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Thread: Emergency Lights for Vol FF/EMTs

  1. #21
    jj1967
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    A problem with universal lighting standards is that in states (ie Rhode Island) where unions (ie IAFF) have a great pull on the state legislature. FF don't have lights in RI. Only chiefs, and it requires a state issued permit. Every time anyone trys to change the law the locals in the three big cities get it squashed. You know we scabs stealing food off the table of union brothers. Other states I've been in this isn't a problem. In NC I was on a department where half our line officers were full time FF in the adjoining city and one of our FF was a city Battalion Chief. We got along well with the city department and were on the first alarm in all the neighborhoods where we bordered the city. In fact if I was the officer on the first in engine, the city officer who arrived next usually asked if I wanted to remain the IC.


  2. #22
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    Well, well, well... I think we have stumbled onto something here folks.... I wonder if some nationally known fire related magazine we are familiar with could take on such a project as finding contributors in all 50 states and providing its readers with a survey on Emergency Lights for Volunteers??? (Hmmm.. FIREHOUSE maybe??? - Hello Moderator!).

    As for the laws in Ohio, in order to operate your personal vehicle as a public safety vehicle for volunteer fire or rescue (EMS is not yet the term in our laws), you must have a flashing red light that is visable to the front of the vehicle to a certain distance and an audible siren, bell or exhaust whistle (yep, that is what the code says) that can be heard to a specific distance to the front of the vehicle. White (clear) lights are not restricted to any specific public safety service. The Fire Chief (or designee) must inspect the vehicle annually. The inspection included the typical safety checks of lights, brakes, etc and also verification of insurance. An inspection list is submitted to the State Fire Marshal who issues a numbered permit sticker. This annual sticker must be affixed to the lower passenger windshield to the inside of a standard maltese cross decal that is also provided through the Fire Marshal's Office. No additional requirements for insurance.

    Now, on the dilemma DC26 had in West Virginia.. in Ohio, you can run whatever color of lights you feel like on your car as long as it is NOT in motion on a public highway. All of the sections restricting light and siren use begin with, "no person shall operate...". A parked vehicle at an accident scene is not in operation. I guess these laws are different in other states.

    Finally, on the powerful union state issue... it is interesting that ALL other items of light use on motor vehicles is done according to a national standard. Otherwise, all tail lights would not be red and all head lights would not be located on the extreme ends of the front of the vehicle. To be honest, I am surprised that a national standard has not been applied to emergency lighting by now. By pushing for a national standard, you no longer have to deal with the local politics and then perhaps the needs of the many can be realized over the needs of the few.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  3. #23
    pfpchief
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    in nj blue lights for emts and ff . only the chief and first assistant can have red lights. you need a state issued permit to use either . there are very specific rules about light placement but they are generaly ingnored.you are only supposed to run the lights one town over when you respond. they also give you no special privledges to disreguard traffic rules.

  4. #24
    Philip C
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Interesting topic. This is ALOT more complicated than I imagined. To the best of my knowledge, in MD, volunteers are not allowed to use lights/sirens in pov's. I've been told many police agencies felt the privelege would be abused and light colors couldn't be agreed on. In the Baltimore/DC metro area, most stations usually have crews around the clock (vol,paid or combo), so home response isn't necessary. If anything, members go to their station and get more pieces to the scene or standby for additional calls. Take care and be safe.

    ------------------
    Phil Clinard
    Laurel VFD
    Prince George's Co Sta 10
    Laurel, MD
    www.laurelvfd.org

  5. #25
    SRFD3114
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    In Illinois it is a Blue light. There are no special privelages for running these lights, as stated above this is a courtesy light.

  6. #26
    20-40
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In West Virginia it it Red/White for FD and Blue/White for EMS (POV Only.) Police are the only permanent emergency vehicles that have blue (blue/red), firetrucks & EMS rigs all have red and white.

  7. #27
    fireman703
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here in Washington the only light I know of is green for Vol. FF. Dash or roof mounted. No special priveledges, only a courtesy request. I know of no one who uses lights in POV's any more. I have tried to use one, but due to the public having no exposure to green lights they did not respond in any way.

  8. #28
    TommyB
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As one of the earlier posters said, here in NC it's red for vol ff & rescue. As in several other states, this is a "courtesy" light only. Don't want to get into the debate of whether or not these should be allowed, but my feeling is that in areas served by volunteer depts, you already have the built in delay of responding from wherever you're at to the station or direct to scene, so I would like to see the red lights used by vollies recognized as that of an emergency vehicle with all attendant rights and responsibilities.
    Sirens for chief and asst chief only in NC. Also, what type of light(s) you use are up to the dept. Some depts allow anything, and some of their folks have POV's lit up so much it looks like a 747 is landing behind you. I've seen some POVs in our county with lightbar, grill flashers, corner strobes, etc. Looks a little ridiculous in my opinion. Most guys just have a dashlight of some type.

  9. #29
    Preston
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Alabama law states that you cannot operate any emergency light on any POV unless parked.
    Pretty stupid in a state that has over 80% volunteer.

  10. #30
    Aerial 131
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In Washington it must be a fix (no stobe or flashing) GREEN light in the grill no more than 30? inches about the ground. You must still obey all rules of the road and drive in a safe normal manner to the station or the call. It is written up in the RCW (Revised Codes of Wahington) In my volunteer department hardly anyone uses them any more due to amount of vehicle traffic and stop signals we have to move through. I get there just as fast as now as I did 20 years ago when I did use one.

    Don Zimmerman

  11. #31
    RyanT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Just wanted to comment on NY's laws. Legally the blue or green light can only be 32 Candle Power (same "intensity" as a parking light)

    I'm only 999,968 off!

    ------------------
    -
    Ryan Tourge
    1st Lieutenant
    Chestertown Vol. Fire Company
    Chestertown, NY

  12. #32
    Dr. Law
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Illinois VFD and Ambulance Vols

    Blue Lights Only, Of whatever variety and how many you want them. Strobes, beacons, flashers, whatever. It is also suggested that when visiting Chicago you take your light down as the CPD used blue for the longest time on their squads and were very proprietary about that color.
    Used to be that Chiefs could use red lights.
    No more.
    (Also used to be that all vols could have sirens, but that is also no more the case)
    Prior law provided that the blue light had to be mounted behind the front seat, so most used to have them in the rear window. This was dropped somewhere in the 70's or 80's.
    Some places however, aided by a blind-eye of local law enforcement, have been using blue and white in lightbars and such. This however, is rare and only in a few select places.
    By the way, having used many dashlights in my career, from flashing spotlight (Able2) dashlights to teardrop (Fed and SVP), to pancake (S&W) to mirrored lights (Fed and SVP) and strobes (Whelen), I find that the one that has done the best for me in clearing traffic is the Federal Magna-beam, the oscillating version of the Fed Fire-Beam (and I am not doing this as an advertisement but because I see the people do pull over for me from a distance using just that one light).

  13. #33
    Dr. Law
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Illinois VFD and Ambulance Vols

    Blue Lights Only, Of whatever variety and how many you want them. Strobes, beacons, flashers, whatever. It is also suggested that when visiting Chicago you take your light down as the CPD used blue for the longest time on their squads and were very proprietary about that color.
    Used to be that Chiefs could use red lights.
    No more.
    (Also used to be that all vols could have sirens, but that is also no more the case)
    Prior law provided that the blue light had to be mounted behind the front seat, so most used to have them in the rear window. This was dropped somewhere in the 70's or 80's.
    Some places however, aided by a blind-eye of local law enforcement, have been using blue and white in lightbars and such. This however, is rare and only in a few select places.
    By the way, having used many dashlights in my career, from flashing spotlight (Able2) dashlights to teardrop (Fed and SVP), to pancake (S&W) to mirrored lights (Fed and SVP) and strobes (Whelen), I find that the one that has done the best for me in clearing traffic is the Federal Magna-beam, the oscillating version of the Fed Fire-Beam (and I am not doing this as an advertisement but because I see the people do pull over for me from a distance using just that one light).

  14. #34
    GBordas
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    MA - Red, Dashboard mounted, Wig-Wag headlights permitted also. No Siren



    [This message has been edited by GBordas (edited 01-12-2001).]

  15. #35
    FireRsq107
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Preston
    Hollins Alabama
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alabama law states that you cannot operate any emergency light on any POV unless parked.
    Pretty stupid in a state that has over 80% volunteer.

    Very true Preston but.......

    If your VFD is in a mulnicipality, the police chief can give you permission to use emergency lights while moving, our chief allows us to use hideaway strobes and wig-wag headlights on our vehicles.


    ------------------
    Andrew Coe
    Green Pond Fire & Rescue Service.

  16. #36
    sgfd
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    State of Wisconsin trucks and ambulances red and or red/white. P.O.V.'s same siren also. Trucks can use green and blue when parked off-road. This is used to identify the command post.

  17. #37
    APG1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Anyone know if wigwags are legal in the state of IL? I've never been able to get a definitive answer (Or a look at the state vehicle code).

  18. #38
    Dr. Law
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    In Illinois, wig-wag or flashing headlights are still illegal for anything but the police cars and fire-trucks or ambulances.
    However, a new twist, some funeral homes are using them (Only the hardest-butt Trooper will stop a funeral procession, I guess)

  19. #39
    vollieff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Just a thought for you all wanting standard lighting laws for vollies (which I do agree with, but...). I think I am correct in stating that most states, let alone counties run different color schemes for there emergency (police, etc.) vehicles. So we would have to have an entire emergency lighting policy for police, ambulance, fire trucks, fire police, and Emt/FF's for the entire country. It would be great, but most polititions (at national level) can't even agree on funding, mutual aid, and fire taxes for vollie depts let alone trying to get all of us to one light scheme. Some believe we shouldn't be running lights at all. Besides people have a hard enough time just getting out of the way of a fire truck responding let alone changing lighting schemes.

    Just a thought, would like any thoughts please.

  20. #40
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Smile

    Standard lighting "laws" would not be the logical place to start. vollieff is correct in stating that the politicians wouldn't be able to address such an issue. The more reaonable approach is as I stated before, the NFPA or NVFC or some other "recognized" organization needs to create a set "standard" for emergency lighting on personal vehicles. THEN, using that standard as a lever, the politicians can painlessly accomplish what is really needed.

    Of course, I will probably not live long enough to see this happen. I have seen no interest shown here from the Moderators in making this an issue for FIREHOUSE to attempt to get nationwide statistics on. I think that would be the best FIRST step in the process...

    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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