I am writing a preposed bill to bring to the us senate for a nation wide law that would make all 50 state and us territory emergency lighting laws the same and the permit proses the same as well as requirements to purchase them so the bill falls under homeland security. Now I would like your opinion on what I have thought of so far. All police vehicles to run blue or blue/white, all fire and EMS to run red or red/white all volunteers fire and EMS are to be visible 360 degrees and have an audible siren of no less then 100 watts and lights of red or red/white of color. Federal agency are the only ones to run a combination of red/blue. Green will be to signify command or the command center only and most be used on any incident with more then two agency in operations. Purple lights are to be used for funeral and are to be on the first and last car and every five cars in between. Amber maybe rear facing on any emergency vehicles and most be the color of arrow sticks. Amber is the only color to be used by any utility, construction, towing, pilot car/ guide car, plow truck, county or municipal road dept. or state dot agency.all lights holders must have a state issued permit for their specific light and all light dealers must have a federal issued permit and verify that the purchaser has a valid permit.

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Keep it at the state/local level. There is way too much federal intrusion as it is.

First thing to consider is being sure that everything is properly put together in the concept and right now it is not. 


Volunteers do not need sirens or 360 degree lighting - they need forward facing lighting and no audible warning devices.  Thre is no need for anyone not in an emergency vehicle to be responding with an audible warning device. 


The reality is that in the event of a critical event involving the feds there will be no respect given to some person pulling up in a pickup truck with siren wailing and lights flashing - everyone should be in department vehicles when responding to a scene.  Professional responders do not need personal vehicles parked in the way or arriving on scene with no true department identification on the vehicles - these vehicles become a hindrance not a help.


Permiting needs to stay a local option and not a federal intervention that will only muddy the waters

In my state which is DE, only fire officers can have blue and white lights in their vehicles and they can have as many as they want in and around their vehicles. The firefighters and ems can only have white lights but it can be anywhere they want and as many as they want around their vehicles. We can use our horn to tell people to get out of the way and we need to have a class called EVO- Emergency Vehicle Operation Class and that goes onto our license that allows us to have emergency lights in our vehicles and be able to drive any emergency vehicle as long as the chief allows it. Also in DE, if you don't have emergency lights, we are allowed to use our flashers and horn to alert people. My town, mostly everyone knows about the flashers on the cars and they get out of way. The state I moved from NJ, all firefighters including line officers can have blue and white lights but, they can either have 2 inside the vehicle, 1 in the front and 1 in the back or 1 lightbar on top and use the horns as sirens. In the state of NJ,by law, people have to move out of the way for people with emergency lights weather its a pov or fire truck. If a cop sees someone not move out of the way, 9 times out of 10 that vehicle will be stopped where as in DE, they are more laid back. I agree to a point, we should have a national law about what colors we can and can't have and we should be allowed to have a 360 degree of the lights and the horn works fine for me. But even emergency vehicles are suppose to stop at red lights and stop signs before going through which some don't. I think that firefighters and ems who have emergency lights should be able to go through traffic lights as long as all cars come to a stop but then you have the fast, crazy drivers in the fire department. This is just my opinion.

Seems like a lot of regulations that are not needed. Let the states take care of it. My understanding is that the blue is more visible. I don't see any real reason to separate police and fire by color. They're both emergency vehicles and should be treated as such.

Yeah. I don't know lol. I'm just a member doing the job. Whatever the law is, I just follow it. It just amazes me how it's different for each state lol.

Good luck with that. I have never needed a siren in my POV. I think we need a law that gets rid of half of the lights off apparatus and laws that are enforced on the motoring public that slams into us. We have red lights blue lights amber lights clear lights and some with green lights all over our apparatus here in NY. Half the time not sure if you are rolling up on a emergence scene or a Christmas light convention. Police have red/white in front and red/white/blue and amber in the rear.

This is are answer every time someone slams into a emergence vehicle. We throw more lights on it. Know they will see us. Yea right. I can think of a lot better proposals for the government then nation wide light laws.

First off, not all law enforcement is the same… so certainly the fire departments will not be the same. There are so many things to be picked apart with the current proposal you have… how do you possibly expect a funeral procession to have purple lights every 5th car… give out purple teardrops and tell the people in the procession to put them on their roofs? What about tow trucks, and emergency response DOT vehicles that need to respond urgent to calls… still just amber? So the public should yield to amber approaching from rear? Then what if an oversize load approaches you from the rear, do you pull over? And unless you have more persuasion than NFPA, you might as well give up on trying to govern red/blue combinations and amber only to the rear. Fire apparatus can have a combination of red/blue or just red, and the amber can be on every side except forward. Law enforcement doesn’t have as big of an organization such as NFPA, but most aren’t going to want to switch… especially the 35 states that use red/blue. With all respect, I suggest you just save your time on proposing to the US Senate.

This is a touchy subject only because of the beliefs that vary state to state when it comes to volunteer firefighters.

blue for law enforcement is a traditionally a southern and western thing

getting the northern states to go along with blue for LE only is going to be a stretch because if enacted it cannot all be done overnight because there is a cost factor

as for sirens for volunteers, I am not particularly against it BUT the car insurance industry is going to have a field day jacking up the rates on volunteer firefighters

now comes the real problem...what some people call wackers. (where i'm from we call them rubberguns). people can get emergency lights and sirens from anywhere and I would have to insist on (and feel better having) some kind of state issued EV permit because I have read about too many posers with old police cars pulling over people to do crimes and that's gives all of us a black eye

your idea has merit but there are too many people that believe that volunteers should not have lights and sirens and those that deck out their cars make the fire service look silly. I don't agree with it because they are only going to the firehouse and they are going to help somebody and I have vollie buddies in Ohio where they do have lights and sirens and it seems to work there

Keep it to the states. Every state works differently and has different needs. Even within a state. In New York, green lights can be used for EMS and volunteer ambulance services on POVs but it's only used in certain parts of the state. Where I'm from, in Western New York state, it's rare to see a green light on a vehicle. Yellow is almost always for road service, repair, maintenance, and a general caution light. Blue is for volunteer fire/ems but rear facing blue lights have been added to police vehicles for safety. Police are red/white (with rear facing blue) and funeral vehicles have purple.
The 360º visibility is a safety issue more than anything else. Some dash bar/windshield lights can't be seen from the side of a vehicle (such as at an intersection) and the 360º visibility is nice when a POV is parked on the side of a road at night.
I used to run a blue light "gumball" on my old vehicle but it scratched the roof and I didn't want to do that to the "new-to-me" car I bought three years ago. I currently don't run a blue light and it really hasn't affected how I drive to a scene or anything else. I think I still want one because there have been times when I've had to identify myself as a firefighter to police where I wouldn't have had to bother if I had a blue light going, but those moments are few and far between.

Ok in my research of 25 state laws 18 mandate firefighters and fire appuratises run red. Now I am a vol. firefighter, sartech and on a first aid squad in New Jersey. Now New Jersey requires me to run blue for my pov for fire and first aid call and red with siren for search and rescue calls. But that is not why I thought to write this after hurican sandy in nj we had police from all diffrent state working and they where working patrol and traffic details to asset the locals and state police now I saw cars just not stop for them or try and blow the road block. And not all dept. have the advantage of every member responding to the station. And just so you know must pd are not supuse to run red and blue on there cars. In New Jersey the law on the books actuly says police are to have red lights and to make a traffic stop they need a marked patrol unit. But most pd do not fallow that I know in New York police can't run blue lights either but some do.

Except in a few cases where they're needed for stabilization on a complex accident Tow trucks are NOT emergency vehicles and should not be granted any special traffic privileges.  

Same thing in general with DOT trucks.  Most of the time in my area they're either coming to help with traffic or motorist assists.  In my opinion they are not true emergency vehicles and should not be exempt from any traffic laws.  In my opinion they should be limited to amber or whatever is considered a non-emergency warning light and not exempted from any traffic laws.

In addition to all of the things pointed out previously, who is going to pay for us to change the lights on all of our apparatus? We run Red/Blue on everything so it would all have to be changed. Our budget certainly doesn't allow for that, it barley allows for fuel and repairs. I'm not saying a little uniformity is a bad thing, but not at the cost it would come to for us and we're a small department with 7 pieces of apparatus.

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