This is going to be more toward the volunteer sector but you guy from the city are welcome to respond as well i now your answers will all be different.

You get toned out for a vehicle fire. The vehicle is in the drive way and no one inside and no exposure's. Lets say address is 10 miles from your station. Do you respond on a RED lights and sirens or do you respond on a White with out lights and siren. Then way do you respond this way?

Don't be afraid to answer here. This is not a who's right or wrong type of forum here. You will see were i'm going with this in a few days. If we get some responses up here. 

All my remarks later will be based on New York State Emergence vehicle law. So they may not reflect your proto calls so don't get up set about any remarks i may make. Thanks in advance for your participation. 

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Sorry and without the intent to threadjack but, it bugs me when certain comments are made that have little or no basis in truth.  You did imply that the NFPA didn't know what they were doing.

As to your comment that, at the NFPA "...Under 5% are firefighters" I have to ask you to show me where that is stated.  And even if that were to be true then I have little doubt that those firefighters are the ones most closely involved with issues requiring a background and experience in firefighting.  Your blanket statement strongly suggests that it is people with no firefighting knowledge or experience that are promulgating standards etc for firefighters. 

NFPA standards with regard to (for example) fire extinguishers, smoke detectors or residential spinkler systems would require the expertise in areas other than that which a firefighter may bring to the table, such as engineers.

Also, unless one has been a firefighter for 20 plus years in a big (city) department then likewise it's hard to "...understand everything there is to know about firefighting."  Your comments just come across as yet one more person who thinks there's too much 'government' interference or something of the kind.

As for 'national 'standards' transferring I suspect that anyone who has trained to NFPA 1001 with the associated certification(s) wouldn't have any problem transferring them.

Also you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss tangential discussions within your own as they may shed a greater light on the original topic.

For instance, your topic on how to respond is really only relevant to you, as (i'm assuming) you're in NYS and as such the only relevant answer is what your state (or department) requires.

With regard to your comment "...we may need to start looking at the way we respond and come up with our own standard as a whole group of firefighters across America." Much as you prefer to think otherwise, that IS the case and the reason for the NFPA (despite it's historical embryology).  And you can thank (as one example) the IAFF for much of what we do and how we do it, not to mention our PPE.

If you could, please show me who the "elected officials" are on the NFPA, as well as the "other groups" that you seem to think are manipulating the fire service through the NFPA.

Again, while you may think this side discussion is irrelevant I don't simply because I feel there have been some erroneous comments or conclusions regarding the NFPA, in this and many other discussions on FFN.

Also, simply because one 'loves firefighting' in no way guaranties that it is done properly, with the proper equipment, PPE, tactics, strategies or manpower.  Furthermore, to you point of wanting national standards, transferable certifications and letting firefighters across America decide those things, keep in mind that not everyone (hardly everyone) adheres to even the most basic of NFPA standards.  Training and ability, which would also have to be national to be transferable are anathema to many on the volunteer side.

So consider my opinion(s) herein as simply one more opinion adding to this particular dialog.  And in answer to your burning question, we respond (as most everyone else has stated) with lights and siren until the situation is determined to be safe, or us unnecessary.  However, keep in mind that our SOPs are just that, ours, and not dictated by the town, state, federal government or the NFPA.  Mostly, they are dictated by common sense which, in the end, is both logical yet oftentimes exceedingly rare.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Jack, I will apologize it is kinda a blanket commit. I know some that our members of the NFPA. Just about every thing they do does make our jobs safer. But you will either believe this or not doesn't matter. Most standards set are lobbied for by the insurance company's underwriters that make up a big part of the NFPA. By making our jobs safer it helps their bottom line. Along with manufacturer's in this group. So the question becomes are they really looking out for us or them? I would like to think us but have been told other wise. That is going to be all i have to say on the subject of NFPA. I would also like to say  i do really appreciate your opinion on this and many other topics on here. Along with others. You give me many things to think about and the little time i have been on this site i have learned quite a bit from you. SO thank-you.

Here's where i'm going with this question. We have many departments that are now holding all apparatus in the station and a chief is responded to the call. I think this is a bad practice do to the fact as many have stated you can not believe what dispatch tells us. The reasons are we are saving on fuel cost wear and tear ect. ect. ect. My feeling is this is going to bite someone in the rear and then there will be hell to pay. But on the other hand we know in most instances these are crap calls. Burnt food, faulty detector and so on. So should we respond on on red or at least put a truck on the road on a white and then the chief can upgrade call or cancel response?

Just a quick note on the NFPA committees, if you look at the beginning of each NFPA standard you will see the names and professions of each committee member participating in creating that standard.

There are a mix of industry professionals and experts, contractors, scientists and engineers that all contribute their own expertise to the standard.  There are Firefighters and EMS professionals included, but not everyone needs the knowledge of firefighting.  Take NFPA 13 for example; you will find a mix of industry professionals from the plumbing and contracting fields as well as firefighters, because unless the firefighter is also a plumber on the side they will not know the specifications for piping, installing the piping, what type of pipe is best for this application, water mains and the proper way to tie into them, contractors share their information on the installation, engineers provide all the boring info about PSI and coverage area for sprinkler heads and the available water supply to see if it is sufficient for the type of sprinkler system...

And the NFPA standards are just that; standards.  They are "Concensus Standards" meaning they are written, sent out to agencies for approval, and then accepted as standards.  Do they HAVE to be followed? No...but if you go to court and argue that the particular NFPA standard just didnt meet your needs so you decided to not follow the reccomended guidelines as established by a panel of experts...your in trouble.  NFPA is considered by courts as a "Panel of Experts" and will side with them.  My department has argued the standard on life expectancy of turnouts now being 10 years, and tried to say "ignore it", but I explained to them that if one of our people were injured or worse at a fire, one of the first things they look at is the protective equipment and if it met the standards and was safe to use and well maintained.  They will look at service records for SCBA and the age and condition of the PPE.  When they see the gear is older than 10 years...sorry charlie, that injured firefighter can risk loosing thier benefits and insurance coverage.


And I still say lights and sirens to every call we receive until someone gets on scene and does a proper size-up.  You never know what you are responding to until you get there and assess the situation.



No apology necessary, perhaps just a misunderstanding on both our parts.

In a further response to your below comment, I'm guessing that local government pressures are being applied to the local Chiefs of Department to hold down costs.  Not unlike brownouts, station closures and layoffs/hiring freezes, politicians look for short term solutions without regard to long term issues and the problems they cause.  Likely a Chief that holds all apparatus in station for 'certain' calls is being pressured to hold down costs, or to keep their job. Neither is an acceptable excuse.  Yes an unnecessary run will burn fuel and may add a few miles of wear and tear but how is that *savings* balanced against a  civilian injury or death as a result? 

Sure burnt food or other false alarms can be a nuisance but that is never truly clear until FD units are on scene.  So the practice of keeping apparatus in station while a chief responds/investigates is not only dangerous but stupid.  Roll the iron, reduce them to flow of traffic if there's a good reason to do so but roll them and keep them coming in because otherwise, as you state, if WILL bite someone on the ass: the Chief. 

We have many departments that are now holding all apparatus in the station and a chief is responded to the call........So should we respond on on red or at least put a truck on the road on a white and then the chief can upgrade call or cancel response?


I hate to sound like a politician, but I can see both sides here, and it really comes down to dept makeup and response area. So I am saying I don't think that a blanket type of policy from lawmakers for all depts, etc is the answer at all. Such decisions should be at the dept and community level, not higher.


I can see where having a chief or duty officer respond directly to make the decision to roll apparatus or keep them in the station can be applied. I see this in cases where you have a fulltime chief or at least a duty officer on call 24 hours and can respond directly to the scene while volunteers are responding to the station. A size up can be made and determine if personnel are needed and if they need to run lights and sirens or not. This does occur quite frequently formany depts and is also a way for depts to skew their response time numbers.


The aspect of having the chief or duty officer respond lights and siren to the scene to make the decision if other rigs are needed may decrease the possibility of accidents etc by having someone there to make the decision to respond hot or if a non-emergency response, going with traffic flow, is needed. You are not taking dispatch's word, but the word of a dept officer on response. Hopefully a chief gets to their position by understanding other jobs on the dept and especially driving an emergency vehicle.




On the other side of things, it makes sense to roll a rig where there are at least tools and equipment and personnel to be able to mitigate the emergency. It doesn't make a lot of sense to sit in the station and await the call from the chief to respond or not, because time can be of the essence, especially if the call comes in as an alarm, but there is an actual fire causing the alarm. Having a chief/duty officer respond directly does give time for volunteers to show up to roll a rig, but may have an impact where volunteers may monitor to see if they should respond at all, especially if they may be cancelled anyway. Sort of a catch 22.


The compromise solution I would see is to roll that chief/duty officer to the scene to make that determination to have apparatus respond. At the same time, if there is an engine with personnel ready to respond from the station, that they start rolling until the chief officer either downgrades them or cancels them. So for those long distances that may be an issue, you shouldn't have a time disparity between an officer arriving and that for an engine. If the chief is further away, the engine may get there first, and subsequently, take action.


So again, it does come down to the dept and community. You do tend to see a response change in career depts too where a fire alarm may had once received a full compliment of rigs, now may have the engine in the district respond. Where you once may had lights and sirens for all rigs, you have the first due going emergency and other rigs with traffic.


The bottom line is to still operate with DUE REGARD, because in the end, any policy or decision on how to respond to calls still comes down to getting to the scene safely. Awaiting the word from a chief officer doesn't mean accidents wouldn't happen, it can reduce the number of responses lights and sirens, but doesn't eliminate the hazards one still faces.

I agree, You are right it is a catch 22!

We also will go lights and sirens to this call. But there is no reason that we need to go at break neck speeds to get there. This is not a condition that we need to endanger ourselves or the public for. Just read some of the articles on close calls and look at all of the driving accidents.

It would depend on how close the vehicle was to the house.  If it were close creating an exposure problem, our department would respond as if it was a structure fire with several pieces of apparatus responding Code 3 (Lights and sirens).

If it was in the driveway away from the house, two pieces of apparatus would respond, both Code 3.

With the vehicle 10 miles away from the station, I dare say there would be nothing left to extinguish once we arrive on-scene.

Here in Australia we always turn out "Fire Call" which is lights and Siren to all call outs until such time as we get told by first unit on scene if required or not . There have been a few calls recently where the information given to us by our call centre was way off the mark and if we had of proceded normal road there would of been a few lives lost. 

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