1. #26
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    What about fire police? I would say they definately need lights to warn oncoming traffic that something is going on. You want them to stand on the road in the dark re-directing traffic and only have their vehicle blocking a road with it's four-way flashers on?

    Most people don't disobey the laws when they know they are just running a "courtesy light." There _are_ idiot kids who don't know the laws and think a courtesy light gives them the magical power to drive 100+MPH to a scene of an unconfirmed automatic alarm or smoke investigation. Instead of trying to get everyone to disallow lights on POV's, spend that energy educating people of what they are allowed to do with them.

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    Dr. Parasite I respect your opinion but once again I state that responding with red lights and or sirens are the most dangerous part of the culture . Just look at the numbers .. the number of accidents and deaths resulting from POV accidents back this up. As far as fire police, lights should be available for those doing traffic control, but should not be used for response. This belief is rooted in the what I feel is a need to protect a majority of firefighters from themselves - if you look at line of death reports you will find that we tend to be our own worst enemy. Not only have a seen rookies drive without due regard for thier own safety as well as the publics in my 25 years, but I have also seen a fair share of "seasoned veterens" take unnecessary and foolish chance once the lights start flashing.
    And the worst thjimng is that the majority of the time these risks are truly unessecary as the call turns out to be false or minor in nature.


    Just so that you know, my feeling is that most apparatus responses should be made cold as well, primarily for the same reasons mentioned above. Incidents such as non-life threatening EMS calls, motor vehicle fires, brush fires, structural fire alarms, structural smoke investigations, MVAs dispatched as unknown or minor injuries and gas smells (most of which turn out to be of a minor nature or false) do not require a rapid and dangerous hot (code 3) response. I feel that the time has come that we truly need to start thinking of ourselves much more than we have in the past, and if that means a slightly delayed response for both non-critical and critical calls, I feel that that small price the public will pay is well worth the increased level of safety for US. Everyone talks about changing the culture .. well I feel the first change has to be truly putting the lives of firefighters FIRST ... and looking at the number of POV and apparatus accidents and the resulting fatalities .... thats the area we should start.I have felt this way for the past 15 years and will continue to feel this way until I retire.

  3. #28
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    LaFireEducator, as a FF and an EMT, I agree with you 100% on everything you just said in your last post.

    but I also know that citizens want a fast response. they call 911, they want the trucks on scene by the time they hang up the phone. look at FDNY. their response times increased by under 30 seconds, and there was this massive uproar.

    many people (rookies and veterans) do justify driving erradicly by saying "we are going on an emergency call, we need to get there quickly." in fact, I almost got into an arguement when i told a junior partner that he needs to stop for a school bus with his lights on. his response was "are you nuts? we are an ambulance, going to an emergency. you think I'm going to stop for a school bus?" I tried to convince him otherwise, but it fell on deaf ears.

    staffing stations is good, as are more cold responses to non-life threatening calls. but the public wants us there yesterday. that and the whole "it's an emergency, must go 80mph" are a recipe for disaster.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Default lights & sirens

    In PA. All line officers can use red light. All others use blue.
    Thats the same for the Fire Police.
    Any POV's with red lights MUST have siren and used when red lighs are utilized. And as previously stated, there are rules & regulations governing the use of lights and sirens, and with risks in you loosing such priveledge, they must be adhered too.

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    Cant anybody read!!! how many threads do we need about whacker lights. Maybe if people worried less about their lights and more on training there would be less deaths and injuries in the volunteer service
    Firefighting is not just a job, its a way of life........
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  6. #31
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    Originally posted by TillerMan25
    We don't have a department policy on lights/sirens in POV's because it's not only against the law, it's a danger to other motorists. Not only do you have Fire/EMS units responding to an incident, you have 10 Whackers with 48" lightbars on their Pinto's running around like maniacs too.

    Do a search on the forums dude, this is probably the 1000th thread on this subject.

    Staff your firehouses, then you won't have to entertain this dangerous and un-regulated practice. If you took all the $$$ people spent on Whacker lights, you could build a bunkroom in every Volunteer Fire House in America.
    This has to be the most ridiculous and idiotic post I've seen here up to now. How are you going to expect a volunteer department to man their firhouses 24/7?? There IS a reason why they are volunteer, because most municipalities dont have the money nor the need for a paid or partially paid department.

    And in regards to having volunteers man the firehouse.......I'm sorry, but like 95% of volunteers, we have school/work/lives to contend with while trying to make as many runs as we can. How can you sit there and say that it should be mandatory for volunteers to man the station, its laughable. Most of those "whackers" with 48" lightbars have enough of a life not to be at the house 18 out of 24 hours a day. "Courtesy lights" when used correctly and safely pose very little harm to the public, even though I am a very big believer that blue lights dont get you to the house any faster.

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    Let me just start off by stating that our state allows for blue lights and that I have them in my truck. It does not give me the right to speed through town and drive like an idiot, go through stop signs and stop lights. We are still required to follow traffic safety laws. The light is called a courtesy light for a reason. If you see the light behind you, please be courteous and allow the vehicle to pass. because it may be your home or loved one that needs that firefighter/emt.
    the one thing that the volley fire service needs to do is to teach and train their members that speding to the station gets you there not that much faster. I live a mile outside of our towm and I have proven that it saves me only a few seconds if I drive 80 that if I drive 65. What it does help accomplish though is getting other people the heads up that you dont need them pulling out in front of you. Most people around here respect that. But if they don't I will not and do not run up on their tail and or pass them unless the driving laws would allow me to.
    If you really want to save time getting to the scene be ready to go. Have your clothes and keys and shoes ready at all times. Then you wont have to drive like an idiot to try to make the truck. I have found that I will regularly be the 2nd or third person to the station during a call because I am prepared. I am there before people who only live a block or two from the house.
    Be ready, be prepared, do not make one more victim.

  8. #33
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    AMEN to that chrnea. If all the people who use lights on their POV's thought like that there wouldn't be so much hostility towards the subject.

    That was one of the few posts on this subject that was actually worth reading.
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  9. #34
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    Originally posted by chrnea
    If you really want to save time getting to the scene be ready to go.
    Bingo. I have a guy on my dept convinced I am a speeder and continually tries to crucify my character because I get to the station before him regularly, even though I am a mile farther away and max speed is 30 MPH. The difference is that my car is backed into the garage (what self-respecting firefighter pulls his POV in forwards? ), the key is in the ignition, I can activate the garage door from inside the house before I go out, at night my clothes are laid out in a pattern so I can dress in the dark, and I have slip-on boots. I don't have to run or rush, I can glance over the map before I start the car, and I still am usually somewhere between 2nd/4th guy to the hall though I live farther out than most. There is a reason we firefighters emphasize preplanning and readiness, why should this be any different? FWIW we do not allow lights/sirens on POVs.

    Funny sidebar.... on one recent call the guy comes out of his street as I pass by. He tails me to "pace" me for a few blocks (sure enough I'm only going 30, fella) before peeling off to head for the hall (I was going direct because I knew one of our guys was almost there). He takes the long way past the hall but has to come back to my road again. He caught up with me and tailgated me for a couple of miles until we arrived, though he had set himself back about a mile with the "long cut". Who's speeding? And if you claim *I* was going 45 and you "know" because you paced me, how in the world did you get close enough to identify me?

    There are NO benefits from speeding. NONE.
    Last edited by RLFD14; 11-26-2004 at 04:10 PM.

  10. #35
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    Wow, someone acts sensible about this subject (thanks RLFD14 and chrena! ) Like you guys, I have lights on my truck and get the reaction that hey, you must be flying to the station just because I show up in turnout gear ready to go. You just have to keep your equipment ready to go. I've never posted on this subject because of all the hard feelings everyone shows towards everyone else that doesn't think the way that they do. Good luck to all and be safe!
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  11. #36
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    Originally posted by RLFD14


    Bingo. I have a guy on my dept convinced I am a speeder and continually tries to crucify my character because I get to the station before him regularly, even though I am a mile farther away and max speed is 30 MPH.
    I had a couple people think that I was speeding. Since I video tape all my POV responses I pop the tape in and review the run and when they see that I am responding at a normal speed in a safe manner then the complaints stop. They can bitch all they want but the tape tells the real story. The fact is that I don't have to fly down the road like a maniac to get to a call. Neither does anyone else.

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    I have lights and sirens on my POV, but I hardly use them. I turn them on once I'm on scene to mark the address. But I hardly respond POV straight to the scene unless I have to pass the address on the way to the station. My next vehicle will not have lights or siren.

    I would love to staff our station 24/7. Granted if we had sleeping quarters at the station then we have a few people that would love to stay up there. I would whenever my wife would let me.
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  13. #38
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    Originally posted by cellblock

    Since I video tape all my POV responses I pop the tape in . . .
    Actually I have considered this for exactly your purpose, but wasn't sure it was worth the expense to prove my point... then what do I do with the stuff afterwards? How did you set it up and what did it cost? Does it work to just jam a handycam on the dash?

  14. #39
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    RLFD14,
    Feel free to contact me off list at cellblock776@yahoo.com .
    Steve

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    Originally posted by cellblock
    We've done much of this before. Still, if you are permitted to run lights and sirens on your POV at least have the decency to get something modern. This week one of our new members installed a siren in his POV he got from one of our oldest members. The siren is one of those big silver jobs which had been mounted between 2 huge bubblegum machine style raotating lights on a bar. It was all mounted to a pickup truck which hasn't moved in years. The new owner turned it on the other night while at the station and I swore it sounded like something like Barney Fife would have used on his Mayberry PD car. I'm not sure how many amps the thing draws but for the size, weight and age I think I would have just saved up for something built in the last 2 decades.
    HAHAHA I can't knock that my first big bar was one of those, Federal Signal Twin Sonic. It dose look like Barney Fife too. He's going to end up having to buy a new battery and alternator if he keeps messing around with that thing.

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    Cool

    This is a very hot topic here! It is really A matter of department policy, population, government, and responsibility of the member. Warning lights do not need to be utilized for every incident some common sense needs to be used. If your department allows you to used warning equipment on your POV, there needs to be some emergency vehicle driving training. Always put yourself before the emergency so your not involved in an accident. Ruel # 1 always practice personal safety first. If you choose to responde code, take extra precautions and stop at all stop signs. That other driver may not be paying attention. I'm not going to lie, I use warning lights on my POV regularly. I have a 10 mile drive to get to the Station. Thats a long haul on a 2 lane highway. Some times I am still the first person at the station because of the lack of personell during day hours. In my rural area most of our members have to travel at least 30 miles for work. In Texas we are allowed to used lights and sirens. In our District we have a rule that all of the local Law Enforcement is made aware of it and approve of it. We are allowed to drive 10 MPH over the posted speed limit but must obey all traffic laws to an extent. Max speed is 75 MPH. There is always a chance that 30 seconds counts if someone is in that burning house, or if someone is trapped in a burning vehicle. You could have made a difference in that person's chances of living or dying. Just my thoughts and comments!

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    Finally some decent replys to actually take time to read. I completly agree with the last few guys, you made this post worth reading now. I also would like to say that your right with having a system down... (clothes ready,gear,wallet,keys.....) It def. allows me to beat other ones to the station w/o even driving eradicly...

  18. #43
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    do any of you who dont thikn lights should be allowed, honsetly think it will make a didffernece if the person drives like and A@% hole with or without a light, at least the light will give a warning to other motorists. and like someone said before, its mostly so people dont pull out in front of you, or if ppl do see it they will pull over, what if you get stuck behind somone 3 minutes from the station behind an older handicapped person who now just turned your 3 minute ride into a 5-6 minute ride?

  19. #44
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    Originally posted by Maverick9110E
    do any of you who dont thikn lights should be allowed, honsetly think it will make a didffernece if the person drives like and A@% hole with or without a light, at least the light will give a warning to other motorists. and like someone said before, its mostly so people dont pull out in front of you, or if ppl do see it they will pull over, what if you get stuck behind somone 3 minutes from the station behind an older handicapped person who now just turned your 3 minute ride into a 5-6 minute ride?
    How much drive time have you actually had with lights and siren? I am convinced that lights and siren usually cause more problems and delays than they help. For every person who stays out of your way, there is a person who does something monumentally stupid in front of you either due to poor driver education or plain panic. I'm not taking a position on whether they should be allowed or not, but I do think that driver training is a non-negotiable requirement before they are permitted. And do not forget the astonishing level of bad press we ALL get when anyone wrecks their POV with lights and sirens on it. The risks and benefits must be carefully considered, and I am afraid most people minimize the risks.

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    We don't respond to calls with my department, we stand by at the station so it is really a moot point for us. Bust since I drive slightly faster then the average left lane slow pook, why would lights make me go any faster when the road is clear? What they would do is get people out of the way at congestion points so that I would be able to have a safer quicker responce time.
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  21. #46
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    Originally posted by Maverick9110E
    do any of you who dont thikn lights should be allowed, honsetly think it will make a didffernece if the person drives like and A@% hole with or without a light, at least the light will give a warning to other motorists. and like someone said before, its mostly so people dont pull out in front of you, or if ppl do see it they will pull over, what if you get stuck behind somone 3 minutes from the station behind an older handicapped person who now just turned your 3 minute ride into a 5-6 minute ride?
    hmmm, gee, I've been saying this for years. lights or no lights, drivers will still be horrible and drive like maniacs.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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  22. #47
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    In Iowa, we are allowed to use a blue light for fire, and a white light if EMS. It doesn't matter the type (I personally have a deckblaster strobe) but regardless, they are courtesy lights only and do not allow you to break traffic laws. Under no circumstance may you have a siren.

  23. #48
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    Here in my part of tennesse we are aloud Lights and Sirens. Most on my department have strobes. On my 92 Dodge Ram 3500 Cumins turbo diesel i have under front bumper a yellow revolving light, grille strobes of red and clear, bumper wig wags of red, 2 sets of dash strobes (both red and clear, and soen strobes on my rearview mirror that face outward (red and clear). Had thoght abuot strobes for my clearence lgihts on top but decided not too. and for the back i have one strobe light that is a 360 degree strobe red on the place where the cab and bed meet and also another rotation red halogen under the back bumber of the back of the truck. I had 4 corner strobes at one time but didnot like them. Also have an old siren but am soon getting oen with airhorn option on it. It is pretty much mandatory on our department that you have some sorta warning thing if its the popular wigwag to the state of the art LED system. And i agree we have some people on our fire department that do not use them corectly but also we have some guys liek me that drive safe and are aware of our surroundings. Ill be the first to tell you i got alot of lights for a voluntiier but i want to be seen. I rememeber my first fire i had no lights or siren and no one would move for me jsut because i had hazzards going. you are an emergancy vehicle liek anything else so you need soemthing. but i also think that if you abuse the privlage then you shodlnot have them. just my .02 cents

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    Originally posted by BC79er
    In Texas, any member can have red lights and sirens on their POV, which is then considered an emergency vehicle like any other on the road, by law people have to get out of the way. I've heard some other states where that's not the case, so there's no penalty/ticket for not moving. For POVs, ambulances, fire trucks, or cops.

    I always ask the people that say they won't move: Since you're in front of me, how do you know I'm not trying to get to your house?
    BC79er,

    In your department this may be the case. Other Departments have different by-laws and SOPs than your department. And for the state law part; yes it is against the law for someone not to move for you. But the traffic laws still stick. You can be sited for speeding and indangering the lives of civilians. I recommend you read the law and just fyi your insurance company may not cover your vehicle as an emergency vehicle. Just something you might want to consider when posting a reply on her. If you want to speak don't speak for the whole state of Texas you may make someone else mad. Not every department in Texas is like yours.

    Sincerly,

    Blake C. Busse
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    Originally posted by SVFD840
    you are an emergancy vehicle liek anything else so you need soemthing.
    I think you'll find that - legally - in most states this is usually not true. A POV with lights/siren is generally just that: a POV with lights/siren, and not legally an "emergency vehicle".

    Changing topic a bit... something for all of us to consider when driving POV to the station or scene....

    We all know that we have to carefully consider risk/benefits of everything we do. One thing I did not make clear in one of my earlier posts here is that lights and sirens for *most* of us are going to save you no more than 30 seconds or so on your response time. Unless you're going a really long distance to the scene with stretches of open highway, if you ultimately save much more than 30 seconds or so you are probably driving too fast or recklessly in the first place. Yes, seconds count in some of our calls, but does the repeating risk of [insert description of calamity here] on every response really outweighed by saving 30 seconds on the once-in-a-while call where it really matters? How often does your three minute response actually go up to five or six minutes because of a over-slow driver when you're only going a handful of miles to the call as most of us do? Do the math, to make up X minutes difference, from point A to point B, how much faster must you go? Ah, you now see that what feels like a long delay isn't actually all that long - kind of like when the caller asks what took you so long when you get there and you know you were fairly quick. In addition, if they're THAT slow, you can probably execute a legal passing action without breaking traffic laws. And of those rare times the 30 seconds makes a REAL difference, are you always among the first persons on scene where you matter that much or will others get there before you? Just some more food for thought.

    Those of you with extenuating circumstances can apply or dismiss these opinions as you see fit, as you all know your own circumstances better that I do.

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