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  1. #1
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    Default Red Light on POV in NY

    If you are an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) in my neck of the woods in Northern New York it is a generally accepted practice that you can have a red light, siren etc on your POV. But can you run just a red light? and no siren? And I understand that just because it is generally accepted does not mean its legal - read below.

    My reasoning is this: I have a very simple mini blue light bar that I don’t even use any more because it is ugly, a bug magnet, and my truck cannot fit into the garage with it on. Did I mention that I also live in the middle of nowhere and the deer and Amish don’t care what kind of light you have; in other words it is not necessary.

    If I were ever to become an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) could I just have the light (with a red lens) for "on scene" illumination for safety and identification. What I like about the light is that it provides 360 degrees of light and not just something that is on the dash.

    BUT....

    Technically, in NYS I think that you cannot legally run red lights and sirens on a POV because it is not considered a "fire vehicle" under NYS V&T section 115. Your POV is certainly not any other kind of emergency vehicle. And perhaps, if you choose to not follow the law and get into an accident or cause and accident where will the responsibility fall? Your family, your house, your retirement, your kids college fund... You get the idea after all it is YOUR vehicle – not the FD’s

    What I mean by not being considered a "fire vehicle" is that the vehicle (POV) is owned by you and perhaps your bank. 115-A states that a "fire vehicle" is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.

    So does this mean that every fire chief and assistant in NYS who uses a POV with a red light and siren is breaking the law? Surely I must be mistaken and would appreciate any good, factual, and helpful information.

    Thanks -NoCoFire
    Last edited by NoCoFire; 04-01-2011 at 11:49 PM. Reason: I spelled wronge


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    What I mean by not being considered a "fire vehicle" is that the vehicle (POV) is owned by you and perhaps your bank. 115-A states that a "fire vehicle" is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.

    So does this mean that every fire chief and assistant in NYS who uses a POV with a red light and siren is breaking the law? Surely I must be mistaken and would appreciate any good, factual, and helpful information.

    Thanks -NoCoFire
    I guess you could consider the Fire Chief as a Public Authority. Hence, it would not be against the law as you have outlined.

    Don't take my word on it, I haven't a clue to the "definition" of Public Authority.

    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."

  3. #3
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    You are correct.

    In NY, nobody other than a Chief officer, which includes Deputy and Assistant can run a red light and siren. Only they are considered emergency vehicles.

    Captains, LTs and firefighters are not considered emergency vehicles and can only run blue lights.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    You are correct.

    In NY, nobody other than a Chief officer, which includes Deputy and Assistant can run a red light and siren. Only they are considered emergency vehicles.

    Captains, LTs and firefighters are not considered emergency vehicles and can only run blue lights.
    LaFireEducator,

    Thank you for your reply and I understand who can run red lights but the question is if the vehicle is your personal vehicle, from what I can see and understand, it does not fall under the title of "fire vehicle" as defined by NYS and therefore cannot display a red light and siren. Again from what I can understand by trying to interpret this legalese that unless a vehicle "...is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law."

    If John Doe is voted in as a fire chief or deputy and puts a red light on his vehicle his vehicle is not automatically owned by the state or a public authority, or a county, or a town, or a city, or a village, or a fire district... but it is owned by him/herself. If it does not meet the above criteria then it is not a fire vehicle right?

    I am the first person to admit that sometimes I cannot see the forest for the trees but this seems pretty cut and dry - but I must be missing something because generally in NYS outside of Cities and suburbs with big budgets many officers (Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs) have a red light(s) and siren on their personal vehicle. That could be thousands of people, and no one has asked this question before?

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    Have you thought about asking your local Sheriff or the highway patrol?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    LaFireEducator,

    Thank you for your reply and I understand who can run red lights but the question is if the vehicle is your personal vehicle, from what I can see and understand, it does not fall under the title of "fire vehicle" as defined by NYS and therefore cannot display a red light and siren. Again from what I can understand by trying to interpret this legalese that unless a vehicle "...is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law."

    If John Doe is voted in as a fire chief or deputy and puts a red light on his vehicle his vehicle is not automatically owned by the state or a public authority, or a county, or a town, or a city, or a village, or a fire district... but it is owned by him/herself. If it does not meet the above criteria then it is not a fire vehicle right?

    I am the first person to admit that sometimes I cannot see the forest for the trees but this seems pretty cut and dry - but I must be missing something because generally in NYS outside of Cities and suburbs with big budgets many officers (Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs) have a red light(s) and siren on their personal vehicle. That could be thousands of people, and no one has asked this question before?
    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Have you thought about asking your local Sheriff or the highway patrol?
    RM1524,

    Yes I have an email into the sheriff and into a EVOC instructor, right now Im looking at NYS Town Law and may be onto something...

    Thanks for your help. -NoCoFire

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    town law: here


    No luck. and the search continues....


    -NoCoFire

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    section 115-a states that:

    § 115-a. Fire vehicle. Every vehicle operated for fire service
    purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public
    authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire
    corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section
    fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire
    company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.
    Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles only for the
    purpose of section one hundred one of this chapter: 1. a vehicle
    operated by officials of the office of fire prevention and control,
    2. a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a
    fire department
    , or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or
    county or assistant county fire marshall, or town or assistant town fire
    coordinator, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or
    under the direction of such person, and
    3. a vehicle specially designed and equipped for firefighting purposes
    which is regularly used for firefighting purposes by a firefighting unit
    on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes
    and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.


    So from what I can gather, and LaFireEducator I warned you I sometimes cannot see the forest for the trees, is that the fire chief and deputy chiefs in NYS can display a red light and siren because they ARE or ARE NOT considered a "fire vehicle" because

    1. They are part of a fire district, department, or company as identified under general municipal law section 100 here.

    2. In my case the government entity of the Board of Fire Commissioners has approved their position and that is required here. Specifically see 11a "...The board of fire commissioners at its
    meeting next succeeding the making of such nominations shall consider
    the same and shall appoint such persons to the offices to which they
    have been respectively nominated..."


    So I have showed that they are part of a fire department and have been appointed to the office of deputy chief but here is where I am having trouble

    3. Therefore their vehicle is considered a "fire vehicle"... or is it? Section 115a #2 states "a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a
    fire department" this could mean a vehicle that was issued (owned) by the fire company, district, department etc.. OR does "ordinarily" mean their personal vehicle?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    RM1524,

    Yes I have an email into the sheriff and into a EVOC instructor, right now Im looking at NYS Town Law and may be onto something...

    Thanks for your help. -NoCoFire
    I have found that if you want a question answered get on the phone, forget the e-mail. With that said be prepared to wait on hold a lot and you may have to make several calls to the same person.

  10. #10
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    I can see why nobody is paying attention to you. You're acting like you have a beef with the red lights and siren usage on the Fire Chiefs POV. As well, are they running them legally. So lets breakdown your original post:

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    If you are an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) in my neck of the woods in Northern New York it is a generally accepted practice that you can have a red light, siren etc on your POV. But can you run just a red light? and no siren? And I understand that just because it is generally accepted does not mean its legal - read below.
    Normally if you run lights, you are asking for "permission" of right-of-way. That also means that you are required to run a siren, for the same effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    If I were ever to become an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) could I just have the light (with a red lens) for "on scene" illumination for safety and identification. What I like about the light is that it provides 360 degrees of light and not just something that is on the dash.
    IF you became Chief, that is an option that you would have to make. But if you're running lights to the scene, you should have a siren. If you have no intentions of ever running hot, then use of red lights only for "safety" on scene is your prerogative.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    BUT....

    Technically, in NYS I think that you cannot legally run red lights and sirens on a POV because it is not considered a "fire vehicle" under NYS V&T section 115. Your POV is certainly not any other kind of emergency vehicle. And perhaps, if you choose to not follow the law and get into an accident or cause and accident where will the responsibility fall? Your family, your house, your retirement, your kids college fund... You get the idea after all it is YOUR vehicle – not the FD’s
    Actually, under 115, as you quoted below, does LEGALLY define a POV as an emergency vehicle for the position that a person holds. So for liability, in an accident responding to a call, or going to a scene running hot, the FD is liable for any accidents.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    What I mean by not being considered a "fire vehicle" is that the vehicle (POV) is owned by you and perhaps your bank. 115-A states that a "fire vehicle" is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.
    As I said originally, the Fire Chief is considered a person of "Public Authority", and can use his POV as an emergency vehicle under the Fire Dept. He can run and use red lights and siren as designated, running to an official FD call.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    So does this mean that every fire chief and assistant in NYS who uses a POV with a red light and siren is breaking the law? Surely I must be mistaken and would appreciate any good, factual, and helpful information.
    Reread this:

    § 115-a. Fire vehicle. Every vehicle operated for fire service
    purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public
    authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire
    corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section
    fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire
    company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.
    Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles only for the
    purpose of section one hundred one of this chapter: 1. a vehicle
    operated by officials of the office of fire prevention and control,
    2. a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a
    fire department, or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or
    county or assistant county fire marshall, or town or assistant town fire
    coordinator, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or
    under the direction of such person, and

    3. a vehicle specially designed and equipped for firefighting purposes
    which is regularly used for firefighting purposes by a firefighting unit
    on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes
    and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.
    Don't know how much more you need to know or read. A FD Chief has the right to run red lights and siren, and his POV is allowed to be considered a Fire Vehicle, it is all there.

    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."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    I can see why nobody is paying attention to you. You're acting like you have a beef with the red lights and siren usage on the Fire Chiefs POV. As well, are they running them legally. So lets breakdown your original post:



    Normally if you run lights, you are asking for "permission" of right-of-way. That also means that you are required to run a siren, for the same effect.



    IF you became Chief, that is an option that you would have to make. But if you're running lights to the scene, you should have a siren. If you have no intentions of ever running hot, then use of red lights only for "safety" on scene is your prerogative.



    Actually, under 115, as you quoted below, does LEGALLY define a POV as an emergency vehicle for the position that a person holds. So for liability, in an accident responding to a call, or going to a scene running hot, the FD is liable for any accidents.


    As I said originally, the Fire Chief is considered a person of "Public Authority", and can use his POV as an emergency vehicle under the Fire Dept. He can run and use red lights and siren as designated, running to an official FD call.



    Reread this:



    Don't know how much more you need to know or read. A FD Chief has the right to run red lights and siren, and his POV is allowed to be considered a Fire Vehicle, it is all there.

    FM1
    Firemech1

    a public authority in NYS is NOT a public person who has authority - like a fire chief or deputy chief. You can find that information here. Thanks - NoCoFire

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    Firemech1

    a public authority in NYS is NOT a public person who has authority - like a fire chief or deputy chief. You can find that information here. Thanks - NoCoFire
    Thanks to the link. As I said, I didn't know the definition of "Public Authority", in my FIRST post.

    However, I do believe there is some law or bylaw that allows a person in position to do what you're commenting on.

    I am curious though, if you are talking about a career or volly Chief. Or just making a blanket curiosity question.

    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."

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    Hey charlie, have you googled the New York State Motor Vehicle Code that pertains to using lights on a volunteer's pov?



    http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/ems/pdf/srgvat.pdf

    Section 375

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    Your question is answered in § 115-a., you're just not reading it correctly. You have to read it as separate paragraphs, then it will (hopefully) make sense to you.

    § 115-a. Fire vehicle.

    Every vehicle operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.

    Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles only for the purpose of section one hundred one of this chapter:

    1. a vehicle operated by officials of the office of fire prevention and control,

    2. a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a fire department, or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or county or assistant county fire marshall, or town or assistant town fire coordinator, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or under the direction of such person,

    and

    3. a vehicle specially designed and equipped for firefighting purposes which is regularly used for firefighting purposes by a firefighting unit on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.

    The first paragraph states that EVERY vehicle owned and operated in an official capacity by a fire district/dept/company is classified as a "fire vehicle", regardless of who operates it. This covers the "official" chief's vehicles, as well as the apparatus, etc.

    The first sentence of the next paragraph goes on to cover vehicles IN ADDITION to the aforementioned vehicles owned by the fire district/dept/company, hence the "any of the following vehicles" as opposed to the ones already previously mentioned.

    Subsection 2 is the key paragraph, which covers ANY vehicle operated by a Chief or Asst Chief that is being operated in an official capacity.


    So to summarize: As long as the vehicle, ANY vehicle, is being operated in an official capacity by a Chief or Asst Chief, the law allows for usage of red lights and sirens, and said vehicle is considered a "fire vehicle" i.e. emergency vehicle under NYS law.


    In plain English: The Chief/Asst Chief of a volunteer dept can put red lights and sirens on his POV or work vehicle and use it to respond to incidents same as he would a "marked" dept vehicle. He's afforded all the same rights and privileges of an authorized emergency vehicle when doing so.

    There are plenty of volunteer Chiefs downstate here in the NYC Metro area who run red lights and sirens on their POV and/or work vehicles. All well within the scope of the state laws.

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    Chauffer 6,

    Thanks for breaking that down. When read that way I see what you mean. I was reading into this too much. Despite what some may think I have nothing against running red lights, when appropriate, but I am for my colleagues being protected and operating within the bounds of the law.


    I appreciate your time, candor, and experience.


    -NoCoFire

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    And by the way the vehicles mentioned are also covered under district insurance by 2 carriers in BYS that i'm aware of. stay safe

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    Morning all - just read through, guess I don't have to add anything as Chauffer pretty much covered it...lol.....

    Also - I know a very good instructor who teaches the Legal Issues class for OFPC - might be a good idea to see if you can get that in your neck of the woods - it would answer a LOT of questions!.....

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    Default Not necessarily true

    Quote Originally Posted by westofd1 View Post
    And by the way the vehicles mentioned are also covered under district insurance by 2 carriers in BYS that i'm aware of. stay safe
    If you are talking about fire districts in NYS, then this is not necessarily true.

    If these vehicles are private vehicles with red lights/sires on and are responding to emergencies - the fire district's insurance is *not* primary coverage of these drivers (Chief and Assistant, etc.).

    The driver's insurance is primary and really the only time the district's insurance comes into play is if the primary's liability coverage is exceeded.

    Fire Districts often have insurance coverage that will cover the driver's (Chief's) insurance deductable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spackmann View Post
    Fire Districts often have insurance coverage that will cover the driver's (Chief's) insurance deductable.
    My wife is a Lt on our emergency squad and had the deductible covered for a deer hit while on her way to an EMT class a few years ago.

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    So does this mean if i am driving the chiefs or asst chiefs pov and the tones go off technicaly it is considered an emergancy vehicle at that time that i can run there reds and sirens to the station or scene?

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