1. #1
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    Default I guess we owe Alan Baird some sort of apology...

    For you see now the headlines read of another firefighter with serious charges brought against him...but there's not so much as a peep about it here. Oh come on...you've read it...you know..the guy that was going a bit too fast and killed an innocent person. OHHHHHHH...I'm sooorrry...my fault, this one doesn't get scrutinized because **whisper** many of us drive too fast too??

    Next to firefighter arson.....this is my "Preaching Topic". Why in the HELL does a firefighter feel the need to respond to any call, let alone a PIDDLEY-***** grassfire at 86 M.P.H.???!!!???!!! 86 M.P.H. IN A 45!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This driver is no more responsible than a drunk........period. But where's the outcry?? Is it because he didn't kill a Brother, like Alan Baird?? Incidents like Lairdsville are reasonably rare...but I see the "Blue Light Brigades" driving like idiots all the time. Should this be ignored??ACCEPTED??

    "Why does this strike a nerve Stayback??" "Why do you have your undergarments in a bunch??" "What do you think you're perfect Stayback??" No..I don't.....but in 1998 I was hit head-on by a negligent driver......I lived.....she didn't. It's hard to live with even though I was not at fault and I cannot imagine what it would be like to live with this if it was my fault. I'm telling you folks, please....be careful...and yes...it IS worth making an issue over incidents like this....irregardless of fault..the guilt of your decisions (right turn here..left there) will NOT be easily shaken.


    I'm not looking for a pity party........just letting you know that the place I come from has been legitimized by my history.

    Be safe.........use your head.
    Last edited by StayBack500FT; 09-12-2002 at 09:57 PM.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    I agree with you 100 percent. We try in beat into all our new recruits about driving responsibly. Still the chief usually get a couple of complaints after a call about some of our members speeding to a call. Two winters ago on came into our packing lot, skidded on the ice and tagged my truck. Slowed down after I handed them bill for the repairs.slow down!!!!! No fire is worth killing yourself or somebody else.

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    Default I read it; been too busy to reply...until now.

    Stayback:
    First of all; I know it is a pitiful excuse, but we were preparing for a 9/11 ceremony and I hadn't had time to put up a post.
    Secondly, you WILL NOT see me apologizing to the scum known as Alan Baird in my life time.
    I have been on these boards before discussing the use of blue lights and excess speed by responders. On my department, we have one simple rule; get reported for driving carelessly while responding and you will be suspended from responding to ALL calls for 30 days. Do it a second time and you are off of the department. Period. No trial; no appeal; no way! To date, no one has been booted for violating this rule.
    Driving 55 mph in a 45 mph zone would be too damn fast. People are still spazzing out when they get toned out. There is absolutely no good reason or an acceptable excuse for driving like a damned maniac to any call; grass fires included. We get bent out of shape at the ones who drive too fast through one of our scenes; so much so that we have passed laws against it. We think we have more right to the road when we get a call. We think that flashing a blue light will somehow move vehicles over so we can go by them. We think that driving fast is a time honored fire service tradition. The problem is that we DON'T THINK! And it's not just those responding in their POVs; it's those driving apparatus as well. Tell me that you are not going too fast if you roll a fire engine/tanker? Tell me that it's safe to blow a red light. Going down a gravel road with the butt end of the truck swaying to and fro.
    A nineteen year old was killed after rolling a tanker. What's a nineteen year old doing driving a tanker in the first place? Well, he may have been the only one there at the time to drive it. Probably because someone else didn't drive like a maniac to get to the station before he did. Maybe they don't have mutual aid when they are short handed. Who knows. But, go back through the archives for this year alone and see how many have died from accidents while enroute to a call.
    And if we are going to kill the very people that we have been sworn to help, then WE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE ALAN BAIRDS OF THE FIRE SERVICE! Based on the limited information, it is an appropriate charge against the firefighter. If you are operating a vehicle, then it is you that must exercise caution, because if you are at the wheel, you are in control and if you're not in control, then it will always be your fault. You have to watch for traffic. You have to watch for pedestrians. You have to watch for road hazards. You have to exercise good judgment. If you don't, it will always be your fault. The uniform that you wear will not give you immunity if you cause the accident. It will cause you and your department great and irrepairable damage.
    Take a driving course. Use what you learn or leave the driving to those that will. Allowing someone to continue to drive in an unsafe manner is allowing a recognizable hazard to exist. And in the eyes of some, that violates the law. Fix it or it will fix you. Don't let luck and near misses lull you into believing that you are doing it right.
    If you want to drive fast, do it on a race track on your own time.
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    Please know the reference to Alan Baird was only to magnify my point, as he certainly deserves no apology in my opinion.
    Thanks
    Stayback

    Chief Reason -- BRAVO!! My friend.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    Every thread started on this board about this topic turns into a fight. Let' see if it happens here.

    IMHO, the blue light should be outlawed. I do not believe that it improves response time. I do not believe it saves lives and I do not believe that it is worth the risk to the safety and health of unassuming citizens.

    Yup, I had one in my younger days. I am much smarter now and I don't own one. I don't even use the lights and siren in my unmarked unless the world is caving in.

    I would agree with StayBack, that next to Fire Fighter arson, this issue is the issue that prevent thevol. fire service from being taken seriously.

    And I'll say it again...yes, I am a volunteer, for 26 years.

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    Originally posted by George Wendt, CFI
    IMHO, the blue light should be outlawed. I do not believe that it improves response time. I do not believe it saves lives and I do not believe that it is worth the risk to the safety and health of unassuming citizens.

    For those looking to improve response times with blue lights I ask this...what's the first thing a driver does when he sees you approaching? That's right...JAM ON THE BRAKES!! Usually they don't pull over..they just get in the way...causing you to go out into opposing traffic to get around them. OH! But that's right...we wait until they move out of the way of course, because our light is only a COURTESY light and no one EVER disregards that painted double line. Right? Perhaps that's too dangerous...so we impose our courtesy "RIGHTS" to the sidewalk. Exaggeration?? I think not..I have seen it done.

    I'll bet many cannot name an Alan Baird in their department...but EVERYONE can name an idiot driver. Just as dangerous, people!!! Just as damaging to YOUR reputation as a department!!
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

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    Stayback

    I too was in a head on, while I was stationary no less waiting for traffic to clear so I could turn left. The person who hit me was someone involved in emergency services and was late for their shift. They cut diagonally through the intersection, tried to recorrect and hit me head on, I had NO WHERE I could go to get out of the way. That person ended up with a VERY serious head injury and I ended up being paralysed for a little over 8 months. I still felt horrible about the accident eventhough it was not my fault.

    I agree with ALL of you. It doesn't matter if you are on a paid dept or a volly one. Responding to calls with excessive speed does nothing but endanger people. Not only you and the other members of your crew, but all the civilians, who have a tendency to get stupid when they see the lights anyway.

    I have a question for those that drive excessively fast. How would you feel if your actions behind the wheel of that vehicle killed one of your brothers or a civilian? How would you feel if you had to go to their family, look them in the eyes and EXPLAIN how sorry you were, you didn't mean to crash, you just wanted to get to the call?

    Sorry doesn't cut it. If you actaully thought about the consequences of your actions prior to doing them there would be no need to say you were sorry.

    Yes accidents happen, but there is a BIG difference between an accident and flat out stupidity!

    Think about it, the next life you save might be your own.
    Last edited by Temptaker; 09-13-2002 at 12:30 AM.

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    Post Universal problem..

    Seems to be a problem all over, almost. I understand there are a few states left where Fire/Rescue people do not have lights, etc. on their personal vehicles. Here in Maryland only a Chief Officer may have a warning light (Red) on a POV. Blue is for cops only. Anyone ever do a study on how much time we save by ripping down the pike at a high rate of speed??? My Chiefs car is a unmarked Ford crown vic. (looks like a police car)with all the appropriate light show goodies. Quite by accident, I timed an emergency call to a far corner of the district one day. I also drove from the Fire station to the same address about a week later to help the homeowner with a related matter and timed that trip also. The "savings" by using all warning devices over the 4.6 mile run was a whopping 48 seconds!! Two simple rules are: 1. It ain't your house (or mine) 2. You are absolutely no use to anyone IF YOU FAIL TO GET THERE!! Stay Safe....
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    Default ???

    OK, before you read this please understand that I am in no way sticking up for this guy however you have lost me here with some of your comments.

    If I remember correctly, it was reported that this volunteer firefighter from Texas was using his "Lights and Sirens" when the accident occured. I also read that "Emergency responders may violate certain traffic laws if they do so in a safe manner".

    This is different than a courtesy blue light issue. One, most volunteers who have a siren have RED lights not blue lights. Second, they stated that "Emergency responders may violate certain traffic laws if they do so in a safe manner"! I have never heard of a state allowing someone with a blue courtsey light to violate any traffic laws.

    It sounds like this guy had red lights and a siren. Maybe thats how they do it in Texas, I don't know. I just don't understand how everyone missed that and made this topic turn into a blue light issue when it sounds as if it had nothing to do with one.
    Chris Shields
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    East Syracuse Fire Dept
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    Here is the link to the Original thread on this. Just to refresh everyone's memories.

    This is different than a courtesy blue light issue. One, most volunteers who have a siren have RED lights not blue lights. Second, they stated that "Emergency responders may violate certain traffic laws if they do so in a safe manner"!
    Sorry but red lights, blue lights or no lights at all it makes NO difference. This was not violating traffic laws in a SAFE manner!
    Last edited by Temptaker; 09-13-2002 at 03:28 AM.

  11. #11
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    Angry Slow it down...for everyone's sake!

    Alan Baird III needed to be held accountable for the death of Brad Golden, based on the series of poor decisions he made during a training exercise. Bradley's death was preventable!

    Samuel Lee Maglitto needs to be held accountable for the death of Vickie Lynn McKinney. Mr. Maglitto's poor judgement and careless actions, needlessly caused the death of another human being. This was also totally preventable!

    Driving at that speed...for whatever reason..is totally unacceptable.

    Preventable is the key word here. These deaths need not have happened.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    Angry I agree, he was reckless.

    I don't currently run a light. I had one, and pulled it. It really doesn't save any time, as some have posted here. We need to ask ourselves why these accidents happen. In police circles, they train to keep the officers from getting tunnel vision when in a high speed persuit. Is that the largest factor? I don't know. It is very easy to get overly excited and focus on what the page said, and what you will find. But, let's face it, no matter what the call is, a couple of minutes won't substantially affect the outcome. If someone is going to be dead if you are two minutes slower to respond, they will still die in most cases. Two minutes will not substantially affect a fire. So for god's sake, slow down.
    We need to stop and think. Drive defensively, and look ahead at the traffic, not worry about making the call, or what the call is.
    From what I have read on this, the charges are valid and deserved. No punishment will bring his victim back, but if even one person reads this, and slows down, her death will have not been in vain. Hopefully some good will come from this tragedy.
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  13. #13
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    Firefighter = saving lives and property.
    Not taking them.

    Let me see, did I miss anything?
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Let me start by saying Thank God Utah doesn't allow any sort of lights other then on marked emergency vehicles!
    When I was in Texas in 1998 I was in a small town east (I think. No mountains confuses me!) of Abeliene on a wildland fire assignment. The volunteers that used that station ran RED and BLUE lights along with SIRENS . I watched them run to the station every day for two weeks. I'm not familiar with the laws or rules, just passing on what I've seen and heard with my own eyes and ears in that state.

    *Mark

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    Originally posted by SIGNAL99.COM

    If I remember correctly, it was reported that this volunteer firefighter from Texas was using his "Lights and Sirens" when the accident occured. I also read that "Emergency responders may violate certain traffic laws if they do so in a safe manner".

    This is different than a courtesy blue light issue. One, most volunteers who have a siren have RED lights not blue lights. Second, they stated that "Emergency responders may violate certain traffic laws if they do so in a safe manner"! I have never heard of a state allowing someone with a blue courtsey light to violate any traffic laws.

    It sounds like this guy had red lights and a siren. Maybe thats how they do it in Texas, I don't know. I just don't understand how everyone missed that and made this topic turn into a blue light issue when it sounds as if it had nothing to do with one.


    1. Blue, purple, green...it doen't matter the color, it is the action of the driver using them that is at the heart of the matter.

    2. I have never heard a state allowing someone to break traffic laws with courtesy lights either....but it still happens...everyday...everywhere.

    3. "Maybe that's how they do it in Texas???" What...I gotta a siren so I run 86 M.P.H. to grass fires (or any call)??? If that's how they do it...YIKES!!
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    I have a few comments. First, this is just as bad as FF Arson. Anyway you look at it, it's bad PR for the Fire Service. The point I want to make is that the Fire Service always seems to be fighting an up hill battle when it comes to "good" PR. What we need to realize is that ff's respond to thousands of calls each day with only minor problems.

    I also want to make the point of, there are many, many FD out there (volly and full time) that give mandatory Defensive Driving classes to all of their employees. I am not defending this yahoo, because he was totally in the wrong, but as with many of the other "bad seed" stories we see on here we can't let this bring us down.

    These type of things cut the fire service. The only thing we can do is stitch it up and hope it doesn't scar forever.
    K.A. Dempsey
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    Default Let's Get The Issue Right - Safe Driving

    As I have before, I'm asking each of us to remember that the issue here is safe and responsible driving, not whether lights and sirens should be on personal vehicles, department vehicles, etc.

    Based on the information we've seen, the person in Texas was way out of line. However, it's as critical to not use the irresponsible and dangerous actions of one person to take damaging actions against a whole class of people. We shouldn't use firefighter arson, in particular arson by a few volunteer firefighters, as an excuse to ban volunteer firefighters. We need to institute background checks and proper supervision. In the same way we shouldn't use reckless driving by some firefighers, in particular by a few volunteer firefighters, to ban emergency operations of POV's with proper lights & sirens. We need to ensure proper training & supervision here too.

    My background: volunteer ff for 20 years, officer for about 12 of them, instructor for the "Coaching the Emergency Vehicle Operator" course for about 10 of them. I've given my share of "slow down" lectures. I've also seen a number of time critical calls: cardiac arrest saves, fulminate pulmonary edema, structure fire with confirmed entrapment, MVA's with serious injury (remember the "golden hour").

    Depending upon your response area, lights and sirens on POV's can save significant time. In a compact urban/suburban area, this may not be much. In the areas I've run, it can save 4-5 minutes on some responses, e.g. 15 miles at 60 mph vs at 45 mph. In some calls, esp. EMS, those 4-5 minutes can be critical.

    All fire & EMS personnel need to be trained in emergency driving. They need to take into account weather, road conditions, traffic, vehicle they're driving, nature of call, etc. in their decision making. They must do that when they're driving apparatus. It's ludicrous to think that they can make the proper choices when driving apparatus and not when driving POV's. The same issues, training, and supervision apply to both.

    Bottom line, we all need to think in terms of whether the call is time critical and how to minimize time spent safely, including time spent driving lights & siren. It's a risk/benefit trade-off. We should never take away tools from people - we should train and manage them so they use them effectively and safely.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

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    Don't forget that this was one guy that was driving like an idiot. I wouldn't bet against the fact that he would drive like that whether he had lights and siren on his POV or not. Nor would I bet that this was the first time they had driven in this manner. There are some people that are predisposed to driving like a moron anyway, and when adrenaline dumps into the mix, well they become invincible and drive 85 in a 45.

    Should this person be driving any vehicle at all if they think that driving like this is benefiting anybody? If this is an example of their ability to determine and apply good judgement, should they even be an emergency responder of any sort?

    There are a lot of very level headed people that drive responsibly with the lights and siren on their POV's. I see it all the time. We shouldn't fall into the trap that the issue of one idiot devolves into a generalization of an entire group of people.
    Steve Gallagher
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    1. Blue, purple, green...it doen't matter the color, it is the action of the driver using them that is at the heart of the matter.

    Bing...give that man a cigar!

    Blue/Red/Whatever lights do have a role, but it's the actions of those using them that determine their value. Well, actions and the situation.

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    O.K....I'm guilty. I did make a generalization about all folks that run courtesy lights and I own up to that. In my 17, soon to be 18, years it just seems to me the guys I have to reprimand are the ones with the "latest and greatest" Wacker 2000 light package. Thus, this is how I relate the two, based on my experience. Perhaps it is not the same in other places.

    Fire69dawg -- I do recognize that Firefighters respond daily without any problems at all....BUT....firefighters also train daily with little or no problems. When there is a death or severe injury due to criminally negligent behavior on the training grounds...the response is nearly overwhelming. Yet I'm seeing more and more of these rare traffic incidents get little or no attention. Criminal irresponsibility needs to be not only addressed...but acted upon equally. This must stop...accidents do happen...but I do not qualify this incident as an accident.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    With the traffic problems we have in our area, the fire department has instituted a policy where we do not respond lights and sirens to a number of different call types that used to be "hot" responses. These include investigations of automatic fire alarms (unless a second call reporting smoke or fire is received), wires down (again, unless there is a confirmed life safety issue), routine spill cleanups, pump details, and similar types of service calls. We are also given six minutes to respond to these types of calls as opposed to three minutes for an emergency response. Not only has this cut down on accidents with apparatus, it has improved public relations as well.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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    How many of your departments require a valid drivers' license for firefighters? What happens if they have their license revoked for, oh, let's say a DUI? Have you ever asked for an emergency vehicle driving course? Many insurance companies offer them for free.
    Just a thought.

  23. #23
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    Post Glad You Asked.......

    Methinks Chief R is nudging things in the right direction. Yes, we require a valid drivers license, copy of your driving record from the state motor vehicle admin. and the emergency vehicle driving course from our state fire training system. BEFORE you start training on our apparatus. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will enter your info into a data bank, and will notify the FD of Suspension, Revocation, and/or excessive points accumulated. Along with other things our inhouse data system tracks expiration dates for your drivers license, EMT card, Hazmat card, Etc. and you are expected to renew in plenty of time to avoid a lapse of certification. Upon recertifying, you must provide the driver training and safety board with a copy of all pertinent cards, etc. Works good so far. Stay Safe....
    Last edited by hwoods; 09-13-2002 at 06:18 PM.
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    For general members, we don't have a driver's license check...yet.

    I know the previous Chief and I believe the current Chief once a year run Motor Vehicle checks on everyone who is checked off to drive apparatus/ambulances.

    The heavy trucks we also require a minimum 2Q (CT's Fire-truck only heavy truck license), and strongly, strongly encourage a CDL-B.

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    In Texas we allow FF's to use Red Lights and sirens but we would not have allowed this guy to drive this way even if he was in the BRT. This guy deserves the book thrown at him.

    In most of todays cars it hard to hear sirens and we've all been shocked to look in the rearview and an emergancy vehical be there I'll bet. We try to teach our members lights and sirens only ask for right away not give the right away.

    I personally don't run lights but I believe they can be a benefit if used properly. If they weren't we wouldn't have them on the BRT's. So lets not condem the tools only the one's who use them improperly.
    Stevejd
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