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    Default How do you respond to fire calls?

    Following the story on the main page, I was wondering if the majority of the FD's out there still run lights and siren to everything. This meaning that all responding units run this way, wheather it is a fire alarm or a medical call or a MVC or a fire. The fire dept. that I work for runs lights and siren to all reports of fire, MVC's, medical calls (1st responder, we don't run puss buses, EMS does that). On fire alarms only the 1st due engine or unless another engine is closer runs hot or lights and siren, while everyone else runs routine traffic.

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    We go code to MVA's and fires. For medicals we have an assignment system. We either get paged to an Alpha (non code, "I stubbed my toe.") Bravo (our choice to go code or not) Charlie (the least serious code) Delta (the medium serious code) Echo (most serious code response like cardiac arrest) and Omega (service call non code, you know little old lady fell down can't get up and she just wants help back into bed.)


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    While we run hot to about everything except for citizen assists, there is a nearby dept that will shut down everything if they encounter a red light. They figure it is better to wait the extra 2 min then push people into the intersection. Not entirely a bad idea but it is not too common down here.

    Now if we are responding to a structure fire and the first due arrives to find no fire or smoke showing, command will advise the other responding companies to shut down and respond non-emergency until the incident is tapped out.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
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    In my experience, the only thing we do not respond emergency for are CO runs. That said, if there is a report of illness at the scene of a CO run, we step it up and go emergency. Everything else is lights and sirens unless command on scene advises to respond non-emergency
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    We are authorized to run code on all fires and MVAs (we don't do medical calls unless requested by EMS), but that does not mean that we do it. I'll give an example. If we have a report of a small brush fire with no exposures then I know that there are 6 (or more depending on day/time)Fire Fighters closer to the station who will get there first. I do not see a need to go blasting through town in my pov, I make my way to the station quickly but safely, and stage there in case they need me. If the situation changes while in route then I kick on the light and speed things up.

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    We used to have all units run hot on all calls. About 10 years ago, we finally changed our policies on who runs hot and when.

    Now , only the first due runs hot to automatic alarms, while all other units observe traffic. Investigation calls get a routine response, as do any other non-life or property threatening calls.

    On medicals, MVAs, and all fire calls, all units dispatched run hot.

    We (officers) have some latitude with regards to our response based upon the information we receive from our comm center.




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    "How do you respond to fire calls?"

    A big shiney red truck with blue and red lights on it, and a loud siren.


    (and yes to all calls unless stated otherwise by command)
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    When I worked EMS we would go priority 1, 2 or 3. Priority 1 is running hot and get there in 7 minutes. Priority 2 is hot but get there in 9 minutes. Priority 3 is normal traffic. If we happend to be close we would run quiet through main traffic, then turn on the "we care" lights close to the address. Stopped at all red lights and stop signs. If an intersection is blocked we shut down and waited.

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    Everything is an emergency for us. We of course take all proper precautions and drive with due regard especially considering the type of run we are on. That is for all Fire or EMS runs or relocations.

    FTM-PTB

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    We are expected to have similar response times to all calls, whether it be a stuck occupied urinal or water leak, or a phone alarm with numerous calls. Otherwise Bloomturd and scumpetta get ****ed and lift chiefs.

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    Full out ER unless dispatch advises otherwise.

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    First in units go with lights and sirens, and additional units are kept coming in emergent until command or units on scene advise otherwise.
    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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    everything runs all lights and sirens to the call because where we live theres not a crazy amount of risks in doing so, and if the officer gets on scene and find out that its a call thats not neccesarly an "EMERGENCY" then they tell all responding units to proceed with caution, which basically means to go running intersections and laying on the siren, but leave the lights and such going.

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    Default Captain/GFD and Past Vol Chief

    While I was the Fire Chief of a local volunteer fire department we would receive on average (2) complaints per month concerning our memberships driving habits while responding to an incident. To reduce the complaints and prevent an accident before it occurred we implemented a Response Policy. The only incidents that we allowed units to respond emergency traffic to was: Any reported structural incident, MVA's with injury, Priority EMS incidents, wildland fires, natural gas leaks, power-lines down with fire involvement, vehicle fires and the first due unit to an alarm off. Everything else was non-emergency (smell of smoke, trash fires, wires arcing, etc) Once we implemented the policy we never received another complaint concerning our personnels driving habits and that was ten years ago. I cannot believe that there are still departments out there that respond "Emergency Traffic" to all incidents.

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    In my company we run code 3 to mostly everything... except your fire alarms, power lines, trees down, things like that. Pretty much everything else we run hot to. But when your population is mostly cows with a town without a traffic signal, its not that great of deal. Going to your average call we may come up on maybe 5-7 cars and thats during "rush hour traffic."
    The ambulance does run lights to everything except lift assists w/ no injury. Because we have found in an area where your district extends upto 20 minutes away from the station that you cannot trust the information given to dispatch and then the information that dispatch gives you.

    I work as a dispatcher/EMT for a local private ems company and we have three types of responses...
    Code 1 - Non-Emergent
    Code 2 - Emergent alone
    Code 3 - Emergent with another agency - usually your most serious type of call, and they send fire with ya in the city.

    I work as a dispatcher there and I have found that regardless of the questions asked, and the information in which they give you doesn't hold too much credibility. For example, I know of an area where I have sent them Code 1 and they will come back to the hospital Code 6 (returning with lights and sirens) obviously meaning that the patient is worse off than thought. That is my biggest problem with EMS taking a more radical silent approach is things can change quickly ... just some bread for your mind.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
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    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

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    Here the dispatcher determines what code you will run... Some things dont seem smart to me.. Sne that amazes me is code 2 for a stroke/possible stroke
    fires it is up to the units usually but all units (3) will run code 3 to a automatic alarm. Structure fires they will go code 3.

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    We run code to all fires, MVA's, And medical first reponder calls. We do not run hot for citizens assist and most investigation calls. We utilize the opticom system that changes traffic lights in the direction we are traveling to green while all other lights are red.

  18. #18
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    Thumbs down What?????????

    Quote Originally Posted by IGotTheHalligan
    Here the dispatcher determines what code you will run...
    You ARE kidding, Right??........ I thought I'd heard it all, but that is..... Well, if you trust your dispatch center that much, that's your choice.

    If you don't want my red lights and siren, don't call 911.
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    For my township most of our calls are ran with lights and sirens. However, at about 2200 or 2300 we only use lights, until an intersections.

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    Automatic alarms (other then flow alarms) get first due engine "hot" evey one else "cold".

    Elevator calls with no medical complaint, cold.

    Public service calls (water leaks, lock outs, animal rescues), cold.

    Everything else is hot. Responding company officer or district chief (if assigned) can up-grade/down-grade units depending on pre-arival information.

    Response to EMS calls are assigned either hot or cold response by EMD cards.

    Dispatchers here do not make response determinations. This is strictly by county wide SOG or EMD and changes are left up to the responding CO or DC.

    Oh, and we run hot to wires down calls. Would really hate for a kid to try and pick up a hot primary while we are driving through town with traffic.
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    Tree/Wire Down, CO Alarm, Fire Alarm, Smoke Detector Act.... all respond with the 1st truck lights & sirens only. ~ unless otherwise told by the IC ~
    *** O and POV lights and for the officers, sirens, they are to be turned off once that 1st peice is on the air I believe... ***


    Lift Assist, Service Call...... all respond w/o lights & siren.

    Everything else ( medicals, fires, MVA's ) lights and sirens. ~ unless of course told otherwise by the IC ~
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    Quote Originally Posted by IGotTheHalligan
    Here the dispatcher determines what code you will run... Some things dont seem smart to me.. Sne that amazes me is code 2 for a stroke/possible stroke
    fires it is up to the units usually but all units (3) will run code 3 to a automatic alarm. Structure fires they will go code 3.
    A couple of people on here have indicated that they respond however their dispatcher advises. Are your dispatchers basing the criteria on policeies and procedures provided to them by your command staff or is the dispatch center running your fire department? As written, it sounds like the latter, and that is wrong!

    Lights and sirens are the norm for everything, but I have the ability to alter that on calls that I see fit.

    This kind of reminds me of America's gun debate. What kills people? Guns or people with guns? Like FFFRED eluded to, lights and sirens do not make people drive fast. Officers and Drivers still have the abililty to modify their speed even when those accessories are activated. Last time I checked, the accelerator and brake work exactly the same as they do when the lights and siren are off.

    As long as you are driving with due regard, most statutes will only protect you while responding if both are operating. I guess thats the other side of the coin. Some fancy, hotshot lawyer is going to get a client that was involved in an accident with fire apparatus while "responding" on a call. Going on a call in this state with no lights and no siren = guilty, pay the plantiff.

    Not saying that no light or siren policies are bad, just may not be something to jump into without serious scrutiny. A well meaning policy that is not in alignment with state law is still illegal and will leave you just as liable, if not more so.
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Default How do you respond to fire calls?

    In the area I serve, we respond hot to a majority of our calls. Fires/MVA's with injuries and other EMS calls. The officers are allowed discretion on fire alarms, waiting for law enforcement, or if there is enough information from control on the incident to respond on the quiet. I would ride on the bumper(if we still could) with my engineer behind the wheel. Just use common sense and drive with due regard. Buckle up and stay safe.

    Lt. Jason Arkins
    Avon Fire & Rescue
    Eng. Co. 142

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    Default Response...

    In the one of the resort areas of South Carolina we also respond "hot" to MVA's (unless advised no injuries), confirmed fires and EMS calls. On fire alarms, the first in company responds "hot" while the others respond in non-emergency. I guess our response area is a bit more unique than some done in studies as a "hot" response may take 3-5 minutes, but during summer tourist season, that same response route "cold" usually takes 10-15 minutes if not more due to traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a
    As long as you are driving with due regard, most statutes will only protect you while responding if both are operating.
    Our statute requires siren and lights operating together to be exempt from the traffic laws. However, your driving will be held to a higher standard under those conditions. In Michigan, "due regard" is a higher standard than other drivers are held to. It basically means right of way must be granted by the other driver and cannot be assumed. Under this standard, any accident that emergency vehicles get into with lights on is their fault until proven otherwise. The only mention of "due regard" in the Michigan vehicle law is in application to emergency vehicles. By leaving the lights and sirens off, you are just another driver on the road, and are not held to the "due regard" standard. You are much more likely to be found liable for an accident if you have the lights on. Of course, there is no excuse for driving recklessly whether your lights are on or not.

    257.632 Exemption from speed limitations; police vehicles, fire department or fire patrol vehicles, and ambulances; conditions.

    Sec. 632.

    The speed limitation set forth in this chapter shall not apply to vehicles when operated with due regard for safety under the direction of the police when traveling in emergencies or in the chase or apprehension of violators of the law or of persons charged with or suspected of a violation, nor to fire department or fire patrol vehicles when traveling in response to a fire alarm, nor to public or private ambulances when traveling in emergencies. This exemption shall apply only when the driver of the vehicle while in motion sounds an audible signal by bell, siren or exhaust whistle as may be reasonably necessary or when the vehicle is equipped with at least 1 lighted lamp displaying a flashing, oscillating or rotating red or blue light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet to the front of such vehicles, unless the nature of the mission requires that a law enforcement officer travel without giving warning to suspected law violators. This exemption shall not however protect the driver of the vehicle from the consequences of a reckless disregard of the safety of others.


    257.653 Immediate approach of authorized emergency vehicle; duty of driver of another vehicle; duty of streetcar operator; violation as civil infraction.

    Sec. 653.

    (1) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle equipped with not less than 1 lighted flashing, rotating, or oscillating lamp exhibiting a red or blue light visible under normal atmospheric condition from a distance of 500 feet to the front of the vehicle and when the driver is giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell:

    (a) The driver of another vehicle shall yield the right of way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway, clear of an intersection, and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

    (b) The operator of a streetcar shall immediately stop the car, clear of an intersection, and shall keep it in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

    (2) This section does not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of persons using the highway.

    (3) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.
    Last edited by gunnyv; 01-31-2006 at 08:54 PM.

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