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Old 01-13-2013, 19:27   #1
akapennypincher
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Volunteer Firefighters, and EMERGENCY LIGHTS on Personal Vehicles. A ?????

So a few days back I am about 10 miles from home, and in my personal vehicle, minding my own business, and all of a sudden. I think I am being pursued by some DPS Officers, or MCSO Deputy, as about a mile back I see all these Reds, and Blue a Flashing Lights.

As the lights get closer I pull over to the shoulder expecting to see a DPS Officer, or MCSO Deputy pull in behind me. b

But to my surprise it is a Older Chevy Sedan that passes me about 75-90 MPH in a 65 ZONE, and I see a small plate attached to the back of the vehicle that say something any XYZ Volunteer Fire Dept.

So the question is how many light are there Volunteers allowed to put on their Personal Vehicles, and is this High Speed Driver are they regulated by law as to how fast they can respond to a fire, or emergency vehicle.

must be some State Regulation that these Volunteer Fireman have too follow. Like I said I was kind of caught off guard with all the lights in the grill, and on the dash board.
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Old 01-13-2013, 20:03   #2
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In GA, firefighters can have red or red and white/yellow lights/sirens in their POV. Most have just red. The code does not limit lights provided that there is 360 degrees of visability and the siren has to be a certain decible level a a certian distance. Sort of that, anything goes. The state does require the fire chief or equivalent to inspect and approve vehicles for emergency light use at which time a windshield sticker is issued.

As for the driving, Georgia has a "Due Regard" law which says that anyone operating an emergency vehicle in an emergency has to show due regard to other vehicles on the road. This means clearing intersections and essentially driving like a sane person. Of the two departments I am with (paid in the city, volunteer in the county), both say that their members can not exceed 15mph over the posted speed limit when responding.

Personally, I have no problem with volunteers having lights and sirens provided they are safe. I make it a point to point out that it is a privilege to have lights and not a right.
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Old 01-13-2013, 20:10   #3
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Depends on the state and even the town. My brother is on the fire dept in my hometown and he has red lights on his pickup (in NH police is blue, red is not allowed) and while he and other members can exceed the speed limit, they're expected to use judgement on that. 30 over like you possibly describe would get them in a bunch of hot water v
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Old 01-13-2013, 20:16   #4
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Varies by state. In NYS VFFs can legally display a single blue light when responding. It's a courtesy light only, you must obey all traffic laws when displaying the light. You have to be issued a blue light card by the chief of the department but there is typically no training attached to it, after all you can't do anything with it that you can't do without.

Some departments allow their members to "bend" the rules and run full length light bars, most of the time LE does not enforce the letter of the law as we work along side them so much. Unless you're driving like an idiot of course, then you deserve what you get.

That said, in my department blue light use is "officially" allowed but discouraged, either by direct action of the officers or mockery from other firefighters. Even as volunteers we pride ourselves on professionalism and a bunch of yokels driving recklessly all over town with gigantic blue lightbars on their POVs does not project the level of professionalism we aspire to. They have little use in heavily trafficked suburban areas anyway. If some jackass did what you described working for my dept he would be suspended at the very least.
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Old 01-13-2013, 20:42   #5
RyanNREMTP
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In Texas no limits on the amount of lights. As for speed there is no limit as long as there is due regard for others on the road. When I was fire chief those that had them before me taking off were grandfathered in. Everyone else afterwards were not allowed to have them.

I bet the vast majority of firefighters with lights on their vehicle have not notified their insurance company about them.
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Old 01-13-2013, 21:02   #6
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Firefighter/EMS Talk

I was a Type I Incident Commander for the New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue. We needed, and were authorized to have, emergency equipment to save lives.
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Old 01-13-2013, 21:05   #7
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Red lights are allowed and pretty well encouraged, if not required, for volunteer firefighters to have here. They are allowed to run with lights/siren activated with the same privileges/responsibilities as police/regular fire trucks/ems only to respond to the station in order to get on equipment to respond to an emergency call. Some departments (I think) allow certain members to respond directly to the scene, but usually only those with department-owned emergency vehicles assigned 24/7 ("take-home" cars), who are usually command staff and will have a 2-way radio in the vehicle, and not just the pager. As to the lights, all KY requires is one flashing, rotating, and/or oscillating light visible from the front of the vehicle at a certain distance (500 feet?) and a siren audible from the front at around the same distance, IIRC. There is no maximum for lights installed, and they can also mix in clear and amber lights, as anybody can have those in KY.
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Old 01-13-2013, 23:59   #8
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Having talked to volunteers in various states it varies greatly. Some states allow only officers to have them, some allow all members. Some allow only lights, some allow lights and siren... some places allow blue, some only allow red, some limit you to one light... in short, no hard and fast rule on it.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:57   #9
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Originally Posted by akapennypincher View Post
...how many light are ...Volunteers allowed to put on their Personal Vehicles, and...are they regulated by law as to how fast they can respond to a fire...or emergency...
You're asking the wrong people.
The proper place to ask is at your Motor Vehicle Division.

Contact Us
http://www.azdot.gov/mvd/contact.asp
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:34   #10
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A local department not too far from me made it policy that volunteers couldn't run red in a pov without permission.

Their reasoning was too many idiot cowboys with more lights on their 91 Honda Civic than are on the squad kept causing too many traffic crashes, ect.

I suppose they can have just as big egos as long as they still have the giant VFD license plate and wear their VFD t-shirt everywhere. (Like people actually care.)

Maybe I'll pitch in a few bucks and get them a, "I am somebody" or a, "I'm special" shirt so they don't have to wear that same VFD t-shirt all the time.

What I'd really like to know is if these same guys get special oversize helmets for their oversize heads and oversize pants for their overinflated ego's?

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Old 01-14-2013, 07:38   #11
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Thank God the full time guys don't act like that!

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Old 01-14-2013, 08:03   #12
akapennypincher
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Thank God the full time guys don't act like that!

Some places want to say the cost of a Real Fire Dept., others can not afford it.

In many cases it is about Dollar & Cents.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:06   #13
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Originally Posted by akapennypincher View Post
Some places want to say the cost of a Real Fire Dept., others can not afford it.
"Real"?
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:25   #14
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Minnesota is backwards. EMT can have NOTHING. Vol. FD can have ONE steady burning red light to the front only after getting permission from DPS.

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Old 01-14-2013, 14:23   #15
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Originally Posted by dave27 View Post
Varies by state. In NYS VFFs can legally display a single blue light when responding. It's a courtesy light only, you must obey all traffic laws when displaying the light. You have to be issued a blue light card by the chief of the department but there is typically no training attached to it, after all you can't do anything with it that you can't do without.

Some departments allow their members to "bend" the rules and run full length light bars, most of the time LE does not enforce the letter of the law as we work along side them so much. Unless you're driving like an idiot of course, then you deserve what you get.

That said, in my department blue light use is "officially" allowed but discouraged, either by direct action of the officers or mockery from other firefighters. Even as volunteers we pride ourselves on professionalism and a bunch of yokels driving recklessly all over town with gigantic blue lightbars on their POVs does not project the level of professionalism we aspire to. They have little use in heavily trafficked suburban areas anyway. If some jackass did what you described working for my dept he would be suspended at the very least.
This is very accurate for NYS. I was going to say the same thing, glad I read the comments first.
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Old 01-14-2013, 22:33   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEOH212 View Post
A local department not too far from me made it policy that volunteers couldn't run red in a pov without permission.

Their reasoning was too many idiot cowboys with more lights on their 91 Honda Civic than are on the squad kept causing too many traffic crashes, ect.

I suppose they can have just as big egos as long as they still have the giant VFD license plate and wear their VFD t-shirt everywhere. (Like people actually care.)

Maybe I'll pitch in a few bucks and get them a, "I am somebody" or a, "I'm special" shirt so they don't have to wear that same VFD t-shirt all the time.

What I'd really like to know is if these same guys get special oversize helmets for their oversize heads and oversize pants for their overinflated ego's?


Wow, congrats. Really.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:17   #17
nam02G
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I spent 30 years as a volunteer firefighter. 25 of those responding POV to calls. We were not allowed any lights or sirens and were expected to obey all traffic laws. Those were department requirements, I don't know what the state law has to say about it since the department rules preempted them.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:19   #18
nam02G
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You got dumped by a volunteer firefighter in your youth didn't you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NEOH212 View Post
A local department not too far from me made it policy that volunteers couldn't run red in a pov without permission.

Their reasoning was too many idiot cowboys with more lights on their 91 Honda Civic than are on the squad kept causing too many traffic crashes, ect.

I suppose they can have just as big egos as long as they still have the giant VFD license plate and wear their VFD t-shirt everywhere. (Like people actually care.)

Maybe I'll pitch in a few bucks and get them a, "I am somebody" or a, "I'm special" shirt so they don't have to wear that same VFD t-shirt all the time.

What I'd really like to know is if these same guys get special oversize helmets for their oversize heads and oversize pants for their overinflated ego's?

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Old 01-15-2013, 11:23   #19
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Don't let your ignorance show so much. Most volunteer firefighters I've ever met, and there has been lots of them, are as professional or more professional as the career firefighters. And I've known a lot of them too. On a fire ground or accident scene you can't tell the difference. I'll bet you wouldn't even know if you had volunteer or career firefighters on the scene if you ddin't know the makeup before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akapennypincher View Post
Some places want to say the cost of a Real Fire Dept., others can not afford it.

In many cases it is about Dollar & Cents.
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Old 01-15-2013, 14:55   #20
DGreno
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...I bet the vast majority of firefighters with lights on their vehicle have not notified their insurance company about them.
I forgot to add in my post, this is a requirement in GA. Both departments I work with require a letter every year from your insurance company stating that they are aware you have lights/siren and still provide coverage should you be in an accident while responding.

Also worth noting, the permits issued have to be renewed once a year. Georgia State Patrol now also requires everyone to attend a Due Regard class before they will issue permits.
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