1. #26
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    Wink There are no wrong answers

    Dan,

    I doubt you will find what you seek here in the forums or anywhere else for that matter. No universal solution exists. Each department should choose procedures and evaluate their performance. Evaluation should dictate change in procedure.

    The important thing is that you asked why. Why do we do everything the way we do? Why do they do it differently? Should we do it differently?

    Keep asking yourself those questions and you will be the better for it.

    Stay Safe

    P.S.
    We have red lights and sirens on all firefighters POVs.
    Only designated drivers respond to the station for apparatus.
    We have evaluated this procedure – we are not changing it at this time.

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    The problem isn't the lights. The problem is the people driving the vehicle with the lights. Unfortunately, we let that same person drive the BRT. and somehow believe that their driving habits change once they get behind the wheel of the BRT with it's approved lights.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Since when does using emergency lights guarantee a collision.Best I can determine,using the sames rules as apply to the BRT,it WON'T. The city doesn't furnish my ride,yet as a Div.Chief I'm expected to make a majority of the calls and generally direct to the scene to evaluate hazards and help command.The City doesn't furnish the bosses ride either so I guess his car could be considered a POV as well.Some of your commentary would be "well,make the city staff your station and buy the boss a car" Noble intent,but not in the cards here.We've issued "priviledge"cards for some time here and in over thirty years I know of only one being revoked.Oh, I've had some people in my office over the years but no more for POV's than BRT's.There is no "cookie cutter"fits all policy here,it has to be tailored to locale and circumstances.So I'm on the "light 'em and fight 'em side of the fence.And Yes,we're urban/rural with heavy commercial traffic.Training and solid policies go a long way to addressing the issues brought up here.And as far as unsafe vehicles go,the State of Maine inspection laws apply equally whether it is a BRT or a POV.If it isn't safe it isn't stickered or on the road.If it is,it's subject to a HEALTHY fine.T.C.

  4. #29
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    Default in response to the paragod

    actually, I prefer to ride my bike to the station when the weather gets nice. I do that for training, or if I just want to hang out. however, during an alarm, my goal is to get to the station as quick (and safely) as possible, mount the engine, and respond. I can get there much quicker in a car than walking or on my bike. remember it's an emergencies, minutes and seconds count. oh yeah, and when I am responding to the station for a call, 99% of the time I don't have any emergency lights on.
    Funny, I havn't read about any LODD's lately where a career fireman on the way to work was killed in his pov and they called it a LODD... And if I'm killed in a dept engine while working my wife gets lot's of $$$. Will a private insurance copmany even cover someone that drives through an intersection with a little light blinking in the grill?
    actually, volunteers generally get mone $$$ when a LODD occurs. and to answer your second question, yes it will. your department's insurance covers you from the time you walk out the door to the time you make it home. at least that's how it was in every department i've ever been in. and sir, you didn't even respond to my comment. I am well aware of the LODD that occur when volunteers respond in POVs. however, do you think the total number killed in MVC involving BRT or ambulances is higher or lower that those in POVs? (hint hint, it's the latter).
    4. In short, first due units are given the right to use warning devices to respond to scenes whereby their timely response could reasonable have a positive impact on the loss of life or property.
    I bolded a part of your quote. and I'll agree with you on that one. however, how can you say BRTs should use L&S to ensure a timely response, as to impact on the loss of life or property, yet it is ridiculous for the crew of that BRTs (and driver) to use lights in their POV to ensure shorter response to the station, as to positively impact on the loss of life or property?

    Bones, I agree with you 100%.

    I'm not asking a question about each individual department's policies. I know everyone does things differently, and that's ok. my question is why there is so much hypocracy ("we need to cut response times, but if a member has a blue light in his car, and it helps him shave off 30 seconds, well, that's just not acceptable") as well as the thought that BRTs respond L&S to ensure a quick response, however a member in a POV (who is needed to staff the truck) should not have them. without the firefighters on the engine, all it becomes is an expensive paperweight.
    Especially if they are in a non-emergency response vehicle, that does not have a full compliment of warning devices, being driven by someone that may not be EVAP trained, and may not have adequate insurance.
    How many years do you have in the fire service Dr Parasite? Surely you've seen this discussed before, and with your vast experience and training you must be aware of the guidelines and standards required for emergnecy response vehicles.
    so then isn't this a training issue? those that are approving the use of lights in their POVs aren't properly training those who use them in the rule and ragulations? so if someone isn't following the rules, why not correct the offender, instead of saying the entire system is wrong? but that might be too difficult for a paragod to do

    and as Rescue101 says,
    And as far as unsafe vehicles go,the State of Maine inspection laws apply equally whether it is a BRT or a POV.If it isn't safe it isn't stickered or on the road.If it is,it's subject to a HEALTHY fine.T.C.
    thank, I couldn't think of a way to enforce that one, but your right. and if you really want to be picky, some dept vehicles might not be inspected by the motor vehilcles agency, as they are above a certain weight, and are thus subject to self inspection.

    As for my experience, I join my VFD in 6/98. I joined the local EMS squad in 10/98. my list of alphabet soup includes FF1(soon to be FF2), EMT, EVOC, PHTLS, ICS200, HAZMAT Ops, WMD Ops, MVX, Pumps Ops. my FD runs 800 calls a year, my squad between 4500 and 5000. I also have a Bachelors degree from Syracuse University, am an Eagle Scout, and have worked paid EMS as well as volunteer. not that I think this will impress anyone, because it's nothing compares to what some seasoned vets have (10 and 20 year vets, officers, chiefs, etc). but yeah, that's my background in a nutshell.

    and I don't put up with hypocracy, I don't believe in do what I say, not what I do, or the old I'm right because I say I'm right, and if something doesn't make sense, I have no problems pointing that out. and I am a firm believer in using logic in order to show how a person might think one thing, however logically it doesn't make sense.

    so paragod (you really should change your SN to that), maybe you'd like to give a coherent arguement that can't be blown to pieces using facts?
    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 had a long response for this, but really, what's the point.
    DR Parasite mention hypocracy. Ok, fine, let's deal with that.
    If a municipality wants to outfit it's POV responders with a full complement of visual and audible warning devices, have each responder complete a DAILY vehicle inspection form,and ensure up to date EVAP training for all POV responders, then great, let them respond just like Emergency Response Vehicles.
    However, any POV vehicle that does not follow the same rules and regulations as a a dept vehicle should not be allowed to respond in any mode other than normal traffic laws allow.
    To do otherwise would be hypocratic.
    Last edited by mittlesmertz; 11-02-2004 at 04:44 PM.
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    similarly, my bachelors degree doesn't really have anything to do with my fire experience. I just thought I would throw that in for S&G.

    and most volunteer departments that I am aware of do truck checks either weekly or twice a aweek. only those that have crews in house 24/7 do daily checks, and in those cases, they don't respond to the station for calls. and many departments to require EVOC or CEVO or EVAP or whatever you want to call it. but there are also departments that don't require it to drive BRTs.

    and your right, my eagle was earned at 1980. I guess that means a younger person was able to poke holes in all your arguments. something you should be very proud of

    so yeah, you still havn't given a good reason (that can't be have holes poked in it) as to why we like having lights on BRTs but not on POVs. but thanks for trying.
    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 Re: in response to the paragod

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    and to answer your second question, yes it will. your department's insurance covers you from the time you walk out the door to the time you make it home. at least that's how it was in every department i've ever been in.
    If a POV responding from home is involved in a collison, it is irresponsible to assume that the FD insurance will cover you. I would recommend that all responders check with their insurance agents as to their coverage when using a POV in this manner. When I volunteered, it was explained to me by my agent that using a vehicle in this manner could be seen as "outside the normal use" for the vehicle, and thus the coverage may be reduced. And when the agent finds out the intended use of the vehicle, do you think the rates might go up?

    you didn't even respond to my comment. I am well aware of the LODD that occur when volunteers respond in POVs. however, do you think the total number killed in MVC involving BRT or ambulances is higher or lower that those in POVs? (hint hint, it's the latter).
    As you state later, you are the defender of truth and reason. Well, let's look.
    Doing a search on the NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation Reports will show that from 1999-2003 there were 6 fatality accidents involving responders in POV's, either going to a call or the station.
    During that same period, excluding tanker rollovers, which is a different problem entirely, there were 7 fatalities involving ff's responding to calls in emergency response units. This would bring up the logical question of how many more miles/hours are put in by emergency vehicles running lights and sirens vs how many miles/hours put in by POV's responding to the firehouse. Common sense would dictate that emergency response vehicles spend alot more time with lights and sirens on then the limited amount of time spent by responders going to the station. So yes, there were more ff fatalities in emergency response veihicles than POv's (7 vs 6). However, the fatalities per mile/hour driven would show an "inordinately" higher amount of fatalities for the POV responders.
    Do you have any more hints for me?

    I bolded a part of your quote. and I'll agree with you on that one. however, how can you say BRTs should use L&S to ensure a timely response, as to impact on the loss of life or property, yet it is ridiculous for the crew of that BRTs (and driver) to use lights in their POV to ensure shorter response to the station, as to positively impact on the loss of life or property?
    I've never posted anywhere that I think the policy of POV response with lights is "ridiculous". Maybe that's how you feel, I don't know.



    so then isn't this a training issue? those that are approving the use of lights in their POVs aren't properly training those who use them in the rule and ragulations? so if someone isn't following the rules, why not correct the offender, instead of saying the entire system is wrong? but that might be too difficult for a paragod to do
    Yes, this is a training issue. The NIOSH reports show a clear pattern in the POV deaths- excessive speed for the conditions. Of note,in not one of the fatality accidents were the POV using a full complement of emergency lights and sirens. Improve the training for all responders regarding safe driving.
    As you gain more time on the job, you'll realize that the "seconds count" idea is really a fallacy. I exceed the speed limit maybe once every 10 calls (that's once a shift for me, not once every 3 months for you). As you run more calls, you will realize that in the VAST majority of calls an extra minute or two will make no difference what so ever in the final outcome. I know it's exciting to rush to the firehouse in anticipation of what might be a serious call, but a prudent responder will respond quickly and efficiently, and have a long healthy career.


    my experience, I join my VFD in 6/98. I joined the local EMS squad in 10/98. my list of alphabet soup includes FF1(soon to be FF2), EMT, EVOC, PHTLS, ICS200, HAZMAT Ops, WMD Ops, MVX, Pumps Ops. my FD runs 800 calls a year, my squad between 4500 and 5000. I also have a Bachelors degree from Syracuse University, am an Eagle Scout, and have worked paid EMS as well as volunteer. not that I think this will impress anyone, because it's nothing compares to what some seasoned vets have (10 and 20 year vets, officers, chiefs, etc). but yeah, that's my background in a nutshell.
    Please, please, you did not just list Eagle Scout as part of your resume.Wait, I gotta stop to get the tears out of my eyes from laughing.
    Ok I'm back. Yeah, I think I got mine in 1979 or so. Does that count? For some reason I think yours might be a little more current...
    The reason I ask about experience is that I often find the newer, less experienced repsonders are the ones that are racing all over the place. My personal interpretation, I know, but I've done this a little while now. I'm sure I'll get posts from 16 year olds that will say they are very calm and level headed,but I stand by my generalization.
    "Don't just do something, stand there!!!"

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    mittlesmertz, you are correct in that my personal auto insurance carrier MAY or MAY NOT cover to the full extent an accident involving my response to a call. However, my town's insurance does cover any and all expenses that may occur due to "performing my duties" and responding from my house to the station for a call is one of those duties. The Town (and the insurance carrier) has left it up to the department's officers to decide whether a member can/can't have lights. It's happened (not to me, but others) and there have been no problems with it.

    Training is the key. If they are trained to drive the BRT, they should be trained in their POV.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  9. #34
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    I think Dr. Parasite makes a good argument. In a business that relies on seconds, the quicker you can get to the fire hall safely, the quicker you can get the BRT to the call safely. Coming from a composite department, where I'm employed as a "full-time" member, we rely on volunteers to help in every emergency situation. While it would be great to say, "hire more full time guys", in many communities all over, it's just not going to happen!

    I, like others that have replied, do not rely on my lights and sirens in the BRT. I generally drive the speed limit, and always slow down, if not come to a complete stop while approaching intersections. The lights do however get the BRT there faster because people pull over and get out of the way. Why would I not then get to the hall faster using the same princibles. I could still obey all the traffic rules, but arrive at the hall sooner, which would get the needed emergency equipment to the scene faster.

    I know it works because on some occations I am required to take a duty vehicle home at nights. Depending on where in our community the call is I am required to go to the station and grab a BRT. The duty vehicle is a dept. vehicle with full emergency lights and siren. When "off duty" I "volunteer" (I know that's a whole other topic) at the same hall. I ALWAYS get there sooner in the truck with the lights and siren. Driving exactly the same way. SAFELY.

    After all is said and done isn't the main goal to get to the scene safe and help? While it sounds like lights in POV's have been abused in some departments, you can't tell me that BRT haven't been abused in the past either. Lets face it there is problems with any system, and maybe lights in POV's is not the answer, but it would seem to get the BRT to the scene faster. And they can be used safely.





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    Originally posted by Bones42

    Training is the key. If they are trained to drive the BRT, they should be trained in their POV. [/B]
    Absolutely agree Bones.
    As I've posted before,if a dept wants their members to respond in their POV's in a "lights and siren mode" they should treat the POv exactly as they do a dept vehicle, with the same rules and regs.
    "Don't just do something, stand there!!!"

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    Originally posted by Saltspringfire
    I, like others that have replied, do not rely on my lights and sirens in the BRT. I generally drive the speed limit, and always slow down, if not come to a complete stop while approaching intersections. The lights do however get the BRT there faster because people pull over and get out of the way. Why would I not then get to the hall faster using the same princibles. I could still obey all the traffic rules, but arrive at the hall sooner, which would get the needed emergency equipment to the scene faster.

    I know it works because on some occations I am required to take a duty vehicle home at nights. Depending on where in our community the call is I am required to go to the station and grab a BRT. The duty vehicle is a dept. vehicle with full emergency lights and siren. When "off duty" I "volunteer" (I know that's a whole other topic) at the same hall. I ALWAYS get there sooner in the truck with the lights and siren. Driving exactly the same way. SAFELY.
    Again, there appears to be confusion, at least on my part, as to POV's using "lights and sirens" and POV's using "courtesy lights".
    A POV using lights and sirens really isn't a POV anymore, in the classical sense. It is a properly equipped emergency response vehicle, operating under the auspices of the local and state rules for operating such a vehicle. Yes, a POV equipped as such would be able to respond more quickly to a firehouse.
    The confusion on my part are the "courtesy light" vehicles. This would seem to be a gray area in terms of what they are allowed to do in regards to rules of the road. If they want to operate as an emergency vehicle, great, just do it all the way. Allowing a courtesy light program seems like a half-hearted attempt by the local government- "we want you to get there quickly, but we don't want to treat you like a real response vehicle". It would appear that while this program works in several areas throughout the nation, the potential liabilities, as well as potential for abuse, would make the system less than ideal.
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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    The City doesn't furnish the bosses ride either so I guess his car could be considered a POV as well.
    It is critical for everyone to know the "rules of the road" in this business.

    For Maine, Title 29-A §2054. Emergency and auxiliary lights; sirens; privileges states:

    B. "Authorized emergency vehicle" means any one of the following vehicles:
    (16) A vehicle operated by a municipal fire inspector, a municipal fire chief, an assistant or deputy chief or a town forest fire warden;


    "Operated" not owned.
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    Originally posted by mittlesmertz

    The confusion on my part are the "courtesy light" vehicles. This would seem to be a gray area in terms of what they are allowed to do in regards to rules of the road. If they want to operate as an emergency vehicle, great, just do it all the way. Allowing a courtesy light program seems like a half-hearted attempt by the local government- "we want you to get there quickly, but we don't want to treat you like a real response vehicle". It would appear that while this program works in several areas throughout the nation, the potential liabilities, as well as potential for abuse, would make the system less than ideal.
    Exactly...... Either you are running lights and sirens, or nothing. I think courtesy lights are worthless, from what I've heard of them....... If it's something to warn people when you are on scene, keep a small teardrop or something in your vehicle to only be used when your vehicle is PARKED on a scene, not while responding........

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    Originally posted by Saltspringfire
    I think Dr. Parasite makes a good argument. In a business that relies on seconds, the quicker you can get to the fire hall safely, the quicker you can get the BRT to the call safely.
    Does our business rely on seconds?

    Where do you save time?

    Honestly think about it, rather than buy into the cliche without analyzing it. Sure, "if only we'd gotten there x-seconds sooner" applies in some situations, but at what cost? Is it fair to extrapolate that generalization to 90ish percent of our responses?

    How many departments have personnel who tell units to "step it up" when the units are already responding lights and sirens? Do you floor it?

    I feel that adrenaline is at the root of many of the issues that arise from emergency responses--ESPECIALLY in departments with relatively low call volumes.
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-02-2004 at 10:29 PM.
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    Well said RSQ. As I stated before, while a poster was trying to "poke holes" and "blow me out of the water", the old adage of "seconds count" in terms of fire/ems response is getting rather dated.
    JEMS, among other journals, has noted that when trying to reduce overall response time, the last place to try and do it is during the response phase.
    911 call receiving, dispatch, and out of station times are where most of the delay results, and are the aspects where the most improvements can be made. Trying to save a few seconds by driving faster to the station, or while responding, will very rarely have a positive outcome on the overall situation.
    This has been discussed in other forums; apparently the mind set of "seconds save lives" still permeates the fire service in general.
    When we as first responders recognize that not all 911 calls are truly
    emergenciesin the classical sense, there will be a decreased emphasis on hurried responses, and all parties involved will be safer.
    Let's focus on what can make our jobs safer while providing an excellent level of service, and worry a little less about trying to
    "diss" someone on a forum.
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    I agree that not all calls need a Lights and Sirens response, but that is not the question that was posed in this thread.

    I see it at my full-time job dispatching..... We slow many runs to a "Code 2 response" for the first responders. Much of that lies in the SOPs/SOGs of the individual departments and the quality of their questioning by those that answer the 911 calls and speak to the callers........... That topic deserves a different thread......

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    Originally posted by mittlesmertz
    Trying to save a few seconds by driving faster to the station, or while responding, will very rarely have a positive outcome on the overall situation.
    I will not argue with this fact, but then I must ask, why do we have lights and sirens on the BRTs? after all, if seconds won't matter....

    and for the record, I am very proud of my eagle scout badge. even if i earned it in 1950, I would still list it on my resume. I pity you because you don't take pride in something that many work so hard to obtain.

    and even though the studies show that seconds don't count (something that 99.9% of the time I agree with), what about the public's outrage when our response times start becoming longer and longer? remember, we do answer to the public, and they want a quick response.
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    Exclamation Why Emergency Vehicles have lights and sirens

    I speak from having had many close calls -- ALL MY FAULT -- both being a jackass in my own car as well as the BRT's, LRT's, and ambos. Luckily I did not hurt or kill anyone (and luckily I haven't done anything dumb in a cruiser yet!). It took a couple of years and an incident where I nearly t-boned a vehicle in an intersection to get it through my head that it is counter-productive and illogical for such behavior to exist.

    It's easy to start this POV/BRT issue, but it's FAR HARDER to examine the underlying issues here. And they all pertain to this topic. Believe me, it doesn't take too many little boys, little girls, wives, and husbands to be killed by "fast responses" for the public to become enraged. Each area probably has their own horror stories to back this up. We have ours. It happens in Crown Vic/Police Interceptors... just imagine when it's a 30+ ton vehicle.

    *Using Due Regard*, emergency lights and sirens ask for the right of way while exercising PRIVILEGES AFFORDED BY LAW, including:
    A. parking anywhere, highway or otherwise
    B. proceeding past stop signs, red lights, etc*
    C. Exceeding the posted speed limit*
    D. Disregarding regulations concerning movement or turning*
    E. Proceeding with caution past a stopped school bus when signaled
    [*This list is specific to each state so it can vary, but B, C, and D in Maine EXPLICITLY REQUIRE use of the siren in addition to lights]

    Like many departments, mine MANDATES a COMPLETE STOP at ALL intersections -- no questions asked -- regardless of incident. Personally, I support the idea and feel it should be part of training, but officially I don't support a policy superceding the privileges granted by state law... it can create unique situations should problems arise. Law or policy notwithstanding, we all agree with it and follow it.

    Code 2... sorry, but imho it's either:
    A. An Emergency or Potential Emergency
    or
    B. A Non-emergency

    Officially, we do not recognize Code 2. I've worked as a dispatcher for a while. "Code 2" is not part of my language. I will use hot/cold, emergency/non-emergency, routine, code 1/code 3, etc. If you need your lights while in motion, you should be using the siren. On the flip side, if you don't need to take advantage of any of these privileges, you should be responding "cold" with the flow of traffic. Again, your state law supercedes what I say here, but Maine law backs up what I am saying. I'll be honest: we still have old timers who continually have the urge to hear themselves on the radio saying, "STEP IT UP!" AND "SLOW IT DOWN." We have discussion after discussion concerning common sense and the law, but sometimes you just can't get through to people.

    I fully support "cold" responses to non-emergencies. Proper dispatcher training is very important here, obviously. If there is a doubt -- as in, AFA sounding -- let a unit or 2 respond hot, and slow the others down to cold... but at least keep everyone coming. Don't put people in the position to make discretionary judgements here. Have policies, drill them into every driver's head, and hold them accountable.

    I fully acknowledge that not all emergency vehicle collisions are our fault. There are PLENTYYYYYY of private vehicles operated by people who suffer from cranial-rectal inversion, amongst other nasties.

    I maintain that it is tragic for people to die at the hands of a public safety professional responding to a non-emergency, and it should not be tolerated by any of us. It should not be an accepted risk or "part of the job."

    A good way to keep this in the front of your mind is to envision a family member or loved one in a vehicle...
    ...just around the corner you're approaching
    ...entering the intersection you're approaching
    ...in the oncoming vehicle you're going head-to-head with
    ...in the vehicle you're overtaking
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-03-2004 at 04:31 AM.
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    I will not argue with this fact, but then I must ask, why do we have lights and sirens on the BRTs? after all, if seconds won't matter....
    I knew this would come up eventually. If you look at my inital post, I stated that this was not the intent of the thread; however if we want to talk about it, fine.
    We respond "priority" partly out of tradition- in times past, when someone called 911, or pulled a box alarm, the odds were there was really a problem, a true emergency. Tims have changed, the fire service should too.
    We also respond priority due to the inherent unknown involved with calls taken by the 911 receiver and relayed to us. I know that what is dispatched is sometimes not what we find, so please, no anecdotal stories about "this one call we had...".
    Finally, we respond priority because every so often a rapid response can make a difference.
    However, every time a rig runs priority, the odds of having a collision rise dramatically. This is why a cost/benefit analysis must be done every time a rig is dispatched. Does your department have provisions to send a rig "routine"?
    How about a routine water removal call? Priority response? Not where I work.
    A cat in a tree? No way. How about a cut finger, bleeding controlled? Nope, we send a BLS rig without lights and sirens. Yes, you can play the "what if" game all you want, but a risk/benefit anlysis will show that the increased risks inherent in running priority do not justify a rapid response on the miniscule chance that the cut finger could be a GSW to the head.
    When did we stop using common sense, and just decided to send a rig priority to every call made to 911? Our dept doesn't, but apparently many still do.

    and for the record, I am very proud of my eagle scout badge. even if i earned it in 1950, I would still list it on my resume. I pity you because you don't take pride in something that many work so hard to obtain.
    Enough already. Fine, you're an Eagle Scout. Who the F cares?
    I took shop in high school. I'll list that on my resume too. Happy?

    and even though the studies show that seconds don't count (something that 99.9% of the time I agree with), what about the public's outrage when our response times start becoming longer and longer? remember, we do answer to the public, and they want a quick response.
    As opposed to the outrage when an engine collides with a civilian vehicle and kills someone, because they were responding to someone that cut their finger? Sound ridiculous? These tragedies happen on our streets every month.
    Look at the legal aspects for a moment, shall we?
    We are allowed to circumvent certain traffic laws when responding priority under the assumption that a "true emergency" exists, involving a potential loss of life or property, and whereby our prompt arrival could reasonably affect the outcome in a postive manner. So does responding priority to a cut finger fall under the intent of the law?
    How about this scenario: A BLs engine is dispatched to an ill male. They respond priority due to the unknown possibilities of the complaint. On arrival they assess the pt, and determine that he is stable and requires transport. They call for a BLS ambulance.
    The BLS ambulance responds priority, and while enroute they have a collision involving loss of life. Would the ambulance crew have a legally defensible reason for traveling priority? This same case has played out twice in my stae lately, and both times the ambulance crew was found negligent for using their lights and sirens.
    A stable pt, with EMT's on scene, is not having a life threatening emergency.
    Does your dept do anything like this?
    We used too, and I fear many dept's still do across the country.
    The public will never notice the increase of seconds or maybe a minute, especially for calls that are non-emergent anyways.
    Proper education about the response times and dangers involved would certainly assuage any complaints.
    But they will notice when an ambulance plows into a minivan while rsponding to a guy that's had back pain for a week, with an engine already on scene.
    Do the right thing- slow down, work with your dept to establish good dispatch protocols, and think about what the hell you're doing.
    In my 15 years on the job (20 as an EMT) I can think of a dozen or so calls where my being there a minute later would have had a tragic outcome.
    think about it.
    "Don't just do something, stand there!!!"

  20. #45
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    Excellent points with compelling examples.

    Just to emphasize, I'm not saying we should waste time. I agree time can be saved in other ways, and that we shouldn't be forced to make up for system deficiencies through unsafe vehicle operation. It's illogical.

    We all need to take this stuff very seriously.
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-03-2004 at 04:28 AM.
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  21. #46
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    Most of my points have already been covered ... so I'll just make mine short and sweet. To me the main element is the level of control CONTROL ... the department controls the maintanence status of the fire department vehicles, the department controls the driver training for the apparatus and the department often provides direct supervision via the officer or senior member sitting in the right-hand seat. The bottom line is that there is none or very little of that direct control and supervision in a POV.

    That being said I am also in favor of most apparatus responses being "cold",especailly for those calls where the life risk is not very great. Examples would be activated fire alarms, car fires, brush fires, reported gas leaks/spills, and even possibly MVAs until injuries are confirmed. I feel that we can run our BRTs "hot" a lot less than we do and make our world an even safer place.

    Finally I am not a "seconds matters" guy. In my 25 years of fire and EMS I have seen VERY few cases where seconds truly mattered. especially given the greater response times of a volunteer department. To me the "seconds matter" is a myth that we have created ... and we need to get over it and start thinking "WE MATTER", or maybe "SAFETY MATTERS MOST".

    Just my thoughts.

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    Default Don't see this as a single answer topic.

    It is foolish to make any one statement that is expected to apply to all depts and address the concerns and laws of 50 different states. Think about it, I, as well as nearly everyone else on these forums is aware of career depts that run with 2 man Engines and/or Trucks compared to other depts that enjoy "dream" staffing. The same goes for the volly side, plenty of poorly staffed and trained outfits for sure. But also no shortage of very well staffed (in house staffing) and very highly trained membership. Just as no one pre-plan policy would meet the needs of all the above mentioned depts, there is no single simple answer to the BRT vs POV lighting debate.
    In my state(PA) blue lights are permitted for volunteer firefighters/EMS personnel and are considered courtesy lights(no sirens w/ blue). Red lights (sirens required) are permitted for use by Chief officers(# determined by size of dept) and are considered emergency vehicles under state codes. All of these must be approved by the fire Chief annually and reported to the State Police.
    Our dept does take advantage of the Chief officers emergency vehicle option, as it allows for easier scene access when responding direct to provide advanced size up for responding units. For mutual aid responses our officers respond to the station.
    Members who desire to run blue lights must petition the Chief and need to meet certain standards to have the privilage granted. The menber must have completed an EVOC, FF-1 and VRT. (EMT for medical calls). The member must also have a 'precieved need' based on normal response route from home/work. A clean driving record is also required as well as a demonstrated level of maturity and responsability. The member must also have a radio or scanner in the vehicle to monitor the state of the run. Generally the use of blue lights within our organization is discouraged, however a handful have been granted permission. All lights are only permitted to be used for responses that are of an emergency nature. (B.S. runs get a reduced response, AFA's get the first Engine at emergency speed(I know, I know, I hate that term too, but it is our county's terminology!) and the balance at reduced speed.)
    I guess my point is you have to take many factors into account in coming to a workable legal solution for your particular situation. I know our current policies are built upon the rubble of past sins, but it is what works for us at this time. I could easily see it changing again in the future if we are able to increase the level of in house staffing to 100% from our current level of approx 65-75%.
    We are a suburban all volly dept in a heavily developed county bordering Phila. 1/2 mile traffic light backups on our several state/US highways are the daily norm.
    As a side note I don't think most apparatus is over lighted as someone else suggested, most new units I've been seeing meet NFPA standards without too much in the excess(always a few exceptions ).

  23. #48
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    I'll let you guys in on a little secret...


    All Departemnts are different.



    Now why doesn't everyone sit down and take a deep breath.

    Cheers,
    Scott

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    Well i know its my 2nd Post yet i have had other accounts that i have lost but i have been involved with these forums for years.

    The main thing i see in these types of threads concerning POV lights or what not comes down to these conclusions.

    #1 Not all people with POV lighting are (wackers) only a few which your local department should have guidlines or probation periods to review the individual before allowing such resposibility, not just mentally but vehicle conditions wise.
    So is the person able to handle situations and is there vehicle fit to respond in this matter?

    #2 Every station / City / State has different rules and beliefs. Just as every Figherfighter paid or volly does. Some areas need them some dont. The argument of this thread is being trudged threw several different beliefs and different laws that each department has to abide by.

    #3 whether Responding in our BYT (Big Yellow Trucks) <-- the real color fire trucks , or in your POV the thing that we all agree on is that time does matter in (some) emergencies. Does your dispatcher have a Priority system? do they tell you how you should respond based on information they recieve? If so does your department take these responses and upgrade them or downgrade them depending on what your job profession knows for that type of incident?

    Back to the main question in this topic which is POV lighting. The real question the area department needs to know is the risk of POV lighting and BRT lighting. POV's are just as important than the BRT lights because the percentage of Departments are mostly volenteer and if they cant respond to the station running code what good does running code in the BRT do? Alot of response times as you all know 7 to 10 mins can mean a one room structure fire with people inside now means a full invoved Structure with deceased victim removal.

    It all boils down to screening the individual using the lighting system. Is he responible enough to abide by state and local laws. Does he understand the severity of calls and able to make the decition to finish a call non code or shut down when he feels the call is no longer as much a threat.

    I know our department screens our members very carfully and most of the times if they cant drive POVs responible enough with lighting systems they dont drive our apparatus either.

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    14,Thanks for the law lesson I already knew.My response was directed at MM who feels that only a DEPT. vehicle or a BR,BY or LRT should have lights and sirens.My point is; our community doesn't furnish anything but a BRT so the "bosses"got to use their own ride.I'm guessing you could see mine coming.Maine law also specifically states that upon hearing an emergency vehicle displaying lights and sounding a siren or bell a motorist must pull to the right side of the road and STOP until the emergency vehicle has passed.Now pray tell,when's the last time you saw that happen?Most of the time they try to outrun you on the shoulder.What this country has yet to figure out is that you CAN NOT legislate common sense.We could save a pile of cash if the government could ever figure out that they can't save everybody from themselves.And quit sending self serving morons to Washington,we could stand a few "thinking"people there.T.C.

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