What do you think, should volunteer firefighters be allowed to have and use lights and sirens in their POV ? Should only the Chief an ASST. Chief be allowed to have them ?

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I believe being as a volunteer at the moment and not being able to use light and siren for the first few months of being on our department, shows to some point how one will drive with the use of lights and sirens. Our members are strictly cautioned on use of said equipment as well as speeds in at which we can drive ( we are cautioned to not drive to much over 10 mph over speed limit, which I am not going to sit hear and say we don't sometimes bend this rule to some point, but id like to think we all use caution to the speed) . We have other departments around in which are not as strict as our department and have gotten in trouble with local law enforcement. Which I believe they should if they abuse their I don't want to say power but I cant think of another word at the moment ( long day), but anyway on our department we don't run into near as much problems with the public complaining about how we drive for the most part, We will always have the ones who think they don't need to give way to emergency vehicles but thats anywhere, so in ending I believe where I live it is an asset as well as a in some instances life saving tool (not to the ones in need but for myself) to use lights and sirens due to terrain and visibility in my district. I am sure there are people out there who would totally disagree with me 100% but this is what i believe!
First of all I think that there needs to be a national standard for volunteers about lights and sirens. With that out of the way, I am a volunteer FF in Illinois and I have a blue light in my POV, it works on occasion to get people out of the way, I think that a siren would help tremendously!! If there was a national standard I think that it should include a certain color light and siren, the person in the vehicle would have to run the two together. With all that said I also work on an ambulance as an EMT and can say that just because you are running lights and sirens doesn't mean people will pull over!! Then again there are people who pull over when we are just driving down the road lol
While we are very small VFD in Texas ( Stephens County ), we use what we have to, we have 142 square miles to cover and out here people tend to drive a little fast down the FM Roads, we do traffic control as well, lights are needed as well as a siren, we use the Advantage Flashlight as well, its a great light to have with you for traffic control and road side emergencies, check them on their site.......

Thank you for your concern. Rolling to me is not blindly running through a stop sign/light but safely slowing down to look and realize you can proceed safely and save time. Wouldn't even consider rolling through if I couldn't see far enough or if another vehicle was approaching. Doubt the law would allow this if they didn't trust us VFFs to use the law wisely and we should. No worries. TCSS
I wrote in my prior post, 18 hours ago, that I don't use a siren and the law allows me to use lights with or without one. I also wrote that I pay extra insurance, I can afford it. Not every VVF is that position and God bless them for their service. Once again, thank you for your concern. TCSS
If you're concerned about pedestrians moving out of the way, stop driving on the sidewalk. LOL
"Red lights are only an added safety net..."

How are red lights a safety net? For you on the road - or in court? Certainly not for the other drivers.

I'm confused by that statement.

I don't advocate emergency light and siren use by individual firefighters, and for too many reasons to list here.

I certainly would never advocate emergency light use without a siren. Our state law requires one with the other. It's that whole audio/visual thing...

I think of safety every time I respond to a fire, en route and on scene. I am a big "liability" believer and not letting my actions go beyond being reasonable. It keep injuries and law suits away. Letting other motorists know what your intentions are does help safety (net). Most reasonable motorists yield but should never be assumed. They just need to be aware of my intentions after that it is their decision. It is up to those responding, POV or fire vehicle, to yield when passage is not safe. If other motorists do not yield or it appears so, then I deal with that safely. No fire or emergency is worth injuring myself or others. If I don't need to run with lights, I don't, if I need them, there on for safety(net) .

My VFD has found that sirens at night attract deer into the roadway toward the sound. Don't know how true that is but we have experienced it a number of times coincidentally. As far as a siren goes, I'm considering getting one for my POV but for now if I can't see that the road is safe, I drive no faster that the posted speed limit or faster then it is safe.

I guess I needed more words to explain my view. Your comments/advice is welcome. God bless all FFs. TCSS
I think it good to have both if ther not used inproly a lot of us run both it is about the only way to get arounrd but if we get called in on thers hell to pay.
I don't think we would have guys flying around with or without lights if they were reported when seen responding in this way. How many times have I heard we already have guys flying all over the place like nuts when respond. My question is, why are they still in any department and not stopped by the firefighters and departments they say the see them do this?

I was trying to set up a SOP for the Green Lights if we get the go ahead to use them. Take a look and see wht you think.

Mira Road Vol. Fire Department
(POV) Personal Owen Vehicle, SOP


1. A Firefighter will only be granted a Green Light Permit after belonging to the Department for a period of one year.

2. No Junior Firefighter will be granted a Green Light Permit.

3. All Firefighters before granted a Green Light Permit must attend a Driver Training Program.

4. Reckless driving will not be permitted under any circumstances.

5. Under no circumstances will Four Way Flashers be used while responding to an alarm.

6. POV’s shall not exceed the posted speed limit.

7. When a responding POV encounters a stop sign, a complete stop shall be made and continue only after all other vehicles have yielded the right of way.

8. When a responding POV encounters a red traffic light, a complete stop shall be made. The POV may continue only after the light has changed to green and all other vehicles have yielded the right of way.

9. POV’s shall always drive as the conditions (road/weather) permit and use DUE REGARD.

10. Under no circumstance will a POV pass a stopped school bus with its lights flashing and stop sign extended. The POV will not pass until the stop sign is retracted and the bus driver signals you around.

11. Upon arrival at the emergency scene, all POV’s shall park at least 200 feet away and shall not interfere with the normal flow of traffic or emergency vehicles.

12. If hazardous materials are involved in the incident the POV is responding to, the POV shall park at least 500 feet away and shall in no way inhibit emergency vehicles on the scene or entering the scene.

13. When responding to an emergency the POV shall remain at least 500 feet behind, and shall NEVER pass a responding apparatus.

14. POV’s shall not be used to block traffic at intersections for emergency vehicles or other POV’s.

15. The Green Light does not give you the right of way; it is only a request for right of way.

16. When any member responds to the station or to the scene of an emergency in his/her private vehicle, each member must strictly adhere to all applicable Motor Vehicle Laws. Privately owned vehicles are not provided with the same exemptions that are provided to emergency vehicles. No member of the organization will be permitted to violate any Motor Vehicle Laws, including but not limited to;
- Speed limits
- Going through traffic control devices
- Passing in an unsafe manner

17. While it is recognized that timeliness in response to an emergency is important, it is imperative that all drivers understand that their private vehicles are not emergency vehicles and therefore are not afforded any exemptions or special privileges under the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act.

18. When responding to a call in a non-emergency response mode the vehicle will be operated without any visual warning device (Green Light) and in compliance with the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Laws that apply to civilian traffic.

19. Any driver observed breaking any Motor Vehicle Laws or operating any vehicle in an aggressive or unsafe manner will be subject to disciplinary action including, suspension, loss of driving privileges, withdrawal of Courtesy Light Permit up to dismissal from the Department.

20. Drivers must wear a seatbelt at all times while operating the vehicle.

21. Authorized drivers may use a (GREEN) Courtesy Warning Light on their Privately Owned Vehicle to request the right-of-way when responding to emergency incidents. The use of a Courtesy/Warning light does not provide any special privileges or exemptions to Motor Vehicle Laws. Other drivers are not required to yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has a Green Courtesy Light in operation. The only purpose of the Green Courtesy Light is to request that other drivers yield the right-of-way; the POV driver is required to comply with all Motor Vehicle Laws.

22. The Department will revoke the authorization to use a Warning/Courtesy Light if a member fails to comply with all of the Department requirements.

23. No Firefighter shall be granted a Green Light Permit without proof of a valid Nova Scotia Driver License, Insurance Policy and Safety Inspection Sticker.

24. Only the Chief or appointed Officer will be allowed to grant a Green Light Permit.

25. The Green Light Permit will only be granted for a Vehicle Registered in the Firefighters name.

26. The Green Light must be removed from the vehicle if the Firefighter is not the Driver of the Vehicle.
Example: If a spouse or your children are driving the vehicle the Green Light must be removed from the Vehicle. Not put in the back seat or trunk, REMOVED.

Remember, always drive defensively! Our job is to respond to emergencies and control them, not create them.
Art -

Policy looks good. You may find that after it is in place for a while you may want to tweak some things, but that should be the norm with SOGs/SOPs - periodic review!

I would suggest is looking at the wording of #25. In Vermont the Red Light permits are issued by the State. They previously had the same kind of wording that you do, but had to change it to allow for leased vehicles. It depends on how NS registers leased vehicles, but it may be to the leasing company's name. Also in VT we have some members whose vehicles are registered in a company name if they own their own business. I think that this is dealt with by allowing them to company vehicles with written approval from the company.

I would also reconsider #26. I would think that removal from the occupied part of the vehicle would be sufficient (allowing for the trunk). This could just get difficult if the light is in the car and last minute plans are changed about who is driving home. (Think of 'John' having a permit. John and his wife go out for dinner. John has a couple of drinks while his wife abstains. John makes the right decision to have his wife drive home. The light is in the car. Does this mean he has to make a choice between throwing the light in the nearest trash bin or driving while impaired?). I would also look at the likelihood that it is legal for anyone to have a green light in their car, just not for display while operating. I know that in VT anyone can have a red light in the car (as opposed to being permanently installed - different story), however if they turn it on they could be issued a ticket.

Thanks, this is why I asked. Thanks for the tips......The more the better...........

Now here is the 2001 Firefighters Fatalities broken down. THis is like a few pages back where i posted the 2000 Breakdown....

Twenty-three firefighters died while responding to or returning from emergency incidents in 2001:
Below are the Firefighters that died responding or returning in their (POV) Personal Owen Vehicle.

April 8, 2001 - 3:00 a.m. Brian Steven Richter, Firefighter Age 34, Volunteer, Pottsville Volunteer Fire Department, Arkansas
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 70.
Firefighter Richter was responding in his personal vehicle to a report of a structure fire. His vehicle left the right side of the road, traveled 116 feet on the right shoulder, and rolled over as Firefighter Richter attempted to return the vehicle to the roadway. Firefighter Richter was ejected through the vehicle's moon roof. Firefighter Richter died of massive skull fractures.

April 9, 2001 - 8:14 p.m. Richard C. Canouse, Firefighter/Fire Police Officer Age 69,Volunteer Milford Fire Department, Pennsylvania
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 71.
Fire Police Officer Canouse and members of his department responded to a report of a structural fire with reports of fire from the roof of a building. Upon their arrival, firefighters found no active fire but discovered that lightning had struck a tree behind the building in which the fire was reported. Firefighters theorized that the report of fire had actually been the lightning strike. All fire department units were placed in-service and cleared to return to their station.
Fire Police Officer Canouse was discovered unconscious in the driver's seat of his personal vehicle. He was removed from the vehicle and CPR was started by police officers. EMS crews arrived and attached an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). No shockable rhythm was detected. Fire Police Officer Canouse was transported by ambulance to a local hospital while CPR was continued during the transport. Despite all efforts, Fire Police Officer Canouse was pronounced dead at the hospital.

June 24, 2001 - 6:00 p.m. Jack Hamilton Fowler, Jr., Fire Chief Age 46, Career Pueblo West Fire Department, Colorado
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 79.
Chief Fowler was returning to the fire station after the completion of response team training. Hewas driving his personal motorcycle and was involved in a collision with a car. He sustained critical injuries and was pronounced dead at a local hospital upon his arrival.

July 16, 2001 - 2:02 p.m. Eddie Dean Mathis, Lieutenant Age 45, Volunteer Dallas Volunteer Fire Department, North Carolina
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 82.
Lieutenant Mathis was responding to a car/pedestrian incident from his place of work in a near-by community. As Lieutenant Mathis rounded a left-hand curve, a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line and impacted the motorcycle operated by Lieutenant Mathis.
The motorcycle left the roadway, and Lieutenant Mathis was thrown over 16 feet past the final resting place of the motorcycle. The crash was reported and local emergency personnel responded. When EMS and fire department personnel arrived, Lieutenant Mathis was alert and oriented. His left leg had been amputated below the knee. His condition was serious, so he was transported to the hospital by medical helicopter.
During transport to the hospital, Lieutenant Mathis' condition worsened. Vital signs were lost during the flight, and he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at the hospital.
Lieutenant Mathis was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt trauma.

July 22, 2001 -5:00 a.m. Donald Dean Myrick, Firefighter Age 49, Volunteer Ludlow Fire Protection District, Illinois
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 83.
Firefighter Myrick was responding from his residence to a report of a vehicle crash requiring extrication.
As he responded, the right wheels of Firefighter Myrick's personal vehicle left the roadway. Firefighter Myrick over steered to the left and the vehicle began to slide. The vehicle turned on to its left side and slid off the road. After leaving the road, the vehicle rolled onto its top.
Firefighter Myrick was not wearing a seat belt. At some point during the crash, Firefighter Myrick's head was crushed between the road and the door frame. The crash was not discovered until morning. Firefighter Myrick was pronounced dead at the scene.

August 10, 2001 - 10:15 a.m. James Monroe Pelton, Fire Chief Age 58, Career Mason Fire Department, Michigan
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 85.
Chief Pelton was traveling to a meeting in his personal vehicle. The use of his personal vehicle and his attendance at the meeting were approved in advance by his department.
The driver of a compact car ran a stop sign on a road that intersected with the road that Chief Pelton was traveling. The compact car impacted a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that was traveling toward Chief Pelton's vehicle. The SUV went airborne and landed on top of Chief Pelton's pick-up. Chief Pelton was killed instantly.

After the collision, the SUV rolled off Chief Pelton's vehicle and impacted another car. Chief Pelton's pickup continued through the intersection, left the roadway, and impacted a house.
The driver of the compact car was charged with negligent homicide.

September 16, 2001 - Time Unknown Willie Barns, Fire Police Lieutenant Age 66, Volunteer Country Lakes Fire Company #1, New Jersey
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 92.
Fire Police Lieutenant Barns was responding to perform traffic control duties near the scene of an electrical transformer fire. Lieutenant Barns was driving his personal vehicle.
At some point during the response, Lieutenant Barns became ill and pulled to the side of the road. Firefighters returning from the original incident saw his car on the side of the road and, thinking that he was having mechanical difficulties, discovered him slumped over the wheel.
Firefighters provided medical care, and Lieutenant Barns was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead of a heart attack.

September 25, 2001 - 1:00 a.m. Clarence Kreitzer, Firefighter Age 78, Volunteer Bowie Volunteer Fire Department, Company 19, Maryland
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 92.
A tornado struck the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park. The tornado destroyed several buildings being used as the temporary home of the Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute (MFRI).
The Bowie Volunteer Fire Department was called out to, among other things, provide incident scene lighting for the recovery activities. Firefighter Kreitzer operated a specialized floodlight unit on-scene. Once clear of the scene, Firefighter Kreitzer returned to the fire station, told others that he was not feeling well, and headed home.
A short distance from the fire station, Firefighter Kreitzer experienced a heart attack. His car left the road and struck a guard rail. Firefighters in the station were alerted by a passerby and ran to the scene. Firefighter Kreitzer was rushed back to the fire station, and emergency medical care was provided. Unfortunately, Firefighter Kreitzer did not recover.
The tornado also killed the two college-age daughters of past Fire Chief and MFRI Assistant Director F. Patrick Marlatt. Chief Marlatt was trapped in the debris of the MFRI buildings and had to be extricated. His daughters had just left his office; their car was thrown 600-900 feet.

October 24, 2001 - 9:30 p.m. Michael Gene Elliott, Firefighter Age 46,Volunteer Maple Rapids Fire Department, Michigan
REFERENCE: 2001 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2001 Report, Page 95.
Firefighter Elliott and members of his department were paged to respond to their station due to severe weather in the area. In accordance with department standard operating procedures, Firefighter Elliott was en route to pick up his daughter to ensure her safety prior to reporting to the fire station.
As he drove down a local road, a tree fell onto the cab of Firefighter Elliott's vehicle and crushed him. Local residents and rescuers used chain saws to remove the tree. Firefighter Elliott was most likely killed immediately.

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