I'm having a hard time deciding whether to get a mini light bar for my Chevy Cobalt, just wondering what everybody thinks about it. Go to the link and tell me what you think. Tell me the truth it won't hurt my feelings.

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Over the past two years of trying to have our Province (Nova Scotia Canada) let Volunteer Fire Fighters use a Light when responding to a true emergency I have read a lot of e-mails and posts. I will say Greeman yours is one of the best I have read for or against the use of the Lights, Emergency or Courtesy.

You covered a lot in a short time and thanks for the reply. When spoke about them being sill or dangerous you hit the nail on the head. Any tool given to Fire Fighters to be used during an emergency in the right hands is a benefit to all Fire Fighters and in the wrong and untrained would be dangerous. As I have always said when I hear, guys are flying all over the place now without Lights what would happen if they had them to respond. If a Fire Fighter is flying around during a response with or without the use of Lights does a Department let that Fire Fighter respond with a Fire Truck. Should the Fire Fighter be disciplined for his response with or without a Light?

One of the top guys said he sees Fire Fighters flying around all the time so I asked a few questions and he didn't have the answers for me.
1) Was the FF responding to an emergency at the time you saw him flying down the road?
2) Was it a FF driving the car at the time you saw the car flying down the road?
3) Was it the FF's daughter, son, brother, father, mother, wife, grandfather etc. driving the car at the time you saw the car flying down the road?
4) When you seen the FF's car flying down the road did you follow it to see where it went, to the mall, to school, to a fire, to the park etc?
5) Did you report the FF to his/her Department?
6) Did you report the FF to the Police?

There were more questions I wanted to ask him but when he said no and I don't know to every question I asked I stopped asking. He did walk away with a puzzled look on his face which was priceless and worth a million due to the FF that were standing around at the time. Some of the guys always were wondering how I would answer some of the comments made by this guy and when I was done they understood I did have the answers.

When I met up with the same guy again I asked him if we had the use of a Courtesy Light would he know when a FF was responding then. Now what would this type of guy come up with, well here is what he said. How could we be sure it was a FF responding and not someone miss using the Light and driving the FF ‘s car? (LOL)

Now the second thing this guy always comes up with is that 20 – 25% of FF’s Fatalities are due to vehicle crashes. I will give him credit with this because you can’t find a study or report that doesn’t use this number when it comes to responding/returning. Now let’s break this down because this is the number in our Province they use to stop the use of a Courtesy Light.

Here are some of the Fatalities:
1) FF dies due to a tree falling on his POV in his driveway when responding.
2) A 14 year old Junior FF died while responding on his peddle bike.
3) FF’s have died due to a heart attack during their response in their POV.
4) FF’s have died in water planes and helicopters.
5) A Chaplin died while on his way to a hospital on Fire Department business, he was riding his motorcycle.

This is just a few that are added into the 20 – 25%. To use this number to stop the use of Lights by FF’s is hard to understand. Then he talks about returning; now I never used the Lights when returning from a call in 12 years and if anyone has please tell me why.

Here are 2008 figures and I will post each year as I complete them.

For the ones that say Light during a response are killing FF’s please show me the numbers.

By the way I do have an e-mail that was sent to me from NIOSH saying that to their knowledge a Light on a POV has not been the cause of any FF Fatality.

2008 Fire Fighter Fatalities
Personal Vehicles
All information was collected from the U.S Fire Administration Fire Fighter Fatalities in the United States in 2008 Report
Dated: September 2009

2008 Vehicle Crashes
After stress or overexertion, the perennial cause of fatal injury resulting in the most firefighter fatalities is vehicle crashes. Twenty-eight firefighters were killed in 2008 as a result of vehicle crashes. Fourteen of these deaths occurred in an aircraft crash, up from just one such fatality in 2007. Fourteen firefighters were killed in non aircraft vehicle crashes.
Eight of the non aircraft crashes involved the firefighter’s personal vehicle. One death occurred while performing scene safety at a MVA on an Interstate (struck by a semi tractor-trailer); one motorcycle crash occurred while the firefighter was on fire department business; six deaths occurred while the firefighters were responding to an incident.
Two crashes and two deaths involved a fire department tanker (tender).
Four crashes and four deaths involved three engines and an ambulance.
In all 14 of the non aircraft vehicle crashes, the firefighter killed was operating the vehicle. No seatbelt was used in 8 of the 11 cases where seatbelts were available and the status of their use was known. Of the eight drivers not wearing seatbelts, six were fully ejected from their vehicles. In two crashes, the status of seatbelt use is unknown or not reported (non applicable for motorcycles).

Struck by Object
Being struck by an object was the third leading cause of fatal firefighter injuries in 2008. Fourteen firefighters died in 2008 as the result of being struck by an object.

1) December 17, 2008–1148 hrs
Jerry James Parrick, Firefighter
Age 59, Volunteer
West End Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Montana
Firefighter Parrick and members of his fire department responded to a single vehicle crash on a local highway which was divided by a median. The crash scene was located in a curve. Firefighter Parrick responded to the scene in his personal vehicle, a four-wheel drive pickup truck equipped with emergency lights.
The IC directed Firefighter Parrick to park his personal vehicle upstream of the crash to warn approaching drivers. Firefighter Parrick positioned his vehicle at the side of the road and activated his emergency lights.
A tractor-trailer truck towing tandem trailers lost control and struck Firefighter Parrick’s vehicle. Firefighter Parrick was sitting in the driver’s seat. He was discovered by other firefighters lying in the rear seat of the pickup. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

2) November 11, 2008–1440 hrs
Eugene William Franklin, Jr., Chaplain
Age 64, Volunteer
Sumter Fire Department, South Carolina
Chaplain Franklin was driving from his residence to a local hospital in Sumter to console members of the Sumter Fire Department. He was visiting a member whose father was near death and a retired Engineer who was hospitalized.
As he drove to the hospital on his motorcycle, a vehicle turned in front of him and he was killed as a result of the collision.

3) Roy Dale Smith, III, Firefighter
Age 17, Volunteer
McGaheysville Volunteer Fire Department, Virginia
The McGaheysville Volunteer Fire Department responded to an automatic fire alarm at approximately 0047 hours. The first-arriving units found fire coming from the building and upgraded to a working incident. Firefighter Smith responded from his residence in his personal vehicle.
During the response, Firefighter Smith’s vehicle left the right side of the road in a curve then crossed the roadway and exited the left side of the roadway. It crashed into a power box, struck some trees, and rolled several times. Firefighter Smith was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and he was ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle ended up off the road and could not be seen from the road due to the topography and extremely foggy conditions.
Power company representatives searching for the source of an associated power outage discovered the crash scene and reported it at approximately 0325 hours. Fire and rescue units responded to the crash scene and discovered Firefighter Smith. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The bylaws of the McGaheysville Volunteer Fire Department permit full membership in the department as a firefighter at age 17.

4) August 14, 2008–0630 hrs
Tony McGough, Firefighter
Age 44, Volunteer
Amity Fire Department, Arkansas
Firefighter McGough was responding to an emergency medical incident in his POV. He was involved in a single vehicle crash and received fatal injuries.

5) February 11, 2008–1924 hrs
James Earl Arthur, Firefighter
Age 19, Volunteer
Cold Water Fire & Rescue, North Carolina
Firefighter Arthur was responding in his personal vehicle, a half-ton pickup, to the report of a vehicle crash with a confirmed need for extrication.
As his vehicle passed through a curve in the road at high speed, Firefighter Arthur overcorrected to the left, went off of the road momentarily, then overcorrected to the right. The vehicle left the right side of the roadway and rolled several times. He was ejected from the vehicle during the crash. Firefighter Arthur was pronounced dead at the hospital as the result of traumatic injuries.
Firefighter Arthur was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

6) January 26, 2008–0125 hours
Walter Clyde Walker, Jr., Fire Chief
Age 68, Volunteer
Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department, Mississippi
Chief Walker was responding in his personal vehicle to a report of a vehicle rollover crash. As he responded, Chief Walker’s vehicle left the right side of the roadway, crashed through a road sign, traversed a culvert, and struck a large tree. Chief Walker was not wearing a seatbelt and was killed in the crash due to massive chest and head trauma.

7) January 16, 2008–0950 hrs
Johnny Bajusz, Firefighter
Age 69, Volunteer
Layton Volunteer Fire Department–Monroe County Fire/Rescue, Florida
Firefighter Bajusz was responding to a recreational vehicle fire connected to a mobile home on Conch Key in his POV. During the response, he attempted a U-turn and was struck by another vehicle coming from behind.
Firefighter Bajusz was trapped in his vehicle and had to be extricated by firefighters. He was flown by medical helicopter to a regional trauma hospital.
Firefighter Bajusz suffered serious injuries with ongoing complications and remained in the hospital for just over 6 months. He asked to be taken to his home where he passed away the following day. Firefighter Bajusz died on July 18, 2008 as the result of an infection.

8) January 1, 2008–0730 hrs
30) Paul Lewis Ellington, Firefighter
Age 36, Volunteer
Oregon Hill Volunteer Fire Department, North Carolina
Firefighter Ellington was responding to a structure fire in his personal vehicle, a pickup truck.
The vehicle hit a stop sign, left the roadway, rolled over, struck a group of trees and went down an embankment. Firefighter Ellington, who was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash, was ejected and trapped under the vehicle when it came to rest.
Law enforcement officials investigating the crash said that speed played a role in the incident. Firefighter Ellington was pronounced dead at the scene.

Keep up the good work. I think the permit process we have in Georgia works pretty well. It requires the Fire Chief's authorization prior to the application being processed.

Also, RED Flashing lights are only permitted en-route TO a call; you are not allowed to use them when returning.

Misuse of a RED Light is a misdemeanor and the Police do ticket FFs who misuse them, and their RED Light Permit can be revoked.

I think one thing which may change some people's minds about FF Flashing lights, whatever color they are, would be a mandatory "Privately Owned Emergency Vehicle Driving" course. Which would consist of classroom instruction on the laws and permissions pertaining to warning lights on POVs, and some practical exercises in safely reading traffic and appropriate responses when responding. Examples would be: passing stopped traffic as you approach a scene, passing stopped traffic when approaching a stop light, clearing an intersection, etc.. The course should be a few hours long and be modeled after the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course.

We teach FFs how to perform every other function of firefighting, we need to include POV emergency driving in that training.



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