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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@ Jeffrey

 

Around my way, if you call for a med flight and the patient doesn't have medical insurance, the med flight does not bill the taxpayers. If the flight medic or doctor feels the patient is not critical enough to warrant the flight, I have seen them tell the ground ambulance to transport if they are capable to handle.

that i did not know...you Ben are always a fount of knowledge...

We self bill here in WA if there is no insurance too.

We dont have to call medical control for the ok to airlift. Our county has an on scene protocol that medics and emts can make the call depending on the location of the incident and severity of the injuries. Our airlift comes from Seattle (about 90 miles to the west) so we have to judge that against ground transport and the injuries.

Heather, I've gotta be totoally honest- I think it's a BS reason for needing POV lights.

 

The USA is not the only place (beleive it or not!) which has dark rural roads, or volunteers living miles from the station and all the other BS reasons people keep giving, for needing 'em. I'm sure when you compare the size of the two countries, we have just as many roads and environments like the USA....

 

The sooner they're done away with, the better off everyone will be. No more black marks against vols, no more misinterpretation of the legislation, no more career vs vol arguments when this topic comes up, etc, etc.

 

 

 

 

I did not say anyone NEEDS anything. I was merely sharing the rationale that some people use when considering emergency warning systems on personal vehicles.

 

Your points are also valid.

 

And despite having police car lights on during traffic stops here - many police personnel are still getting hit in traffic - and dying.

 

Police personnel in my area are now often pulling off the road completely (even beyond the break-down lane) when pulling over vehicles for traffic infractions and are now approaching the passenger's side (right side) of the vehicle to speak to the driver, instead of the driver's side of the vehicle.

 

I now see police cars pulled far to the right of the pulled over vehicle, when previously they would work to shield themselves and the pulled over car by leaving their vehicles slightly beyond the pulled over to its left (driver's side).

 

When we know more we can do more and when we know better we can do better.

 

I support all efforts to improve safety !!! In any and all forms !!!

Technically, here, hazard lights are to identify slow moving or broken down vehicles on the road. We are "not supposed" to use them while responding to a call. Mind you, a high percentage do use the flashers while responding. While they are illegal to use in this way, a small part of the general public do see them as a sign that a volly in en route to a call. A couple of them might even pull over for you. If LEO wanted to be sticky, they could write you up for the infraction. I haven't heard of it yet, but it could happen.

Only chief and dep.chief are allowed a flashing light and siren in our province.

There are very few incidents where a vollie has been hit by a vehicle at or approaching a scene.  However, better than ~30% of all volunteer LODD are a result of responding to the fire house or scene in POV's. 

Hard to justify the use of warning lights (and sirens) on volunteer POV's since they seem to cause more harm than they would appear to prevent.  The logical conclusion would be that it makes more sense to have more vollies arrive safely to the scene than to have one FF involved in an MVA and necessitating the redirection of apparatus and manpower from the initial call to the (almost always avoidable) firefighter involved MVA.  But then, logic seldom comes into play when it comes to vollies and their lightbars.  Whether they're active or retired.

Jack, Isn't the size of the light bar a phallic thing? A bit like the size of the engine? :-)

lutan,

Not sure if there's a relationship there but...I propose that there is a proportional relationship between ego and size of lightbar (as well as age and number of lights).

Ever wonder why fulltime paid FF dont get in accidents on there way to the firehouse ??? Probably because they stay at the firehouse !!!  I would like to know the percentage of accidents caused by the fulltime dept's with their apparatus while responding to a scene !!!

Me thinks you might be onto something. Wonder if there's a way to survey it and research it? Could be good for a laugh!

The NFPA reported earlier that 11 firefighters died in motor vehicle collisions in 2010. (See “2010 Firefighter Fatalities” July/August NFPA Journal).

In 2010, there were an estimated 14,200 collisions involving fire department emergency vehicles, where departments were responding to or returning from incidents (see Table 3). To put this number in perspective however, fire departments responded to over 28.2 million incidents in 2010 so that the number of collisions represents about one tenth of 1 percent of total responses. However, these collisions resulted in 775 firefighter injuries or 1.0% of all firefighter injuries.

Also, 1,000 collisions involving firefighters’ personal vehicles occurred in 2010 while departments were responding to or returning from incidents. These collisions resulted in an estimated 75 injuries. 

Number 1 this does not equal 30% of FF LODDs, Number 2 its is only 1% of injuries. and this number is NOT only for those running "code" equipped vehicles.

 

We in Fire Service should not down play the dangers associated with anything we do , but the reality of it is with proper training and SOGs in place we can reduce the level of risk. 

The key issue here isn't should it be allowed . The issue is , IS it allowed , and in the State of Missouri where this incident took place the law and the official opinion of the AG is on the side of the Fire Service.

 

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