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  1. #41
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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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......


  2. #42
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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.
    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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  3. #43
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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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 03:31 AM.
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  4. #44
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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!!!"

  5. #45
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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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 03:28 AM.
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  6. #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.

  7. #47
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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 ).

  8. #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

  9. #49
    Forum Member Rescue2947's Avatar
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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.

  10. #50
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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.

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Don't see this as a single answer topic.

    Originally posted by tribe9a
    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.
    Don't forget Provinces too...
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Sorry, didn't mean to ignore the brothers up north (or south or east or west............)

  13. #53
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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    14,Thanks for the law lesson I already knew.
    Not preaching, just emphasizing what an emergency vehicle is where we come from. Yes, it differs state to state (and province to province!), but nearly all share common phrasing and many similar definitions. For Maine, I have to say I disagree with POV's operated by chief's being considered emergency vehicles unless they meet some type of minimum warning equipment standard. But, the law's the law, and a chief with a dashlight and siren can technically be considered an emergency vehicle.

    I agree you can't legislate common sense. However I think we suffer from the same shortage of it, not just the general public. With respect to the general public, we should inform them better than we currently do. They should know that if they don't pull to the right and completely stop, then the registered owner of the vehicle can be summonsed regardless of who is operating it. Also, the public should know of the newer law requiring vehicles to move into an adjacent lane or slow down when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle.

    Ignorance isn't a defense, but that doesn't really matter when it's too little, too late. Public education is important for our safety and for the public's safety.

    As I'm sure many of you have here, I've seen hundreds of crazy maneuvers by motorists "yielding" (haha) to emergency vehicles, whether in a cruiser, ambo, or fire truck. You always have to assume someone is going to do something stupid and unexpected, and be prepared for it.

    I can make a statement that is universal, and I have: people should not be dying because of public safety collisions. Use your own provincial (state hehe) laws to figure out the details and how you can prevent this from happening in your own back yard.
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-03-2004 at 08:37 PM.
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  14. #54
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    Well as all the post replies sure to have indicated this is a topic of discussion in a lot of fire departments. Something that I have noticed about it is that in my area people are not expecting the POV to be running lights and sirens. The public expects to see a fire engine running down the road not a POV. The POV needs to follow rules and regs getting to the station. But to your question of whats the difference? I feel that there is not much, except for the POV is representing the fire dept. and most POV's will drive more aggressivly than they would in a fire department vehicle.
    J. Stocker
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  15. #55
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    Resq14, I think I need to clarify, as your "Code 2" must be different than ours...........

    We, basically don't use "Code 1"....... Our "Code 2" is driving normail traffic...... i.e. no Lights and Sirens........ Code 3 is L+S.......

    If your lights are on, your siren is too, when you are driving......

  16. #56
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    lol

    damn codes.
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    BC79er posted this in another thread, but I think it sums everything up pretty well:
    Many have said it doesn't save time or lives, it risks more. Again, the hypocrisy is thick. If it saves time in a fire truck, it saves time in a POV. If I can't get to the station to get the BRT, then it can't get to the fire, and since we all know fire doubles in size every minute, 60 extra seconds is the difference between a room and contents and a room with heavy extension to the attic. More fire = more danger to FFs. More than lights on POVs. You can't use the same argument for and against a subject. Lights on POVs are just like everything else in the fire service: if used properly, they save lives. If used improperly, time for the boot.
    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 disagree.

    I'm NOT saying "waste time" as head out in your car.

    But to imply that we need to make up the 60 seconds through speed in our vehicles is crazy.

    For EMS, it's strengthening links in the "chain of survival." Sure, rapid response is part of it. But there's a hell of a lot more to rapid response than driving fast.

    There should be emphasis on prevention, detection, alerting, staffing, etc to buy you the time you need for a SAFE response.

    Consider a couple of kids hit and killed while you respond to a kitchen fire that turns out to be food on the stove. It's their fault, they pulled in front of a fire truck operating VERY fast and passing them on the left--didn't see it coming. But is it acceptable? Part of the job?

    BIG PICTURE
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-05-2004 at 06:39 PM.
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    Having traveled a bit and being literally run off the road one more than one occassion by some whacker with enough blue lights to announce a grand opening of a K-Mart, I can see where I can't stand to see them used irresponsibally on POV's.

    Not all call and volunteer firefighters are guilty of this, but those that are ruin it for all the others. It's another issue the NVFC has it's head in the sand over....
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-06-2004 at 07:12 AM.
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    I discussed this thread with the guys at my house this morning. We all came to the same conclusion: we would all gladly respond to all calls that are not "flames showing" or "CPR in progress" without lights and sirens. I think there are some responders on this thread that would be very upset if they couldn't use their lights and sirens.
    We howervere, have all seen enough, ran enough calls, to know that it's rarely worth the risk.
    Last edited by mittlesmertz; 11-06-2004 at 12:31 AM.
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