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  1. #1
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    Talking Possession of blue lights out of your home state.

    I have been a volunteer firefighter for several years and have the utmost respect for those in public safety.

    However, I am a police officer in a resort community where a great majority of summertime visitors are from NJ, NY, PA, etc. State law requires that possession OR installation OR operation of a blue light by anyone other than a law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor, if that light is not sealed in the manufacturer's original packaging.

    I have stopped many northern volunteers (I am originally from NJ) and advised them to cover or remove their lights, but have not charged anyone. Here, volunteers use red lights on their personal vehicles. When I travel north, my light gets pulled. I expect the same courtesy here. If I saw someone turn their blue light on, there's no doubt in my mind they would go to jail (unless at the scene of an accident, etc.).

    I have seen many lightbar covers, but just as many bare bright blue 67-inch-MX9000-Edgeomatic-Strobosonic-blinking-flashing-amber-arrowed-rotating 8 trillion candlepower lightbars complete with intersection death rays riding up and down the road. The owners of such attention getting lighting equipment sometimes seem offended and suprised when they get stopped.

    Maybe I'm just jealous that the lightbar on their personal vehicle is better than the one on my patrol car... what do you think?

    If I went to NJ or NY with my volunteer red lights in my personal vehicle, would anything happen?

    [ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: obx-emt ]

    [ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: obx-emt ]



  2. #2
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Speaking from CT/MA/NH/RI/ME, in general nothing would happen with a red light bar. Those are all legal in the right circumstances on POVs...although the conditions change from state to state.

    Occassionally MA & RI have been known to bust on persons with blue light bars, especially once outside of border regions.

    Then again, I've been pulled over four times in the last 12 years in MA (three warnings & one ticket that was thrown out)...and only one officer even asked to see my CT permit for the blue double-dashmaster.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

  3. #3
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    We run blue lights in South Dakota and Wyoming reserves blue lights for Law Enforcement vehicles.

    We remind all of our members to either remove or cover their lights if they are crossing the border. Wyoming law enforcement is understanding and normally gives a verbal warning to remove or cover the light.

    Maybe we need a post that gives the laws (authorized light colors) by state before the summer travel season starts.

    I know PA used to authorize red lights and sirens on select personal vehicles(chief officers). Has that created any problems?

  4. #4
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    wouldn't it be great to have a National Standard
    for light colors, of police, Fire, EMS, POV's, sherriffs etc.. etc.. ???


    Sounds good but would never happen. until then, cover it up or take it out when traveling. Maine is a hot spot for Ny/NJ/MA/CT people (only god knows why) and I've not heard of a problem with blue pov lights.

    -Nick

  5. #5
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    I think the drivers in MA are smart enough to know my truck with maltese cross fire plates is no police car. I have not been stopped in MA yet... don't know how I'd block my grill lights.

    I drive in RI a lot too. What color do their vollies use?

    obx-emt, maybe its time to suggest a law be drafted that allows FFs with proper permits from their state to drive through MA uncovered. With that law you could use your discretion more and skip over those with obvious fire POVs.

  6. #6
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    We have run into a few problems with people from NY state comming into MA to assist us. (We are right on the NY border). Mostly it seems to be the State Police. THe local cops are pretty good about it, as long as you drive in a safe manner...
    I have not had any problems in NY state with my dash mounted light. Nick, Berkshire County in MA is the same way as you up there in So. Berwick. It's pretty much the same geographically. I have relatives up in Berwick and I do have to say, it is pretty nice.
    HELL YEAH!!!
    The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.

  7. #7
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    We have run into a few problems with people from NY state comming into MA to assist us. (We are right on the NY border). Mostly it seems to be the State Police. THe local cops are pretty good about it, as long as you drive in a safe manner...
    I have not had any problems in NY state with my dash mounted light. Nick, Berkshire County in MA is the same way as you up there in So. Berwick. It's pretty much the same geographically. I have relatives up in Berwick and I do have to say, it is pretty nice.
    HELL YEAH!!!
    The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Anytime I travel outside of NJ or PA (I volunteer in NJ but travel to PA two days a week for work), I take my blue light off of my dash board. Red lights in NJ are only for Chief, Asst. Chief, or Captain (some departments like Rescue Squads have Captains instead of Chiefs). I did have a friend who left their blue light on when they went to NC for a trip and a trooper pulled him over, but was very nice and explained that the light needed to be put out of view. Only other thing I can suggest to avoid all this is to have "Firefighter" plates on your car to indentify you as a volunteer or paid firefighter from your state.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  9. #9
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    OBX-EMS, I assume that means you're from the Outer Banks? This topic caught my attention because in May every year I go to... the Outer Banks for a week. I have an interior light on my car, no lightbars or anything. But it's also hardwired in at this point. (New Dodge trucks don't give the aux outlet power when the truck isn't running. Very annoying). So it's kind of hard to remove...

    I obviously wouldn't be turning it on or anything, and I do have a valid CT permit. Think it'll be a big problem, or should I try to stuff something between the lens and the windshield?

    Andy

  10. #10
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    RITTNER: Yes, I am located on the Outer Banks. As far as the letter of the law goes, your installation is technically illegal. I do not think that you would be cited for it by itself, but it is possible depending on the circumstances. By iteself, you very may well be stopped. If I arrest a drunk driver who is a volunteer fireman up north and he has a blue light, I would charge him with it. To avoid all question, when you visit I would say cover it up. The following is reproduced form "Law Enforcement Officers Quick Reference Guide by Steven R. Hewett" the law states:

    ---------------------------------------
    NC General Statute 20-130.0(c) -- Misdemeanor
    Did Install or activate or operate or possess a blue light in or on said vehicle and not authorized to do so by law.

    NOTE: As used in this subsection, unless the context requires otherwise, "blue light" means an operable blue light which:
    1.) Is not being installed on, held in inventory for the purpose of being installed on, or installed on a vehicle which is solely for the purpose of demostrating the blue light for sale to law enforcement personnel;
    1a.) Is designed for use by an emergency vehicle, or is similar in appearance to a blue light designed for use by an emergency vehicle; and
    2.) Can be be operated by use of the vehicle's battery, the vehicle's eletrical system, or a dry cell battery.

    Only law enforcement officers may possess or operate a blue light in a motor vehicle G.S. 20-130(b). In order to charge for possession of a blue light, it must not be in it's sealed manufacturer's oiriginal packaging.

    If light is operating and the person is not authorized to operate or possess such a light in their vehicle, the charge of impersonation of a law enforcement or other public official should also be considered G.S. 14-277.
    -----------------------------------

  11. #11
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    RAY R: Since in this state volunteer firefighters are permitted red lights, and any volunteer chief officer is permitted red lights and siren, an out of state chief would be within his legal right to possess them here, though misuse is illegal.

  12. #12
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    Wink

    As far as lights go in personal vehicles go I personally see no need for them. I could get into a long winded explanation but won't. I can't understand why some one would go to the extreme of having more or better lights than a polce car. Especially if you're a volunteer. If yer on a paid/carreer dept you shouldn't need one at all. When permitted in your jurisdiction a simple dash light or what ever should be sufficent anyway. As far as being off duty it should be outta sight and put away. If on holidays it should be left at home. What on earth would you need it for in another state?

  13. #13
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    Phyer Phyter: I'm on an on call dept. in Michigan where the law says FF's can run lights and sirens. The lights must be red and be able to be seen in 360 deg. vision. I'm required by my dept. to run direct pov to all alarms, fire or medical being a Captain. The law is a state law. I have never had any trouble traveling in othes states. In the states where people have problems don't they have more important crime maters for the police to handle than to pull F.F. and EMT's over?


    Stay Safe

  14. #14
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    In Illinois most VFD have Blue lights, but if you go to Chicago it better come down. For one only Police can have blue lights in their cars, plus you go to the wrong side of town in Chicago that blue light may become a target.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  15. #15
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    QUOTE: "In the states where people have problems don't they have more important crime maters for the police to handle than to pull F.F. and EMT's over?"

    CAPT 49-4: Since a major part of my job is traffic enforcement, NO I really don't have anything better to do at that particular time. If I did, I wouldn't be stopping people with blue lights. Plus it's an arrestable offense! It's a misdemeanor, not an infraction.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber Medic162's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Something is telling me not to get in this thread but...
    I'm sure most public safety folks are familiar with the given statutes in the state for which they're employed. That being said, whatever happened to "professional courtesy"? I was a vollie about 15 years ago, and had one of those small "Kojak" dashlights I used when responding from home to station. BTW, in those young years it seemed "cool", now it would simply be frightening. That same dashlight sits in my trunk today not in "manufacturers packing", but in the event I happen across a night time vehicle accident or such. It goes without saying that the light would never be used in a moving vehicle as my POV is certainly not an emergency vehicle, but rather that little light would afford me a higher visibility on the scene of such an accident. Now, from seeing the mentality of many previous posts, some would instantly call me a Rescue Randy. This couldn't be farther from the truth. I live in rural Kansas, and there are as much as 20 to 30 minute response times from the nearest county EMS in some of the more distant places in my home area. Yes, I carry a modest BLS trauma kit in the car also. I can find no one in conversation that would refuse care from a passing paramedic given that there may be a significant wait on an ambulance. I would only hope that the same care be afforded to my wife or children in that event. I've stopped at such a scenario maybe 3 or 4 times in the past couple of years. There have been various state troopers & county sheriff's eventually show up at these events, and I have never received a citation, been arrested or even been questioned about maintaining a safe scene. Sorry for such a long reply... I'm positive that there are people out there playing Starsky & Hutch with emergency lights, but used correctly, they are simply another weapon in our safety arsenal. Be Safe...
    Brian Rowe
    Paramedic/Engineer
    Colleton County Fire/Rescue

  17. #17
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    Hrm. Well, when I head down in May I'll stick a little piece of cardboard in the lens and hope nobody notices. Like I said, having just finished wiring it direct to the battery, it's kind of difficult to take in and out now. But I suppose as long as nobody thinks its a giant radar detector I should be OK.

    Andy

  18. #18
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    RITTNER: RADAR detectors are illegal in Virginia, not NC.

  19. #19
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    MEDIC162: I don't have a problem with volunteers having lights, I have them myself, some would say overboard! I have a problem with people disregarding state laws when they travel.
    "Professional courtesy" is definitely extended by issuing a verbal warning instead of citing or arresting.

    [ 01-16-2002: Message edited by: obx-emt ]


  20. #20
    Member northhfd068's Avatar
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    I am currently a student out in CT and a volunteer fireman in NY. I have a dash light that is illegal being it has blue/clear lens on it. Every so often I travel between school and home and have my light on the dash. To date I have never had a problem with the light on the dash. Passing police officers and driving behind them with NY plates in CT does not seem to bother them at all. Although while in a police unmarked vehicle with red lights, radio and siren, coming back from work was ticketed for speeding in CT so if they are willing to do that then who knows what else they will write you for.

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