1. #76
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    In Rhode Island Red lights, no siren, with Chiefs consent.

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    I hadn't planned on commenting on this, and I apologize if I've brought up an old dead thread. I was just looking through some archives (I'm new here at this forum, and I'm not sure about what has been discussed and what hasn't. Somthing tells me that this subject has been beat in the ground, but obviously it is popular for discussion) I just had a few thoughts that came up, and thought I would post my humble opinion on this seemingly intense subject.
    I'm a part-time paid/volunteer firefighter in Indiana, and this subject has been discussed somewhat at our station, but not to the extent that I've found here. Most of our members have a blue light of some type, and there has never been a problem with bad driving.


    In Indiana, firefighters use Blue lights only on their personal vehicles. Red lights/sirens can be used if the vehicle is registered to the fire department with a Municipal official license plate, and if it is for a Chief command vehicle.
    I live at the firehouse (literally, I'm a live-in. I get free rooming for being on station, and being there for calls). I still have lights on my vehicle for responding to the station during the day when I'm not there.
    Indiana state law states that a volunteer firefighter is allowed to exceed the posted speedlimit when using blue lights as long as he/she is practicing due regard and not placing themselves or other motorists in danger. They must still heed all stop lights and signs like other vehicles; the blue lights are only asking for the right-of-way.
    With that said, I am against driving with excessive speed or immaturity, but I am a believer in firefighters having lights in their vehicle when responding to the station. The extra 1-2 minutes that is gained is a big help; especially during the daytime. Our ambulance comes from a distance of 10 miles or greater during the daytime, and first responders are of critical importance. Nothing worse than sitting in the departments EMS vehicle by yourself waiting for a partner to show up to go with you on a run to a patient with a full arrest, when seconds count. Your partner with the blue lights arrives minutes before the other one that is stuck at the 4-way stop behind 4 cars because he is against having lights on his vehicle that may help him get to where he needs to be to save a life or property.
    If I am responding to the station with my lights on, I drive at a safe speed that can get me there in a timely manner without endangering myself or other drivers. I can't help anyone if I don't get there myself, or if I hurt somone else. If I come up upon somone in a no-passing zone, I wait until the person sees me, and slows and pulls over until I safely pass. At stoplights/stopsigns, I come to a very slow crawl or complete stop until I see that all other motorists can see me and are waving me on through. Most people around here understand what we do, and are very good about allowing us the right-of-way, because they know that we could easily be helping somone they know and love.

    We do not allow any personell to respond directly to the scene, unless they have to pass by the scene on the way to the station, and if they happen to have the gear or equipment that they need to be of service. Nothing worse than having 5 POV's at the scene with lights flashing and noone there can do anything, while your waiting at the station with an empty truck for people to show up.


    In conclusion to the seemingly-endless sermon, I believe that lights on POV's are a good thing if used wisely, and terrible if abused. Generally, I don't want to operate with a firefighter that drives crazy, because that shows that he can't keep calm under adrenaline-rushing and stress...not a good thing when you're going in a burning structure or assessing a critical patient.

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    Nothing worse than having 5 POV's at the scene with lights flashing and noone there can do anything, while your waiting at the station with an empty truck for people to show up.
    They can be getting their bunker gear on and doing scene assessment and radioing dispatch whether they will need mutual aid or medical for any injuried civilians. Nobody should be waiting for anyone at the station. First guy to the station throws his gear on the passengers seat, climbs into the drivers seat and gets the pumper rolling to the scene. As he pulls on scene the 5 FFs who responded POV should be bunkered up and reaching for preconnect hoses and packs as he puts the truck in pump gear. By the time he has water flowing the 5 FFs who arrived POV are streching 2 attack lines and heading to the seat of the fire. Our department works on the idea that ANYONE can pick up a pumper even if they have no gear or fire training. There will always be someone on scene who can take over and operate the pumps once the truck gets there.
    Nothing worse than sitting in the departments EMS vehicle by yourself waiting for a partner to show up to go with you on a run to a patient with a full arrest, when seconds count.
    What are you waiting for? GO Go GO. Your patient is waiting and your partner can follow in his POV or go direct to the scene. You may already have someone on scene. If they were close when the call came out they may already be there. You said it yourself, seconds count. Your medically trained responders don't have Med bags in their POVs? What if your station is like our main station and is 10 minutes (or more) away from where the patient is? While you are waiting at the station a first responder who lives near the patient isworking the patient and wondering where the heck you are. When I get on scene I'm able to put the patient on high flow O2 and even bag them if necessary. Some EMTs are issued AEDs to carry in their POV along with the other medical gear we get. The only thing we are waiting for is the private ambulance service to come transport our patient. If necessary we can ride in the ambulance to continue treatment and assist the paramedics and come back for our POV later. There are departments in this parish (county to the rest of america) that only pick up their EMS/rescue truck for wrecks requiring extrication. All other medical emergencies are handled out of the trunks of their cars.
    Don't wait!
    Last edited by cellblock; 01-13-2005 at 08:28 AM.

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    Originally posted by cellblock
    They can be getting their bunker gear on and doing scene assessment and radioing dispatch whether they will need mutual aid or medical for any injuried civilians. Nobody should be waiting for anyone at the station. First guy to the station throws his gear on the passengers seat, climbs into the drivers seat and gets the pumper rolling to the scene. As he pulls on scene the 5 FFs who responded POV should be bunkered up and reaching for preconnect hoses and packs as he puts the truck in pump gear. By the time he has water flowing the 5 FFs who arrived POV are streching 2 attack lines and heading to the seat of the fire. Our department works on the idea that ANYONE can pick up a pumper even if they have no gear or fire training. There will always be someone on scene who can take over and operate the pumps once the truck gets there.
    I agree that what you said works for some departments. If it works for you, then go for it. I've heard of other departments in this area that operate like that, and it works great for them.
    We've had problems with allowing people to drive to scene, other than chief officers. 90% of our active members live right here in town, 1 mile or less from the station. It's better to have them come here and ride the engine then to have 10 cars driving out to scene with no gear or equipment, hoping that somone stops and "grabs the truck". If everyone drives to the scene, they're might not be anyone coming to the station to get apparatus, which means someone loses precious time having to drive back anyway and get an engine.

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    90% of our active members live right here in town, 1 mile or less from the station.
    Our distirct is spread over 96 square miles with 3 stations, 2 unmanned and one manned. We have pockets of houses dispersed among 2 State prisons, the LSU Agriculture Reasearch center (lots of fields), 15 chemical plants the Willow Glen power plant and various businesses. Nobody in our department lives within a mile of any of the stations. There is no 'in town' as much as there are parts of 3 spread out communities which were incoporated when the city formed. The stations are located on donated or leased land we got from the plants. Nobody is gonna build a house right outside the chemical plant fences in case of a release/spill but we can put a unmanned station there and house our trucks with no problems. Our main, manned station is right next to the high voltage power lines coming from the power plant. If you have your gear in the trunk of your POV you can pick up a truck from whatever station you are nearest when the call is paged out. For medicals our paid guy will bring the Rescue truck from the central station but depending on where the call is there may be several first responders already on scene before he even gets out of the station and gets on the highway. Of course sometimes nobody comes. I've worked CHF patients with severe difficulty breathing by myself until the private ambulance service arrived to transport. I've worked unresponsive patients who keep going toward the light by myself while their relatives stand there wondering where everyone else is. I've heard departments in my Parish get paged to MVAs, go to the station for a truck and find the truck won't start and then just respond by themself in their POV with the medical bags they usually carry with them.
    Actual transmittion I heard one evening while working at our station-
    "Engine 4 enroute to the MVA on Highway XX. One on board."
    "Dispatch to Engine 4, do you want me to repage for additional personel?"
    "I don't think there is anyone else around today so don't bother."
    Ohhh, that will raise the pucker factor. I'm used to telling my dispatcher not to send Airmed since I'm gonna be alone and won't have anyone available to set up a landing zone. It's easier just to wait for the ground ambulance to get on scene with you.

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    Pat yourself on the back a little more...........
    Firefighting is not just a job, its a way of life........
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    SORRY FELLAS, NO TIKI BAR HERE!

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    WorkingFire22,
    No disrespect, but you need to re-read the Indiana Code ref. Blue Lights. We are NOT allowed to exceed the Speed limit or roll through intersections. We are to obey all laws just like anyone else, including speeding. In Fact it is also stated that if a FF is given a citation for a violation of any type by an LEO that FF is to be terminated from the Dept. by the Chief.
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    Originally posted by Firemanjoe213
    WorkingFire22,
    No disrespect, but you need to re-read the Indiana Code ref. Blue Lights. We are NOT allowed to exceed the Speed limit or roll through intersections. We are to obey all laws just like anyone else, including speeding. In Fact it is also stated that if a FF is given a citation for a violation of any type by an LEO that FF is to be terminated from the Dept. by the Chief.
    So a citation alone, and not court review would get someone terminated? I find that very hard to believe. Can you cite your source?
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  9. #84
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    Originally posted by cellblock
    Our distirct is spread over 96 square miles with 3 stations, 2 unmanned and one manned. We have pockets of houses dispersed among 2 State prisons, the LSU Agriculture Reasearch center (lots of fields), 15 chemical plants the Willow Glen power plant and various businesses. Nobody in our department lives within a mile of any of the stations. There is no 'in town' as much as there are parts of 3 spread out communities which were incoporated when the city formed. The stations are located on donated or leased land we got from the plants. Nobody is gonna build a house right outside the chemical plant fences in case of a release/spill but we can put a unmanned station there and house our trucks with no problems. Our main, manned station is right next to the high voltage power lines coming from the power plant. If you have your gear in the trunk of your POV you can pick up a truck from whatever station you are nearest when the call is paged out. For medicals our paid guy will bring the Rescue truck from the central station but depending on where the call is there may be several first responders already on scene before he even gets out of the station and gets on the highway. Of course sometimes nobody comes. I've worked CHF patients with severe difficulty breathing by myself until the private ambulance service arrived to transport. I've worked unresponsive patients who keep going toward the light by myself while their relatives stand there wondering where everyone else is. I've heard departments in my Parish get paged to MVAs, go to the station for a truck and find the truck won't start and then just respond by themself in their POV with the medical bags they usually carry with them.
    Actual transmittion I heard one evening while working at our station-
    "Engine 4 enroute to the MVA on Highway XX. One on board."
    "Dispatch to Engine 4, do you want me to repage for additional personel?"
    "I don't think there is anyone else around today so don't bother."
    Ohhh, that will raise the pucker factor. I'm used to telling my dispatcher not to send Airmed since I'm gonna be alone and won't have anyone available to set up a landing zone. It's easier just to wait for the ground ambulance to get on scene with you.
    I agree completely. Keep in mind, I'm not trying to disagree or argue with you at all. I'm just explaining why we do what we do, just like you are doing.
    I myself do carry extra gear in my POV, so I can respond to whichever station I am closer to. There are times as well that I've gone directly to the scene because of how close I was to it, or what the circumstances are. It's just that the rule we have works best for us at this time. Thanks for the discussion, keep up the good work.

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    Originally posted by Firemanjoe213
    WorkingFire22,
    No disrespect, but you need to re-read the Indiana Code ref. Blue Lights. We are NOT allowed to exceed the Speed limit or roll through intersections. We are to obey all laws just like anyone else, including speeding. In Fact it is also stated that if a FF is given a citation for a violation of any type by an LEO that FF is to be terminated from the Dept. by the Chief.
    We are not allowed to roll through intersetions with no regard, but a new law states that we can exceed the posted speed limit.


    "HOUSE BILL No. 1230
    _____

    DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL

    Citations Affected: IC 9-13-2-197.5 ; IC 9-18-34-1 ; IC 9-21-5-1.5 ; IC 36-8-12-11 .

    Synopsis: Speed limits for volunteer firefighter vehicles. Permits a volunteer firefighter to exceed the speed limit when responding to an emergency call or a fire alarm.

    (g) A driver of a vehicle displaying a blue light shall obey all traffic rules but may exceed speed limits when operating the vehicle in the manner required by IC 9-21-5-1.5

    Effective: July 1, 2003."


    Read here:
    http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/.../IN1230.1.html
    Last edited by Workingfire22; 01-14-2005 at 07:42 PM.

  11. #86
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    I do not believe House bill 1230 was ever adopted. If you check the IC codes directly they read:

    IC 36-8-12-11
    Blue lights on private vehicles; authorization; violations
    Sec. 11. (a) Members of volunteer fire departments may display blue lights on their privately owned vehicles while en route to scenes of emergencies or to the fire station in the line of duty subject to the following conditions:
    (1) A light must have a light source of at least thirty-five (35) watts.
    (2) All lights must be placed on the:
    (A) top of the vehicle;
    (B) dashboard inside a vehicle, shielded to prevent distracting the driver; or
    (C) front of the vehicle upon the bumper or at bumper level.
    (3) No more than four (4) blue light assemblies may be displayed on one (1) vehicle, and each blue light assembly must be of the flashing or revolving type.
    (4) A blue light assembly may contain multiple bulbs.
    (5) A blue light may not be a part of the regular head lamps

    displayed on the vehicles. Alternately flashing head lamps may be used as a supplemental warning device. Strobe lights or flashers may be installed into the light fixtures on the vehicle other than the alternating head lamps. The strobe lights or flashers may be either white or blue, with the exception of red to the rear.
    (b) In order for a volunteer firefighter to display a blue light on a vehicle, the volunteer firefighter must secure a written permit from the chief of the volunteer fire department to use the blue light and must carry the permit at all times when the blue light is displayed.
    (c) A person who is not a member of a volunteer fire department may not display an illuminated blue light on a vehicle.
    (d) A permittee of the owner of a vehicle lawfully equipped with a blue light may operate the vehicle only if the blue light is not illuminated.
    (e) A person who violates subsection (a), (b), (c), or (d) commits a Class C infraction. If the violator is a member of a volunteer fire department, the chief of the department shall discipline the violator under fire department rules and regulations.
    (f) This section does not grant a vehicle displaying blue lights the right-of-way under IC 9-21-8-35 or exemption from traffic rules under IC 9-21-1-8. A driver of a vehicle displaying a blue light shall obey all traffic rules.
    (g) This section shall not be construed to include a vehicle displaying a blue light and driven by a member of a volunteer fire department as an authorized emergency vehicle (as defined in IC 9-13-2-6).
    As added by Acts 1981, P.L.309, SEC.64. Amended by P.L.88-1990, SEC.4; P.L.2-1991, SEC.108; P.L.99-1991, SEC.4; P.L.1-1999, SEC.96; P.L.6-2001, SEC.1; P.L.153-2002, SEC.2.




    http://www.ai.org/legislative/ic/cod...l#IC36-8-12-11

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    About 2 years ago IC 36-8-12-11 was revised. In the revision it changed the requirements for a blue light to only be allowed on top of the vehicle with an additional one allowed at bumper level to the standard today. Also during the revision IC 36-8-12-11 (e) was also revised from (basically) a person who was cited with a traffic infraction during a blue light response would be terminated from the Fire Department, however, they could be later reinstated. Now the code places the responsibility on the Fire Department for corrective actions as shown above.

    One of my disagreements regarding House Bill 1230, among many, is that it appears it never passed. If a person only stops at a proposed house bill they will be mislead and may never do the additional research needed to learn that the bill was not passed and the code still restricts blue light response to obey all traffic rules. IC 36-8-12-11 (f).

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    Well, seeing as I was going by the old IC code, I stand corrected in reference to being terminated from the Dept.
    But yes, Dennis it was if you recieved the citation, while running ur lights, you were to automatically be terminated.
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    Originally posted by Firemanjoe213

    But yes, Dennis it was if you recieved the citation, while running ur lights, you were to automatically be terminated.
    No due process? Now that is just un-American!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    As far as i know, New York has very similar traffic laws to those of Indiana, listed above. HOWEVER, i hear there is a bill in our state congress currently that will allow volunteer firefighters to use red lights and/or audible sirens in thier personal vehicles. I think this is just asking for trouble since most of us don't have the EVOC training i think you need to be driving an emergency vehicle, and also since we still have trouble getting people out of the way of our TRUCKS!

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    where did you hear that adamkhalil, I've never heard of such a thing.

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    i had to make a response,

    yes some of us drive to fast and that is a problem we have to deal with along with everything else that makes us look bad.
    i have and will continue to use l&s on my pov when i feel that there is a need for a quicker response or getting thru traffic.
    most of our responses consist of the appartus and members meeting on scene in our povs. its how we have to respond. and getting thru blocked traffic in a vehicle without l&s is next to impossiable.
    the people who say we need to get rid of the l&s on povs need to walk a mile in my shoes. i wish we had the manpower and run volume to justify manning the station but we don't. we have had 5 runs in a 8 hr. period and we have gone 3 weeks without so much as a medic call.

    the one thing i have read that i do take objection to is that some depts allow only the chiefs and/or other officers run l&s on there povs. i dont care how good you are at being a boss or how much you know or can do, you cannot do anything without you're team.
    this harkens back to the old timer days of only the chief shall have a radio, thank God those days are gone.

    keep a tight lease on you're people, have you're sog/sops up to date and ENFORCED for everone watch out for the 1000.00 dollar lightbars on 200 dollars cars.

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    Originally posted by baskett110
    the one thing i have read that i do take objection to is that some depts allow only the chiefs and/or other officers run l&s on there povs. i dont care how good you are at being a boss or how much you know or can do, you cannot do anything without you're team.
    this harkens back to the old timer days of only the chief shall have a radio, thank God those days are gone.
    it has nothing to do with the chief being better than the firefighters who serve under him. in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.

    the reason chiefs only run L&S in their POV is because they can respond DIRECTLY TO THE SCENE OF THE INCIDENT, while FFs go to the station to pick up a piece of equipment. very rarely will you ever see a fire chief responding red lights and sirens to the firehouse, and them see him jump out of the car, and hop on the engine (although there are "special people" who will do this")

    of course, if your FFs are going straight to the scene, then everyone should have L&S (if your department is permitting it). personally i'm against this policy, but if that's what your departmenet wants to do, then more power to them.
    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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    I don't understand the logic behind all firefighters having L&S in their vehicles..Unless of course your dept is in a very densely populated area then it might serve some purpose...But in the boonies or less populated areas...Why do you need to have all these lights and sirens on your car...I live probably the furthest from my dept...And I can always make first truck out,doing within 10km/h of the speed limit..usually 80km/h is how fast I go..So why all these guys who live 10 seconds need lights for their cars makes no sense..
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

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    chief gets to run l&s but the ffs don't, he still can't do anything until the troops arrive, except for a size up and call for help.

    running l&s sometimes dose not save any time but at 3 am in the morning sitting at a red light with no traffic around is very frustateing. 2 or 3 stop lights can raise the response time up by several minutes.

    in kentucky the volunteers who chose to run l&s are considered to be emergency vehicles. they must use a siren with the light. code 2 runs are not legal except for ems when the sound of the siren may harm the patient.

    my dept. responds to the scene in povs because we have to, its not a choice, its the way the district is laid out, were our people live and were the station is located in relation to the runs.

    while talking about l&s and driving to fast lets talk about law enforcement and how they drive. i use them as a training tool in how not to drive when running code. around here they run code 3 to fill out an accident report and direct traffic. they drive way to fast and it dose not matter were they are at.

    like i said before keep a close eye on you're people and train them, train them

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    very rarely will you ever see a fire chief responding red lights and sirens to the firehouse, and them see him jump out of the car, and hop on the engine (although there are "special people" who will do this")
    Happens here all the time. In case of a fire we may need all the water or trucks we can get. That means everyone passing a station picks up a truck. The paid guy will take the first out and if more are needed it's up to everyone, chiefs included, to try to get those trucks rolling.
    For EMS calls all medically trained FFs have medical bags and O2 in their personal vehicles and ofter arrive well ahead of the rescue truck driven by the paid person who mans the main station. Their vehicles, mostly pickup trucks, all have lights and sirens to aid them in getting to a call in a timly manner.
    The photo attached below shows our Brush/EMS truck. I ran several medical calls last week using this pickup truck. It has front dash and rear window strobes and hide-a-way wig-wags in the headlights and tail lights and a Federal siren. Nothing fancy and it is similar to the lights and siren combinations used by most of our members on their personal vehicles.
    How is responding, Lights and Siren, in this city vehicle any safer than someone responding from home in their 200* model Ford or Dodge pickup with lights and siren?
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    Default Lights in Personal Vehicle

    in my town for any paid or volunteer fire dept., you can only have red or clear lights. myself personally, i run red grille lights and wig-wags. but where i live it dont matter if you are running lights (personal vehichle) or lights and siren (pumper, support, or ambulance), you have more noisy people pass you trying to see whats going on than you do firefighters trying to respond. and the cops are so lazy to get out and do there jobs, that nothing ever gets done about it. there have been very few cases where someone has been pulled over because they are either to dumb to get out of the way or trying to see whats going on. anybody else having these problems.

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    Smile

    I don't run lights or siren, but I don't have a job either. If I did, my local department/state lets people run hot. I would also say that 19/20 vehicles are equipped with a full bar or lots of lights, most are also pickups or 4x4s. Maybe its an Ohio thing, maybe we are all just a bunch of rednecks 'round here, maybe not.

    I plan on a minibar, dashlight and rear flashers plus a cheap siren. That adds up to about $400. Maybe you think I'm crazy, but the driving lights on my 4x4 cost $200 for the pair, the roof lights, 4 at $65 each. I have spent about $4500 in total modifying my vehicle because I enjoy it, can afford it and I use it off-road for work and play.

    Lights and siren is just a new type of accesories I could have. They have function but I know they are not some magical omnipowerful presense while on the road. I think people need to give some more credit to firefighters that use lights and sirens on POVS. Around here its pretty status quo, for any lever member.

    Spending money on a lightbar does not automaticly condem you to an IQ lower than your age. It has been my personal experiance that sometimes they are benificial, and in my PERSONAL experiancem have never caussed any problems.

    Try to remember, 8 firefighters respond hot to station and get trucks rolling is not news. Fifrefighter t-boned at intersection, driver in critcal condition is news, but so is "school bus involved in MVA", and school buses drive very safely. Accidents happen, no matter what type of vehicle you are in.

    People here are road-wise also. When a pickup with a lightbar comes down the road, they know what to do. Same as with a firetruck. Most know where the few vollies live too and can anticipate thier routes to the station. I have never met a driver that was "confused" by POV responses made with lights and siren.

    Maybe I'm totally wrong, I don't have much experiance but I don't think I am. Just my opinion.

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    Originally posted by Lammrover
    I don't run lights or siren, but I don't have a job either. If I did, my local department/state lets people run hot. I would also say that 19/20 vehicles are equipped with a full bar or lots of lights, most are also pickups or 4x4s. Maybe its an Ohio thing, maybe we are all just a bunch of rednecks 'round here, maybe not.

    I plan on a minibar, dashlight and rear flashers plus a cheap siren. That adds up to about $400. Maybe you think I'm crazy, but the driving lights on my 4x4 cost $200 for the pair, the roof lights, 4 at $65 each. I have spent about $4500 in total modifying my vehicle because I enjoy it, can afford it and I use it off-road for work and play.

    Lights and siren is just a new type of accesories I could have. They have function but I know they are not some magical omnipowerful presense while on the road. I think people need to give some more credit to firefighters that use lights and sirens on POVS. Around here its pretty status quo, for any lever member.

    Spending money on a lightbar does not automaticly condem you to an IQ lower than your age. It has been my personal experiance that sometimes they are benificial, and in my PERSONAL experiancem have never caussed any problems.

    Try to remember, 8 firefighters respond hot to station and get trucks rolling is not news. Fifrefighter t-boned at intersection, driver in critcal condition is news, but so is "school bus involved in MVA", and school buses drive very safely. Accidents happen, no matter what type of vehicle you are in.

    People here are road-wise also. When a pickup with a lightbar comes down the road, they know what to do. Same as with a firetruck. Most know where the few vollies live too and can anticipate thier routes to the station. I have never met a driver that was "confused" by POV responses made with lights and siren.

    Maybe I'm totally wrong, I don't have much experiance but I don't think I am. Just my opinion.

    Lammrover
    I agree.

  25. #100
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    firecadet598's Avatar
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    Our department allows members to use a red light as a courtesy light. Most people don't pay attention anyway so it doesn't matter. The only people with a lightbar and siren are those on the dive team, and they don't use either unless traffic is bad.
    Remembering those who died on September 11, 2001.

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