Volunteer in Holts Summit, Missouri gets ticket during POV response. Police & fire differ on meaning of state law.

A dispute in Holts Summit, Missouri where the police and fire departments disagree over whether a firefighter's personal vehicle can be an emergency vehicle. The issue arose when a New Bloomfield Fire Protection District firefighter was ticketed while responding to a fire on Saturday. The police and fire department's have differing interpretations of state statutes on this issue.

Volunteer firefighter Matt Ousley said that he was driving responsibly, but taking the liberties an emergency vehicle is authorized to. He admits he was driving 10 mph over the speed limit and passing cars as they were yielding to him. Ousley said because he was using his blue flashing light and siren, his driving was legal.

The Holts Summit Police Department Assistant Chief Bryan Reid disagrees. He said a volunteer firefighter's personal vehicle, even when equipped with appropriate lights and siren, is not an emergency vehicle. "A first responder vehicle is not considered a full emergency vehicle," says Reid, "By statute it is not exempt."

New Bloomfield Assistant Fire Chief Dean Powell said the statute "says right in it, very specifically, it states different things that they can exceed the law. Similar to a police officer when they are responding. They're personal vehicle at that point becomes an emergency vehicle."

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IF the State statue's state that a First Responder is on a official call that the POV is a Emergency Vehicle, then the local PD needs to accept this fact and allow the Responder who is responsibly driving all the rights that they have in the same situation. This same type of Law misunderstanding will be the end of Volunteers across the board if this is not resolved.  Volunteers are diminishing yearly as citizens feel the crunch of economics and having to work more jobs to make ends meet. I suggest the two powers that be, sit down and have a talk on this Law and get a Mutual understanding of the amended laws. As for Legitimacy of the Emergency, every page out of a MFR, FF or Volunteer Fire Department is a Legal emergency. The difference is the nature of the call (life and limb, property and non-urgent), This is just my opinion and not a professional review of the situation as I was not there nor reviewed the state's laws! 

I would like to know the percentage of accidents caused by the fulltime dept's with their apparatus while responding to a scene !!!

 

Quite low. Especially when considering the number of calls going on, which in many cases a day's run average for a FT dept can equal or exceed a weeks or even a month's call volume of a volly dept. Not to mention the resources responding in an apparatus, staffing wise, is less than individuals responding in POVs to either the statio or scene.

 

Also if looking at numbers, there have been more volly LODD in conjunction with both POV responses and even apparatus responses as compared to FT depts.

 

Not looking to sustain the c vs v debate, but the numbers are available if you look in things like NIOSH, NFA, USFA, etc. The percentage of career dept type of accidents is still lower as compared to the volly percentage. Several factors can account for this, but it does go beyond moreso than making a case for lights/ sirens on a POV.

This same type of Law misunderstanding will be the end of Volunteers across the board if this is not resolved.

 

WTF? You serious?

 

Go back and look at my earlier response- why is that many in the USA seem to think that lights on POV's is a "must have" requirement, yet other countries with similar or worse environments have no provision in place, nor are likely to ever get that sort of thing.

sometimes a ticket is appropriate despite it being a vehicle responding in emergency mode - with lights and sirens

 

safe driving first... then emergency response second...

 

where I currently live - next to a major hospital - ambulances come in from 4 different directions to the ER at once - all seasoned drivers have been trained to shut off the siren 4-5 blocks away, since it is extremely confusing and just plain loud when their are lots of sirens coming from lots of directions at once to converge on the ER - it just becomes a matter of safety

 

sounds like as Chief you had to handle this a few times - not sure who made this incident public knowledge the FF feeling offended or the PD defending their actions - but perhaps the FF should have gone and talked to his Chief - sounds like it might have been a better choice...

 

I saw two more such tickets / newpaper articles this week alone - in different States - so it does happen... and I bet many are justified... (as a FF proudly reported to me a few weeks ago hitting 100 mph responding to a call)... sad... but true...

 

my department readily would pull light permits for all sorts of reasons - since it is a privilege where I am from

Yup... and they are wrong... I bet in most courts in the land...

But the article fails to mention WHY he still deserved the ticket. What specific actions warranted the ticket. And keep in mind that statement was made AFTER the fact and AFTER being questioned by reporters on the actions of the officers. I would feel differently if LE had said this driver deserved a ticket for......., and it brings concerns of where or not the vehicle was considered an emergency vehicle. this seems more like a CYA statement than a statement of fact.

lutan1 and others,

For the record: I am a Retired Maryland State Police Officer and my reply," This same type of Law misunderstanding will be the end of Volunteers across the board if this is not resolved." Was stated on the future Volunteers not wanting to join Departments already because everyone is looking for paid fire careers, now add to the fact that during a response to a legal call and during responsible driving to the scene under your state guidelines that you are giving a infraction (ticket because of a misunderstanding on a Individuals part.). We are so quick to judge or fault that we forget that there are Two sides sometimes three sides to a story!  I hope I cleared my true intended meaning in the statement you questioned!.

This same type of Law misunderstanding will be the end of Volunteers across the board if this is not resolved." Was stated on the future Volunteers not wanting to join Departments already because everyone is looking for paid fire careers..............

 

Albert, there are many more factors facing volunteers than misinterpretations of a law or even vollies looking to become career.

While this infraction may just be a misunderstanding, the place to get this resolved is in court, not the internet. The other facet that volunteers should have lights on POVs and all the poor excuses for them is not going to break people from volunteering. The fact remains there are many volly depts that don't allow the vollies to use lights and let's face it, there are many responses that don't need a lights and sirens response either.

 

Let's also look at the age factors and experience levels of many of those FF's hurt or killed in POV responses, it rarely is an experienced volunteer with years of driving experience behind them. In fact I'm willing to bet many depts allow lights to new(er) members without even requiring them to have an EVOC (emergency vehicle operations course) prior to getting them.

 

Now, other factors that come into play is the education and training levels have gone up. Where many volly depts were just a "good ol boys" club, you are seeing certifications needed and minimum training and even minimum responses, which factors into more time. You also have people who work further away from their dept and can't get off work to respond as in years past. Not to mention factors like having physicals and health programs in place for vollies. This is just a small portion of obstacles facing "the end of volunteers"........lights on a POV and law misinterpretation is the furthest thing away from that.

Jolly Vollie,

I disagree, If you ban nationally the use of Emergency devices or equipment in POVs you just cut down majority of Rural America's first Response, We are post 9/11 and should be working more toward a total response unity overall. We need just the opposite of banning, we need a uniform law for all of America, Driver training and annual inspections if POVs are use as ERVs. We need to stop the Paid versus Volunteer comparison. We need to focus on training, SOP and a Uniforn standard across the whole country. I know it ain't going to happen, because whats good for your department is not good for mines. So until then lets think about what we can do to work together to protect, Safeguard and serve our communities.

In FL it is legal for a firefighter to have POV lights-but no sirens. The law specifically states firefighters and EMS, it says nothing about police officers responding in POVs. Most people speed over 10mph regularly-why ticket the guy with a valid excuse??!?! 

 

The officers need to know the law and watch out for the "bad" civilians not the firefighters!!

Jack,

Just out of curiosity, out of the 30% of the volunteer LODD what is the break down of the ones with lights (and siren) verses those without?

I disagree, If you ban nationally the use of Emergency devices or equipment in POVs you just cut down majority of Rural America's first Response, We are post 9/11 and should be working more toward a total response unity overall.

 

Why does any emergency service, any where in the world (excluding third world), need to utilise and use POV's with lights, etc?

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