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  1. #1
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    Default Authorized Emergency Vehicle

    Hello all,

    I am a volunteer fireman for Sardis City, Alabama. However, I live 5-7 minutes away from the fire hall and commute directly to the scene. Below, I have taken a section out of the Alabama Trafic Laws. My questions is this:

    With a wig-wag flasher and dash mount red flashing light (Dashlaser) from Galls, is my POV an "Authorized Emergency Vehicle?"

    Section 32-5A-7
    Authorized emergency vehicles.
    (a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions herein stated.

    (b) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:

    (1) Park or stand, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter;
    (2) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;
    (3) Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property;
    (4) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

    (c) The exemptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle shall apply only when such vehicle is making use of an audible signal meeting the requirements of section 32-5-213 and visual requirements of any laws of this state requiring visual signals on emergency vehicles.

    (d) The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.

    (Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §1-106.)


  2. #2
    This space for rent NYSmokey's Avatar
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    Barry,

    First, I would like to welcome you to the forum If this thread holds true to form, this should be interesting. Some good information can be found here.

    http://forums.firehouse.com/search.php?searchid=113035

    As a guest, I'm not sure if you can search or not. I apologize if you can't view the search results as a guest. I would suggest that you sign up officially since there is a wealth of information on the various forums.

    My answer to your question would be no. You are not visible from 360 degrees and you do not have an audible device which is prescribed by the law you cited.

    I would think that the risks outweigh the benefits on this one.
    Tom

    Never Forget 9-11-2001

    Stay safe out there!

    IACOJ Member

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    I found this through google:
    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=16758

    However, that is Texas law. Others in my department have lights, but none of them have sirens. I have been with the department about a month, and I have been late on a few calls b/c of people failing to move.

    The light I ordered has a magnetic bottom, too, and it can be mounted on the top of my car (in front of my sun roof).

    So, I really need Alabama law (which seems to be found NO WHERE).

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    Forum Member RES81CUE's Avatar
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    Ok I will bite.... You have only been on your department for a month and you already have clearance to run emergency lights??? Oh come on!! At what point in your long career have you been to a emergency driving course or class? Do you have so much experiance in your whole one month that you need to break traffic laws to get there? Are you even certafied in anything that makes it necessary for you to need to be on a scene? Just wandering

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    OK, first off, I don't appreciate how you just addressed me. And, yes, I have had training. I have been ACTIVE for a month and have already run many calls. Yes, I am supposed to be on the scene, which to be honest, is none of your business anyway. If you don't have something useful to say about the above topic, then keep your nose out of it. If you take offense to what I said, then good, because I meant for you to.

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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barryhumphries
    OK, first off, I don't appreciate how you just addressed me. And, yes, I have had training. I have been ACTIVE for a month and have already run many calls. Yes, I am supposed to be on the scene, which to be honest, is none of your business anyway. If you don't have something useful to say about the above topic, then keep your nose out of it. If you take offense to what I said, then good, because I meant for you to.
    No offence dude...But if you have been on more than a month than put it for frig sakes....You said I have been on my dept a month..Well what do you expect someone who has probably been on a lot longer than you to say about you being cleared to run lights and be on calls...Use your head a bit
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Yup, this thread's life span is gonna be REAAAALLLLL long.....
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33
    No offence dude...But if you have been on more than a month than put it for frig sakes....You said I have been on my dept a month..Well what do you expect someone who has probably been on a lot longer than you to say about you being cleared to run lights and be on calls...Use your head a bit
    And for my miswording, I apologize. I have been running calls for a little over a month, so that is the time and experience I consider myself to have. Yes, I know that there are many, many people that have much more experience than I do, hence, the reason I am here in the first place.

    However, the point that he made is completely irrelevant to my original topic. That is the reason that I got upset. I just need to know how Alabama law relates to Authorized POV's. I would contact my county office, but this is Saturday evening, and with me at work, I figured this was a good place to find results from qualified people.

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    Unhappy

    To start I think you must have started in the AL law a little too far in. Generally the law will define what makes an authorized vehicle and who may operate said vehicle. In my state, NOT AL, only municpal fire or EMS vehicles, plice vehicles of Chief officer's private vehicles may be authorized emergency vehicles. And for the POV's the chiefs own, they must have both visual and audible signals.
    That being said, we don't let our personnel, except the chief's, use red lights on POV's at all regardless of the law.
    We get plenty of guys who join and as soon as they get their gear want to know about using red lights. These people are immediately considered "whackers" and put on a short leash. We had to have one return his equipment vis PD after he cut off our utility vehicle running code three to a scene that did not even involve him. He wouldn't answer his phone or the pages via radio.
    Last edited by RFDACM; 04-22-2006 at 08:30 PM.

  10. #10
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Section 32-5A-7

    Authorized emergency vehicles.


    (a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions herein stated.


    (b) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:


    (1) Park or stand, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter;


    (2) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;


    (3) Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property


    (4) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.


    (c) The exemptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle shall apply only when such vehicle is making use of an audible signal meeting the requirements of Section 32-5-213 and visual requirements of any laws of this state requiring visual signals on emergency vehicles.


    (d) The foregoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.


    from
    http://www.legislature.state.al.us/c...2%2D5a%2D7.htm
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
    Member, IACOJ.
    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy
    Section 32-5A-7

    Authorized emergency vehicles.


    (a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions herein stated.
    Yes, I also found that. However, it does not outline what is considered an Authorized Emergency Vehicle. I know some states give specific information on how a POV is considered an Authorized Emergency Vehicle. There are certain specs, including a 360 degree view of a single red light and a siren. However, other states only require a single red or blue light.

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    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barryhumphries
    Hello all,

    I am a volunteer fireman for Sardis City, Alabama. However, I live 5-7 minutes away from the fire hall and commute directly to the scene. Below, I have taken a section out of the Alabama Trafic Laws. My questions is this:

    With a wig-wag flasher and dash mount red flashing light (Dashlaser) from Galls, is my POV an "Authorized Emergency Vehicle?"
    In all likelyhood, that would be a great big NO. In Alabama, the authority to designate a privately owned vehicle as an "Authorized Emergency Vehicle" is held by the Director of Public Safety or the Chief of Police of an incorporated city (Code of Alabama, Section 32-1-1.1). I'm going to assume you don't have authority your Police (not FIRE) chief or the DPS director 'cause if you did there wouldn't be a need for this post.

    While we're on the topic, you also will want to review section 32-5A-115. That dashlight and possibly those wigwags are illegal to use on the roadway. Before you say "everybody does it", I know they're common but rest assured there are many LE agencies around the state that enforce this provision of the law. I don't care if your POV is lit up like a Christmas tree, come flying through my town and you're liable to get stopped. Unless you're driving like a complete idiot, professional courtesy will probably keep you out of a ticket but you will be stopped.

    Finally, even if your POV is an "Authorized Emergency Vehicle", the law also states that, in order to disregard traffic laws, you must use a siren and lights.

    My advice: Sell them on E-bay. They're illegal, ineffective, and only open you and your department up to potential liability.

    I now head to the corner to watch the thread deteroriate into another "Lights on POV" debate...

    Edited to add: If you're thinking about trying to get approval, don't get your hopes up. It is my understanding that DPS has a policy of not approving POVs and only an insane Police Chief would take the liability risk...
    Last edited by EFD840; 04-22-2006 at 08:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EFD840
    In all likelyhood, that would be a great big NO. In Alabama, the authority to designate a privately owned vehicle as an "Authorized Emergency Vehicle" is held by the Director of Public Safety or the Chief of Police of an incorporated city (Code of Alabama, Section 32-1-1.1). I'm going to assume you don't have authority your Police (not FIRE) chief or the DPS director 'cause if you did there wouldn't be a need for this post.

    While we're on the topic, you also will want to review section 32-5A-115. That dashlight and possibly those wigwags are illegal to use on the roadway. Before you say "everybody does it", I know they're common but rest assured there are many LE agencies around the state that enforce this provision of the law. I don't care if your POV is lit up like a Christmas tree, come flying through my town and you're liable to get stopped. Unless you're driving like a complete idiot, professional courtesy will probably keep you out of a ticket but you will be stopped.

    Finally, even if your POV is an "Authorized Emergency Vehicle", the law also states that, in order to disregard traffic laws, you must use a siren and lights.

    My advice: Sell them on E-bay. They're illegal, ineffective, and only open you and your department up to potential liability.

    I now head to the corner to watch the thread deteroriate into another "Lights on POV" debate...

    Edited to add: If you're thinking about trying to get approval, don't get your hopes up. It is my understanding that DPS has a policy of not approving POVs and only an insane Police Chief would take the liability risk...

    Thank you. You actually know what you are talking about, and for that, I thank you. Now, in your opinion, what would be the best way for me to commute to a scene or the firehall. Both my fire chief and asst. fire chief live within 1-2 minutes of the fire hall. However, the rest of the department lives 3+ minutes out. I have not got to talk to the chief yet, as they were just on a medic call. So, what do you suggest?

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    I can tell you from experience in trying to get emergency vehicle status for our volunteer departments trucks that the Alabama State Patrol will not give your pov emergency vehicle status. The first new engine our department purchased many years ago had the title made out to the department and a private individual. It took phone calls and assurances that this was indeed a fire engine and not a personal vehicle to get it approved by the state. A pov is not going to get approved by the state and if a city police chief approves it, the approval is only good for when you are inside the city limits. I have been in the fire service for 24 years and I can assure you the lights make very little difference in your response time. If you do as I have seen years ago in my own department you will take more risk when running a light. I was 18 when I started and believe me as the years move on you will learn that it is much better to be a little late and get there safe than not get there at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranburne
    I can tell you from experience in trying to get emergency vehicle status for our volunteer departments trucks that the Alabama State Patrol will not give your pov emergency vehicle status. The first new engine our department purchased many years ago had the title made out to the department and a private individual. It took phone calls and assurances that this was indeed a fire engine and not a personal vehicle to get it approved by the state. A pov is not going to get approved by the state and if a city police chief approves it, the approval is only good for when you are inside the city limits. I have been in the fire service for 24 years and I can assure you the lights make very little difference in your response time. If you do as I have seen years ago in my own department you will take more risk when running a light. I was 18 when I started and believe me as the years move on you will learn that it is much better to be a little late and get there safe than not get there at all.
    Yes, this is definitely a post of age and wisdom, and I respect that. I, too, have started the fire department at 18 and look forward to taking my first responder class and my eventual EMT schooling. And, I understand about getting to the scene a little late than not at all. The only reason I would like the lights is because of the area I live in. I live in a rural community, which has a lot of farm equiptment, etc. being driven on the roadways I travel. Also, we have a lot of "older" people driving around the community at top speeds of 30 mph. I am not saying that to be mean or anything; it's a simple fact. One thing that my asst. chief told me to do was make sure I do not pass on the way to a call, because it is double yellow lines all the way. I was told to run my flashers, and if they pull over, they pull over, and I can go around. However, people around here do not use common sense, and they continue to drive at slow speeds, causing me to be even later to a scene. We are a very small department (less than 20 members), many of which work every day. During the week, there are only 3-4 of us that can immediately respond. So, I would like to be safe in it, but I would also like to get there in a timely manner.

    Sorry if I rambled, but I am just trying to make sure everyone knows that I am not just a young punk that wants an excuse to drive fast and avoid all traffic laws; I don't. I am actually in college, majoring in Criminal Justice. So, I really have to respect the law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barryhumphries
    Thank you. You actually know what you are talking about, and for that, I thank you. Now, in your opinion, what would be the best way for me to commute to a scene or the firehall. Both my fire chief and asst. fire chief live within 1-2 minutes of the fire hall. However, the rest of the department lives 3+ minutes out. I have not got to talk to the chief yet, as they were just on a medic call. So, what do you suggest?
    Drive with the normal flow of traffic. Do the math, if you live 5 minutes away and you speed up by 20 mph by using your whoopy lights, how much time will you save? Not much at all. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that as a member of only one month you have no clue the major problem the fire service has with personnel being killed, killing others or serious injuries, due to responding in private vehicles. Do us all a favor and forget the lights until your a chief.

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    [QUOTE=barryhumphries]Thank you. You actually know what you are talking about, QUOTE]

    Thats gettin a lil harsh now isnt it...Comin from somebody who isnt even a member of this site...Good call...Im sure theys plenty of people who "know what they are talking about", but chose not to post...Once again..Maybe use your head a bit if you dont want people to address you in a way you dont like..
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 04-22-2006 at 09:20 PM.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barryhumphries
    Thank you. You actually know what you are talking about, and for that, I thank you. Now, in your opinion, what would be the best way for me to commute to a scene or the firehall. Both my fire chief and asst. fire chief live within 1-2 minutes of the fire hall. However, the rest of the department lives 3+ minutes out. I have not got to talk to the chief yet, as they were just on a medic call. So, what do you suggest?
    Drive sanely. I know it is hard, but your vehicle speed isn't going to make much difference. In your first post, you said you live 5-7 minutes away. Assuming that's 5 miles, the travel time difference between going 60 and going 75 (which would be very unsafe) is one minute. Learn your PPE and your apparatus. You can get that 60 seconds back with interest by being proficient with the skills required once you get to the station or the scene.

    Be safe and pay attention. I can't tell you how many people fly out the door to the station when the tones drop only to realize they've got no idea where they're supposed to go and what they will find when they arrive. I know the adrenaline gets pumping when you're new, but take that deep breath. Here's what I tell our new guys: If it was on fire when they called, it will be on fire when you arrive. If it isn't, they didn't need you in the first place.

    For volunteers, going to the call is just as dangerous as being on the scene. Just peruse the NIOSH firefighter fatality reports and you will see just how dangerous.

    Finally, I'm glad to help. Don't take any snappy responses personally, the issue of lights on POVs is very controversial and has been debated here so many times FH.com probably has a server dedicated to just those threads. Also, thanks for the compliment. I'm Mayor of my town, so there are probably quite a few folks that would be very surprised to learn that someone thinks I actually know what I am talking about
    Last edited by EFD840; 04-22-2006 at 09:20 PM.

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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Drive with the normal flow of traffic. Do the math, if you live 5 minutes away and you speed up by 20 mph by using your whoopy lights, how much time will you save? Not much at all. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that as a member of only one month you have no clue the major problem the fire service has with personnel being killed, killing others or serious injuries, due to responding in private vehicles. Do us all a favor and forget the lights until your a chief.
    Sorry for the double Post...But I gotta say...Well put RFD
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    I live about the same distance from my station. In NY you are allowed to run 1 blue flashing light on your pov. I do have one and I do use it only because the fire companie insurance will not cover you if in an accident without it on. I find that I am always able to make the second truck out and sometimes the first depending on the time of day. Yes that is going the speed limits. Just remember one thing its not your emergency. Get there alive and do your best.
    Stay Safe and live long

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