I'm a Voulunteer fireman from West Virginia and currently the state is trying to do away with the Emergency Vehicle Permits which would mean no running lights and sirens to station...I was just wondering how everyone else viewed this situation and what there thoughts were....I mean I havent been in the fire business but only a little over a year but I do know that if the pagers go off for an MVA with entrapment and theres multiple patients and the car is on fire theres no way a firefighter is going to be able to sit through traffic with a clear state of mind knowing that people are in that situation....Thanx
Emergency lights on POV are merely a courtesy, at least here in the great state of New York.
There's tons of threads on this forum regarding POVs. As one can tell, through mere observation, many forum-goers on this website take too kindly to POV-abusers (aka "whackers").
Personally, I do have some lights in my vehicle, and they do make a difference from time to time (it would be a lie to say they always move traffic). I condone the use of emergency lights on personally owned vehicles if the person utilizing them is competent, and obeys the Vehicle and Traffic Laws.
Does lights on a vehicle make someone a firefighter? No. Are they the reason many people even join the fire department? Yes. Is that disheartening? Absolutely.
If you have any questions regarding POV lights, use the Search feature. Most likely your question will be answered through that function. If you search and nothing comes up that's relevant to your question, by all means, throw it out there.
As for a brief story:
There's an explorer in my department that acts like he's got 20 years in. He JUST got his own vehicle (he's 16) not too long ago, he has already purchased some lights, and he doesn't have an ounce of training.
One day I was responding to the station (Yes, my lights were on). There was a red light that has heavy and fast traffic flow. I stopped in the median for the green light and turned the front ones off to not distract drivers, but I left the back ones on so I could easily hop in when the traffic light allowed me.
I look behind me as I do this and see a white vehicle following me. I thought some rebel decided to jump behind me to try and skip the red light, which I wasn't going through due to it's obvious danger.
The light goes green and I slip back into the traffic. This car is still following me -tailgating me, even.
When I pull into the parking lot for the station I see the white vehicle pull into our side parking lot. I hop on the rig and we roll to the scene of the MVA.
When I get back I see that the vehicle belongs to the explorer whom has been talked ot MULTIPLE times about such behavior. Every time someone talks to him he laughs or cries, but then proceeds to do it again.
I am HIGHLY against Explorers/Juniors getting emergency lights. If they are at the fire house already and there's room, I am all for them learning and seeing visually what goes on. But responding to the station like that? It's too dangerous.
You are right about your scenario. If anyone could sit through traffic and just "blow it off", they probably are in the incorrect line of work. However, a more seasoned and rounded firefighter would know that he/she should be a part of the response, not the ones being responded to. Tyler is 100% correct. By that I mean that slow and easy is better than a balls-to-the-wall response. If you were to arrive prior to a piece of apparatus capable of handling the call, what good did it do you to fly there?
At my station(s), there are rules about what members may respond with a courtesy light. Basic rules are that 18+, EVOC I minimum, and must be fully certified (FFI/II, HMO, etc.) We don't let the rookies pack up and make interior, so why would they need to be in such a hussle to direct traffic or to hump hose?
I have only used my courtesy light a few times, and most of the time leave it unplugged so my cell charger has a home. As time goes on, I find blending in is a much less confusing approach than seeing an unusual vehicle displaying lights and a driver not knowing how to respond.
Also, do you have a certification/training in an EVOC-type course (Emergency Vehicle Ops)? Maybe you could petition the state (or your senators/representatives if they aren't too busy "politic-ing") about requiring a prerequisite course in emergency response prior to issuing a "card", and this could satisfy folks on both sides of the aisle. But one must remember that certified =/= qualified.
Jeremiah, in your "situation" you described here, you make it sound like everyone is going to be sitting in traffic and being able to make it to the call unless you have lights and siren's activated in your POV. You need to think for a second here, there WILL be guys close to the hall, and they WILL get the truck to the call in a timely manner and help the patient(s). It seem what you are trying to tell us here is that if you miss the truck to get on "this call" it's the end of the world. THERE WILL BE MORE CALLS. In my department, we don't run lights on our POV's (only our chief and deputies are allowed to), and well get there fairly quickly and have our trucks out of the hall in the required time. So what i'm trying to get at is don't make a mountain out of a mole hill, so what if you lose your right to run lights and sirens, there's more to the fire service then having your POV lit up like a Christmas tree.
only thing i think is stupid is the government keeps adding to agencies to be able to use red and blue lights. Like coroners, tow trucks, dot vehicles, and other utility vehicles. and that is confusing people and that is also a reason that states are banning pov emergency lights is cause of confusion
If i remember correctly the most dangerous time for us vollies is going to or from the scene. Instead of sitting in traffic fuming about not getting to the station use the few extra minutes to mentally prepare for what you might have to do at that accident. Getting there 2 minutes later with an idea of what you need to do and how to do it looks a whole lot better than getting there and wondering around trying to figure out what to do.
As a side note I (and 2 other firefighters)once spent an evening as guests of the local hospital during a structure fire when as we were making entry on an attic fire, IC was notified of an single vehicle MVA with entrapment in our area. Half of our guys had to leave with the rescue (at the time we were the only department with tools next due would be 10+ minutes) and a mutual aid engine had to be diverted to the accident. Conditions inside went south in a hurry and we got caught being somewhere we should not have been without an adequately coordinated and staffed attack. turned out to be one of our guys involved in the accident, speed wasn't an issue road conditions caused his accident but he felt bad when we were all in the same section of the ER together.
Remember that the turtle won the race not the hare
I'm betting that the reason some states are banning POV lights is a simple one;
Too many accidents involving or caused by, POV's with emergency lights.
Funny how one looks to coroners, tow trucks, DOT and other vehicles as being "confusing" to people. How about 23 different POS POV's all screaming through town from different directions. I bet THAT is confusing.
the only vehicles that should have red and blues are emergency services
when people see red and blues alot of them hit their breaks cause they think it is a cop , or they look to that direction to see what is going on. and most people go the way they look.
really i dont care about lights on povs but any vehicle with red and blues is a danger to the people with the lights and the people driving other cars . even if those lights r parked on the side of the road
training and strict regulations on the vehicle and the person driving that vehicle is the thing