1. #1
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    Default Please, tell me this is a joke....

    I found this on my Myspace.com EMS group. I am hoping it is just someone with too much free time on their hands, but.....


    (The Fark.com headline read: "Firefighters are upset that they aren't allowed to drive fast and play with the siren any more")

    June 18, 2007 article in ThisIsLondon.co.uk

    "Firefighters in Sheffield have been banned from speeding to emergencies with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring ... because it is too risky.

    New rules sent out to fire crews in South Yorkshire say they can only break the speed limit and use lights and sirens if there is an immediate risk to life and property.

    But the fire fighters themselves say dawdling to even minor incidents could increase the risk of threats to people and buildings.

    One senior fireman said: "This is ridiculous we are an emergency service. It could definitely put lives and property at risk.

    "We often don't have the time of the information when are responding to an emergency to make judgements like this.

    "Drivers are specially trained to drive carefully even with blue lights and sirens on and there are very few accidents in those situations.

    "If someone is injured or dies because we stick to the speed limits and are held up in traffic we would be blamed not the people in the ivory towers who come up with these rules.

    "If people dial 999 to report, it is an emergency to them. Even if it seems to be a minor fire, you don't know how serious it really is until you get there - and if we have to wait up to half an hour in traffic, it could have spread."

    The guidelines, issued to stations across South Yorkshire, say incidents such as skip fires or car fires on notorious "dumping grounds" are examples of incidents when normal speeds and no sirens or lights should be used.

    They have also been told to obey all traffic regulations in these cases.

    Firefighters have been told other incidents where sirens and lights are banned, normal speeds should be used and traffic regulations obeyed, include:

    Small or secondary fires which are not in proximity to a building;

    Moorland fires - unless in an area of "value" such as a "Site of Special Scientific Interest";

    Automatic fire alarms where a fire has not been confirmed ...unless there could be a risk to people sleeping;

    Automatic fire alarms which have been confirmed to have been set off in error by a "responsible" person;

    People stranded in lifts except where those trapped are suffering a medical condition or are in distress;

    Appliances travelling to a rendezvous point or on standby in cases such as bomb alerts or civil unrest;

    Minor flooding.

    Firefighters have been told the list they have been given is not "definitive" and to expect "more detailed instructions" to be issued to them shortly.

    South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue say they have introduced the measures as part of a commitment to "working for a safer South Yorkshire" - balancing the need to get to incidents quickly with the need to get there safely.

    The authority added it was "imperative" the control room gathered as much information as possible about an incident to ensure the most appropriate response was decided.

    Tony Clay, head of operational standards and safety for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: "Our new policy captures and formalises well established good practice.

    "We have all seen examples in the media of emergency vehicles being involved in road traffic collisions on the way to incidents.

    "Similarly we all know that in some - but by no means all - circumstances, time is of the essence. We are seeking to balance these equally important imperatives."

    John Speight, brigade chairman at the Fire Brigades' Union in Sheffield, said he had been unaware of the new guidelines until they were circulated to members last week.

    He said the proposals seemed "vague" and he was due to meet with management to discuss what they would actually mean for firefighters on the ground.

    Mr Speight said although the proposals looked alarming: "It would be premature of me to comment on what the implications will be for the future, because without knowing exactly what it means I could quite easily come to the wrong conclusion.""
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    I'm afraid its true. Its called a drive to arrive policy. The idea is that we go to so many false fire alarms that we are more of a danger to the public on the roads by speeding than the likelyhood there is a fire.

    Its a nonsense but its catching on in GB

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    I don't know Jolly Ol' England well at all. Is this a urban, suburban, or rural setting? If it is Urban, the leaders need be drawn and quartered!
    I can see second due going cold for AFAs, but NOT for fires, no matter what kind of fire it may be.
    Calls for service, eg I fell, pick me up, pumping out basements, take pt from bed 13b to the ED for change in mental status.....when hes been demented for years, calls like that should be run cold.

    Fires, and first due to AFAs should NOT
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    Two thoughts...

    1. In my experience, in an urban setting, you get there just as fast with lights as running silent.

    2. Any department that does not have an SOP AGAINST speeding and breaking traffic laws is a risk management nightmare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Two thoughts...

    1. In my experience, in an urban setting, you get there just as fast with lights as running silent.
    2. Any department that does not have an SOP AGAINST speeding and breaking traffic laws is a risk management nightmare.
    I just dont see that as being the case. Im not a chauffuer, but in my 1st due area, it can take us a good minute longer to get to some of our further away boxes if we arent responding, and we have a small first due area. In a place like midtown manhattan, on a one way street, lights and sirens may be useless at times, but in surrounding areas, that simply isnt true. Two way streets, being able to safely proceed through red lights, having the occassional person actually move out of the way for us, lets us respond quickly while maintaining a safe response. Come to think of it, the only fender bender our rig has been in since Ive been here, is when we had to push a cop car out of the way on a one way street going to a 1st due fire. He decided parking in the middle of the street was a good place to stop.
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    For most of the conditions listed in the bullets I'd have to agree lights and sirens arent really needed. Being from a brush fire prone area I would disagree with the
    Small or secondary fires which are not in proximity to a building;
    because they can become very big very quick.
    I also think for alarms until it is confirmed one way or the other the first due should be lights and sirens but the second/third should be with the flow of traffic.

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    Qote-

    Small or secondary fires which are not in proximity to a building;

    Moorland fires - unless in an area of "value" such as a "Site of Special Scientific Interest";

    Automatic fire alarms where a fire has not been confirmed ...unless there could be a risk to people sleeping;

    Automatic fire alarms which have been confirmed to have been set off in error by a "responsible" person;

    People stranded in lifts except where those trapped are suffering a medical condition or are in distress;

    Appliances travelling to a rendezvous point or on standby in cases such as bomb alerts or civil unrest;

    Minor flooding. -unquote.

    Here in Queensland we run a two pump response to incidents, in all AFA (irrespective of time of day, or reason for activation) the first pump is on lights and sirens and second on road rule. Same rules for people in lifts.
    (Flooding response is not an issue- we're in a drought, we'ed love a flood).
    For moorland (brush) fires and fires not threatening we are supposed to go on road rules, HOWEVER- if the oic of the appliance beleives it may spread or begin to threaten he can upgrade at his discretion. (As another poster said they can quickly get out of hand, and 90% of our stations calls are for brush fires- if it is a hot day with strong windsetc.. we will upgrade automatically.)
    just my opinion.

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    I've heard of this as well, I think I was told about a study that found across the board the average time saved was less than a min. it was right around 30 sec.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SubWay1
    I've heard of this as well, I think I was told about a study that found across the board the average time saved was less than a min. it was right around 30 sec.
    But now what has to be thought about is, is that 30 seconds - 1 minute worth it? In some cases yes, in some no. How bad can fire get in 30 seconds? Can the **** hit the fan? What if someone was trapped, 30 more seconds to help them...

    All those questions can be raised regarding blue lights.

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    Well if I was in Britian right now, and I had to report a fire in my property, I think I would be saying there are possible occupants on the 999 call.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SubWay1 View Post
    I've heard of this as well, I think I was told about a study that found across the board the average time saved was less than a min. it was right around 30 sec.
    When an average response time is between 3:45 and 4 minutes, an extra 30 seconds can make a HUGE difference.
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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    I see all these studies are being quoted, as to 30 to 45 seconds being saved. Is that a national average? Rural only? Suburban only? Urban only? Who is conducting these studies, under what conditions, and how are they being conducted. I know damn sure that in an urban setting, going code saves a LOT of time. With all the traffic lights that you can bypass, that alone saves a lot of time. I am not saying drive like a bat out of hell, like your mother will die unless you get there, and now, but drive with due regard, and just be aware, that there are people out there that just wont move for you, no matter what.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    I just dont see that as being the case. Im not a chauffuer, but in my 1st due area, it can take us a good minute longer to get to some of our further away boxes if we arent responding, and we have a small first due area. In a place like midtown manhattan, on a one way street, lights and sirens may be useless at times, but in surrounding areas, that simply isnt true. Two way streets, being able to safely proceed through red lights, having the occassional person actually move out of the way for us, lets us respond quickly while maintaining a safe response. Come to think of it, the only fender bender our rig has been in since Ive been here, is when we had to push a cop car out of the way on a one way street going to a 1st due fire. He decided parking in the middle of the street was a good place to stop.
    After I posted this, I realized I probably should have made midtown the exception. That's why, in 2007, there are still so many bicycle messengers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    After I posted this, I realized I probably should have made midtown the exception. That's why, in 2007, there are still so many bicycle messengers.
    Midtown is not the only place that can have a heavy traffic load. I also work in manhattan, accept WAY up town. Around rush hour it can be very difficult to get to certain boxes, especially our 2nd due boxes. We would never make our boxes in a reasonable time with out our lights and sirens...no way!! All you have to do it see how long it takes you to get back to quarters without lights and sirens and that's how long it would take us to get to a box; unacceptable!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefiftyfive View Post
    Midtown is not the only place that can have a heavy traffic load. I also work in manhattan, accept WAY up town. Around rush hour it can be very difficult to get to certain boxes, especially our 2nd due boxes. We would never make our boxes in a reasonable time with out our lights and sirens...no way!! All you have to do it see how long it takes you to get back to quarters without lights and sirens and that's how long it would take us to get to a box; unacceptable!!
    OK. I am not going to argue with every one of you. My post syas "In my experience...". That experience includes several of the largest cities in NJ. I respect that others may have different experience.

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    I would actually venture to say that in a RURAL setting, lights and sirens make little difference.

    In the urban setting I work in, it often saves 1-2 minutes in our first due, let alone second, third, forth etc...

    When you have to drive against traffic in the opposite lane, and that is the only way you can get around blocks long traffic jams, it is a necessity rather than a preference....
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post

    Automatic fire alarms where a fire has not been confirmed ...unless there could be a risk to people sleeping;

    Automatic fire alarms which have been confirmed to have been set off in error by a "responsible" person;

    People stranded in lifts except where those trapped are suffering a medical condition or are in distress;

    Appliances travelling to a rendezvous point or on standby in cases such as bomb alerts or civil unrest;

    Minor flooding.

    This list looks like our policy, which has been in effect for years, except our first due company to item #1 does run hot.

    Policies like this are quite common in this area of the USA, as Im sure it is in others.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 06-24-2007 at 03:59 PM.
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    You Need to be Careful over there. With so many people driving on the wrong side of the road..............








    Seriously, that type of response pattern is getting common in the Mid-Atlantic as well. We "Proceed" instead of "Respond" to a number of types of calls here too. No problems have arisen yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OFD226 View Post
    I would actually venture to say that in a RURAL setting, lights and sirens make little difference.

    Again, that arguement can be tossed out the window in a hurry.

    Many rural depts have the longest time on the road, some single-hall departments with large districts can have 20km responses, and MANY mutual aid responses are at or over that mark.

    Getting stuck behind commercial traffic or Sunday drivers at 10 under the limit, compared to code three at ten over can mean up to ten minutes of additional response time saved.

    Or the difference between a car fire and a forest fire,

    or a single family home fire and a multiple home fire,

    or a second or third engine on a large home or industrial site.

    or even just proper confirmation by boots on the ground that there are no lives at risk. 911 dispatchers have been taking a lot of heat lately, and I trust a lost rural road traveller even less.


    I don't advocate the bat out of hell approach either, and we utilize hot and cold responses, but I just don't see as many applications where the time lost is really safer than the values currently saved.

    I do like the safety factor of a first due hot, and additional responding engines cold policy though, unless or until the emergency is upgraded by a crew on the scene.
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    Harve, I have noticed that trend down here too, and quite honestly it scares me. On one hand we have the "population" crying that they dont want to be disturbed from watching Paris going to jail or the latest in American Idol or whatever by the sound of sirens and horns. One the other hand we have very specific county, and state road laws that say when responding to an emregency incident, all warning devices will be engaged.

    Either its an emergency and all lights and sirens are winking and screaming or its not an emergency and we just diddle along at the posted road speed.

    Everytime there is a traffic incident that involves an emergency the vehicle, the first two questions to be asked are:

    1) were you engaged in an emergency repsonse?
    2) if an emergency response were all warning signals and lights in use?

    If the answer to #1 is "yes", but the answer to #2 is "no", the driver just fried himself.

    I accept that in residential areas, in the dead of night, sirens are not really needed, but during the daytime hours.... we all know that nobody looks in the rearview mirrors and most ignore traffic signals.

    So, either you are responding to a certified emergency or you are not. "Lights on... Lights off..." {Thank you Mr Miagi.}
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    OK. I am not going to argue with every one of you. My post syas "In my experience...". That experience includes several of the largest cities in NJ. I respect that others may have different experience.
    Are Fire Engines allowed to make left turns in Jersey?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    Are Fire Engines allowed to make left turns in Jersey?
    No, they gotta go through that stupid jughandle thing like everyone else.
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