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Thread: Emergency Lights for Vol FF/EMTs

  1. #161
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    Update from Montana. Montana law states that we as FF's or EMT can have a red light but it must be approved by the Chief and the County Sheriff. And you must carry a document that states you are with the said department, that you are authorized to use lights and it must bear the signature of the Chief.

    One of the reasons most departments don't allow it here is because of Worker Comp laws. If you are responding you are responsible for your own actions until you get in a fire truck and start driving it. But if you have a light on your vehicle the department assumes responsibility for you as soon as you turn that light on whether you are responding or not.

    Just too much liability hanging out there to allow most of us to use it. There are a few departments who do use it though.


  2. #162
    Forum Member RangerJake72's Avatar
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    not to put upon anyone who may well have been responding for many years safely with authorized lights and/or siren but I would impress upon everyone to sit through a class of EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course) put on by VFIS, it makes the laws and regulations as well as the uses of lights & sirens much better understood

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    I'm sure this has already been commented on by my fellow Ontarians, however, I'll say it again, the Rule in Ontario is that Volunteers have the ability to attend a call within there own community, district or municipality with a flashing green light (One only!) some departments restrict some of their volunteers or "Paid On Calls" to attend to the station only as accidents have been prone in the past causing serious collisions and in some cases deaths. The Green light as mentioned only one mounted in or on the vehicle (No Lightbars) do not entitle the operator of the vehicle any special consideration and is merely a warning light, they must obey all laws in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act.

  4. #164
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    As a fellow "gander" they do some good. In our response area the lights and siren do move people over. Do we get some "in-duh-viduals" who don't move over. Sure, but that's what PD is for. Give them the plate and have them deal with it.

    10 over is 10 over and that's it and that includes school zones. I personally slow down to actual limit in active school zones because I'm a parent and there are a bunch of people there hen school gets out. Now does it look like I responding in slow motion, yeah, but so what.

    That being said, I have what is required by the state. I am changing out my mini rotator to a mini strobe to increase the visible range and my siren is a hand me down PA300.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottvilleFire View Post
    Please help me understand how these cities allow you to run lights without sirens. That seems like a huge liability issue to me. I think they need to see you and hear you. Michigan states your red/red-white light must be visible from 360 and have active siren when lights on. Also only able to drive 10 over the limit, most traffic in the areas around run that anyway so do they really do you any good.

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    Hey Mark,

    I am also a UT FF and we are looking possibly doing something like this in our city, i am trying to find where it actually says that ut ff;s cant run lights on their povs's all i can find is that it has to be an "emergency vehicle" as designated by the UDPS Commisoner (41-6a-212) So i emailed them and asked and i am still wating for a reply, Plus i am also trying to get in contact with a county commisioner to see waht their thoughts on this are., Thanks

    Adam


    Quote Originally Posted by mark440 View Post
    I did not even think to mention the Firefighter plate here in Utah. It has a 4" X 4" Maltese Cross on the left side of the plate and "Firefighter" along the bottom of the plate. This is the Hottest selling custom plate in the state. You have to be in good standing with the FD for 1 year or a member of the State Firemen's Assc. for 6 months to be eligble to get the plate.

    Since last post there have been no changes in Utah state law about emergency lights on POV's.

    Mark

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    If in doubt - Call us out

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    Default I Wish NJ Laws Were Better

    I live in NJ and I wish the NJ laws were like some other states. I am a volunteer firefighter in a town of approx. 110,000 people in central Jersey. The town is only 33 square miles but getting around can be a b*tch! We are 100% volunteer so if we are delayed getting to the station the truck doesn't get out. The blue lights work and most people move over but some days, especially summer time at the lovely Jersey Shore, a siren would be a huge help. I installed a electronic air horn from Galls, which is legal, and it has made a world of difference. Stay Safe

  7. #167
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    In my part of louisiana if your dept allows lights it has to be a combination of red and any color except blue some dept alow sirens some dont but overall most do. The main thing is you most have a 360 view of lights otherwise some state troppers will give tickets also no volunteer ems orginizations in this area.

  8. #168
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VolFirePaidEMS1 View Post
    I live in NJ and I wish the NJ laws were like some other states. I am a volunteer firefighter in a town of approx. 110,000 people in central Jersey. The town is only 33 square miles but getting around can be a b*tch! We are 100% volunteer so if we are delayed getting to the station the truck doesn't get out. The blue lights work and most people move over but some days, especially summer time at the lovely Jersey Shore, a siren would be a huge help. I installed a electronic air horn from Galls, which is legal, and it has made a world of difference. Stay Safe
    Volunteers in NJ can have an air horn in their POV's? I never knew that.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by VolFirePaidEMS1 View Post
    I live in NJ and I wish the NJ laws were like some other states. I am a volunteer firefighter in a town of approx. 110,000 people in central Jersey. The town is only 33 square miles but getting around can be a b*tch! We are 100% volunteer so if we are delayed getting to the station the truck doesn't get out. The blue lights work and most people move over but some days, especially summer time at the lovely Jersey Shore, a siren would be a huge help. I installed a electronic air horn from Galls, which is legal, and it has made a world of difference. Stay Safe
    110,000??? Are you sh**ting me???

    I know places smaller than that who are full time.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

  10. #170
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    i think all the states should be the same light laws...

    maybe..

    Blue = Fed
    Red = FD
    Blue/Red = PD

    i dunno.. lol it just seems kind of annoying when your a VF in NY and go out of state and would get in trouble for having a blue light in Maryland or another state because there light laws are different.

  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by PineyPower View Post
    Volunteers in NJ can have an air horn in their POV's? I never knew that.
    He said electronic air horn, it comes on some sirens (most I thought). Sounds like an electronic fart. It doesn't move people any better for me.

  12. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by edge1317 View Post
    He said electronic air horn, it comes on some sirens (most I thought). Sounds like an electronic fart. It doesn't move people any better for me.
    I'm not a fan of this. In fact, i'm sure it's not legal.

    I'm not going to do the research, i'll just give you my opinion, so ignore if you like.

    It's not a regular automobile horn, so what is it? I would suggest it's an audible warning and would be considered a siren by law enforcement. So, you would need a permit for that.

    Even if it were considered an automobile horn, then I don't think it's legal to drive down the street honking your horn in such a fashion.

    All that aside, as a 22 year volunteer firefighter in NJ, I can tell you it really won't help all that much. Sure, it might clear cars, but getting to the station it won't make much difference timewise.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  13. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    All that aside, as a 22 year volunteer firefighter in NJ, I can tell you it really won't help all that much. Sure, it might clear cars, but getting to the station it won't make much difference timewise.
    Chief,
    This plays into a lot of research I have done for our ambulance service on whether or not to run lights on every single call with the ambulance. My suggestion was to only run lights on true emergent calls. Research indicated that on average running lights and sirens on an ambulance saved around 40 seconds per run. 40 seconds with a clearly marked ambulance. If you are in a POV with an obnoxious sounding horn, how much time are you really going to save anyway.

  14. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I'm not a fan of this. In fact, i'm sure it's not legal.

    I'm not going to do the research, i'll just give you my opinion, so ignore if you like.

    It's not a regular automobile horn, so what is it? I would suggest it's an audible warning and would be considered a siren by law enforcement. So, you would need a permit for that.

    I wasn't able to find it in the quick search I just did, but I believe I have read somewhere that they define siren as an electronically produced wavering tone, where as the electric air horn is a non-wavering single tone and therefore isnt technically considered a siren. Like I said im not 100% on this, but I do have one installed in my car and it does help.
    NJ FFII/EMT-B

  15. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaytallica45 View Post
    I wasn't able to find it in the quick search I just did, but I believe I have read somewhere that they define siren as an electronically produced wavering tone, where as the electric air horn is a non-wavering single tone and therefore isnt technically considered a siren. Like I said im not 100% on this, but I do have one installed in my car and it does help.
    Fair enough... like I said I didn't research this. Can you also say that it is considered a legal automobile horn? Also, is it legal to use an automobile horn in this fashion?

    Also, something that always concerned me.

    You have a call. 40 firefighters and maybe a handful of EMT's are going to their POV's and putting on blue lights (and in your case, using a loud audible signal) and driving to the firehouse. Then you have whatever number of fire, police, and ems vehicles also trying to find their way through traffic.

    At least with just using the blue light, the audible warnings are reserved for the marked units (with PD being the exception) and you eliminate some of the confusion over which vehicles other drivers expect to go through red lights, etc.

    Even with the blue light, I've found that drivers are confused and don't always know what to do.

    I don't know, just seems like a lot of chaos and noise for a fire alarm.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  16. #176
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Fair enough... like I said I didn't research this. Can you also say that it is considered a legal automobile horn? Also, is it legal to use an automobile horn in this fashion?

    Also, something that always concerned me.

    You have a call. 40 firefighters and maybe a handful of EMT's are going to their POV's and putting on blue lights (and in your case, using a loud audible signal) and driving to the firehouse. Then you have whatever number of fire, police, and ems vehicles also trying to find their way through traffic.

    At least with just using the blue light, the audible warnings are reserved for the marked units (with PD being the exception) and you eliminate some of the confusion over which vehicles other drivers expect to go through red lights, etc.

    Even with the blue light, I've found that drivers are confused and don't always know what to do.

    I don't know, just seems like a lot of chaos and noise for a fire alarm.
    Yeah, I try not to use my blue light when I don't have to because in my town it creates more of a hazard now because of all the road work and construction going on with two schools being in between my house and my firehouse so whenever it's like a CO Alarm or something not as important as like a structure fire I don't use it. A lot of people don't even move anyway so there's no point in using it if there's people that you will follow all the way to the firehouse and won't budge.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

  17. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Fair enough... like I said I didn't research this. Can you also say that it is considered a legal automobile horn? Also, is it legal to use an automobile horn in this fashion?

    Also, something that always concerned me.

    You have a call. 40 firefighters and maybe a handful of EMT's are going to their POV's and putting on blue lights (and in your case, using a loud audible signal) and driving to the firehouse. Then you have whatever number of fire, police, and ems vehicles also trying to find their way through traffic.

    At least with just using the blue light, the audible warnings are reserved for the marked units (with PD being the exception) and you eliminate some of the confusion over which vehicles other drivers expect to go through red lights, etc.

    Even with the blue light, I've found that drivers are confused and don't always know what to do.

    I don't know, just seems like a lot of chaos and noise for a fire alarm.
    In terms of it being considered a legal automobile horn, the only way I can think of that would make it not legal is the volume level of an electric air horn compared to a regular car horn.

    With your scenario about FF's/EMT's responding and confusing the drivers when it comes to marked units, I guess it is a possibility, but in my area atleast, we have such a large district that its not likely that the same drivers that may have yielded to members in their POV's will come in contact with our rigs. The other side of this is that I have noticed that adding the electric air horn "convinced" some drivers who werent sure if they wanted to yield or not, maybe because when they hear a horn they associate that with a marked unit and realize they need to yield.
    NJ FFII/EMT-B

  18. #178
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Well, in NJ as you probably know, a blue light is only a "courtesy" and nothing else. No one HAS to do anything for you whether we like them to or not. It is there solely for the purpose of letting the public know that you are a volunteer responding to a call and they have a choice to either kindly move over and let us pass so that we may get to the firehouse a little quicker or they can stay put and you can't do a thing about it.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

  19. #179
    Forum Member Slaytallica45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PineyPower View Post
    Well, in NJ as you probably know, a blue light is only a "courtesy" and nothing else. No one HAS to do anything for you whether we like them to or not. It is there solely for the purpose of letting the public know that you are a volunteer responding to a call and they have a choice to either kindly move over and let us pass so that we may get to the firehouse a little quicker or they can stay put and you can't do a thing about it.
    This is also part of the problem in NJ, NJ changed their blue lights from being "courtesy" to an emergency light (meaning drivers have to yield) in 2005. How can we expect drivers to know that they now legally have to yield when 90% of our FF's or EMT's dont even know that they changed the law.


    If you dont believe me here is the amended blue light law directlty from the New Jersey Statutes:

    N.J.S.A. 39:3-54.12
    39:3-54.12 Rights of motor vehicle with emergency lights in operation.

    6. Nothing contained herein is intended to grant to any member of a volunteer fire company, a volunteer first aid or rescue squad or a volunteer Office of Emergency Management any privileges or exemptions denied to the drivers of other vehicles, and such members operating emergency warning lights shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and shall obey all the traffic laws of this State including R.S.39:4-81, provided, however, that the drivers of non-emergency vehicles upon any highway shall yield the right of way to the vehicle of any member of a volunteer fire company, a volunteer first aid or rescue squad or a volunteer Office of Emergency Management operating emergency warning lights in the same manner as is provided for authorized emergency vehicles pursuant to R.S.39:4-92.

    L.1977,c.223,s.6; amended 2005, c.34, s.4; 2005, c.218, s.5.
    NJ FFII/EMT-B

  20. #180
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Wow. You are 200% right. I never even heard a thing about it even being considered to be changed let alone it was changed. I'm very glad that someone brought that up. It's actually pretty bad that my own Fire Academy Coordinator and County Fire Marshal didn't even know of the change.

    Nevermind, Google does wonders.
    Last edited by PineyPower; 05-14-2008 at 10:36 PM.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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