Thread: Warning Lights

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    Default Warning Lights

    This is not a post on what type of lights are the best or anything like that. I have just been reading a number of post where there is discussion of warning lights on POVs and many include what the different states allow FFs to have on their vehicles.

    In Ontario volunteers have green lights with no sirens or anything fancy.


    I was Just wondering what the different Provinces and Territories in Canada use?

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    NOTHING!...And Probably arrive at my firehall as quickly and safe as you can with your light
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    I don't doubt that for 1 min, I try to limit the use of my light as much as possible, the light just draws unwanted attention distracting people from the other vehicles on the road and what they are doing.

    I was just curious to see what the other provinces used

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    Our province (AB) allows the use of greens as "courtesy" lights, but only in the presence of a supporting municipal by-law, which in my municipality does not exist. I suspect it would be helpful when we've got heaps of construction.

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    Default emergency lighting

    In Manitoba, you are considered an emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency and are allowed red or clear flashing lights. these lights however must be hidden from view when operating the vehicle during non emergency times. Sirens are not allowed anytime. We try to encourage the use of some sort of warning light so the general public knows that the person resoponding is a firefighter and not some lunatic driver. It seems to work in our area. We also make it mandatory that the guys install window decals and license plates on their vehicles as identification.

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    byochim - If you are classified as an emergency vehicle, do you have to insure your vehicle as such?
    That is the case in Alberta (for red lights). Im sorry but I have to disagree with the use of lights. As stated in a number of other threads - this just breeds whackers! (not calling you a whacker......are you )
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    That is up to the insurance companies, not the motor vehicle act, but it is usually the case.

    Manitoba does have some of the loosest POV laws in Canada, giving Emergency Vehicle status to volunteer POV's.

    Manitoba Highway Traffic Act

    The MHTA states:

    "emergency vehicle" means...

    (g) a vehicle not ordinarily used for emergency purposes that is operated by a volunteer, part-time or on-call fire-fighter or emergency medical responder for the purpose of responding to a fire, medical or other emergency; (« véhicule d'urgence »)
    Few provinces are that loose in thier interpretation of an Emergency Vehicle.

    BC for instance has some of the strictest regulations for POV's. In fact the province has recently revoked the right of Chief Officers to use lights and sirens on thier POV's. The Fire Chief's association has publicly stated that it will not pursue the issue, as it is not deemed critical to response.

    I suspect in this age of liability concerns and litigation, the rest of the provinces are likely to eventually trend this way as well.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 05-28-2005 at 12:23 AM.
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    In Alberta you are allowed to have green lights for your vehicle, but as 50FFEMT stated you must have the municipality of your jurisdiction pass a bylaw allowing such lights to be used. When they do this they take full responsibility for you if you are in an accident or cause an accident because the Alberta Highway Traffic Act states that you as an emergencey vehicle must use lights and siren at the same time or not at all. Having said that I don't see many of these POV's with sirens on board. We also have had some of these POV's traveling through our town on thier way to thier town and have been pulled over and sited by the local constabulary for improper use of emergency lights. Sometimes they just don't get it eh!

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    In Nova Scotia, only Chiefs or Deputy Chiefs are legally allowed to have red lights along with sirens. I have them in my POV and only use them on certain calls, certain times of day/night, as well as when I respond direct to the scene. The rest of the time I just use my 4-way flashers the same as all the rest of our membership.

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    Post Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

    Nothing... Even the Chief after hours has to respond "routine" in his civilian vehicle to the station, obeying all traffic laws, with no warning lights & zero siren.
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    DCCHAM, in Alberta you can be cited for useing your four-way flashers while you are in motion. They are called hazard lights and may only be used if you are parked on a public roadway to alert traffic that you are not in motion.

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    Here in NS, even the RCMP have recommended to us to have our members use their 4-way flashers. They've been told too though, that this doesn't give them any right-of-ways or can break any traffic laws though. It just alerts the other drivers that they're comming and "asks" permission for them to pull off to the right. The RCMP will still stop and fine any members caught speeding or running stops.

    I'm pretty sure that most departments in NS have their members use four-ways.

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    Halifax Regional Fire does not allow the use of four-way flashers while responding to emergencies. And as far as I know Halifax Regional Police and RCMP do not recommend this practice. I also believe that if you read the NS Motor Vehicle act it is probably illegal to do so.

    Also if you are following the rules of the road you should not need to use your four-ways because you will be going the speed limit just like the other vehicles on the road.
    Last edited by ffjroc; 05-30-2005 at 02:46 AM.

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    Not only is it not recommended..I think it could be illegal to use it for that purpose..And most cops will pull you over..Firefighter or not..I'll ask...Seeing as my family makes up Half of HRM Police and A few on RCMP..lol...And DCCHam...My dept has it in our By-Laws that we are not to use them...So things must be much different up in Kings County...

    Only time I ever use them is if the call is between my home and the firehall in which case I'll stop at the scene..Unless its a house fire or something along those lines
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 05-30-2005 at 07:29 AM.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    We had an RCMP officer in our station for our general monthly meeting three months ago and were told by him that we are to use the 4-ways to "ask" the other drivers to pull to the right to let our members through. So as far as it being illegal, I can't quite see them pulling any of our members over for doing what they were instructed to do.

    This practice of using the 4-ways is used by departments throughout Hants and Kings Counties. This makes it good where many civillian drivers know to pull to the right when they see a POV with firefighter plates and 4-ways on. How else would anyone know that you're responding to an emergency if you have no way of letting the other drivers know?

    My point is, that even departments here in NS have ways of doing things that the rest of us find "odd". Same as alot of departments that respond their POV's directly to the scene, while around here, (Valley) only officer's vehicle's are allowed to respond direct, and in our department, this is limited to the chief's only.

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    I agree with LACAPT. But in my opinion from my experience ans observation I find they create more confusion than just driving to the hall. we have some members use their 4 ways and it just creates chaos and and civillians of the community don't know what that person is trying to do anyway. Thats just my 2 cents.

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    Hey Mikey - most civillians dont know what to do when they have red lights coming at them either! Having 4 ways on is pointless to me - If everybody in the community knows what they are for, whats to stop them from throwing their lights on and driving through town like idiots. #1 puts other drivers at risk and #2 makes your department look bad.

    There is something about responding from home or work to the hall that makes people want (not really want - it just happens) to speed to the hall. Oh yes, everyone can say "oh no - I dont speed" but more often they do and dont realize! If people want a timely response from their FD's then they had best look at ways to have full time staff, either through joint municipal plans or on their own. Its all in the word "EMERGENCY". I am responding to someone who needs help - therfore I shall get their as quick as I can! I can just see green lights all coming to an intersection at once (yes I know they are supposed to "obey" the traffic laws). Just a pointless system! Has anybody done a study to see how much time these lights save you?
    Another two cents!
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    Originally posted by DCCHam
    We had an RCMP officer in our station for our general monthly meeting three months ago and were told by him that we are to use the 4-ways to "ask" the other drivers to pull to the right to let our members through. So as far as it being illegal, I can't quite see them pulling any of our members over for doing what they were instructed to do.

    This practice of using the 4-ways is used by departments throughout Hants and Kings Counties. This makes it good where many civillian drivers know to pull to the right when they see a POV with firefighter plates and 4-ways on. How else would anyone know that you're responding to an emergency if you have no way of letting the other drivers know?

    My point is, that even departments here in NS have ways of doing things that the rest of us find "odd". Same as alot of departments that respond their POV's directly to the scene, while around here, (Valley) only officer's vehicle's are allowed to respond direct, and in our department, this is limited to the chief's only.
    I dunno..I find that weird because most places cops will tell you its illegal...I don't think things vary that much between Kings,Hants and Annapolis Countys..lol...But if he says to do it more power to yah...I know people here in Annapolis County do it too...But if they got caught its their *** thats grass...I know my father had people pull over for him one day..He works at 14 Wing Greenwood and we had a barn fire..He used them and as he neared closer to the scene more and more people began pulling over...So yeah it works sometimes..But I've found its just easier to go with the flow and get there when yah do..Because like you said they told you you can't break the speed limits or traffic laws so essentially its not doing a whole lot for you in the long run...

    As for response to scene we're generally the same way unless its a medical and your an MFR and the scene is between your residence and the firehall..Or its an MVA and your route is blocked....
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Thanks for all the responses!

    Just to add in my 2 cents, I personally like the use of a warning light, I am not a "whacker" all I carry in my POV is one simple tiny dash light. Myself I feel the lights warn people in the area that there is an emergency occurring, it alerts the citizens that an emergency vehicle will be responding to a scene. And there is always that one vehicle that is doing 60 in an 80 (kms that is) the light often gets these people out of the way while still allowing the FF to responde to the scene or hall safely and responsiblely.

    I am pretty sure I have read some places that FFs in Ontario are only allowed to have one green intermittent flashing light per fire fighter.

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    I am going throw another 2 cents into the fray here. If I was the municiple manager of any town, city, hamlet, whatever, there is no way in Gods green earth that I would enact a bylaw that would allow firefighters to respond to a call with any colored light on a POV. That all encompassing word "litigation" makes my hinney pucker. You can bet your your next pay check that if you got into an accident and killed someone while in the act of responding to an emergency with your cute little green dashlight, with the sanction of a municiple bylaw that says its ok, that everybody including the public library janitor is going to be named in a lawsuite that will bankrupt you town. I am not going to be so naive as to think that the members of our dept. don't break the speed laws while responding to calls, but when they are exposed, they are dealt with, sometimes very severely.
    Those nice little greenies for the most part are IMHO just going to get you into trouble. We have even gone so far as to impliment an SOP that allows us to down grade first out unit responses to 10-11 (no lights no siren) for those calls that you know are BS, and the second out unit in 95% of the time to all calls is 10-11. Stats proove that you only gain 15-30 seconds per call by going lit up as apposed to running silent. And you run a much safer game doing it quietly.
    Last edited by LACAPT; 05-30-2005 at 10:18 PM.

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    Lightbulb Emerg Lights

    I know from experience with departments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, that in Amherst our dept was told not to use the lights and obey all speed limits, because the police will pull you over. In Sackville the same was told though many members including the chief and myself use the 'hazard' lights and many people would pull over to allow you to pass. In my current dept RRFD, no lights (hazard or other) and if they are the police will pull you over. Their was discussion about this and the chief association felt there would be abuse of the system and therefore will not endorse the practise. PEI does all its members to use lights as far as I know.

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    It was mentioned about lawsuits and I should have mentioned before, all of our members are told repeatedly that they are not covered by the department's insurance and are on their own while they are responding to the hall. We had a member a couple of years ago that was responding with his 4-ways going, the driver ahead of him pulled to the right, as he went to go by, the driver made a left turn and our member went under his rear bumper (no injuies) and he tried to press it through the department's insurance.....no dice. Long story short, he was without a car for a while (his was a write-off).

    Most people in our town (and neighboring towns) know that when they see the 4-ways with FF plates, they pull to the right. You still get the one's though that have no idea what it means and drive along normal, so it's hit or miss. I was responding to an MVA call today in my POV with just my 4-ways and had a guy driving along at about 15 kms/hr and there was no way he would pull off.....and he's the father of one of our members. I'd say he just didn't see me, I was gonna 'blip' the siren but was only responding to the station anyways, of course, he turned down every street I was going and finally pulled over right in front of our station. LOL

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    Very well said LACAPT! I agree with you totally. I know theres no way our Chief would allow them and as the new Deputy Fire Chief in wetaskiwin I would not support them either. I find they cause more of a problem, and besides I usually get stuck behind some old timer that doesn't know I'm there and having a fancy colored light wouldn't make a bit of differnce anyway.

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    It funny you down the road in pump lights and siren and people some how don't see the it coming. I don't think a little light in the dash will make people move. My thought is if you are responding to a MVC you don't need to make your own by confusing people more then they already are!

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    Nova Scotia allows Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs to run lights and Sirens. My department allows the chief and deputy chief to make the decision to use the lights in our POV or not. Myself, I use them, and I will say it this way that I am glad that I do have them. I tend not to drive too fast on the roads around here due to the condition of them and wanting to keep my vehicle in one piece.
    People here do tend to see the LED's I have day or night cuz of the brightness to them. The other benefit to them is on scene, I can park on a scene and the lights I have will definately be seen day or night.

    That being said, if we get a call to the other end of the area, I will probably respond non lights non siren and listen for updates.

    I use all LED's for my vehicle. And Yes I said plural. And I guarantee that you will not see them till they are turned on. Besides, I consulted with the RCMP and made sure I was legal too.

    Call me a whacker, but at least I know I will be seen. And I have no problems being called it, but as a medic and as a firefighter, I owe it to myself, my friends, my family and fellow firefighters in my department to make myself seen and be safe. And I know I am safe.


    my 2 cents worth...
    Jason.
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    Goalies are the best btw :P

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