Dont you think that if we are on the fire dept we should be able to speed somewhat if we have a light in our vehical?! I mean the longer it takes to get to the station the longer its going to take to get to the sceen.

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Well it would be nice if that was true, but darn it that just isnt the case..i would love to have a green light again in my rig but in actuality its kinda hard cause i have so many stop lights that i have to go through..its kinda pointless to have one when you have to sit at a light for several minutes..its kinda nice though there is a mini mart on the corner to where i have to turn so i usually cut through the parking lot..thats sure alot faster than waiting for the light hehe..The cops down here if they catch ya speeden they will write ya a ticket..there was one time a gal got two tickets going to the same call..the other aspect is safety..if we speed to get to the station and then become involved in a accident what good are we..well not good anymore..but i mean 5 to 10 over is not that much but its the other drivers we have to watch out for..
Yes that is all very true but where i live no one pulls over for you so if you are stuck behind someone that is going slower then the speedlimit then it takes even longer. . there really isnt a faster way here then just going straight down main st. but thanks for your input
yea i hear ya there..it makes it fustrating i know..specially when your further from the station when the call comes in..specially when ya get beind the sunday afternoon driver..but its all good...
yeah here where i live its hard because its a small town with to many people and i live about 5 or so miles from the station. but I guess what really matters is getting the job done and helping the people who need it
I believe this is one of the toughest states when it comes to POV response lighting. When I worked in Colorado, I had a full red lightbar & siren. I also understand (after talking with guys I know) that the east coast is even worst... meanig, guys have lights EVERYWHERE on their POV's as well as sirens (not to mention, literally LIVE at the station). So I guess my point is, it all depends on where you are, state/local laws, and the mind set of the dept. Just thought I'd add.....stay safe, Ric
I'm the newbee here to FFN and this is my first comment on the Washington Fire EMS Page, but a veteran of driving to the station and calls in my POV. I'm also a "Red Carded" Safety Officer and do alot of Risk Management on large incidents; some have probably been with 2 or 3 people on this site (Danny and Don ZImmerman for certain). So here's my "Myth Buster" take on this issue, for whatever it worth.
1. Myth: When my pager goes off, I'm on duty and should be allowed alittle leway. Our insurance carrier says true, you are offically on duty, but if you get in an accident, your insurance is primary and you still bear the burdon of the citation and all liability for the other party. So Busted!
2. Myth: Seconds count, we need to get out the door (Volunteer Stations). I drove to the station at the speed limit, its 4 miles for me one way. Then I let the lead foot and urgency take over, I made up 45 seconds. And I know Danny hates to sit on the apron by himself waiting for Capt. to show up. Busted Again!
3. Myth: Green lights, member plates, 4-way flashers and short cuts through the mini-mart. But these things draw attention to yourself, especially when its a slow traffic enforcement day in the big city. I asked a friend of mine thats a Sgt. in Traffic Enforcement with the local police department. I think he would ticket his own mom for speeding! Another Busted! I got ticketed 15 years ago going 8 over responding to a structure fire.
Mike, Danny, & Ric-ster are right. Trying to get a break or a little ahead will cost you at some point. It all depends on when you want to pay the piper. Mike got to pay, I nearly did, cop followed me all the way to the station and then stopped me from getting on the truck to go to the working house fire. Officer of the station chewed me out good. I was 5mph over. House burned down, me being there probably would have made no difference but who is to say.

Then the city added two stop lights. I got rid of the green light, and just started doing the old 35mph to get to the station. There was no use in fighting it. Some days I made the truck some days I did not.

What is actually the important piece of this and everyone has got to ask themselves is: If I hurry and cheat to get to the station did I do myself right, my fellow firefighters, the people who needed my skills, and the public.

The whole idea is to get to the incident to do the job and help the people, if I am not there because I got a ticket, ran into another car, got myself killed for cheating then what I have done to everyone around me. What good did it do to hurry. NOTHING AT ALL.

Read all the accidents from back east about volunteers & career firefighters who have wrapped themselves around trees, hit oncoming cars, & rolled the family car trying to get to the station or the scene within caring a hoot about themselves, their families, or their brothers or sisters. It will make you sick.

In some places maybe the law enforcement might look a bit away, right up to the point that you hit the guard rail, tree, or car. That agency will no doubt write the citation without a second thought.
It's unlikely the State would ever grant exemption to personal vehicles, as it is a large liability issue. As it is, I know very few responders who don't "put their foot in it" after getting a call. Personally, it's a matter of common sense and training; as Brunacini says, "risk a little for a little, a lot for a lot, and nothing for nothing." By driving responsibly and professionally, you are better guaranteeing your arrival, and creating a positive public image (and trust) for yourself and your department.
I don't know the laws in Washington regarding POV response to station or scene...I am not on a department here, I just live in this state. I spent 4 1/2 years on a department that was allowed to run blue lights in/on our cars. Technically we were supposed to keep to the speed limit, however, many times I would be flying down the highway, and a cop would come up behind me going faster than I and just keep going. If there is some sort of marking on your vehicle, it is my experience that they will not stop you for speeding. They understand. With that in mind. I don't know how many of you get the emails from firefighterclosecalls.com, but you'll notice with apparatus and pov accidents, a lot of times speed is the cause. Look at these guys in Boston, they were speeding, they hit and killed civillians. Unfortunately for these firefighters, they probably will never be able to respond to a call ever again. I see this was posted a while ago, I just joined today, so sorry. Anyways, thats my take. As always keep safe
These are all very good observations and reasoning. . thank you for your feedback
Hi gang, I'm new here, too, and know several of you; I'm the career T.O. for our agency.
Not so many years ago, we had a very dedicated, and sometimes overly so, station captain who had two bumper-mounted high intensity flashing lights on his explorer. He still had to sit at stop lights, and mind traffic laws. What always concerned me was the potential for him to be sitting behind a well-meaning but potentially uninformed little old lady driver who has the potential to think that she needs to get out of his way, thereby causing her to do something dangerous by trying to pull right, or through the stoplight and getting hit. His insurance carrier would be primary, the district's would be secondary, and the public generally thinks we have very deep pockets at a time like that.
Jessika, I completely respect your dedication and enthusiasm, but no call is worth something like that. I'm issued a staffcar. Our policy limits me and all apparatus to no more than ten mph over posted speed. With great care, our warning devices can help get us through traffic controls, etc. But if I get stuck behind the little old lady and she is not in a spot where she can safely pull to the right for me, I will usually shut them down, to prevent that potential for confusion and risking an accident.
I always tell my EVAP students that we must maintain control of our vehicles at all times, because we can NEVER know for sure what the public might do.
Thanks all, for the chance to comment.

(several of you guys's) Captain :)
Jeff, I agree totally with what you say. Your opinion was very well stated. I know I have been guilty of driving faster than I should when I know it is a fully involved structure fire or somebody I know having an emergency. However, it is important to realize we do more harm than good if we cause another accident. In addition, looking at how much time you gain by speeding, it is not enough to warrant disregarding traffic laws. Aside from the safety risks, there is also the issue of public image. There is no other profession where people readily welcome strangers into their homes to help them. It is important that we keep the trust of the people we serve. When we drive in a manner that may be considered reckless or irresponsible, we damage that trust.
I can totally understand where you are coming from, Jessika. When lives are on the line, it is frustrating to be stuck behind that old lady or the guy who just isn't paying attention. But if you look at the amount of time gained by speeding you will see it is very minimal. Unless you are going a great deal over or have an extended distance to travel, the amount gained will be a few small seconds. Compared with the risk to you, your property or the public, it is not worth it. And remember the old saying, "it is not our emergency." But keep up the good work and dedication, Jessika. Caring and enthusiastic people such as yourself are exactly what this profession needs.

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