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Thread: Emergency Lights for Vol FF/EMTs

  1. #1
    fyrgeek
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Emergency Lights for Vol FF/EMTs

    I wanted to ask this question to all the vol FF/EMTs out there. I am curious what your state allows you to utilize in your private vehicle in response to emergencies. I have volunteered in a couple of different states and have responded with and without lights due to dept policies. I would enjoy hearing from as many as possible. I know some information on a couple of states if I make a mistake please reply.

    Indiana FF=Blue/No Siren EMS=Green/No Siren
    Montana FF/EMS= Red/No Siren
    Alaska FF/EMS= Blue/No Siren

    Texas FF= Red or Red and Blue/ with Siren
    Nebraska FF= Red and Blue/ with Siren
    Vermont FF/EMS Red/ with Siren
    Ohio FF= Red/ with Siren
    Michigan FF= Red/ with Siren
    Washington FF= Green? Old info, do you guys still use green and how is it utilized?

    ------------------
    Dennis Kuritz
    Firefighter/EMT
    North Star VFD

  2. #2
    JMP17
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Hello my Brother from the great white north!
    Here in Connecticut it's blue lights for fire/ems, red with sirens for Chief Officers only.
    Stay safe & stay warm!!!!
    JMP17

  3. #3
    Whip
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    JMP17,
    Just a little tidbit, for EMS only services they use a green light.
    Hey nice pants.



    ------------------
    Stay Safe.

    Lt. Whip FSI/EMT
    Ledyard CT FD

  4. #4
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    No such thing as Lights & Sirens for POV's in the Great state of Utah.

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  5. #5
    jj1967
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In North Carolina it's red/white lights for FF and Chiefs, sirens for Chiefs only.

  6. #6
    FirefighterReed
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In TN it is like this

    FF/EMS= red & white or just red/siren

    ------------------
    Find em hot......Leave em wet...

    Fire Fighters job is never done

  7. #7
    fyrgeek
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thanks guys for your replies. F-61 thanks for the reply on e-mail. I don't want this topic to turn into a should we run them or not post. I feel we should however there are others that don't. There are other issues that we could argue about. I appreciate the replies. Keep the answers coming. BTW what are "courtesy lights", I take it that you are not allowed to violate any traffic laws and are just "asking" for the right of way, not required to move out of the way? Have a great weekend and a safe week!

    ------------------
    Dennis Kuritz
    Firefighter/EMT
    North Star VFD

  8. #8
    Truck#109
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Smile


    Ontario allows green lights only for POV's
    There are also personalized license plates with the maltese cross available for firefighters.

    ------------------
    Play Safe!

  9. #9
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Woops...

    [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited July 24, 2000).]

  10. #10
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    You almost have Ohio right... we can use Red lights or Red & White lights. Either way, if you have emergency lights, you MUST have a siren and it MUST be in operations when you use your lights in order to be in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
    MGFDcf2 likes this.

  11. #11
    bob1350
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In Colorado only red or red/clear. Must be mounted on top of vehicle and visible 360 degrees. You can also use grill strobes and wig wags. Nothing on the rear and you can't use your flashers when responding.

  12. #12
    vollieff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    fyrgeek..
    Here in Pa, they are blue for FF, Red with sirens for line officers. Yes the FF lights are courtesy lights that do not allow any laws to be broken, the person may yield the right of way to you, but not at a traffic light. FF's one light with 360 degree visibility, no wig wags or grill or dash lights are legal, but dash lights are tolorated around my area. Reds W/siren are allowed to go through red lights, with due caution. Hope this helped

  13. #13
    fireater
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    In the great state of IOWA we get Firefighter plates that are different from our reg. plates if we want and then ff gets blue lights and EMS get clear/white lights, and (head light flashers i belive) and if you are both you can have a clear and blue lights

    ------------------
    Stay Safe and remember to put the wet stuff on the red stuff

  14. #14
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    This is an interesting thread to follow. I have to wonder what the logic is of law makers sometimes. Some states demand lights above the roof line, others prohibit it. Some only allow dash lights, other states don't allow it. Some permit sirens only for officers, other require them for anyone wishing to install lights. IMHO, using a personal vehicle for an emergency response makes it even more necessary to be creative in your warning systems since the lights and sirens are all that will identify you as a public safety vehicle in response. Most volunteers do not have reflective striping and recognized color schemes to aid in this. I wonder if the NVFC or NFPA have considered addressing this as a national standard issue?

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

  15. #15
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    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

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  16. #16
    DFDRev
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Michigan colors as I understand them:
    FF/EMS = Red (or red/white)
    Only PD can use blue
    Green light is for HAZ-MAT I/C

    Siren must be used when moving.

    A new color being used is PURPLE for hearses. It's funny to see people pulling over thinking a PD unit is coming at them (many hearses use wig-wags as well).

  17. #17
    killian418
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here in NY. it is red lights for Chiefs, blue for vol. firefighters, and green for ems personal. Most ems personal us Blue becaus they are responding to the fd for the mes call.

  18. #18
    BillEMTff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Here in NY Fire Chiefs run red lightes and sirens, firefighters run blue lights (supose to be 1 rotating blue visable 360degrees) though this is not inforced so some run full size bar lights (rotating or strobe) some just run dash lights(not visible 360) some, like myself, run mini-bar lights, myself strobe, others rotating. EMS run green lights same rules as blue. It's been brought to may attention that EMTs, or higher, can run reds and siren if they respond primarily to the scene. I'm not to sure if this is correct? If anyone else knows the facts please feel free to correct me.

    Thanks.

    "Fire Department From HELL"

  19. #19
    Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Roswell, GA, USA
    Posts
    58

    Lightbulb

    What's most interesting to me is that there are so many different laws in these "United" States. There are stories of fire fighters crossing state lines with what's legal in their state and getting tickets for simply having the lights on their POV (with the correct license plate from the home state).

    I look forward for the day when all 50 states might have a unified color scheme. Perhaps NFPA or IFSTA or NVFC or ANYONE could do a definitive survey of what's being used, what's allowed, and how, and come up with the majority results, and we ALL switch to that. Give a reasonable time frame to make the switch (should be primarily swapping lens colors in most cases).

    In Texas, your POV is considered an emergency vehicle when the FF/EMT is responding to an emergency. In Pennsylvania, (excepting chief officers) the blue courtesy light denotes that your house on fire is not an emergency until the FFs get to the fire station and board the engine with the red lights and siren.

    I've lived in a few states (job moves) and have seen many of these changes and differences that many have spoken of. I remember late one foggy night on an interstate in West Virginia coming up on a car in the median crashed into a bridge. As I exited my car which was parked along the road in the median, it occured to me that a half-asleep driver, upon seeing just my flashing vehicle lights, might swerve to the left, thinking I was on the berm. So, aware that blue was PD in WV, but more concerned with not getting hit by a truck, I place my blue light on my roof. There was a fair amount of blood in the car, but no driver or passenger. Gathering others who stopped, we started a search for the possible victims.

    Not too long after, a sheriff pulled onto the scene. I went over to him to pass on what I had done and seen, and to let him know we hadn't found the victim yet. All he wanted to know was whose car had the blue light. Bear in mind that we were less than 50 miles from the PA border. I said it was mine, and had to produce my FD ID and EMT license. He actually didn't care (his words) about the crash victim; he was more concerned about the blue light, even after I told him my reasoning and concerns for safety.

    If a sheriff 50 miles from a different set of light laws had no clue, what about others?

    I would love to see our states get united about emergency light laws. Treat all emergency responders as EMERGENCY responders. Have requirements that keep things under control, like EVOC and actual testing to show understanding of the responsibilities of "running hot". But let's see if we could get united on this.

    ------------------
    Rick Reed
    Do it right, do it safely, do it once.

  20. #20
    fyrgeek
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thanks again for the info everyone. MetalMedic you have a good point, it is interesting to see what the different states have to offer in the way volunteers can respond. 26DC thanks for your replies also. I really hope to hear some more answers to my questions. MetalMedic/26DC how strict is your state licensing (registration) for your POV to become an emergency vehicle? Also, does your dept or the state require additional insurance for your vehicle?

    Take Care!

    ------------------
    Dennis Kuritz
    Firefighter/EMT
    North Star VFD

  21. #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.

  22. #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.

  23. #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.

  24. #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

  25. #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.

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