Volunteer Firefighters, and EMERGENCY LIGHTS on Personal Vehicles. A ?????

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by akapennypincher, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. I find it hard to believe any department allows their members to exceed the speed limit. As a former career firefighter paramedic we were told that if we exceeded the speed limit in a department vehicle during an emergency run and were involved in a crash we could be held accountable by Illinois law. That said there are times you really run hot but we did that knowing the law might work against us in the event of a crash. As far as lights, Illinois volunteers run blue lights with no limit on how many or what kind. Each department sets their own requirements or lets the member do as they please. A loooooong time ago as a young volunteer we returned to our station after a fire and there in the parking lot was a police car from the next town. He promptly arrested our Chief for driving at a high rate of spped recklessly through his town in his personal vehicle. We knew he drove fast but that was a wakeup call for all of us.

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  2. Most firefighters in America are still volunteer, I think the number is about 75%. Most fulltime guys started out as a volunteer somewhere but because of population or lack of it went on to make it a career. Most volunteers I know would work circles around the career guys I worked with who only took the job for the benefits.

  3. akapennypincher

    akapennypincher Glock-O-Holic

    Well my buddy lives in a town of 20K, they have a Full Time Municipal Police Department, and Fire Protection is provided by a group of volunteers.

    He say their volunteers work fine, so there is no reason to pay full timer, and plus the cost of benefits, etc. To the taxes of the local residents.

    Speaking of professional volunteer fireman, I love that guy "TIM" who is the Volunteer Fire Chief , Fireman in the Moonshine Business on the TV Series Moon Shiners. LOL
  4. Most people are more afraid of crime than fire so that's why many places will pay for police protection but have a volunteer fire department. Many think it would be bad to have a volunteer posse rounded up every time a crime was committed.
  5. jdeere_man


    Like everyone says it varies by state.

    In Missouri we're allowed to use blue lights all you want to your hearts content that must be run in combination with a siren.

    Some guys use them and other guys don't. I personally do because they move people out of the way. It's not an excuse to drive like an idiot though. In Missouri the minute those blue lights and sirens come on you're vehicle has become an emergency vehicle and falls under the regulations of such. That means you're permitted to exceed the speed limit so long as you drive with prudence. If someone is laying on ground dying its nice to not be stuck behind someone doing 55.

    Now the guys that don't use them who are volunteers and still speed will end up with speeding tickets if they meet a cop.
  6. Tvov

    In Connecticut regular (vs officer) volunteer firefighters can have blue lights, as many as they want, with a permit signed by their firechief and the list of vehicles sent to the DMV. This has to be renewed every year. Each department has their own rules about the blue lights - my department does not allow blue lights mounted outside the vehicle (like on the roof) or higher than the rear view mirror (again, like on the roof). Just a blue light is considered a "courtesy light", and does not mean traffic rules can be broken.

    Officer (Chief, captain, lts, etc) volunteer firefighters can get a separate permit from the State DMV for "lights and siren", which is red and blue lights and a siren. This allows them to exceed traffic laws within reason, I believe this is the same as "with due regard" regulations.

    With my department, most fire calls within town will have a few members respond to the firehouse to get trucks and the rest will respond to the scene. When the fire trucks arrive, people have usually done a size up of the situation and immediately get to work. We have a small department that covers a small town, and it works well for us.

    If someone wants to wear FD t-shirts and have IAFF stickers all over their vehicle, that is their choice --- it is usually the guys who are paid firemen in surrounding towns/cities who also volunteer with us. Doesn't really bother me, except when I hear people talk about volunteer "whackers", because around me it is the paid guys who are the whackers. I don't like the term "whacker" at all, and I don't use it, because I don't really see the point in putting down someone who is active in fire/rescue services, volunteer or paid.
    #26 Tvov, Jan 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  7. glock35er

    Millennium Member

    So lets see......if you or a loved one are ever in a life or death situation or your dwelling is on fire...and lets say the first responders to arrive just happen to be the "lowly" volunteers,I assume youll pass and just wait it out until the "paid pros" arrive.....right ????
  8. I never understood the animosity towards volunteers by some people whether they're a career firefighter or not. Many of the volunteers I knew would work circles around some of the career guys I worked with who where there for a pension. No matter who you are, when the alarm goes off fire doesn't know or care who you are or if you're getting paid to be there. Many of the FDNY members are volunteer firefighters in their communities and I don't think you will find a busier or more dedicated group of firefighters than they are. Just my 2 cents.
  9. I'm both paid and volly and I have to say I take more pride in my volly house. Just my $0.02.

    And I have showed up POV on scene of several calls and the paid providers were sure glad to see me considering the paid ALS support piece would have been anther 10-15 minutes away. So be aware when you see a volly go flying down the road it may not just be for fun.

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  10. REALLY? I have been paid longer than I was a volunteer, and there are EMTGs (EMT-Geek), at every level. City of Seattle, Tacoma, and small vol. depts. with less than 20 members. Most of the volunteers I know are indistinguishable from paid guys on scene. Good, quality dedicated men and women. You seem to be painting with a wide brush.......
  11. RyanNREMTP

    RyanNREMTP Inactive/Banned

    Folks the thread was about emergency lights on POVs, let's get back on topic. This isn't a pissing match for vollies vs paid firefighters. If that is what you want then firehouse.com forums is the place to go.

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  12. glock35er

    Millennium Member

    very true... got a little sideways there.I have a hard time ignoring such a display of arrogant ignorance.

    Back to the topic...check with YOUR state
  13. Paul53

    Paul53 Geezer Boomer

    In Maine a lot is left up to the discretion of the Departments Chief. As a volunteer EMT we were allowed one flashing red light on or below dashboard level. One woman complained to the local police, asking "do we have to let them pass?" The officers response was "Why would you not want to?"

    The local fire chief was more lenient. VFD members were pretty much allowed to do as the pleased with lights. One member had an old rusted Honda that lit up like a carnival ride (or "Tijuana Taxi" if you will). Strobes added into every existing light fixture on the car. When we make first contact with life from other planets, I've no doubt they'll land in South coastal Maine.
  14. Point taken. That being said, I know of no areas in WA State where volunteers can have any sorts of lights that would allow them to go outside of traffic laws. Back in the 80s, a single steady green light was allowed behind the grill of a private vehicle which helped you get closer to a scene if you were going direct.
  15. When I was in Missouri I saw some local FF's with light bars, sirens, etc. Where I live in MD only the Chief's get issued take home vehicles with full light packages and sirens.

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