1. #1
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    Default Personal Vehicles

    Hello all,

    As you see, I'm new to the forums, and I have a question.

    in Nebraska, their volunteers are able to use Red/Blue lights, have base radios in their vehicles, and use sirens if need be.

    in Iowa, I understand we can use Blue/Blue Lights.

    My question here is:
    Can Iowans have a base Radio in their vehicles?
    and can we use sirens if need be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpit
    Hello all,

    As you see, I'm new to the forums, and I have a question.

    in Nebraska, their volunteers are able to use Red/Blue lights, have base radios in their vehicles, and use sirens if need be.

    in Iowa, I understand we can use Blue/Blue Lights.

    My question here is:
    Can Iowans have a base Radio in their vehicles?
    and can we use sirens if need be?
    I would suggest that:
    A. Post this in the Iowa forum.
    and B. do a forum search because lights and sirens are the ultiumate dead horses in this forum.
    Do a little dance, make a little rum, Italian Ice! Italian Ice!

    Actual lyric: Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight.
    (KC & The Sunshine Band "Do A Little Dance")

    My thoughts are mine alone and do not represent the thoughts of any Organization to which I am affiliated.

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    As I stated, I'm new to the forums.

    This is not a thread about Lights and sirens, it's a thread about what equipment is legal to use in a personal vehicle while on call.

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    Why not check with your local Law Enforcement Officers, or ask your Dept. Officers.

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    I live in the middle of nowhere. The local Sheriffs Dept. doesn't know. There isn't a State Trooper within Miles of this place. I figured it to be more logical to ask in a place that delt with Fire/EMS, then to bother locals to go out of their way to find out. Was hoping more Iowans looked in theses forums.

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    The "logical" thing to me is to ask your company officer if you're allowed to have/use a personal HT or mobile radio. If they don't know, ask them to kick it upstairs to a chief officer...chain of command, remember.

    There are licensing issues with having xx number of mobile and HT units operating on the same frequency, but those issues aren't nearly so great as most would think. Generally speaking, so long as the license-holding agency grants permission for a radio to be used on its frequency, it's ok to do so as long as all FCC rules and regs are followed.

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    *Bang*...Shoots the horse
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

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    Thanks for the replies, I'll keep seeing what I can do on my end with the sheriffs dept. In the mean time, keep the suggestions rollin in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpit
    Thanks for the replies, I'll keep seeing what I can do on my end with the sheriffs dept. In the mean time, keep the suggestions rollin in.
    Screw your sheriffs department... You need to ask your company officer and if that doesnt work go to the chief. If he doesnt know then either #1 you dont need one or #2 he shouldnt be the chief.

    There enough said....

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    I tend to agree with asking your chief. I doubt the Sheriff's office knows a whole lot of what's going on in the fire world, at least not to that much detail. If you still have problems finding out, contact your state fire marshal's office or someone along those lines. I would think your department would have some kind of policy or SOP on who can have what in their POV, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    I tend to agree with asking your chief. I doubt the Sheriff's office knows a whole lot of what's going on in the fire world, at least not to that much detail. If you still have problems finding out, contact your state fire marshal's office or someone along those lines. I would think your department would have some kind of policy or SOP on who can have what in their POV, though.

    Bingo....I have to agree with Catch22 on this one, check with your department and see what the acceptable practice is....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Do you really need a siren in the middle of no where. There cant be much traffic there. Better yet how many calls can there be in the middle of no where.
    Stay Safe and live long

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    You are right Catch22, there should be. But, being on a Department that has a bunch of older member that would rather take a bucket to a house fire, I doubt there will be anything in the SOP about POV's.

    I'm on both Fire and Rescue here in the middle of nowhere. Our fire dept doesn't get much business, but our rescue squad will get 3 to 4 calls a day...which is very busy for a volunteer dept in the middle of nowhere.

    We don't have much traffic, we have alot of blind intersections...which happen to be the busiest intersections in town. It's nice to give a chirp or two as to let people know we are comming through. I'm not so keen on the siren, but I won't hesistate to use it if I need to. I'm mainly here to know if I can have an HT unit in my car and truck. I was just figuring that both would maybe go hand in hand in the codes. Here in Iowa, the DOT makes the Fire/Rescue rules when it comes to Lights, sirens, and other misc. things. Handhelds won't reach our Dispatch, which is 10 miles away. I work far enbough away from the station, that it's best if I just meet on scene. Usually, it's a good thing to let the squad know, so they don't sit at the station longer than they have to.

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    Handhelds won't reach our Dispatch, which is 10 miles away.
    Wait...you're in a rural area and the radio system is simplex (no repeaters)??????
    Something doesn't ring right there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the1141man
    Wait...you're in a rural area and the radio system is simplex (no repeaters)??????
    Something doesn't ring right there.

    Yeah there is something off about that!!!

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    The only repeater we use is on top of our firestation, so we can amplify the call when it gets to us. After all tones are sent to us, the dispatcher has roughly 1-2 minutes to talk, then the repeater kicks in, amplifies it, and repeats the call so it's sent to all of our pagers. I have no clue why our repeater is set up like that, but it only works when our tones are sent, so a handheld won't use the repeater because it's actually not on 24/7 like it should be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpit
    The only repeater we use is on top of our firestation, so we can amplify the call when it gets to us. After all tones are sent to us, the dispatcher has roughly 1-2 minutes to talk, then the repeater kicks in, amplifies it, and repeats the call so it's sent to all of our pagers. I have no clue why our repeater is set up like that, but it only works when our tones are sent, so a handheld won't use the repeater because it's actually not on 24/7 like it should be.
    I think I would have a trained and qualified radio guy come out and find a solution for that problem!! Just wandering what ISO rating your department has and if ISO knows about your radio problems?

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    The way you describe it, it doesn't really sound like a repeater, per se. More like a recorder/transmitter type set-up. I can understand your plight, though. We're in a similar situation when it comes to comms. Truth be know, looking at where Tabor is on the map, we're probably pretty close in many aspects. Not much difference between SW Iowa and SW Missouri from what I remember.

    We actually don't have a true dispatch yet, 911 just got voted in a year ago and we're working on getting the facility built. Part of our service area is in another town's 911 system, the rest of it we rely on the old "fire phone" system and voice pagers from the local paging company.

    What I have done is allowed guys to purchase radios through the department (if they wish, it's not an overly popular option due to costs) or we issue them older radios (16 channel radios that we've replaced) to put in their POVs. But, we limit it to the guys that live outside of town. The guys inside town can usually communicate by handheld, which are issued to all members. Maybe your department can look into something similar?

    Another solution would be to put in a true repeater, or to do what it takes to get what you've got to repeat the way it should. Or, try and try again for grants up upgrade your system. There's money out there to get it done, we've had a couple of departments around here buy repeaters and comms equipment through AFG and other DHS grants.

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    Now that you mention it, it's prolly not a repeater (tho we call it one). It is more like a recorder/transmitter. We have put in a grant for over 45,000 in Radio Equipment to upgrade to the upcoming changes in the MidWest Fire/Rescue crap. I hope we get everything we asked for, two weeks ago a storm blew through and fried our "Repeater" and our base unit attached to it. So now we are in an even worse situation than we were to start with.

    We are asking for new radios for all fire trucks and both rescue squads, so hopefully our chief or rescue president will allow us to use the old radios from them. Or at least purchase them from the station.

    I was talking with a fellow fire/rescue member tonight while comming back from a rescue call. He said that the only thing he has ever ran across as far as regulations, is that we use either blue/blue, or blue/white lights in our POV's. Nothing stating that we either can or cannot use HT's or Sirens. I will keep looking tho, my luck, the minute I buy either one, there would be a regulation against it.

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    I will warn you, whether there's a law or regulation or not (I'm willing to bet there is), you're better off if you have lights AND siren. Any laws I've seen require visual and audible warning devices to be used when the vehicle is in motion. Most of these "blue light" laws are pretty much the same, so I'm willing to be yours is as well.

    One thing I preach to my guys is that you have to drive safer and more cautious when you have that light and siren on than when you don't. As soon as that thing is turned on, you're under a HUGE liability if you tag someone.
    Last edited by Catch22; 06-26-2006 at 05:17 PM. Reason: can't spell today

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    I doubt that state law allows you to ignore posted speed limits and stop lights / signs, regardless of how many blinky lights or noise makers you have. You may not have protection from liability either, so drive with due regard, with or without a siren.

    While I'm not in Iowa, the state of NC does not allow any privilege for POV, but does allow for warning lights. You said that Iowa DOT makes the rules, maybe you can just get your information from them.
    Glenn Rainey
    Colington Fire Department
    Dare County, North Carolina
    The Outer Banks

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfdtim11
    Do you really need a siren in the middle of no where. There cant be much traffic there. Better yet how many calls can there be in the middle of no where.

    This argument is so old. Remember it only takes 1 call for something to go wrong, it doesn't matter if your department runs 1 call a year or 1 million calls a year. If it is going to make you safer use the lights/siren, if it is going to hinder things and make an unsafe situation don't. Any blockhead can agree that the less vehicles running code, unnecessarily, to an alarm the safer everyone is, however, if it is necessary for you to get there in a hurry SAFELY then what is the harm in a pov operating with lights/siren?

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    Because breaking the law is breaking the law. Emergancy vehicles have right of way, which allows them to do what we do with them. POV's is a diff story. They aren't emergency vehicles, just means of tranportation.

    if you run a light in a squad or firetruck (with lights and sirens, slowing down for the intesection) you won't get pulled over. yet, you do the same thing in a POV, you will get pulled over...and you will be lucky to keep ur POV afterwards.

    Now back to operating lights/sirens in a POV when you're not allowed to, it's breaking the law....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpit
    Because breaking the law is breaking the law. Emergancy vehicles have right of way, which allows them to do what we do with them. POV's is a diff story. They aren't emergency vehicles, just means of tranportation.

    if you run a light in a squad or firetruck (with lights and sirens, slowing down for the intesection) you won't get pulled over. yet, you do the same thing in a POV, you will get pulled over...and you will be lucky to keep ur POV afterwards.

    Now back to operating lights/sirens in a POV when you're not allowed to, it's breaking the law....
    Maybe your state is different than mine. Here, a pov with activated emergency lights and audible siren is considered to be an emergency vehicle and is granted all the same privilages as the BRT.

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    only blue lights are allowed in a POV. Go ahead and get whatever scanner or radio you want.

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