SO THERE IS THIS BIG DEBATE AT OUR STATION ABOUT RUNNING YOUR ARROW STICK ANYTIME THE TRUCKS ARE IN MOTION. I SAY RUN THEM ANY AND ALL TIMES, OTHERS SAY NO IT IS JUST FOR SHOWING CAUTION OR WHEN MOVING SLOW OR STOPPED OR AS A HAZARD. WELL I SAY THAT FREEKIN TRUCK IS A HAZARD OTHER VEHICLES NEED TO SEE YOU WEATHER RUNNING CODE OR JUST COMING BACK FROM A CALL!!!! WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS???
YIKES! Arrowsticks are designed (and usually used) to help control the flow of traffic around an emergency scene. The ones I know of can be set up to flash in sequence to the left or to the right. just like a pointing arrow (hense the name - go figure) depending which way you want the traffic to flow. I assume they can also be changed to function as a caution light in order to bring attention to the fact that there is apparatus stopped where it may not necessarily be expected to be stopped.. as an example, in a lane of traffic. So, while there is much squeeling and ranting and raving from the emergency services people about the citizens that won't get out of our way while we are enoute to a scene, etc etc. we now want to confuse people even more by turning on those additional lights before we get to the scene and keep them on while returning? It makes ZERO sense to me why we would do that. Some studies have shown that having too many flashing lights at a scene actually causes other drivers to be distracted and therefore more crashes while on scene. I say keep the arrowsticks OFF until actually NEEDED at a scene.
We only use them as we approach a scene and the entire time we are stopped on scene. As a result, we only use the "left" or "right" indicators to control traffic. I agree with those who say it's not necessary (sometimes confusing to drivers) to run the stick any other time.
We installed a 6" amber LED which is wired to the running lights. We drive with our headlights on day or night so anytime the truck is running, the LED is flashing. It has made a noticeable difference in the following distance of traffic behind us. People tend to stay back a little further.
For us, it appears to add just a little safety margin and does make the trucks more visible, even returning to the station.
I would recommend checking with your states motor vehicle code, as it might not be allowed.
Not a bad idea actually. Nothing worse than having a driver riding your apparatus's (_!_) and not being able to see them. A single led vs an arrowstick is quite a different thing. I would tend to agree with you on that part. Every little bit helps. specially at night when the " STAY BACK XXX FEET is not as clearly visible, or when the other driver is talking or texting on their cell phones lol Good idea
When I drove our engine with the arrowstick it didn't have arrows on the end just regular ends. While I was driving I would have it on a flash pattern, the two center would flash then the two on either side and that help keep traffic back. When I would arrive on scene I would change it to the apprpiate setting. In the end in my opinion it's up to the driver. Hope this helps stay safe.
This is the first time I have heard of driving with the arrow stick running. My first reaction was that it draws too much attention and could in itself cause someone to be distracted. Local CHP officers preach shutting down emergency lights as soon as possible, having minimal emergency lighting limited to the yellow warning hazard lights.
The emergency lights are designed to draw attention for the driver to yield right of way to the emergency apparatus. Having the warning lights on, when you are not on a call is like crying wolf. I think it's a better idea be stealth unless you actually need them on an emergency incident or during a Code 3 response (lights & sirens).
There may be a liability issue for the driver should an accident occur and the injured party say they were distracted... It leads me to ask, how many incidents have folks had with a rear end collision that resulted in someone tailgating a fire engine? Is this a common enough problem to justify using emergency lighting anytime the vehicle is moving? Risk verses benefit...
I took a trip to Chicago a few weeks ago and noticed that they run their arrow sticks all the time, running to a call or just returning to the station. Every truck I saw ran with them on all the time so I'm guessing it is a policy of theirs.
Having the chance to digest the concept of running your rear directional lighting all the time, and noting the comment about Chicago City FD running there's constantly made me rethink what I posted. Not living or working in the "big city", I have more of a rural approach to fire ops.
Driving to Los Angeles last week, I noted that lots of vehicles, including buses and trash trucks have some sort of visual warning lights turned on. Perhaps municipal fire departments where continuous high traffic volumes are involved need to be a determining factor?
In a rural setting, and especially on interstate highways, the use of flashing lights have long been pointed at as causative for emergency vehicle being responsible for distracting a driver and being a contributing factor to the resulting MVA...