1. #1
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    Default Why the jokes/"issues" with "whacker" lights?

    I see this thread a lot, where someone new asks the "question" about purchasing a light, then gets berated and made fun of for asking.

    Now, before you all attack me, I do know of many that have more lights on their POV then most fire vehicles. (I have a small strobe on my dash and thats it.) And I do know of a car that had a light bar that was worth more than the car itself.

    Many states have laws regarding the use or banning of lights. Vermont does have one and it pretty much states that any vehicle displaying a flashing red light, must be yeilded too. I also believe it states if you have an audible siren, you must have a light flashing.

    Anyway....It seems to me the ones that have the most discontent for lights on POV's are those that can't have them? (I maybe wrong).

    Many people respond through high traffic areas, long distances etc...
    if EVERYONE went with the flow of traffic and waited, what would be the results.

    Just my 2.147231 cents (inflation you know!)

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    its all in fun.

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    ahhh.....I have done my share of that...and had it done to me....
    Guess I am a litte slow on the uptake today!

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    It's more than just the light, typically, it's the attitude. Blue lights in Connecticut on a POV do not give the operator any authority-they must follow all traffic laws. Typical situations I see-Johnny Blue Light with the DashMaster\Binford 3000 strobe package on his 12 year old car stops at a red light-all the other motorists stop and Johnny goes through the red light. He says the other gave him the right of way, however state law does not convey that right to other drivers. The other extreme is Johnny drives like a maniac because he has the cone of protection around him and the "I fight what you fear" attitude with the strobe lights. As one other poster put it-he changes from a regular a*****e on the road to a Fire Department a*****e.

    I know each state is different, but unless you have the authority by state law to respond with light and siren and that authority requires other vehicles to yield to you, a blue light on a POV is useless, IMHO.

    Far from blue light envy, I drive a town issued Crown Vic with properly installed strobe\siren package. Often, I'll respond without lights and siren and arrive 15 to 30 seconds behind the engine or truck from my station.

    How far are you from Windsor, VT?
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    I am about 2 hours north Windsor, Montpelier area. And I totally agree with people that think they are God when the light is flashing. Our dept., makes you take a drivers education course (not an emegency one, a normal). Then its still Chiefs discretion, he can Yay or ney your application.

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    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=77029

    People like this guy are probably the biggest reason.

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    Travelling down US 2 one day, had a beat up rusted out sedan following me. On the top, was a magna-mount red/amber/green lightbar. The lightbar is turned on, and then a siren too.

    I thought it was kind of funny that this car was trying to pass me in my district when there wasn't any type of emergency. None of the radios picked up any tones for any of the local departments getting toned. It was rather odd.

    I decide to yield to the right, stopping my vehicle. They gun the throttle and go by me, one of the Berlin twins *cough cough* decides to throw the finger out the window.

    Just some food for thought, eh Brian?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenNFD1219
    IHow far are you from Windsor, VT?
    What's in Windsor? I've got family and friends down that way. Originally from Springfield, but living up north near WaterburyVTFire...
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

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    Ken's right on the CT Blue law (nothing requires yielding, and the protections are significantly less than what it is for emergency vehicles...and since you're mostly screwed running red lights & siren and have a collission already...)

    But Ken...here is the CT DMV's Driver's Manual and it's directions...

    • You must yield the right-of-way to a police vehicle, fire engine, ambulance or other emergency vehicle using a siren, air
    horn or a red or blue flashing light. When you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching from any direction you
    must pull over to the right edge of the road, or as near to the right as possible, and stop your vehicle. You must remain
    stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a State or local police officer or a fire
    fighter. If you are in an intersection, drive through the intersection before you pull over.


    So you figure out what people are supposed to do What is law, suggestions, and custom all vary...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Res343cue
    What's in Windsor? I've got family and friends down that way. Originally from Springfield, but living up north near WaterburyVTFire...
    Besides the Harpoon Brewery , a good friend of mine just took the Fire Chief's job there. I took a road trip up there last month. Very nice area.

    Dal-you are correct, and you raise an interesting point, is a POV with a blue light considered an emergency vehicle?

    CT laws are pretty specific, with an emergency vehilce (lights, siren) you can procede past a traffic control device, park a vehicle anywhere, go the wrong way on a one way street, and exceed the posted speed limit. The caveat is that you must use due regard-if you get hit or hit someone, you may be at fault.
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    Post And.............

    Cats have nine lives, but this horse must have 10,000 since it's been beaten to death about 9,999 times already. I think (No, I haven't done a search) all fifty states must have different laws on this. In Maryland, Chief Officers may equip their POVs with Red lights only. Blue is restricted to Police Vehicles. Next door in Pennsylvania, Chiefs have Red and Firefighters have Blue. On the other side in West Virginia, Everybody can have Red lights and Sirens. Same for Virginia, I think. So, there is no standard, and I think that there should be one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenNFD1219
    is a POV with a blue light considered an emergency vehicle?

    CT laws are pretty specific...
    Yes they are specific.

    No, whacker lights do not make your personal car an authorized emergency vehicle in CT.

    CHAPTER 246*
    MOTOR VEHICLES
    Sec. 14-1. Definitions.
    (5) "Authorized emergency vehicle" means (A) a fire department vehicle, (B) a police vehicle, or (C) a public service company or municipal department ambulance or emergency vehicle designated or authorized for use as an authorized emergency vehicle by the commissioner;
    Compare that to, for instance, the Live Free or Die State's traffic laws, which also defines an "emergency vehicle" as the above but with a POV clause:
    265:8 Emergency Vehicles
    III. (a) The exemptions granted to an emergency vehicle in subparagraphs II(a)(1) and (3) shall apply only when such vehicle is making use of audible or visual emergency signals, or, in the case of a privately-owned vehicle being driven by a volunteer firefighter or other volunteer emergency personnel, when such vehicle is making use of audible or visual emergency signals, or when an emergency vehicle is in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.
    Here are the "authorized emergency vehicles" from my state:
    (1) An ambulance;
    (2) A Baxter State Park Authority vehicle operated by a Baxter State Park ranger;
    (3) A Bureau of Marine Patrol vehicle operated by a coastal warden;
    (4) A Department of Conservation vehicle operated by a forest ranger;
    (5) A Department of Conservation vehicle used for forest fire control;
    (6) A Department of Corrections vehicle used for responding to the escape of or performing the high-security transfer of a prisoner, juvenile client or juvenile detainee;
    (7) A Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife vehicle operated by a warden;
    (8) A Department of Public Safety vehicle operated by a capital security officer appointed pursuant to Title 25, section 2908, a state fire investigator or a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officer;
    (9) An emergency medical service vehicle;
    (10) A fire department vehicle;
    (11) A hazardous material response vehicle, including a vehicle designed to respond to a weapon of mass destruction;
    (12) A railroad police vehicle;
    (13) A sheriff's department vehicle;
    (14) A State Police or municipal police department vehicle;
    (15) A vehicle operated by a chief of police, a sheriff or a deputy sheriff when authorized by the sheriff;
    (16) A vehicle operated by a municipal fire inspector, a municipal fire chief, an assistant or deputy chief or a town forest fire warden;
    (17) A vehicle operated by a qualified deputy sheriff or other qualified individual to perform court security-related functions and services as authorized by the State Court Administrator pursuant to Title 4, section 17, subsection 15;
    (18) A Federal Government vehicle operated by a federal law enforcement officer; and
    (19) A vehicle operated by a municipal rescue chief, deputy chief or assistant chief.
    Here is what my state says about whacker lights:
    The municipal officers or a municipal official designated by the municipal officers, with the approval of the fire chief, may authorize an active member of a municipal or volunteer fire department to use one red or combination red and white flashing auxiliary light mounted as near as practicable above the front registration plate on the front of the vehicle, behind the rearview mirror or on the dashboard or 2 flashing red or combination red and white auxiliary lights mounted on the front of the vehicle above the front bumper and below the hood. The light or lights may be displayed but may be used only while the member is en route to or at the scene of a fire or other emergency. A light mounted on the dashboard or behind the rearview mirror must be shielded so that the emitted light does not interfere with the operator's vision. The use of lights may be revoked at any time by the fire chief.
    EMS vollies have same law. Want your POV to be an emergency vehicle? Simple: get the law changed. While I don't think it's smart, it's certainly doable.
    Last edited by Resq14; 01-04-2006 at 12:39 AM.
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    Dal-you are correct, and you raise an interesting point, is a POV with a blue light considered an emergency vehicle?

    Um...

    By the letter of the statute...only volunteer firefighters POVs may run blue lights if you use strict construction of the statute.

    And by statute an "emergency vehicle" definition includes the use of red lights & siren, or siren-only in the case of a police cruiser.

    So now jive that with the fact that State & Local Police cruisers run blue lights, some volunteer departments run blue lights on their apparatus, and the State DMV's manual says, "emergency vehicle using a siren, air
    horn or a red or blue flashing light. " when by State Law emergency vehicles aren't authorized blue lights and except for police it's an "and" and not "or" between siren and red...

    Yes, the laws probably need updating...but the bottom line is what is customary and is practiced isn't necessarily to the letter of the law, even as it's explained in the DMV's own operators manuals...

    ===============
    If it was me, and Whelen would love me for all the Lens changes But nationwide change the system to:

    Green = POV courtesy (non-obligatory yield) for volunteer firefighters, dog wardens, coroners, and all the other quasi-emergency officials.

    Blue = All emergency vehicles (Police, Fire, EMS, *all*), obligatory yield.

    Red = Law Enforcement only, *ONLY* when directed at a particular vehicle (I'm pulling YOU over...within reason of course...but not to be used just responding down the road). With red getting the highest level of scrutiny for regulatory purposes.
    Last edited by Dalmatian190; 01-04-2006 at 12:47 AM.

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    In colorado volunteers can use red, white or a combination and the lights must be visible 360 degrees and used in combination with a siren. This vehicle is then registered with the state and a sticker is issued designating that vehicle as an emergency vehicle with all the power (and liability) that comes with that.

    I happen to have my vehicle so equipped, but only run them when necessary on CONFIRMED real emergencies.

    My department operates a medical team of EMT's which respond direct to a medical scene. Each is issued a med kit and AED. This lowers our response time to medical calls significantly and works FOR US.

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    I knew of a guy on a dept. that heard just squelch on his pager. And responded from about 6 miles away with full lights and sirens. I was on the pad talking with a fellow dept. member when this guy came screaming in...was funny but not really funny....

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    I was GIVEN a red dash light by someone at my department and I don't use it. I get there just as fast without it. As others have stated, if you are driving fast and passing people, you are just an idiot. If you do so with a light on, you are a fire department idiot. No matter what you do, you are telling everyone else who you are. If you happen to do something they think is wrong, they know where to complain. Chief's usually don't like being told there members/employees are driving like fools.

    The only use from a light on a POV is for those who are trying to get out of traffic tickets. They have their little light there like, "Hey Mr. Police Officer, I am a firefighter, show some 'professional courtesy' here." I don't care what state you are in, none allow you to go more than 10 m.p.h. over the speed limit. If you are doing that, then cops won't stop you in the first place.

    The only other time I can think of is respondding directly to the scene, sometimes cops won't let you in. First, responding direct is not something I agree with. Second, show them your ID and they will let you through.

    Someone else mentioned using it so their vehicle isn't towed from a scene. I have never seen a vehicle towed from an emergency scene unless it was involved in the accident. Bogus excuse.

    And yet another EXCUSE is to warn traffic when they are parked on the roadside during an emergency. Ummm... first word is FLASHERS. Second thought is about responding direct again. And third is, the big red trucks with hoses on them have lights to warn traffic. Most have traffic cones too. Ingenious concept if you ask me.

    A lot of guys abuse the lights. NOT ALL OF THEM. And if used properly, they are ok. Many states don't require any training or permits, so it is dangerous and should be changed. If you don't have the training or maturity to use them responsibly, leave them on the shelf at Galls.

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    Probably cuz alot of firefighters view a blue light (or other whacker colors in other states) as a license to drive like a jack*****.

    One FF up here got pulled over by a state trooper because he stood on the gas pedal and was doing 88 in a 35 -- had a blue light and everything. "Hey! Don't you know I'm a FIREFIGHTER???"

    I'm sure the trooper smiled and congratulated him as he wrote him a ticket. Idiot.

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    Angry I REALLY hate wackers.......

    Quote Originally Posted by WaterbryVTfire
    Anyway....It seems to me the ones that have the most discontent for lights on POV's are those that can't have them? (I maybe wrong).
    I have been in the fire service for 14 years....and my state allows the lights. I have NEVER had one, or wanted one. The guys I know that own and operate wacker lights, are just that...WACKERS....around here they have like 6 pages on thier belts, have the BDU pants on 24/7, wear FDNY shirts and hats and talk trash like they are on the job....they are the screamers, and the guy who is shaking from the "Adrenaline Rush" of the "big" auto matic alarm, and they are the ones who puke on the first sight of blood, and drop the line and bail when it gets hot....that's if they even made it into the building.....they are the ones that when a run comes in, spaz out and can't get thier erections off the gas pedal. The blood leaves thier brain and normal thinking ceases. To me....they want the "image".....the "hey look at me".....I am "firefighter".....The way I have always guaged it....I determine uslessness by the amount of lights and how big they are. And in 14 years....this method has yet to be wrong......I love the guys with the $500 galls special on a $100 1988 POS.......priceless.......


    Many people respond through high traffic areas, long distances etc...
    if EVERYONE went with the flow of traffic and waited, what would be the results.
    Ahhh....yes.....if there is THAT much traffic then that mean ALOT of people due to residences and commercial property......which also mean you can probably pay people.......oh but that's another thread.........


    OK....Rant off.....sure people can tell me "if it bothers you than don't read it"...but sorry....I am SOOOO passionate about this and honestly....its like a train wreck....I just have to go see.....

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    Back home (BC) the only persons who may use a red light on their POVs are Chief officers. And even then most of them wont put them up because even with the lights on, the driver is still FULLY accountable for any and all traffic incidents or violations caused by that vehicle. Better to respond to scene or station at road speed and be safe about it than try and essentially force people off the road to let you through.

    May be just me, but I've noticed that I got better respect with the Engine, doing a maintenance/admin runs than I do with full lights and sirens.
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    Post Different Direction.............

    In this area, Chief Officers may have Red lights on their POVs. Very few do, because we all have FD vehicles to use. However, Crown Vic, Impala, and Lumina "Police Package" cars, which we use, are damn near worthless in more than 2 inches of Snow. So for Bad Weather, I have a Red light for my Dodge 4X4 Pickup. And every three or four years, we get one of those big (12 inches+) storms, with wind, and we have a situation where nothing but 4X4s run for a few days. Apparatus goes, but can't always get to the front door of the house where the call is.
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    Those impalas were horrible.. I hear what you are saying there.

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