Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35
  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default Ordered to remove speed limits from policy

    I figured this could be a fun thread. I live in one of those states where there are no speed limits for emergency vehicles. All the law says is that we have to drive at a "safe and prudent" speed. I've always felt uncomfortable with that, so I implemented a policy saying that no department vehicle would be driven at more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

    So, a week ago we get a visit from the city's loss prevention officer. He wants to look over all of our policies, as he does with all city departments. He's told me I need to remove my policy on the 10 mph speed limit because it's in conflict with state law. He says that if we have such a policy, and somebody gets in a wreck exceeding 10 mph over the speed limit, we'll actually incur more liability than we would have without it. I sort of see where he's coming from, but I think it's a leap. What he's saying is that if we don't have this policy, and somebody gets in a wreck going say 20 mph over the speed limit (which is allowed by law), we'll be in the clear as long as they can prove they were driving at a "safe and prudent" speed. If we have the 10 mph limit in policy, they'd automatically be liable because they were breaking department policy, even if they were driving at a "safe and prudent" speed.

    Just an example of more of the crap you get to deal with when they give you the gold badge. Ugh.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    SW MO
    Posts
    4,249

    Default

    If you want to counter him, just adopt NFPA 1500's recommendations for driving apparatus. You'll have a speed limit (granted, it's the posted one), but also a national standard to back you up.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    If you want to counter him, just adopt NFPA 1500's recommendations for driving apparatus. You'll have a speed limit (granted, it's the posted one), but also a national standard to back you up.
    Good idea and something I hadn't considered, but this guy has the full backing of the city attorney so it might not do any good. We're also not allowed to have physical fitness tests or CPAT as part of the testing process due to liability "concerns," so you can see the mentality I have to deal with.

  4. #4
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,196

    Default

    Roy,

    There are times that you cannot go the posted speed limit. That being on city street during heavy traffic conditions. At best you can just creep along as if there isn't any place for the private vehicles to go to allow the fire apparatus to get through, you have to go only that reduced speed.

    Most apparatus engine's are govern so they can't go over 70 MPH if that.

    Limited access highways, have speed limits ranging from 55 to 70 depending on where it is located.

    I've been on them with the aerial truck responding on calls going full speed, 65 MPH, and vehicles where passing us!

    Take a good look at the 1500 standard and used that as your basis for implementing your rules. Do you guys accept NPFA as guidelines??
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  5. #5
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    Wouldn't it be easier to just enforce the 10mph rule, and as a result there won't be any crashes where the speed is in excess of that? Seems that would be the much more prudent way of preventing legal liability. Typical lawyers.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Roy,

    Take a good look at the 1500 standard and used that as your basis for implementing your rules. Do you guys accept NPFA as guidelines??
    We do, but it's only stated. We don't have an official document or policy around here that says we've adopted NFPA, but we reference specific sections of it in certain policies. Such as "the department's policy concerning X will be in accordance with NFPA Section Z."

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    SW MO
    Posts
    4,249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    Good idea and something I hadn't considered, but this guy has the full backing of the city attorney so it might not do any good. We're also not allowed to have physical fitness tests or CPAT as part of the testing process due to liability "concerns," so you can see the mentality I have to deal with.
    That's interesting.

    Here's a little more ammo for you. If your department opts to apply for an apparatus through the AFG program, they are now wanting you to conform with NFPA 1500, having protocols that mirror that standard. So what the RM and CA are saying is that though the federal government accepts driving restrictions, there is some sort of liability for you to do the same?

    Your CPAT thing baffles me as well. When you look at the amount of litigation going on, it seems clear that having some kind of standardized, validated test is appropriate. Our career department went through a process several years ago to adapt a validated physical and written test procedure and formed an "alliance" with a number of other departments to avoid liability.

    If you look at situations like New Haven, who have validated testing, it's not the testing in questions, it's the application of the results. With CPAT, they already have that validation, you just have to stay within their standards and policies.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Catch 22- Apparently what happened was several years ago (before I was hired) an applicant failed the department's physical agility test and then got a lawyer and insisted the city produce documents showing that all of the current firefighters are able to pass the exact same test. The city couldn't because there was no such system in place. Thus the brilliant minds in legal decided the best way to fix it would be to eliminate the requirement entirely.

    After much pressure from me, I did get the legal department to approve us using CPAT so long as somebody else was running the test. The problem is that there are no private agencies in our state doing CPAT certifications. One of our big cities does it and we could theoretically partner with them, but they only hold a test once per year. If it didn't coincide with an opening we were trying to hire for it wouldn't work too well. Their only other option is to drive about 4 hours out of state to find a CPAT certification site.

  9. #9
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Wouldn't it be easier to just enforce the 10mph rule, and as a result there won't be any crashes where the speed is in excess of that? Seems that would be the much more prudent way of preventing legal liability. Typical lawyers.
    From a liability standpoint, it's easier to deal with "reasonable and prudent speed" than a set increase over the posted limit.

    Personally, I agree with the loss prevention officer. Although it's easier to just say speed limit +10mph, it's far more difficult to manage effectively from a risk standpoint.

    There are times when even driving the speed limit isn't "reasonable and prudent" in or out of emergency mode. There are also times when it's perfectly reasonable and prudent to drive 40mph in a 25mph zone. Making those decisions is part of an experienced driver's job (and something monitored by a good officer's judegment).

    If you're going to pin your SOPs on a number, the only number you should ever choose is the posted speed limit. The long and short of it is that, if you're driving in emergency response mode and get involved in a collision, the investigation will start with the presumption that you weren't driving at a reasonable and prudent speed no matter how fast you were going. You don't want to hurdle any more specific limits than you have to.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  10. #10
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    they only hold a test once per year. If it didn't coincide with an opening we were trying to hire for it wouldn't work too well.
    Sure it would.

    "The candidate must succesfully complete CPAT within one year prior to the application closing date. A valid CPAT card must be produced prior to written or oral testing."

    If a next annual CPAT date is approaching, you always have the option of pushing the application date back just far enough to allow prepared applicants to take the new test.

    If the last annual CPAT date has just passed, your applicant pool is going to be limited to the people serious enough about getting on the job to be taking CPATs on their own initiative.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    SW MO
    Posts
    4,249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    Catch 22- Apparently what happened was several years ago (before I was hired) an applicant failed the department's physical agility test and then got a lawyer and insisted the city produce documents showing that all of the current firefighters are able to pass the exact same test. The city couldn't because there was no such system in place. Thus the brilliant minds in legal decided the best way to fix it would be to eliminate the requirement entirely.
    I can certainly understand the concern they have, as that's a legitimate argument.

    What worked out well for us and several other departments is that they created an alliance for the testing procedure then hired a company to come in and create a validated test. They interviewed/surveyed a large portion of the current personnel on what we felt were important and repetitive tasks for our job. They then created a physical agility test that everyone had to go through. They used those times to create the benchmarks for the testing. They did their thing and validated that test.

    The written test is similar, but they utilize various testbanks to create our hiring and promotional tests.

    Quote Originally Posted by roykirk1989 View Post
    After much pressure from me, I did get the legal department to approve us using CPAT so long as somebody else was running the test. The problem is that there are no private agencies in our state doing CPAT certifications. One of our big cities does it and we could theoretically partner with them, but they only hold a test once per year. If it didn't coincide with an opening we were trying to hire for it wouldn't work too well. Their only other option is to drive about 4 hours out of state to find a CPAT certification site.
    DM offered a couple potential solutions. Do your testing once or twice a year and require CPAT within the last year. If they have a CPAT, they can sit for the written test then create a list that's good for one year. When you have an opening(s), call the top x-number of people on the list and offer then an interview.

  12. #12
    Forum Member downstate_firefighter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Just put a governor on your vehicles. Most of our trucks won't go over 65 mph.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    HUSKER LAND
    Posts
    2,425

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by downstate_firefighter
    Just put a governor on your vehicles. Most of our trucks won't go over 65 mph.
    A governor won't control the problem. Most trucks that CAN do 65+ have governors. Those that can't, don't need it.

    The problem is whether it is safe to go 55mph in a 35mph zone. Some areas/streets, that would be fine. Not so good on others.

    If our Anti-Firefighter council woman knew about CPAT, she would use it against them.

    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."

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    78

    Default

    We don't have a maximum speed limit in this state for Emergency vehicles so long as they drive "with due regard". The Fire department I'm on falls back to the state standards for driving, but the private ambulance service I work for says 15 mph over or 75 mph whichever is the lower number so long as traffic and driving conditions permit. Schools zones are another exception, we have to drive the speed limit in all school zones irregardless of time of day and come to a complete stop at all cross walks, whether they are occupied or not.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KanFireman View Post
    We don't have a maximum speed limit in this state for Emergency vehicles so long as they drive "with due regard". The Fire department I'm on falls back to the state standards for driving, but the private ambulance service I work for says 15 mph over or 75 mph whichever is the lower number so long as traffic and driving conditions permit. Schools zones are another exception, we have to drive the speed limit in all school zones irregardless of time of day and come to a complete stop at all cross walks, whether they are occupied or not.
    Yikes! Every crosswalk or just crosswalks near a school? If it's everywhere it sounds like overkill. I have this vision of a ladder truck stopping at every crosswalk on the way to a fire at 0300. I'm reminded of my school bus driver when I was kid who would stop at a set of railroad tracks every morning on the way to school. Never mind the fact that the tracks were pulled out on both sides of the road 20 years before (there was even a business built on one side), leaving only the tracks in the pavement.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Sure it would.

    "The candidate must succesfully complete CPAT within one year prior to the application closing date. A valid CPAT card must be produced prior to written or oral testing."

    If a next annual CPAT date is approaching, you always have the option of pushing the application date back just far enough to allow prepared applicants to take the new test.

    If the last annual CPAT date has just passed, your applicant pool is going to be limited to the people serious enough about getting on the job to be taking CPATs on their own initiative.
    I like your idea, and I'll look in to it. The main concern I have is that the council is already on my case constantly about the low numbers of applicants we have. On an average entry level test we might have only 40 people show up. This is almost 100% due to anemic salaries and being out in the middle of nowhere. But if I throw this CPAT requirement in there (partnering with our larger city), I could see where a test might only have 20 applicants. They'd really lose their minds then.

  17. #17
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
    Posts
    6,329

    Thumbs up

    It sure is nice to see a thread with inteligent, well thought-out posts and NO snarky smart-assssss remarks or trolls. GOOD JOB guys!



    (guess we can't use $$ anymore)
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    247

    Default

    Don't understand why a private company or another city would have to do the CPAT testing for it to be valid. Do you have to have outside agencies oversee your written tests as well? Heck, if they don't want the FD signing off on the tests, why not get someone from the city parks and rec department to hold the stopwatch or whatever?

  19. #19
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    122

    Default

    For liability reasons it is almost always best to be very vague on topics that are already covered by law. By making a stricter policy than what is written in law, you are also held liable to meeting that policy. If you do not want your drivers to go above 10mph over the speed limit, you can still put this in your SOG's if you are careful on the wording. The legal definitions of the words "shall" and "should" are very different. It is also very inadvisable to write in SOG's that you are complying with an NFPA standard at all, because you will now be held liable to every part of that huge standard. It is good to reference the NFPA standards in your SOG's but not wise to adopt them.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    SW MO
    Posts
    4,249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    Don't understand why a private company or another city would have to do the CPAT testing for it to be valid. Do you have to have outside agencies oversee your written tests as well? Heck, if they don't want the FD signing off on the tests, why not get someone from the city parks and rec department to hold the stopwatch or whatever?
    It's not that simple. In order to maintain the validation of the testing, you must be able to conform to the testing agencies rules. In the case of CPAT, you must be trained and certified to be a test proctor in order to participate in the administration of a test.

    When it comes to a validated testing process, be it CPAT or any other, there are exacting standards that must be met. If you deviate from those standards, even in the slightest, you lose that validation. If you lose the validation, you open yourself to liability.

    Look at the current lawsuits against fire depatment testing processes. If they're using a validated test, you're likely going to see a deviation from that testing process. From my understanding of the New Haven case, it wasn't that they weren't using a validated testing process, it was that the City deviated from that process.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

Similar Threads

  1. SOP's for Volunteer FD
    By rumlfire in forum Volunteer Forum
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 08-01-2006, 10:35 PM
  2. FEMA Reverses Long Standing Policy
    By captstanm1 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-17-2005, 08:33 AM
  3. Firefighter Who Quit Recalls His First Callout
    By MalahatTwo7 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 64
    Last Post: 03-15-2005, 08:45 PM
  4. FYI in CA
    By hootman in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 09-28-2004, 12:04 AM
  5. Thermal Imaging SOG's
    By wtfd92 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 06-27-2001, 08:41 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