what's going on, and can respond to a call if they wish, or wait to be dispatched.

    My beef is with the cars/trucks/SUV's that run lights and sirens to a call, that have no FD markings on them. They're not the Secret Service.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  22. #22
    Forum Member
    emtcsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    96

    Default

    the only unmarked cars I know of in the department are the commisioners cars.

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Clanton Alabama
    Posts
    7

    Talking

    My chief has a unmarked Ford Expedition. Very well lit up with Red LEDS and of course a powercall

  24. #24
    Forum Member
    Ambrose33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Jersey
    Posts
    80

    Default

    I think Chief's vehicles should be unmarked or have very limited marking w/ interior lighting that is 360 degrees around the vehicle. We are lucky to have a chief and chief officers who do not take the command vehicles everywhere and pack their family in to go to sunday brunch. But I have seen and heard about residents complaining from my town and other towns about seeing the chiefs vehicle in other areas of the county, or why was it parked in front of the grocery store etc. People love to bitch about what they don't understand. So its nice when you have a stealth vehicle or very limited lettering to drive around and people can't tell who you are. Now when you arrive on scene and put your shiney white helmet on then your gonna be noticed Unmarked chief vehicles are very common in my area. Other staff vehicles in the fire house are marked though.
    Stay safe!

  25. #25
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    276

    Talking Opps

    Local FD had a F250 crew cab run around truck red with no markings/emblems, one of the FF's had a similar red truck out hanging union political signs. City manager went ape $hit and threatened to fire and make hell freeze over and the FF's let him blow his lid for and day and then printed photos of the truck hanging the signs and then it was well it looked like the other truck, well the FD ford now has a white strip and emblems!! now that is funny.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Looking for Fire Apparatus
    By rnowlinjr in forum Alabama
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-06-2009, 02:26 PM
  2. De-Icing Fire Apparatus At Fire Scenes?
    By WestTac1 in forum Apparatus Innovation
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-20-2008, 01:10 AM
  3. Officers perform undercover sex acts to bust massage parlors
    By britfan1 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 02-16-2006, 09:29 AM
  4. Any towns get a fire truck done by Valley Fire Apparatus
    By Countryboy in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-03-2001, 01:57 PM
  5. KME fire apparatus
    By Mastertech in forum Meet and Greet
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-22-1999, 10:41 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register