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  1. #1
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    Default Max vehicle speed

    Our department has, for the last few years, adopted the VFIS drivers course as our primary teaching aid for new drivers and continuing ed.

    One portion of this is that emergency vehicles don't exceed the posted speed limit. They claim that in a five mile rural run you would only save 69 seconds over driving the speed limit and in the city a mile run would only save about 26 seconds.

    Who out there does this? By us the public doesn't drive the speed limit. It causes some confusion while we respond with lights and siren at the speed limit. People are passing us on the right not pulling over or just running in front of us with the opticom.

    Again just curious and thanks for your input.


  2. #2
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    Default

    The VFIS people are correct in that speed by itself doesn't really get you that much in terms of response time, except on very long runs. Where you can gain in response time most often is in the ability to move unimpeded (hopefully) through traffic, not having to wait for traffic lights, traffic jams, etc. Consequently, you're much more likely to see me going down the Turnpike in the morning like a "Bat Outta Hell" (to paraphrase the poet Meat Loaf) than you would be to see me ever driving apparatus in that same fashion. Simply put, I know that I can safely save 10 minutes or so on my 60 mile morning commute by doing 75 or 80 instead of 65 in my car (the State Police would differ with the "safely" part, I'm sure, but I'm not interested in their assessment, to be honest). I also know that I'm not going to save diddly squat on a 1-mile response with the ladder truck by doing 60 instead of 40...and 60 on surface streets in a 62,400 lb. vehicle is definitely dangerous. Therefore, I'll stick to 35 or 40 with that big truck on surface streets, slowing to check appropriately at intersections before proceeding, and make sure that I get there with everyone (including bystanders) in one piece, only a few seconds later than I would if I put everyone at severe risk by flying down the road. In short, just because you're allowed (in some sense) to "put the hammer down" doesn't mean that you should, or that you'd gain anything if you did.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ENG6511's Avatar
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    Default

    Very well said, Bob. A pragmatic, rational and common sense approach to the ultimate desired RESULT!
    Bob Compton
    IACOJ-Proud
    IACOJ-HALL OF FAME-2003

  4. #4
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    Default Speed-Yahoo!!! = Stopping distance - ouch!!!

    As we all know, driving fast is fun!!!! But what happens when we need to stop......Not enough distance = CRASH, INJURY, EQUIPMENT OUT OF SERVICE, LIABILITY. I agree, speed limit, scheedlimit! But lets get realistic here. My opinion and what I usually do and teach is for people to maintain a speed no greater than 10 MPH over the posted speed limit. That usually seems to satisfy all personnel. But check your State Vehicle Codes for the two laws....Basic Speed Law (you may only drive as fast as it is safe based on traffic, weather, road conditions, etc...) and the Due Reguard/Safety Law (You must drive with the due reguard for the safety of all persons on the road...). The problem with speed is the stopping distance that is associated with it and the weight of the vehicles we drive. Most apparatus operators seem to forget that our equipment weighs around 34,000 to 70,000 pounds. They seem to think they are driving their personal vehicles (weighing 2,000 to 5,000 pounds)and they expect that Engine or Truck to handle the same way. Check out the front page of Firehouse.com August 9, 2002 and read about the Utica, Indiana Firefighter that just hit and killed a young lady while driving on a response. Has your department experienced that type of tragety yet, have you??? Believe me, you don't want to be any where near it, and yes, it can happen to you, and yes you can be held personnally liable for damages if gross negligence is proven.

    The answer to all this....Education and Training. Train your personnel and yourself the limitations and performance properties of both, the vehicles and themselves.

    Remember...Train as if your life and others depend on it, because they do.

    Rob Weaver
    LACoFD

  5. #5
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    Default

    The Emergency Driving Course given by our
    State Patrol teaches never more than 5 MPH
    over the speed limit.

    Getting there a few seconds later and safe is much
    better than not getting there at all.
    Remember,

    If you don't respond.....who will

    IACOJ EMS Bureau Member
    IACOJ Member

  6. #6
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    Default

    5 MPH over would be fine with me.

    The problem I have is responding at 30 mph with the public going 35. It isn't a fast is fun issue, anyone with more than a few years on should realize the great responsibility that comes with emergency driving. The issue is being a hazard because the public doesn't drive with due reguard.

  7. #7
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    Default I Agree

    I agree....But the problem we must all realize is that the personnel driving the/our Emergency Vehicles are forgetting about that RESPONSIBILITY. They seem to have the attitude that they are "Demanding the right-of-way" instead of "Asking for the right-of-way." They think they own the road, and nothing is their fault, and they forget that the other drivers may be less trained and will react in a bizzar manner. Oops...let me get off the soap box.... The true answer as I see it .... Is SLOW DOWN,and save yourself and probably someone else!!!! It is a hard concept to get across, but if we keep training and teaching our employees, sooner or later we will make a difference and change the attitudes in a positive way.

    TheWeave
    LACoFD

  8. #8
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    Default

    In our rural setting, calls are often 10, 15, even 20 miles away. Our rule is 1. Safe for conditions and 2. Not greater than 10 over the limit. With few exceptions the limit is 65, so you can really get rolling out here. One problem is our tender, which needs a good head of steam to get up the hills out of town. We are allowed some leeway only with the tender.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    UP TO MY NECK AND SINKING FAST
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    Default

    I am not supporting speed but one thing to tink about. EMS unit responding to a cardiac call 30 miles away(not out of the way where I live) take 5 divide in to 30 and multiply by 69 you get 414 seconds or 6.9 MINUTES so It might make a diffrence in some situtations but won't make any on the BS calls.

    Be Safe
    D308

  10. #10
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    Kearney Nebraska
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    Lightbulb

    The key is to get the adrenaline under control before an individual becomes a driver. If you can't control the adrenaline you will never be able to control the driver. The biggest problem with slowed response is the people on the roads today! They don't yield or even care because they don't want to be inconvienced. I think the best thing to teach is driver reaction. Get them into the mindset of always looking and thinking how they would react if someone did get in the way. What are they gonna do? Have them do some emergency braking without locking up the wheels. This will not hurt the truck! If it does then the truck has no buisness being in service. Prepare them for the situation. Slowing down is a good solution, but it won't eliminate the risk. This why we need to teach how to react. I have found that by teaching emergency braking it has slowed some down, because it showed them just how much distance it took for them to stop the apparatus. This only a suggestion and you have to find what works for you.
    God gave us this gift of being firefighters, It's up to us how we use it! Never lose sight of why we are here! God Bless!! Buckle-Up and Stay Safe!!

  11. #11
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    Farmington, CT
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    Default Speeding apparatus

    Our department, more specifically, our chief, states he will not tolerate any going more than 10 miles over the speed limit, and that's when it's quiet on the roads. Most of our experienced drivers use common sense. We're not going full blast for an alarm, but we do pick it up a little for a confirmed fire. We are required to stop at the stop signs/red lights until we are sure traffic has granted us the right of way to proceed. Everyone on the truck is required to buckle up. Our apparatus are governed at 65 mph. In fact, our new aerial has a 69 mph rear end, and if you do go over that (as we found out going downhill) all sorts of alarms and buzzer go off.

    Our new operators are constantly being coached by the officers and operators who ride with them. Our officers have the final say in the speed of the apparatus. If they say your going to fast, you must slow down. We also watch for our firefighters responding to the firehouse for a call. Those who cruise along too fast get spoken to and "encouraged" to slow down.

    Keep safe all, and watch out for the other drivers on the road...
    The views expressed in this posting are my own and are not reflective of my department or its members.

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