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  1. #41
    MembersZone Subscriber mohican's Avatar
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    Dec 2003


    I know of a combi department close by that takes care of its off shift and part timers in the following manner.

    When you join, an officer goes to your house, and then drives back to the station at the posted speed limit, timing it. You start showing up a lot quicker than they think you should, and you get to explain it. You get caught speeding responding to their station or their scene as a part timer and your up for disciplinary review.

    The older I get, the more I realize that I don't have to speed to get to the station.

  2. #42
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    Jan 2004
    New Mexico


    In NM, I believe the law allows 10mph over posted speed limit,some neighboring depts. allow their members to use lights, but we do not.
    We have some guys who live 5 miles from the station and they beat our chief there, and he only lives a mile away. I think it is b.s. that people drive like a bat out of heck to get there, just so they can be first out. We are vol. and we are allowed to carry our gear in our pov if we want to, so we may respond to the scene. In our area, it is very rural, and it is usually a pretty good idea that someone responds to scene in a pov, so they can act as spotter if radio directions arte not clear, which they rarely are.
    Driving fast does not exactly increase your response time, however it does increase the chance that you may not make it to scene.

  3. #43
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Dec 2000


    To me, the idea behind lights and sirens on any vehicle - rigs or pov, is to move traffic out of your way and to safely pass through intersections against the light so that you don't have to speed. I realize that it doesn't always work that way in the real world but if traffic is so congested that people can't move out of your way, you really shouldn't be speeding anyway.

    I don't mean to be offensive to those that have them but I find the whole thing of courtesy blue lights kind of silly. I would feel goofy sitting at a stoplight with my lights whirling and flashing, waiting for the light to turn green. If you could move against traffic control devices with due regard that would make more sense.

    Stay safe

  4. #44
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Dec 1999
    NW Ohio


    Driving fast does not exactly increase your response time, however it does increase the chance that you may not make it to scene.
    that my friends is the bottom line !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  5. #45
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2004


    In EVOC class at the start and end of evey day in class we had to say the quote
    "you are NEVER releaved of your duty to drive with due regard"
    The instructor also made us say that quote as we got into the squad to drive it. 4 years later every time I get into my truck and flip on the red lights and siren I hear that quote.
    Be Safe but Have fun

  6. #46
    Temporarily/No Longer Active Cellblock776's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002


    Just a heads up. If you are traveling to Louisiana for Mardi Gras or any other business leave your BLUE lights home. See here in the bayou State the rule for years has been only Police use Blue lights. Fire and ambulance use red and security use amber or other colors like green or purple. Some utility companys and highway maintiance crews are starting to use red and amber combinations on thier vehicles.
    A few years ago there was a rash of assaults. People driving somewhere would see a car behind them with an activated blue light and they would pull over beleving they were being pulled over by the Police for a traffic infraction. Several people were asssaulted, raped or just harrased by people impersonating Police Officers. So, under pressure from several of these victims, our representitaves in Baton Rouge pushed through a bill prohibiting the sale and possession of Blue lights to anyone but a Police Officer employed by a Law Enforcement agency. Also, If a Police Officer pulls you over now they must be in a marked vehilce wearing a uniform and not just one of the black 'raid' T-shirts you can by at any gun show. This is to protect motorests who may be the target of some of these "Blue Light Bandits" as they were called by the media.
    If you are pulled over in Louisiana and have a Blue light in or on your vehilce you will need to produce Law enforcement ID for the Officer stopping you. It might be a good idea if the lights are permantly mounted, such as on a lightbar or in grille lights to have a copy of your State law and maybe a copy of a letter from your Department,on letterhead, stating that you are operating leagally under Department and State guidelines. The officer, when presented with these along with your ID may decide not to bother you over the light and it will go a long way toward getting back on the road and on with your visit to Louisiana.
    Drive Safe.

  7. #47
    Forum Member
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    Feb 2004


    In Texas volunteers responding to a fire or medical emergency with the proper audible and visual requirements are considered emergency vehicles. A police chief or sheriff in the State of Texas can not have any say or delegate who can or can't run emergency traffic. My department recently went through all of this.

    Our sheriff tried to say we couldn't use blue lights. The law doesn't stipulate you can't run blue, just says you must have the minimum amount of red. Also, he tried to say "This person can run emergency traffic, this one can't." The county attorney and the attorney general advised him he couldn't do this.

    Here is a look at our emergency vehicle response laws:


    § 546.001. Permissible Conduct
    In operating an authorized emergency vehicle the operator may:
    (1) park or stand, irrespective of another provision of this subtitle;
    (2) proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, after slowing as necessary for safe operation;
    (3) exceed a maximum speed limit, except as provided by an ordinance adopted under Section 545.365, as long as the operator does not endanger life or property; and
    (4) disregard a regulation governing the direction of movement or turning in specified directions.
    Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

    § 546.002. When Conduct Permissible
    Section 546.001 applies only when the operator is:
    (1) responding to an emergency call;
    (2) pursuing an actual or suspected violator of the law; or
    (3) responding to but not returning from a fire alarm.
    Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

    § 546.003. Audible or Visual Signals Required
    Except as provided by Section 546.004, the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle engaging in conduct permitted by Section 546.001 shall use, at the discretion of the operator in accordance with policies of the department or the local government that employs the operator, audible or visual signals that meet the pertinent requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702.
    Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

    § 546.004. Exceptions to Signal Requirement
    (a) A volunteer fire fighter who operates a private vehicle as an authorized emergency vehicle may engage in conduct permitted by Section 546.001 only when the fire fighter is using visual signals meeting the pertinent requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702.
    (b) An authorized emergency vehicle that is operated as a police vehicle is not required to be equipped with or display a red light visible from the front of the vehicle.
    (c) A police officer may operate an authorized emergency vehicle for a law enforcement purpose without using the audible or visual signals required by Section 546.003 if the officer is:
    (1) responding to an emergency call or pursuing a suspected violator of the law with probable cause to believe that:
    (A) knowledge of the presence of the officer will cause the suspect to:
    (i) destroy or lose evidence of a suspected felony;
    (ii) end a suspected continuing felony before the officer has obtained sufficient evidence to establish grounds for arrest; or
    (iii) evade apprehension or identification of the suspect or the suspect's vehicle; or
    (B) because of traffic conditions on a multilaned roadway, vehicles moving in response to the audible or visual signals may:
    (i) increase the potential for a collision; or
    (ii) unreasonably extend the duration of the pursuit; or
    (2) complying with a written regulation relating to the use of audible or visible signals adopted by the local government that employs the officer or by the department.
    Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

    § 546.005. Duty of Care
    This chapter does not relieve the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle from:
    (1) the duty to operate the vehicle with appropriate regard for the safety of all persons; or
    (2) the consequences of reckless disregard for the safety of others.

    § 547.305. Restrictions on Use of Lights
    (a) A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or emergency vehicle or school bus warning lamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle.
    (b) Except as expressly authorized by law, a person may not operate or move equipment or a vehicle, other than a police vehicle, with a lamp or device that displays a red light visible from directly in front of the center of the equipment or vehicle.
    (c) A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is:
    (1) used as specifically authorized by this chapter; or
    (2) a running lamp, headlamp, taillamp, backup lamp, or turn signal lamp that is used as authorized by law.
    (d) A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is:
    (1) a school bus;
    (2) an authorized emergency vehicle;
    (3) a church bus that has the words "church bus" printed on the front and rear of the bus so as to be clearly discernable to other vehicle operators;
    (4) a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway; or
    (5) a tow truck with a mounted light bar which has turn signals and stop lamps in addition to those required by Sections 547.322, 547.323, and 547.324, Transportation Code.
    (e) A person may not operate highway maintenance or service equipment, including snow-removal equipment, that is not equipped with lamps or that does not display lighted lamps as required by the standards and specifications adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation.
    (f) In this section "tow truck" means a motor vehicle or mechanical device that is adapted or used to tow, winch, or move a disabled vehicle.

    § 547.702. Additional Equipment Requirements for Authorized Emergency Vehicles
    (a) An authorized emergency vehicle may be equipped with a siren, exhaust whistle, or bell:
    (1) of a type approved by the department; and
    (2) that emits a sound audible under normal conditions at a distance of at least 500 feet.
    (b) The operator of an authorized emergency vehicle shall use the siren, whistle, or bell when necessary to warn other vehicle operators or pedestrians of the approach of the emergency vehicle.
    (c) Except as provided by this section, an authorized emergency vehicle shall be equipped with signal lamps that:
    (1) are mounted as high and as widely spaced laterally as practicable;
    (2) display four alternately flashing red lights, two located on the front at the same level and two located on the rear at the same level; and
    (3) emit a light visible at a distance of 500 feet in normal sunlight.
    (d) A private vehicle operated by a volunteer firefighter responding to a fire alarm or a medical emergency may, but is not required to, be equipped with signal lamps that comply with the requirements of Subsection (c).
    (e) A private vehicle operated by a volunteer firefighter responding to a fire alarm or a medical emergency may be equipped with a signal lamp that is temporarily attached to the vehicle roof and flashes a red light visible at a distance of at least 500 feet in normal sunlight.
    (f) A police vehicle may, but is not required to, be equipped with signal lamps that comply with Subsection (c).

    Now, we as a department do not condone reckless driving or disregard for the public. It is the duty of the operator, if he has the proper equipment, to be careful in his driving and exercise care for the public. We require that all stop signs and red lights, that the vehicle come to a stop and check if the interesection is clear before proceeding.

    We had a volunteer responding to the scene get in a fatality accident about 5 years ago. While responding to the scene, a fireman with red lights and siren was traveling along the service road of the interstate. At the same time, a gentleman started to take his mother to the hospital because she was having a heart attack. The road the other driver was coming down came to a "T" at the service road. The service road ran East & West as a two-way. The fireman was traveling westbound doing 65 in a 55 due to the traffic exiting the interstate he could not go any faster. The other car proceeded to turn eastbound and turned into the westbound lane. The fireman made evasive action to dodge him and moved to the eastbound lane. the other car noticed it was in the wrong lane and moved back to the eastbound lane. Both vehicles hit almost head-on, left headlight to left headlight. The mother of the other gentleman died. Medical examiner could not say which killed her first, the heart attack, which would have been fatal, or the broken neck from the crash.

    As a note: this fireman was 21 y/o. We as a fire department backed him and our insurance company spent a large amount of money defending him. He was found innocent in criminal court and civil court.

    So it goes to show you if you cover your rear and bad things do happen, there is a chance for everything to work out in the end.

    But I have seen the flip side of that coin, where a neighboring department had a volunteer responding to the scene, blew a red light and seriously injured the driver and paralyzed the passenger. He is now serving time with our lovely prison system.

    Whatever your department policy and state laws are, follow them to the letter.

    Just my 2 cents, nothing more.

    As a side note: I have traveled through Louisana when that law about the blue lights came out. I was questioned for about 30 minutes by a state trooper when I stopped for fuel. He explained the law to me and told me to have every type of identification pertaining to my fire/ems departments with me in case I got pulled over. They are very strict about the blue lights in Louisana.

  8. #48
    MembersZone Subscriber mohican's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003


    Again, we need to examine why we have lights and sirens on personal vehicles.

    If it is solely to drive like a bat and make the 1st truck, then it's the wrong reason.

    Good reasons for lights/sirens on Personal Vehicles
    1. you pull up to a scene (given that going to scene fits your SOPs) it lets other drivers, and the police know that you belong on scene.
    2. If you are the first at an accident, your flashing lights warn other drivers about a problem.
    3. Sometimes you personal vehicle with it's flashing lights may be parked to direct fire/ems vehicles to an unmarked location.
    4. The non FD drivers can see your lights and hopefully realize that people just might be pulling into and out of your firestation, and even give you the right of way.

    In these times of TV ads for shopping mall contingency lawyers, driving heedlessly to the station or emergency scene is just plain stupid, regardless of whether you have lights or sirens.

  9. #49
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    Cool, this is the first time I have noticed the Volunteer section on the Firehouse forums. There are so many sections, I must have overlooked it.

    In any case.

    I am from rural MT. We dont have any vol firemen with lights/sirens on the POVs as far as I know. Traffic is not a problem out here.

    It is tha actual miles, the miles and miles of wide open traffic free roads.

    At one point a few years ago MT didnt even have a speed limit. Now we do, but in my area we dont realy have many LE guys to enforce it.

    In my personal case, no matter how hard I try, I never get to the hall in time for the first unit out. There are 5 firemen that live literaly on the same block of the firehall and they are there in seconds. No bid deal, there are plenty of units for all, and often in my case I respond directly to the scene.

    I am the local DES coordinator. The county has not gotten around to buying me a old SUV yet for this sort of thing, so I use my ford bronco and get paid 36.5 cents per mile. I have not and WILL NOT put lights and sirens on my beatiful bronco, no friggin way. If the county wants me to repond in emergency fashion, they can buy me a damn SUV then. I dont want the liability or the obnoxiousness of lights and sirens.

    I did give in so far as to have a radio installed in my bronco, which I do believe now was a very bad move. I may never see that DES SUV!

    As with all things small local government, saveing 10,000$ at my expense over the taxpayers expense is good for votes.

    I think I am going to be useing my bronc for some time to come.

    I should have not given in with the radio issue. My old bendix king handheld should have been enough.

    Since I am on my loal VFD as well as the DES coordinator, I usualy just go to the emergency scene directly, and then I can get my hands dirty by jumping on a ariving unit or by pulling out some of the small asortment of tools I keep in my bronc. I do keep my complete sets of structure and wildland PPE in my bronc, along with some gatoraid and other such essentials.

    Back on subject. Even though there is no need for lights and sirens on POVs in my area, I am sure that if the idea occured to some of the guys they would just have to do it. Some of them are LED crazy.

    But, liability wise, I am sure they would get scared out of it.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  10. #50
    Senior Member hotboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    We have 4 firetrucks, If I dont make the first one I'll
    definately make the 2nd or 3rd. No need to cause and accident.
    Back in 1990 we had a structure fire call, One of our Fire Police Captains was enroute. He may have been speeding,I dont know I was not there. Enroute to the firehouse we got another alarm for an accident. First 1 unit went the structure fire. Our 2nd went to the accident. I was on the first unit. When our remaining units arrived on location of the structure fire,several firefighters told us about the accident it was one of our Fire police officers and it did not look good, They had to cut him out,by the way he was not responding, he was in a coma for about a week and a half. When he came out of the coma he was paralyzed from the waist down. They said by the look at the 2 vehicles involved both were speeding. We maintain all traffic laws, we yeild on red and green lights.

    Also we had to assist one of our neighboring companys on an mutual aid alarm, another company which is outside of our local was also on that alarm, their first engine was speeding to that call flying,One of our police officers had to pull them over and write a them a ticket, We later spoke to that cop who is also a firefighter and he said to the Chief of that local"if you had seen how fast that truck was going you would have sent them back to their station to standby.
    We average about 350 calls a year. On the majority of the structure fires we knock the fire down usually with one or 2 engines. And we may have about 6 other units responding. We immediately slow them down or recall them. Here recall means send them back to the station or cancel.

    Accidents are the leading causes of death and personal injury in the United states amongst adults and children. We are in the fire service to assist those in need, not cause or create unsafe conditions to the general public. Remember the fire is not going anywhere but up, it will be there when we get their.

    If we don't do it nobody else will!!!!

  11. #51
    Forum Member
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    Jan 2004


    I would feel goofy sitting at a stoplight with my lights whirling and flashing, waiting for the light to turn green. If you could move against traffic control devices with due regard that would make more sense.
    I would feel the same way, you look stupid sitting there at a light with your lights going, but like I said aways back, here if you come up to a traffic light, you have the red light and stop, 9 times out of 10 everyone at the light is going to stop to and be waiting on you. It is at that point that I would go through the light because it makes no sense to sit there holding everyone up until your light turns green because no on is going to move, but they will be watching you and you will just look stupid.

    Fortunaly, I have no traffic lights on my route to the station from my house to station 1, but only 3 stop signs. I do have 1 light and many stopsigns between me and station 2 though.

  12. #52
    Forum Member
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    Feb 2004


    Here in Michigan, we are allowed to have lights and sirens on our POVs, we are allowed to exceed the prima facie speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life or property, this is granted to us by Public Act 300 of 1949. However, you have to follow your departments Bylaws and SOP’s. My department only allows us to exceed the prima facie speed limit by 10 mph as long as road conditions provide. If you have lights and sirens or not, you should never go through a red light or a stop sign without stopping first. You should always try to make eye contact with the other drivers at the intersection before you proceed. Remember we are only asking for the right of way and that does not have to be granted

    One thing everyone in every state has to remember is we did not cause the problem they called us for help. We are no help if we cannot respond because we caused another accident then you are no help for them or your department. WE ALL need to stop Breath and let our Brains CATCH UP before we go out there and respond to any emergency.

  13. #53
    Forum Member
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    Mar 2004


    In Montana we can display a red light. No wig-wags, bars, or sirens. We are allowed to exceed posted limites by 10 mph. We are required to follow all other traffic signals and signs.

    I live three miles from the station and was recently interviewed by the officers. They were concerned that I was arriving too quickly.

    I understand their concern and was happy that they were paying attention to what they felt was a safety concern.

    The chief actually came to my rescue and explained that I often listen to a scanner and hear police and EMS get dispatched to scenes. Police and EMS are commonly dispatched before fire so when I hear tones for a probable fire event, I head to the station.

    When they heard that I was well versed in the regs and understood the liabilities, end of interview...

    The silly thing is that in the last two years we have had a total of three volunteers who have had 'conversations' with PD while responding to the station. Two were for speeding, and one was for a fender-bender. All three volunteers are police officers

    Regards, Chris.

  14. #54
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2004


    In TN, we can use all the devices (red lights, sirens, PS system, etc..) approved by the local fire chief upon notification of the Sherriff or Police Chief.

    I am a member of a local 100% collie rescue squad. We do not have any fire apparatus, but we are one of the top squads in the nation for medical\flood\trench\diaster\e tc.. in the nation.

    We are allowed to respond to the scene, so would a medical call change your opinion of the need to increase speed? Because with a med. call...seconds DO count and can mean the diffrence between life and death.

    I know around here, it is about half and half with those who have L&S and those who do not. Of the 50% that have L&S, we respond with increased speed according to the need of medical assistance. For example, for a man with mild to moderate chest pain, we may respond at about the speed limit, but if a call comes in about a 5 year old face-down in a pool...I guarantee that just about every member will be responding at ~20mph, or whatever conditions will allow.

    Just currious if a medical call would change your opinions.


  15. #55
    Forum Member cellblock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    St Gabriel, La


    Not only EMS calls but any call where there is a clear threat to life is almost certain to get a faster response. Like you said in your example, a responder will 'step it up' when it's obvious that minutes or seconds can make the difference. It all depends on the type of call we get. When the pager tones out some evenings here, most of our responders don't start moving until they hear certain phrases such as "Unresponsive PT" or "CPR in Progress". That's a sure way to get people moving. Most volunteers here screen calls and if it's something worth getting out of their house for then they will be running Lights and Siren.
    This past Monday morning at about 4:15am our pagers went off for a wreck at an address on the Mississippi River Road. Sheriff's Office was notified and sent a unit to the area. No FFs were moving. Five minutes later the SO had 911 repage us for a wreck with injuries and entrapment with fuel leaking. THAT got everyone out of bed and 10 minutes later there were 8 FF/FR with the rescue truck and 2 pumpers on scene. They just had to say the right words to get us up.
    Last week a resident called in a "Strange Odor" call after a barge on the River vented some MethalEthalBadStuff in the area. We were paged out for a "Odor Responce" but nobody responded except the City Police and the Sheriff's Office. There's not much we could do except to tell the residents to close their windows and turn off their A/C. No FFs were going to get out of bed for this call.
    A few days ago we were paged to a home for a "Panic Attack". No FFs responded to that call either. You could say that by not having a bunch of FF/FRs parked in their yard at 1am we were just trying to keep from causing the panic attack to get worse. The Police Department stood by until the ambulance got there in about 20 minutes and transported the patient to a hospital in Baton Rouge.
    If we are paged to "Fire Alarm" calls then there's a chance that nobody will run. This happened once when the alarm at the local Truckstop/Cascino went off and we were paged 4 times before the Police Officer on scene finally turned off the alarm and everyone went back to gambleing. Nobody was going to get up until they heard "Working Fire" or "Visible Smoke" over the pager. I think the Chief stopped by the Truckstop the next day.
    A couple of weeks ago while I was at work we got paged to a fire at a local polymer manufacturing plant. I stopped by the station the next morning after I got off work to find out what happened. It turns out that we did have a couple FFs and a couple pumpers respond. They arrived behind our Mutual Aid, a truck from Baton Rouge with 3 fulltime Paid FF/EMTs. In fact, it was the Baton Rouge crew that put the smoldering fire out. Our guys may have moved a little faster if had been paged out as a "Working Fire".
    It's rare that a call comes in that it's necessary to fun Full Code. I only have a red Cadet revolving dash light and no siren and I almost never use the light until I'm pulling up on a scene to identify myself and my vehicle as I look over the scene and find a safe place to park.
    Drive Safe,

  16. #56
    Forum Member
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    Mar 2004



    Story. There is a video link to the news report on this page.

    Another (not on the front firehouse page)


    Regards, Chris.

  17. #57
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    New South Wales, Australia


    In the state of New South Wales, Australia, vollies either driving to the station or directly to the scene in their POV's are subject to all normal traffic laws. If you are caught by the police generally there will be no sympathy from them and if the fire service finds out about it, there will definitely be no sympathy forthcoming. - Peter.

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