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    Default Which departments use a quiet response policy to certain types of calls?

    I'm a firefighter doing a research project for a college course; Can anyone answer with any departments they know who respond without lights and sirens and obeying all traffic laws to certain types of calls.

    So far I know that St Louis FD and Detroit FD does. And the FDNY is testing it out. Thanks.

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    I think you'll find that many departments do this in one form or another for non-lifethreatening calls.

    I have some survey data that might be helpful to you. I'll see if I can extract it from my study database in a convenient form.

    Our department essentially has three response levels:

    (1) all assigned units in emergency response mode (lights & sirens, traffic signal pre-emption, etc.)
    (2) all assigned units in routine response mode (flow of traffic, obey all traffic signs/signals)
    (3) first due units in emergency response mode, all other assigned units in routine response mode

    We also make it a practice to promptly reduce later due equipment to a routine response mode as appropriate based on conditions found by earlier arriving unists.
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    Thanks, that is very appreciated. Which department are you with?

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    Our standard response is first & second truck leave the station with lights, sirens, etc. for all calls.

    Subsequent trucks leave the hall with only lights flashing unless there is a dire need to get them on-scene as soon as possible. They also obey all traffic laws and act as just another vehicle on the road.

    We haven't implemented a policy yet where initial response doesn't have lights and siren running. Given the liability issues discussed in other threads here, I can't see us implementing that policy without a good reason.

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    We have a policy for non emergent response both at work and the vollie house.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 105 View Post
    Subsequent trucks leave the hall with only lights flashing unless there is a dire need to get them on-scene as soon as possible. They also obey all traffic laws and act as just another vehicle on the road.
    Why use the lights if they're obeying all traffic laws? What kind of confusion does that create when they're sitting at a traffic light with all the lights on, but not going emergent?
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoppA124 View Post
    I'm a firefighter doing a research project for a college course; Can anyone answer with any departments they know who respond without lights and sirens and obeying all traffic laws to certain types of calls.
    Our company officers are given the latitude to respond with or without lights and sirens depending on the dispatcher's/caller's information, time of day, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    I think you'll find that many departments do this in one form or another for non-lifethreatening calls.

    I have some survey data that might be helpful to you. I'll see if I can extract it from my study database in a convenient form.

    Our department essentially has three response levels:

    (1) all assigned units in emergency response mode (lights & sirens, traffic signal pre-emption, etc.)
    (2) all assigned units in routine response mode (flow of traffic, obey all traffic signs/signals)
    (3) first due units in emergency response mode, all other assigned units in routine response mode

    We also make it a practice to promptly reduce later due equipment to a routine response mode as appropriate based on conditions found by earlier arriving unists.
    Very similar to what appears to be used in Albany, NY.....

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    We don't have a written policy, but it's pretty much if life and/or property are threatened, RLAS.

    Trees down, flooded basements, etc generally go cold.

    We run BLS EMS first response. If it is rated BLS by EMD, I'll often run cold, although the lights may come on on-scene, as we are sometimes the pathfinder for the ambulance.
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    We go cold for trouble alarms, lift assists, flooded basements, trees down, wires down (given they are NOT in a roadway and they are NOT sparking....if either condition exists we go hot).

    For AFAs: residential-first engine hot, 2nd engine, truck, 2nd truck, and chief cold.
    commercial-first engine, truck, and chief hot, 2nd engine, and second truck cold.

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    There isn't much we don't run lights and sirens for, but when I say "lights and sirens" Sirens are not always a requirement. The things I can list we don't run code for, are flooded basements calls. And honestly that is about it, any other non-life threatening call its left up to the officer and driver/operator on whether or not lights are used.

    Lift assists, tree's and wires calls, similar stuff such as that we will run pretty much lights only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Why use the lights if they're obeying all traffic laws? What kind of confusion does that create when they're sitting at a traffic light with all the lights on, but not going emergent?
    More for safety and visibility - no need to endanger anyone by speeding, taking right-of-way through intersections, etc., however it is still a call response and as a result the lights are lit up.

    So far, no confusion noted - nobody in the community has ever asked why we have the lights on but not siren nor taking off like a scalded cat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 105 View Post
    More for safety and visibility - no need to endanger anyone by speeding, taking right-of-way through intersections, etc., however it is still a call response and as a result the lights are lit up.

    So far, no confusion noted - nobody in the community has ever asked why we have the lights on but not siren nor taking off like a scalded cat.
    Please don't think I'm being a smartass, but I just don't get it. Do you also return to the station with the lights on, and if not, why not?
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    Regionally, we have 4 levels of dispatch:

    Code 3 (lights and siren)
    Code X (company officers discretion)
    Code 2 (no-lights or siren)
    Code 2 AOI (same as code 2, but available for other higher priority traffic)

    For fire calls all units are dispatched code 3, regardless of type of fire.

    Service calls will can be any category depending on the type of service call - For example, a lock-out with a child in the car in the summer is code 3, in the winter it would be code 2.

    EMS is more complected: All EMS calls here get a fire company, call nature will dictate if that company is dispatched code 2 or 3 and if an ambulance is dispatched as well. On all but a small category of calls, the ambulance is always dispatched code 2 unless they are closer to the incident AND it is categorized as an ALS call.

    In the end, all EMS is really Code X, as it is the company officer's final choice to go "code 3" or not.

    This sounds complected, but 90% of the work is done by the dispatcher and their computer. All calls are assumed to be Code 3... unless the dispatcher voice Code 2 or Code 2 AOI. Response type is also noted on the MCT screen rather obviously.

    I also don't understand the concept of running lights without siren while driving normally, it seems like a really good way to confuse drivers.
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    We are pretty much the same as box alarm, officer discretion based on the dispatched info.
    Last edited by Fireeaterbob; 03-21-2011 at 09:59 PM. Reason: wrong quote
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    Quote Originally Posted by aromania View Post
    I also don't understand the concept of running lights without siren while driving normally, it seems like a really good way to confuse drivers.
    We do that on tender/tanker ops. If traffic becomes congested, the driver/op may chose to step it up to emergent traffic and hit the siren. I am not saying I condone or agree, just that is the way we do it.

    Note: I have seen a lot of Dr/Ops get antsy when that siren comes on. I write it off to adrenaline, but sometimes, investigate, lift assist, or being the second, third, fourth truck in on minor call isn't worth the risk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 105 View Post
    More for safety and visibility - no need to endanger anyone by speeding, taking right-of-way through intersections, etc., however it is still a call response and as a result the lights are lit up.

    So far, no confusion noted - nobody in the community has ever asked why we have the lights on but not siren nor taking off like a scalded cat.
    That makes so sense at all. If you are not going to respond in an "emergent mode", there is no point to have the lights on. Under the reasoning of safety and visibility, you should have the lights on whenever the truck moves. In fact, every vehicle on the road should have a flashing light on it.

    That is one of the most bizarre things I've seen here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Please don't think I'm being a smartass, but I just don't get it. Do you also return to the station with the lights on, and if not, why not?
    A city near here used to do exactly that. They don't any more. Supposedly it was something to do with their insurance, but I never really heard anything firm.

    Running with lights requires running with the siren here, although on a lonely country road at 4 AM we probably won't bother with the siren except at intersections.

    If you don't need the siren, you don't need the lights. I'll agree that it just confuses the public. We have enough trouble getting them to get out of the way when we want them to. No sense introducing situations where they have to determine whether we really want to get out of the way.
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    We run just lights to a lot of calls. Simply because our traffic volume is LOW through our town, we leave the siren off until its necessary. Most of the time, only our first out truck has to blow their siren. Tankers sometimes have to make noise while hauling water, but otherwise overall, we are pretty quiet. Personally, I will make a little noise at blind intersections during the daytime and at night when i see headlights. Plus, electronic sirens are so damn annoying.

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    I'd be surprised if any insurance company advised a fire department to drive in a manner that breaks NYS V&T law. Which since you are from NY I'm assuming the neighboring department is also.

    Thats one thing I like about the mechanical Q, you can just tap it so it isn't as loud as when you are attempting to move a gaggle of cars.

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    up to officers discretion.. Not going to risk our lives driving emergency if no other life is at risk.. that goes for tummy aches, my leg hurts, ive got a headache, wants bp checked, ... and so forth.
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    Normally we run everything hot. If it is something that can be ran cold (assist person up, CO alarm-low/zero reading, etc), then dispatch will advise Alpha response. If conditions change, they can upgrade it. On AFD's where the alarm company calls in to cancel, the BC cancels himself and the truck, but has the engine continue in Alpha to investigate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Please don't think I'm being a smartass, but I just don't get it. Do you also return to the station with the lights on, and if not, why not?
    We only run the 'lights only, no siren' setup to a call that is no longer emergent - that is, for example, we have a few trucks on-scene already and simply need to ferry some tools or resources to the scene in a timely manner. We run the lights because it is technically an emergency call, but we don't want to put anyone in danger for something that isn't urgently pressing. This gives us visibility and lets the public know we're there, but doesn't put anyone or anything in greater danger than is absolutely necessary. Think of it akin to when a tow-truck is towing a car - they put their roof lights on to let people know they are engaged in an activity that isn't dangerous per se, but they should probably keep their heads up nonetheless.

    And we never run lights when the call is over - we just mosey back to the hall and prepare for cleanup and repacking :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    That makes so sense at all. If you are not going to respond in an "emergent mode", there is no point to have the lights on. Under the reasoning of safety and visibility, you should have the lights on whenever the truck moves. In fact, every vehicle on the road should have a flashing light on it.

    That is one of the most bizarre things I've seen here.
    Odd - have you never seen the police do the exact same thing? Quite often I've seen police cars running just lights, no siren and not speeding to a call - they are responding, obviously, but not to a situation that requires immediate drastic response.

    We do the same thing.... I'm... a touch puzzled as to why you would think this is "one of the most bizarre things I've seen here".

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    We run L&S for most calls, however on Automatic Fire Alarms the First Due engine runs hot, the second due and the platform will run cold, driving like any other vehicle on the road. However if the first in engine gets there and there is something to it, obviously everyone else picks up the pace.

    We will also run cold for investigation/checkout calls (ie people calling in about illegal brush burns etc), public service calls, etc where there is nothing "emergent" about it.

    This is what I understand so far. I am just getting ready to go full time, where as when I was part time I was only dispatched out for box calls so I am learning what we do for what now.
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