in my department, mostly just the fire-police have lights, and most only run them on scene so they can slow traffic. i only have one firefighter that runs a light and thats because he lives a long way out and it helps him get through traffic. i personaly have a red one, but i keep it in the trunk next to my gear, and i only put it on when i'm going to a call POV. i usually ride the truck to calls because i live within running distance of the hall, so personally i dont really "need" a light, but it does help if you're in traffic at shift change. on the other side, i have had to pull a light from one of my members because of repeated incidents of him running stop signs, speeding, and generaly being an idiot. i suggest if your department dosent run lights on POVs, and you're considering it, dont just give the rights to anyone, some people dont need them. and have a policy that echos the state law and gives more insight into the way the officers think they should be used. ours is very basic, it just states what information on your vehicle needs to be submitted to the chief, what types of lights that are approved, the people that are authorized a siren, and disiplinary actions should anyone be causght abusing the rights to run a light. dang thats long. hope it helps
If we as responders all acted and drove in a responsible fashion with light and sirens this would not be an issue. If a sheriff is looking to take away the priviledge it is probably because someone has abused it.
In the interest of disclosure, I do run a full light bar and a siren on my POV. However, it is not because I think it looks cool or because I have to outdo everyone else's set up. (As a matter of fact, mine is old and big and probably laughed at by a lot of responders.) I have it because of where I live and the fact that I need it to get to the station in a reasonable time. For 20+ years of responses I used only a small dash light - I lived near the station and didn't need any more than that. Sometimes I didn't even turn it on, depending on traffic conditions. I then moved to where I needed to turn left off a sidestreet onto a heavily travelled street. Many times I would sit for several minutes before I could turn. Because of this one intersection I now run a full bar so that I can be seen from all sides.
Does this mean that I now drive like an idiot when responding - NO! Does this mean I can drive faster - NO! Does this mean I blow through stop signs and lights - NO!
When we all learn that being a responder does not give us superpowers and when we finally learn from all of the LODD statistics that we are not invincible and when we talk to fellow responders who have been in response accidents that were not fatal and realize that our brothers will be affected by this for the rest of their lives - then and only then would I answer the question with a blanket 'yes we should have lights and sirens'. Until that time, I can only say that it needs to be a thoughtful and specific decision for each jourisdiction, each officer and each firefighter!
The Department that I am on allows us to run red lights only, the only ones to use siren and lights are the Chief and Deputy Chiefs. It is left to our discretion whether or not we want to use them. Most of the senior guys don't use them because they see them as a liability.
The frustrating part is, some of the new guys completely disregard the rules of the road, when responding to the station with lights, and they don't see anything wrong with doing 20-30 Kmh over the speed limit!!
We have a seperate department that covers the rural area and they are allowed to run lights and siren, the provincial law states that if you have a light on the highway, you must have a siren accompanying it.
well here in Texas, according to the Texas state law, to be a legal code three you must have lights and a siren. There is not a code two, (which would be only lights) and code one doesn't have lights or a siren. I have both in my car (so I am actually legal in this state), and I have never abused them and having both just in another safety feature for me and people around me. During the day sometimes you can't see your lights as well but having a siren with the lights is just a little more helpful. We don't let our probational firefighters run lights and you have to wait until that time is over. Our chief and asst chief do not fight fire, and to get work done you get the Lt. or captains or your firefighters to do it. So limiting it to the chief or asst chief would be a little useless in my opinion, not to mention they don't always show and everyone is trained to be the IC.
Only chief officers should be allowed to use lights/sirens. (I assume that they have had the requisite training, experience and maturity to hold these offices.) Back in the day, they used to teach us that turning on red lights and siren increased our chances of having an accident by a factor of TEN. That's TEN (10) times as likely to have an accident while responding.
That's why EVOC classes today stress the difference between an emergency and non-emergency situation. Pumping basements, stand-bys, broken arms/legs, the person who's been throwing up for the last couple of days... are not emergencies. Also ditch fires - or was that a working ditch fire?
Giving all members light/siren privileges in our area would create quite a mess. As things stand right now, there are volunteers who routinely disregard the speed limit just running with courtesy lights. The possibility of members colliding with each other would drastically increase particularly in the more populated areas. The motoring public would be even more confused about "these vehicles running with red lights and siren... who do they think they are? They aren't police..."
Kristy stated it very well: "When we all learn that being a responder does not give us superpowers and when we finally learn from all of the LODD statistics that we are not invincible and when we talk to fellow responders who have been in response accidents that were not fatal and realize that our brothers will be affected by this for the rest of their lives - then and only then would I answer the question with a blanket 'yes we should have lights and sirens'."
When will this happen? Given the emergency vehicle response collision stats of the past year, I'd say it's going to take a few generations. By then, however, we might have vehicles similar to George Jetson's; but that will present a whole new set of challenges.
I believe volunteers should have lights and sirens,, but they need to be sure to use due regaurd when responding to calls,, thats where trainning on response, and a volunteer response class will come in handy.. i am both a professional and volunteer, i do have lights and siren on both my trucks. but people need to remember 360 degrees of lights are needed.. not just a dash light.. safety is needed to be used,, remember EVERYONE GOES HOME.. remember the CHARLESTON 9
Here on Long Island,New York - WE do have blue lights on our POV - our chiefs run red lights and sirens - But here the confuseing parts - our police cars "now" have blue,amber,and red and sirens - and some if not most fire trucks have red and amber:
Amber belongs on tow trucks,Red shood be on police cars,Blue shood be on POV - talk about joe civilan be confused - OMG -
Hey New York State - lets get with the program - and get unerformed!
Well right now I can't run w/ red lights or siren (I am a cadet, makes sense, I agree w/ it). We are a medium size dept. Enough men on station to roll the 1st truck most of the time, sometimes we have no driver on duty. Going through town can loose a lot of time, red lights and traffic really eat the clock. One day I was responding from home (no lights/siren following all driving laws) and I was getting to the central intersection just as another FF that was responding did, my way had the green light but the truck in front of me was yielding for the other FF, so we were basically at the same place at that point. By the time I got to the next light, it was red, he made it through on green. The same at the next light. The last intersection before the fire house is rather busy and I was getting there just as the light was turning to my side. By the time I got there the second truck would have rolled and I would have missed it if it has left the station and there been a real incident. While you may say that is just one instance, that is a regular occurrence when I go from home, mind you there is another FF in my neighborhood that lives less than 200ft away from me and it is always the same story, full lights and siren gets trucks on the road faster. We do not have rules for light & siren shut down after the 1st truck is out as not all members have a radio in their POV. When I ride with my dad light and siren there are occasions we will be passing the 1st out engine as it goes the other way just by how our city is laid out.
I think that is also very crucial to deciding whether or not to implement allowing members to run lights and siren, local traffic patterns and intersections surrounding the fire house.
Hopefully you can understand it, I will clarify it hte best i can if you need me too
I have been trying to have our laws chagned to allow Volunteer Firefighters the use of a Courtesy Light. They keep saying that in the States that Firefighters are being injured and killed due to the Lights.
Read the response that came to me about the use of the Lights. This guy is the VP of the Fire Service of Nova Sctoia Association and a Fire Chief of the Pugwash Fire Department in Nova Scotia.
Let me know...and if someone knows where this would get more readers please let me know....