In Virginia it is State Law that "When in route to an emergency call that the responding emergency equipment will have lights and an audible warning ON. In our area we receive several complaints about the use of sirens, in other words we are to noisy. Tax payers have even complained to the Police and to our administrators, they wanted the sirens turned off after dark. The Sargent for the State Police Detachment in our area gave me his interperation of this law and he stated that when the apparatus leaves the station enroute to a call, that the siren and lights will be turned on left on until the unit is on scene or until the unit is released from response. and that the law doesnt state any time period so this should be in place 24 hours a day.
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03-15-2000, 12:53 PM #1tc1chiefFirehouse.com Guest
03-15-2000, 01:41 PM #2Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
The rules are essentially the same in PA, and the fact that a certain portion of the population will b**ch about it is also the same in PA. We've struck a happy medium in the degree to which we use audibles at night, and this seems to appease most people.
The practice isn't written in the SOGs, but, while in strictly residential areas, most engineers & officers will use the full lights/electronic/Q/horns barrage anywhere between about 5 AM and midnight, then use lights & electronics only between about midnight and 5 AM. If we get into commercial areas, particularly hazardous areas, or major roadways, we'll use the full light & noise compliment at any time of the day or night. We also run "normal flow of traffic" on non-emergency calls, such as accident washdowns, trees down, stand-bys, etc., where no lights or audibles are used at all (it's just like going for fuel, or something). Some people will complain anyway, but this arrangement seems to keep most people happy and it keeps us in compliance with the vehicle code.
03-15-2000, 07:42 PM #3Truckie from MissouriFirehouse.com Guest
That's also how Missouri law reads. I heard a lawyer state once that if we didn't have the siren sounding, and we're in a wreck, even if we didn't cause it it would be labeled as our fauld, as we weren't sounding the siren, therefore we didn't do EVERYTHING possible to warn others.
03-15-2000, 09:18 PM #4raricciutiFirehouse.com Guest
Three words: Use common sense. Someone once said common sense is not common.......
If you are not attempting to exercise the exemptions permitted emergency vehicles (read: exceeding the posted speed limit, travelling against the flow of traffic, proceeding through red lights, etc.) then there is no reason (or legal requirement) to sound audible warning. However, if you are involved in an accident, you will likely be at fault anyway, since it seems that if you are responding to an emergency, you are automatically assumed to have been stretching the vehicle code a bit. More often lately in order to save money and time, these things are being settled out of court, with the settlement not disclosed.
Drive at a reasonable speed, keep a heads-up attitude, expect the unexpected; because sure as hell, the minute someone sees the warning lights, they're gonna do something stupid. Just make sure that their stupid act doesn't get you into an accident.
As an aside, in light of Truckies post: One of our vehicles was involved in an accident at an intersection about 20 years ago - the young operator of a passenger vehicle struck the left front of the engine's bumper extension, and took the Q (which was wound up pretty far) right off the truck. Firefighters already at the scene about 3/4 of a mile away knew something was wrong, Q's just don't stop on a dime. The air horns were also being sounded intermittently. The engine operator was moving slowly into the intersection against the light when the accident occurred. The young man was asked if he had the AM/FM up loud in the car, and he said no, his ears were sensitive! His lawyer also made a ruckus about whether the air horns were "on" or not. Seems he couldn't (or didn't want to) comprehend that air horns are not "turned on" or "turned off". Needless to say, you can't win.
Be careful out there!
R.A. Ricciuti, Firefighter
Mt. Lebanon Fire Department
[This message has been edited by raricciuti (edited March 15, 2000).]
03-17-2000, 09:38 PM #5DavidjbFirehouse.com Guest
Personally from what I've seen in the news lately (not all fire related) no matter how stupid someone is and no matter what they do it always seems to be someone elses fault. The main problem with this country today is no one takes responsibility for their actions. If you run a redlight and get broadsided by a fire engine thats lit up brighter than the sun and making more noise than the Hiroshima bomb it has to be the fault of the apparatus driver for not seeing you run the redlight. If you run from the cops and hit a tree and paralize yourself it has to be the cops fault for chasing you in the first place, it doesn't matter that your wanted for 4 counts of murder.
Everyone seems to be a victim nowadays, it's always some one elses fault, at least thats what they want you to believe so they can make a quick buck in a lawsuit.
David Brooks, Firefighter, D/O, 1st Resp.
Newmarket Fire & Rescue
Newmarket, New Hampshire
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