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  1. #21
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    >> Ok, so you stop at intersections and wait in the line of traffic with the lights going and confuse the crap out of people..yes? Sorry, but thats ridiculous.

    I agree, that's absolutely ridiculous.

    >> If the call warrants a reduce speed order, then it doesnt warrant lights or siren use.

    That's right. There's absolutely no reason that I can think of to run things like pump details, washdowns from MVAs, trees down, etc. in emergency mode.

    >> As someone mentioned before and I said earlier, if we are running to a call and we are going emergency mode, the siren might not always be on, but when we approach traffic it comes on.
    >> I do not run sirens in rural areas with little traffic.

    See, in PA, the vehicle code gives you a clear choice. Either:

    1. You can run in emergency mode, with the extra privledges granted an emergency vehicle, in which case you must "utilize all audible and visual warning devices".

    2. You can travel normal flow of traffic, in which case you have no privledges afforded an emergency vehicle (OK, you can park illegally when you get there, usually).

    That's it. All or nothing. There's no allowance for lights but no siren, siren but no lights, siren only at intersections, or anything else. Pretty straightforward.

    >> Most calls answered at night can be done in a no lights and sirens mode.

    Night and day have nothing to do with it, at least in PA.

    >> Its wonderful that everyone sticks to the "if the lights are on the siren is on" theory...not realistic. Thats more often than not the wacker justification, for the boys who like to play.

    Not so..."if the lights are on the siren is on" is not theory in PA, it's the law, at least when you're moving.

    >> What will you tell the lawyer when your on the stand and he asks "were all your warning devices in operation at the time of the accident"

    That's a valid question, and I can tell you from experience that it comes up long before that. I was riding officer when our Ladder was involved in a fender-bender while responding a few weeks ago. I won't go into details, except to say that one of the earliest questions the cops asked us was "Were you using your lights & sirens?", and one of the earliest questions they asked the witnesses was "Did you see them and hear them coming?". It matters.

    Also, to those who favor the "sirens at intersections" approach, have you ever had someone nearly back out of a driveway in front of you? Or maybe out of a parking space? How about kids playing in the street? There are potentially plenty of people to warn and hazards to encounter in the middle of blocks, too, not just at intersections.

    One more question to think about...how many of your departments have actually checked to see whether your procedures are in accordance with your state's law? If you have, good for you. If you haven't, maybe you should.


    As for house sirens, we still use ours 24x7x52, even though we are all equipped with pagers. It helps to alert the public that there's a response in progress before apparatus are even on the street and it satisfies the general public's nosiness about when things are happening. We've gotten more complaints in the past when the house siren was OOS than when it's been in use.


  2. #22
    M G
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Bob,

    I appreciate your opinions, and agree with most of your points. All I have to ask you is do you turn the siren on as you exit the bay and leave it on until you arrive so it is running nonstop? I know your point and NJ laws are the same, however, I see it more from a realistic standpoint. I know about vehicles pulling out of driveways and all that, gotta keep the eyes peeled for stuff like that. My point about at night is simply that calls answered at night are often answered in light to no traffic conditions, and where we would need to respond emergency mode in the day to move through standstill traffic, at night you can drive normally and make good time. Its really dependent on your SOP and officers / operators discretion.

    ------------------
    The information presented herin is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.

    [This message has been edited by M G (edited August 03, 2000).]

  3. #23
    Kevin Bacco
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I, like Bob, live in PA so there is no inbetween. When you live in a small community the most exciting thin is usually an emergency. So whether it's 3am or 3pm people are usually coming to see what's going on. Kids love to run out from between parked cars and now are even ballsy enough to run across the street in front of us.
    The type of call warrants the use of emergency warning devices (silent responce - we were doing it long before St. Louis recieved national recognition for it). If we must use audible warning devices at 3am, we usually will use the electric siren, as to not wake EVERYBODY but if needed the Federal Q2 can also be utilzed.

    As far as the alerting siren, we all carry pagers and we have train horns (Pitcairn used to be a railroad mecca) that blast the # of the Gamewell pullbox, and a siren both in different locations. A small % of the residents do complain, but if you approach them on a 1 to 1 basis, you can usually explain why they are needed.

    ------------------
    Kevin Bacco
    Pitcairn Fire Department
    Station 230

  4. #24
    20-40
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our house siren still runs all the time, day and night. Everybody carries pagers, but as has been said before, even in the middle of the night, it's an effective method of notifying the public (And in our case, the bar across the street from our station) that something is happening and to be on the lookout for POV's & emergency vehicles. As for sirens and lights on appartus, there are very few cases when Code 1 should be run (Flooding calls, possibly trees down, etc.) but for the majority of calls, Code 3 should be run, lights, sirens, bells, whistles, and whatever else, reguardless of the time. There are ways around disturbing the sleeping public, however. For example, one of our engines has both a Federal Q aand and electronic siren. In my experience, it's much easier to sleep through an electronic siren then a Fed Q. But as laws state, if lights are on, an audible alert must be present. Just tonight I almost ran into a sheriff's deputy car because of the fact that he was running lights only. I was traveling on a two lane road with a turning lane, and a car was coming towards me as I was getting into the turneing lane (This is on a straight stretch no where near an intersection). The cars lights were fairly bright, and I didn't think much of it as I started merging into the turning lane. Out ouf the blue comes the sheriff's car speeding & running lights, and almost hitting me because I didn't see him and couldn't hear him. There are always going to be those types of unforsseen situations, which is why laws should always be followed and the number one rule of anything be obeyed: Cover Your @ss.

  5. #25
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    >> All I have to ask you is do you turn the siren on as you exit the bay and leave it on until you arrive so it is running nonstop?

    If I'm running an emergency response, the electronic goes on as I pull out, and goes off as I arrive on location. Air horns are for approaching intersections, and the Q2B is for making a point, whether it be approaching an intersection (when I always use it), behind someone who isn't pulling over, or a reaction to a possibly inattentive person anywhere along the way.


    >> My point about at night is simply that calls answered at night are often answered in light to no traffic conditions, and where we would need to respond emergency mode in the day to move through standstill traffic, at night you can drive normally and make good time.

    I don't dispute that, but as long as judgements on liability are going to be made based on the statute in effect, I'm going to follow it. I'm not going to get caught sitting in a witness box after a fire fatality trying to explain that I got there just as quickly without lights & sirens, but I just didn't want to wake the neighbors. I'm not going to have accident liability hung on me by the lawyer of some DUI that might hit me some night because I gave the drunken idiot the excuse that I wasn't properly operating my emergency vehicle. Let's face it...juries, on average, are stupid, and I'm not trusting one to be able to understand the subtleties of one of these types of situations.

    I'm playing the hand that the legislature has dealt me, and that means that emergency responses get lights & siren, regardless of time of day, weather conditions, whether I intend to stop dead at every intersection regardless of what I see or not, or whatever other conditions you want to put on it. And...if that means waking the neighbors, then so be it. The legislature did it, and I'm perfectly comfortable explaining the vehicle code to the neighbors if they complain.

  6. #26
    Neptune 33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Ok, I agree with a lot of point to each subject and each view. However, although the people who are being woken up, either by the house siren and/or the apparatus, are laying in their beds going "There go those stupid firefighters again" My argument though, is, annoying to some, the person who dialed 911, is going to think that those sirens and lights coming down his or her street, is going to be the most welcome sight and sound they will ever hear or see. Just my two cents.

    ------------------
    CRN


    [This message has been edited by Neptune 33 (edited August 16, 2000).]

  7. #27
    20-40
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Neptune33 you're exactly right. And whenever the public conplains about not being able to sleep through either the house siren or the apparatus, they should be asked if they want the noise made when their house is on fire. On another section of the issue, our department has finally secummed (spelling??) to the public pressures of the house siren. We've decied to turn it off from the hours of 9pm - 7am, the first time its been turned off since 1939. I personally think it's a bunch of BS, because as I said, it may be annoying when you're trying to sleep, but would you want to siren to go off it it were YOUR house buring or you or one of your loved ones having an MI or shortness of breath? I think most people would. Just a few more $0.02.

  8. #28
    HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We still use an air raid siren along with our pagers. We eliminated the siren for about 4 months when we first got the pagers, but we brought it back on line due to the many benefits. Many good points have been brought up in this line about why we should use lights and sirens.

    We have to remember that in this industry, paid or volunteer, there is always going to be politics involved. Keep in mind that these people that are annoyed with the sirens and air horns are also the ones that vote for council members that approve your budgets.

    If the citizens don't hear how often you are called out to fires and other calls, they may not understand why you are asking for an increase in your operating budget for next year. The best publicity our department has for how busy we are is to have the siren sound four or five times during a day. It makes asking for money a whole lot easier. Reading statistics is one thing, hearing a resident say "man you guys are busy, it seams like the siren never stops ringing" is priceless.

    Just think of the air raid siren as advertsing to bring in customers. And the next time a resident complains about ringing the siren, look at it as an opportunity to get one more resident on your side. It will make your next trip to council much more enjoyable.

  9. #29
    Neptune 33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    What budget? We don't have a budget from our Bourough council! Our money is raised from fundraisers and donations!

    ------------------
    CRN

  10. #30
    HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    No budget, that is even better yet. We just finished building a new rescue unit and pruchased some jaws. When we first thought about doing it, we figured on at least three years of fund raising to make th purchase.

    Thanks to an exceptionally busy year where the siren rang on average twice a week, and a well placed news article, we were able to raise $23,000 in the first three days of our efforts. As a volunteer, when people know you are working, they are a lot more willing to support you.


  11. #31
    CFD14
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Good points made on both sides. One that I haven't seen is siren location on the apparatus. I had an Ex Jake from NYFD come into my shop in his motorhome. He was almost totally deaf, which he told me "was from years and years of airhorns and sirens." Our appartus that have the sirens out front or under the hood aren't too bad for the ears, but when they are roof mounted or in the lightbar, its hard to hear at the scene for all the ringing in your ears. As someone also stated, it is hard to hear radio traffic when its blaring from the bay to the scene. When you cover almost 550 sq. miles like we do, that is a long time to have a siren blaring. And yes someone will bring up earplugs, ear muffs or head phones. The 1st two hurt radio traffic, the last one isn't pratical for many departments. Still the best point is CYA. If in doubt do as the law states in your AOR.

  12. #32
    391HD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Where does it say that you need to respond WITH lights and sirens?

    How many calls, say, in the last month that you responded to were TRUE life-threatening situations?

    And if you had one, would the use of lights and sirens made any difference in the final outcome?

    Before anyone chimes in with "if it were your family", or "your house on fire", stick to the facts and not emotions!

    Fact is, very little of the Fire Service response today is for true life threatening emergencies, and studies prove that the time saved using the warning equipment has no proven benefit to the final outcome of the incident.

    On the TV show RESCUE 911, the differences made in those situations were the result of interventions done by people on the scene, long before the arrival of authorities.

    So keep everyone happy by not even using the warning equipment on the vehicles, and staff a duty crew with pagers to avoid sounding the all call siren. But then, it wouldn't be any fun?

  13. #33
    Neptune 33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Oh, so now you want to criticize not only my point of view, but my departments? We have a policy, lights and sirens until you reach the scene or hear that it is nothing. How do you know if it's life threating until you get there? You don't. If a car would slam into the side of your rig, and you wouldn't have had your siren on, but had your lights on, you would be at fault! Just remember, until someone is there to tell you it is nothing, you better get there to find out for sure.

  14. #34
    391HD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    No, I am not criticizing you or your department. Everybody should be taking a look at the use of lights and sirens. As I said, there is NOTHING proven that the use of such has had any positive benefit to a life threatening situation or otherwise.

    In response to your question: 'If a car would slam into the side of your rig, and you wouldn't have had your siren on, but had your lights on, you would be at fault!' Fact is, even with your siren on, it would be next to impossible for you to prove that it was necessary if this situation were taken to litigation, and you would STILL probably be held liable. If the siren is off, then why not the lights? And respond obeying all traffic laws, speed limits, etc.?
    Again, fire dept. response to life threatening situations is the exception, rather than the rule. Yes, you don't typically know until you get there, but is the time saved by responding lights and siren going to make ANY difference on the final outcome of the incident? Hasn't been proven!
    No wonder the community gets annoyed with the persisant noise pollution, when in fact, the bulk of responses aren't even true emergencies.

  15. #35
    Drewbo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    I don't belive in electric sirens...Federal Q is the only way to go. We had a debate when I was at college, volunteering at my college town's station, with one of my officers. I said I can clear an intersection better than him with the Q, he liked the electric. In Etown we don't even own an electric siren.
    Just wanted to hear some points of veiw.

    ------------------
    *************************
    * God Looked down and
    * saw this was bad, it
    * was bad, it was Drew
    *************************

    [This message has been edited by Drewbo (edited September 05, 2000).]

  16. #36
    ENGINE18-3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here we go:
    1. We have Air horns to alert members of a run and we also carry pagers. Between the hours of 6am & 10pm the horns go off for every call. from 10pm to 6am they are shut off. Because the residents who live by the firehouse complained enough so the borough ordered they turned off. If it was up to me they would go off 24/7.
    2. We run with lights on the whole time and sirens only in heavy traffic and at intersections.
    3. The Federals over the electric sirens any day. Because Fedrals= Fire, Electric=police

    ------------------
    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

  17. #37
    firefighter2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    In my department we have both pagers and a siern. We run fire/mva including medical calls as a first responder. Our siern goes off on the fire/mva tones only via the pager. Medical tones dont set off the alarm. The siern is set to go off 24/7 and at noon everyday as a test. We have had complaints and we said that it still goes off as a secondary system to alert our FEW (9) volunteers that there is a call. Thanks to the siern a couple off weeks ago my pager went wako and didnt go off, and the siern woke me up at 3 AM. Until we get more volunteers in my department in my opinion we have no choice but to keep it going.
    As for lights and siern, during heavy traffic times (thats what most members want) but when I am driving I make sure they are going!!

    ------------------
    This is my opinion only and not of my department

  18. #38
    vollieff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    339HD..........
    Just curiuos if your tought the same things in your area as I am. Not meant to be an attack, just curiuos
    1) We're tought that EVERY call is an ememrgency until otherwise proven. AFA, 1050I's etc. Complacency (spelling??) WILL kill you...Just ask the the FF's in chicago who took an AFA as not an emergency and paid with there lives
    2) Every second DOES count if it does turn out to be an actual emergency. 30 seconds can make the differency between life and death, and property loss. If it takes 2.5 minutes (one of our training films depicted this in a test burn) for a fire to develop from a smoldering cigeret in a chair to a flash over, wouldn't 30 seconds mean alot?
    3) If you don't use full lights and sirens and it turns out to be an emergency. Your liable for alot more than just some residents ****ed at some noise (not to belittle residents).

    Your comments would be appreciated

  19. #39
    391HD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    For volyff;
    Emergency, life threatening?
    You state you are taught(correct spelling) that every call is an emergency until proven otherwise. Do you have the specifics on this, written policy, state law, etc? If so, does this constitute the use of lights and sirens?

    No where did I say to be complacent, are you implying that the chicago firefighters would be alive today if they had used lights and sirens?

    30 seconds CAN make a difference, prove it. Test burns are done under controlled circumstances, so you would defend red light and siren response because of the 2.5 minute flashover from this film? The best firefighter in this scenario is a sprinkler head, proven.
    For life safety, a properly working smoke detector.

    Who exactly is going to be holding you liable if you don't respond red light and siren to an emergency? If for some reason when leaving the station, the warning equipment did not work, would you not respond for fear of being held liable for not getting there in a timely fashion? If responding during a blizzard are red lights and sirens going to get you there any faster to make a difference?
    Sounds like mother nature would have to be held liable in this case if you were 30 seconds too late.

    Again, fire service response to true life-threatening emergencies is the exception rather than the rule, and nothing has been proven that red light, siren response has made ANY positive difference of the outcome in these situations. Therefore, the bulk of responses do not necessitate red light or siren, and if it is truly life-threatening, red lights and siren aren't going to make a difference anyhow.

    So why wake up the entire town, when the alerting device is meant for a small portion of the population, who in fact are responding 9 out of 10 times to a non-emergent situation?

  20. #40
    vollieff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    for 339hd
    actually, yes our policies for fire co.'s, not ambulance is every one is an emergency until otherwise proven. and as for the lights and siren, in my state there is a huge liability on the road for running just lights, I don't agree with it, but that's how it is, if you run lights, your siren must be on, no if ands or butts. If your lights are on and your siren isn't, and someone hits you, you are at fault, not them, I think its stupid, but that's the way it is here.
    As for the false alarms and such, that's why our area sends a line officer or police car to the seen directly and he reports his finding to county who interns reports to us. by the time our trucks are ready to pull out, we ussually know what is going on and respond accordingly. if he sees nothing and it's a AFA, we resond without lights sirens, If he response smoke showing, we go full. Most of our calls that are not emergencies, we are recalled before we leave the station, sometimes in route, but we will not respond without lights and sirens until we know what is going on at the location.
    As far as the chicargo firefighters, I was refering to an incident that happen in an appartment building were someone was setting of the alarm for over 30 times in a short period, they got complacent and used the elevator to the fire floor, when they encountered smoke without haveing there packs on, they got off the elevator except for one guy, he went to the lower floor as he should have and the others tried to pack up, long story short they thought they lost a guy in the smoke and ended up dead. we are taught that complacentcy will kill you in any form.
    On the second piont, yes I do believe that seconds count, In my area running lights and siren gives you that extra 30 seconds that can make a difference in life and proporty. I beleive its better safe than sorry when there isn't any prove EITHER way that lights make a difference.

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