1. #1
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    Question Courtesy Lights Or Right Of Way??

    Here in Indiana we run blue lights which are defined as "courtesy lights". While they are activated we are requesting the right of way. Other drivers may, or may not yield the right of way to us.

    What do you have in your states? How does it affect your response times? Problems with law enforcement? Anyone have sirens on their pov's?
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    Default New York

    Here in New York we run blue lights (courtesy lights) and chiefs run red lights. The blue lights are just that courtes lights and grant no special treatment whatsoever. The red lights gran the chiefs as much as 10 mph over the speed limit but with due caution. Nobody in our department has a siren on the pov and nobody in this whole distrcit that I know of because in a way I think it is just rediculous to go out and have a siren. However, I do know of some departments that have sirens for their chiefs. But only chiefs can run sirens anyway.s
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
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    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

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    Here in Mass in povs they are courtesy lights and you must have a red light permit from the registry of motor vehicles to legally run them.
    Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

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    Default NY state

    Here in NY we volunteers area allowed ot run blue lights, as courtesy lights also. However they must have a bluelight card issued to them by the chief of the department, so it is basically his discretion weather u get to run one or not. Also the chiefs are allowed to run red lights and sirens as well. With the reds u are given all rights that a emergency vehichle has when they are running. A EMT can also be given the right to run a red light with a siren if they meet certtain state requirements, not sure exactly what those are. ONe other thing to note the NYS law for blue lights basically says that they must consist of one lense, and not be over a a certain candle power, point of interest here most lights on the market are illeagle in NYS by the candle power definition.

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    In Texas, Volunteer FFs may use emergency equipment on their POVs, subject to the approval of their Chief. They must have lights and siren to be legal. A POV with lights and siren has the same rights and responsibilities as a fire truck, ambulance or police car. People can be ticketed for failing to yield right of way to a POV w/ lights & siren.

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    We are allowed to run red lights and sirens on my department in Michigan. Our vehicles are regestered with the State Police. We operate under a written Michigan Law Act 300, P.A.1949- Michigan Vehicle Code Sec.2.





    Stay Safe

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    In Ohio we are allowed red and white lights and sirens. A POV of a Volunteer FF is classified as an emergency vehicle. All vehicles must be registered with the State Fire Marshall. We are allowed to disregard all traffic laws but must operate with due regard for other's safety. My department gets specific in our SOGs and states that on dry roads and good visibility, you may exceed the posted speed limit by no more than 10 mph. In less than perfect weather conditions and especially in school zones, we must obey the posted speed limit. This applies to apparatus as well as POVs. We also have to come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs and ensure that all other vehicles are yielding. The officers are very strict and will make you remove your lights and siren if you are operating wrecklessly.


    Do lights and sirens help improve response time? In alot of instances, yes.

    Do they have the potential to be abused by whackers? Most definetely


    It all comes down to the maturity of the individual.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Default NJ Blue light laws

    Here in NJ, volunteers are supposed to follow the statutes written circa 1973, based on the only light available to firefighters at the time. Our blue lights are courtesy lights, but chiefs may have red lights and sirens after re-registering their pov's as an emergency vehicle. We cannot have anything over 51 candlepower, and the lights must be mounted in specific spots on the vehicle. Like many states, a permit is required, although I know no one who has one. Knowing how out-dated these laws are allows us to get away with what we have

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    In PA we are allowed blue lights as courtest lights only. Chiefs (fire and ambulance) are allowed red lights (and sirens I believe). Of course what you are allowed, and what people have (considering, like NJ, how outdated these laws are) are often pretty different.

    Oh, and as far as response times, for me it doesn't really effect them that much. People either yield or they don't. Half the time when they yield they just cause more problems (i.e., blocking half the road on a blind turn). For this reason, I often run without any lights at all, except maybe at intersections. I look at it this way: people don't even move for the trucks with all their lights, sirens and air horns, so I am no longer surprised when they don't move for my car with its little dome light.
    Last edited by BucksEngine78; 02-22-2002 at 12:46 PM.

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    in South Carolina POV's are considered Emergency Vehicles. We are not required to register as Emergency Vehicles. POV's can have Red/Clear lights and siren.

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    PA allows red lights and sirens for fire chief and two assistants, and EMS chief and assistant. The rest of us peons get blue, which are courtesy lights only.

    Kind of off topic, but does anyone have any experience with blue LED lights? Any comments, praises, b*tches, etc, about them???

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    Arrow Ga Light Laws

    Here in Georgia the State law is that Red lights Allow you no more than 10 MPH over the Speed limit. But you Must Exercise Due Care. GA law Requires that You have a Siren in order to have Red light and You must obtain a Red light Permit from the Georgia State Patrol. ( Red light Permit Application must be Signed by your Chief, Have a Letter from your Department stating why you need the lights, And a Detailed Description of the Vehicle that lights are going to be used on.) The Permit is issued to the vehicle and not to the Individual. I use a red Visor light, a Red Rotator, and two Red LEDs, And a Whelen Siren. As for response times....I think it varies depending on traffic conditions and the other Drivers Awareness. And I have had a Run in with the law I was stopped because I was in a different county than my department was in. My department sat on the border and I was 7 miles away. I was Arrested for Reckless Driving. Case was dismissed when it went to court.
    C.M. Baker
    Georgia

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    In Illinois volunteers are allowed to use blue flashing,oscillating,or rotating lights in combination with wig-wag headlights. These are courtesy lights only and give us no special traffic rights. As far as problems with Law enforcement, it is relatively non-existant. Most of the police know if their town is volunteer and listen for calls. As long as we don't abuse the lights they will leave us alone, and sometimes even block the intersections for us.

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    I used to volunteer in Virginia and we used red. honestly...Mine got me in more trouble than it was worth. In the last years there, I hardly used mine. You are "asking" people to let you buy. They DO NOT HAVE TO MOVE. It gives you no right of way and no authorization to break any law. They are a magnet for police officers who have a bone for fire departments and they are an accident waiting to happen.

    In florida, you have to have a permit issued by your chief to have one and you have to sign saying you understand all the restrictions.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Default lights

    Nj is the armpit of everything related to the emergency services. like mentioned above by another nj brother, the laws are so old i dont even think they make a 51 candlepower light anymore. nonetheless some people have a simple dash light or have full on strobes and whatnot...(myself included, it looks cool but i do regret it at times...) i do recall seeing in nj law somewhere that pov's are to be given the right of way in the same manner of that of an emergency vehicle, but we arent allowed to speed, run red lights, etc... whether or not anyone actually abides by that....i think we all know the answer...

    EMT135864- i have a blue whelen dashking single blue LED. thing works great, but they are more expensive than red LEDs b/c of the production costs of the blue led itself
    Chris Kerrigan
    ILiveInACage@aol.com
    FireFighter/EMT/HazMat Tech

    New Milford Vol. Fire Dept Company #2
    New Milford,NJ

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    Yes, I know they are much more expensive than traditional strobe or halogen lights. I have found reasonably priced blue ones on sirennet.com and southwestpublicsafety.com. I was wondering if they are effective in moving traffic, compared to a strobe or halogen light. Are they alone recognized well by the normal motorist, since they are relatively new to the market??

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    Exclamation LEDS

    The problem I have noticed with the LED lights is that they are very Directional. They are Awesome in the Direction they are aimed, And I mean Only in the Direction they are aimed. If you are a little Above, Below, Or to the Side, The are very Ineffective. I Currently use mine as Deck Lights on the Back
    C.M. Baker
    Georgia

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    Default LEDs

    The LED works great directly to the front and off center by a bit. i also have other things that flash that make up for it. but the LED when ive used it by itself has done amazingly, day and night.
    Chris Kerrigan
    ILiveInACage@aol.com
    FireFighter/EMT/HazMat Tech

    New Milford Vol. Fire Dept Company #2
    New Milford,NJ

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    Default LED Lights

    I recently purchased a 911EP (www.911ep.com) LS-15 Dashlight. It's tiny, slim, but my god... I swear I'm going to burn out someone's retinas with it. If you haven't seen one of these in action, you should. It's the newest form of LED lighting, out doing Code3's LED-X and FedSigs junk. It's LED, but strobe. Very very cool. I love it. Great place for good prices is www.emergencyvehiclesolutions.com.

    They're even awesome from a 75 degree angle. I love mine.

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    Default

    You guys in the US are lucky. Here in Australia, volunteer firefighters are not permitted in any of the states and territories to use lights and sirens on their private vehicles. This can make for some very delayed responses to the fire station at peak times on the roads in larger towns and cities.

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    Default LEDs

    ESDA-20: Emergency Vehicle Solutions had 2 types of blue LS15's listed... one is blue and one is "premium blue". The premium blue is significantly more expensive. Do you (or anyone else who wants to jump in) know the difference between these two??

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    Default Blues!

    The standard blue is the orginal blue made by 911EP @ about 11 lumens, compared to the red @ 21 lumens.

    The premium blue is newer, with a blue @ 19 lumens.

    The difference is, the standard blue appears whiter at longer distances, compared to the prem. blue, which holds it's color.

    911EP is phasing out the standard blue by this summer, and the only thing you will be able to get is the premium blue.

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    Default emergency lights

    Here in R.I., volunteers are allowee to use red lights, no siren, except for chiefs and deputies. You must attend a training class put on by the state fire academy, have permision from your dept's chief, and the lights must be owned by the dept. Except for chiefs and deputies, lights are to be at dash height or lower. There is also periodic retraining required.

    Next let's talk about practicality. Ever see a civilian panic and do the wrong thing when a fire truck, police car or ambulance comes up behind them unexpectedly? Most of us have seen them do anything from ignore them to lock up on the brakes and stop dead in the lane of travel. Imagine the utter confusion as a volunteer dept approaches a scene, along with the usual police cruiser and ambulance. We're talking three to six emergency vehicles and who knows how many POV's times the number of lighting devices in each. There could literally be hundreds of warning devices competing for attention and right of way. If not careful this could be more of a disaster or circus than an organized response.

    The key point has already been mentioned by a couple of other respondents. Due Regard. In most states, with special priveliges for emergency vehicles or not, if you insist on taking the right of way and there are bad results(i.e. an accident), the emergency vehicle operator will be found guilty if he/she was grosly negligent and did not exercise due regard for the motoring public. It is absolutely necessary that all emergency vehicle operators perform their duties in a manner that is safe for the passengers they are responsible for and for the general public that they are supposed to be serving.

    What I stated above applies to genuine emergency vehicles. There is generally even less leniency with POV's. Irecommend that every emergency worker, paid, call or volunteer, attend an EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course). It may open a few eyes. The warning devices really don't gain you much time, and worse yet, if you are involved in an accident, you become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

    In this day and age of stressing safety and wanting everybody to come home safe from every call, let's not misappropriate our priorities,
    Lead by example...
    Safety first...
    Always

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    Talking Re: SafetyOff33

    SafetyOff33 makes some good points, and I'd like to add some of my own. I'm not disagreeing with him, just making a different point of view.

    Most departments in my experiance have a clause preventing responders from responding directly to the scene, unless it directly near their place of presence when the tones drop, or they come across it on the way to the station (IE, driving down the road and you come upon a MVC).

    In places that do allow POV response directly to scene, you see two things happening. One, the department is extremely rural, and the time factor would just be horrid if everyone went to the station first, and then to the scene. Plus, how long do you wait for someone to show up before rolling the apparatus? You could be sitting around for ten minutes in some places waiting for the fourth person to ride that rig. Secondly, you see strict policies (usually) in place that require POVs be parked away from the scene, typically on one side of the road. Recently, I was on a call where we had a boy fall through the ice. My department responded POV, because except for the rescue squad, all of our ice rescue gear is kept POV. We had nine personal vehicle on a backcountry road, not counting the two deputies, rescue squad, and the two ALS rigs. It was a little congested, but we did fine, because we all parked in a nice row, on the side of the road, almost into the ditch. Last guy in line left his lights on, and it was very orderly and safe.

    On the flip side, I was in the back country of Nebraska once (don't ask..), and I saw a department respond POV and they were -all- over the place. I kid you not. Some of them pulled into the driveway of the burning house!

    I'm lucky, as I'm part of an extremely responsible and mature organization. Everyone knows that our POV lights are a priviledge, and if used correctly, they can help us save a life or three, but if misused, can do quite the opposite.

    In every single US State, Emergency Vehicles are required to follow some level of due regard. Some have strict laws that say you can go X over the speed limit, while others practically say "Don't get caught". Regardless of what state you're in, what vehicle you drive, what color your pretty lights are, they don't mean squat if you hit, or get hit by someone. Lawsuits abound these days against EV operators.

    Be a part of the solution, not the problem!

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    IN NY we run blue lights and they are just courtesy lights. Our cheifs have red. Not gonna write much, same as alot in here.
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