Oh boy. I was at the firehouse with some of the other guys today and we were discussing our tanker and the use of red lights and sirens when responding to the scene. Some of us think its okay, some just say no. I'm not sure which states, but some states have it that any new tanker built cannot have red lights or sirens.

What's your opinion on this?

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If traffic is still flowing by the scene I agree.  Out by me the sheriff's department, assisted by the county highway department with barricades shut the road down to public traffic flow.

We often run our Tankers to a call without lights and siren. Governed to 60mph per NFPA, they won't even keep up with the traffic flow on the highway. The older county roads have nowhere for vehicles to pull over (if they were inclined to) What's the point? The fire is still burning when we get there, and we get there maybe 2-3 min after the engine.

Is that true?  Tenders are only supposed to go sixty miles an hour?  Is there a NFPA number for engines too?  I guess if you keep to the sixty miles an hour rule it makes sense to run normal.  Traffic being the main consideration.  Where I live the main road has no shoulder and the gravel roads have no shoulder either.  We have been on the highway and had people slow down because of the lights and then slow us down because of no place to turn off.  Our heavy rescue pumper is governed to 65.  The tender has no governor.  the heavy rescue is used for the highway and rural structure fire.  The funny thing is that the city pumper will do 100 miles an hour.  We sometimes run into the problem of causing a problem using the lights on the highway.   

Jim, You are right. Sometimes we make problems for our self's. This is where knowing your district comes into play and self control. As I have stated on other forums sometimes we are our own worse enemies. The siren or pagers go off and we dump all that adrenaline into our systems and go brain dead. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. We really need to train our self's to slow down and think. Because we are no good to anybody if we never get there in the first place. We make things worse and become a statistic. None of our trucks are governed so it is up to our drivers to drive with due regard and use common sense. So knowing when to use the lights and sirens in your district is the best policy. Something to look at anyways.

They should have lights & sirens.  Especially if they travel a long distance and the Engine is low on water.

They need it fast.

Also according to the NS Motor vehicle act in an emergency if you run lights you run siren.


No one here said to remove the red lights and siren.  What was said by me and echoed by a few others was that if there is no longer an emergent need for water, such as when tankers are lined up WAITING to dump, then shut the red lights and siren off and drive with the flow of traffic.  If the need for water becomes emergent again then turn the red lights and siren back on. 

The question to me is if tankers are lined up waiting to dump WHY are we riaking our lives and the lives of the citizens unnecessarily running red lights and siren to the fill sight and then back to the scene?

Not being able to maintain an offensive attack strategy is no need to make your tenders drive faster. If you don't have the water there, then you just don't have it. I'm not going to make my drivers speed up in a 12 ton missile just because I have no water. If you can't maintain, either call in more units or change strategies.

In our area the red lights are just a problem waiting to happen on our roads with no shoulder and few turn offs.  We have discussed at times putting the four ways on instead of red lights, the thinking was it lets people know you are there but please don't do anything stupid like stop in the middle of the road with no place to go.  maybe we should just leave them all off altogether. 

I do think tankers/water tenders should have emergency lighting and sirens. After all they're emergency vehicles carrying loads that are essential in extinguishment of a fire whether it be a brush fire, structural, or what have you. As far as the response and use of the lights and sirens should be left up to the discretion of the commanding officer at the incident where the apparatus is needed.

Having lights and sirens does not always mean that your traveling faster than the speed of sound. Imagine if you will there was a vegetation fire along a highway with traffic backed up. Even though you are going slow, you still have to alert citizens that you need them to pull over the right so you can get water to the fire. To suggest that a water TENDER (tankers fly on the West side of the Mississippi River) does not need emergency lighting and a siren is ridiculous. One of the most important things at a fire is water. Ask any engineer that's worth a damn and they will tell you that there number one priority is to get water flowing. But the rig has to get there first...

If this is in response to my postings did you even read what I said?  IF you are responding emergent then use red lights and siren.  If you are heading back for water after dumping and there are 3 or more tankers waiting to dump then there is no need to run emergent because the water supply is no looking an emergency situation.


I agree that the tender needs red lights and siren, I disagree with the blanket idea that every time they are moving during an incident they need to be operating.

Don - Did I even read what you had written prior. Nope. Didn't really care much about what anyone else said to be honest. It's just folks opinions nothing else. My response was focused on only providing tenders to be equipped with Code 3 lighting and sirens, nothing about actually when to use them buddy. Seems pretty straight forward to me. If you are going to have an emergency vehicle then it includes all the trimmings. Hope your world has been a lot better than mine...

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