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  • #16
    Also, is there a certain age(if any) you can use a blue light ?
    A Blue Light?? What the heck is that? (and Yes, I understand that obviously it's a light that's blue.)

    Do you have some system in the US that allows volunteers to break traffic laws in their private cars whilst on the way to volunteer response?

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    • #17
      Dave, certain US states have laws that allow vollies to respond in their own private vehicles, running variously blue, red or green lights. This has been a much debated subject in the past on these and other forums. Personally I'm glad we don't have these sort of laws in Australia.

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      • #18
        Under PA law a 17 year old is considered an adult provided they have graduated high school or have ged.

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        • #19
          Pumper41, Do you know if these lights allow volunteers to actually break road rules or are they just "Warning" lights to other road users to urge them to give way?

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          • #20
            Dave it all depends on the state for example in PA a volunteer firefighter can run a blue light while responding to or on the scene of an incident but no audible warning device. We must follow all traffic laws and it is not mandatory for the public to yeld to us. They are nothing more than a courtesy light. I know there are other states out there that vollys can have a red light and a siren and the public must yeld to them. it varies greatly
            "Remember courage is only fear that has said its prayers"
            "Leather Forever"
            "FDNY 9/11/01"
            IACOJ since 3/03

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            • #21
              in my department it is 18. if u are undr 18 the only exception to enter a house fire is if u have Firefighter 1

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              • #22
                so shouldn't you be able to go into a burning building?
                Take it up with the 50 State Legislatures, since uniformly in the U.S. we've decided people under 18 are simply not to be put in very dangerous situations like those requiring respirators, working from heights, or working with powered cutting tools. (Yep, same law that keeps a 17 y/o from working cutting meat in a deli keeps him from running the Jaws of Life.)

                As to the Australian question, yes some states do allow volunteer lights and some even sirens.

                What priveleges you get vary -- generally "blue light" states the lights are considered a courtesy light. A perfect example of "courtesy" lighting was me tonite -- toned out for an auto accident, and people yielded to let me pull out of my driveway sooner and then people yielded to allow me to make a quicker left hand turn sooner than waiting for traffic. Saved about 30 seconds combined, and didn't take violating any laws, just having people voluntarily yield. My state also allow Chief officers to have red lights & sirens which allow them to disregard several provisions of the motor vehicle laws "with due regard."

                Other states allow plain FFs to have lights & sirens; others allow none.
                IACOJ Canine Officer
                20/50

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                • #23
                  Certification VS Qualification

                  In my dept. the legal age to enter a IDLH situation is 18 That includes the collapse zone of the building.... And it is my belief that FF1 is overrated, experience is what will get you inside here because the FF1 is just simply not enough. Although it is a very good starting point I think the certification (FF1) should never be considerd as a sole starting point in sructural FF. Should we take a look at Qualification too(xx amount of time in the fire service)? You can learn more at a fireground by simply watching than you ever could in a classroom. Not to over rule certification but shouldn't qualification be another requirement? We require at least FF2 and xx amount of on scene time to do any initial attack, FF1 will get you in on overhaul and on small fires maybe.. And be real how much on scene time could a 16 or 17 yr. old really have!!!P.S. Jr's with any color warning light is looking for trouble..
                  Last edited by DarthVader; 11-30-2003, 03:14 AM.
                  Dude, I told you I'm not yo daddy...
                  Despite popular beliefs, DarthVader wears leather !!

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                  • #24
                    Backdraft - As a I-A cert holder in Ohio and a volunteer firefighter (who's trying to find a FF-I class) I know that you don't have to be at least FF-I because that would be excluding us 36 hour basic guys. It preferred by departments that everyone have at least FF-I, but no way required in state law.

                    In order to get the cert you must be 18 and a high school graduate. It's kind of a quality control measure. That goes with all certification offerings the state has.

                    You have to be a firefighter on a fire department verifiable by a letter from the chief and with a current vehicle inspection form in order to get a permit that certifies your vehicle as a public safety vehicle when responding to alarms with the department your vehicle was inspected by. This permit enables you to have a red light and siren. Now if we were to be following state law exactly for every department you belong to (there are many of these) you need one certification for each of your departments.

                    Dave1105 - To answer your question. Some states do and other states do not. I know for a fact that Oklahoma has no light law what-so-ever, believe me I've asked. My home state Ohio requires an annual inspection to determine of your vehicle is roadworthy. I'm not sure how other states do it. The permit allows volunteers to use red lights as an apparatus or chief would when responding. So basically as soon as you hit your lights and siren you become a public safety vehicle, and the public must yield the right of way and allow the driver to proceed to his/her station. We still have to follow rules for driving, but they become apparatus driving rules as soon as the lights go on. So no, we don't "break" traffic laws, we "bend" them.

                    Of course, the chief of department has the option of telling volunteers that they can not use red lights or siren, but in certain areas that's not possible because of traffic volumes.

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                    • #25
                      Growing up as a junior member in Pennsylvania, The child labor laws must be kept, work permits must be gotten and sign by all approiate people and kept on file at the department. The rules are very clear of what they can and cannot do, on fire scence and in training... NO EXCEPTIONS - not even for the fire chief's son - the law is the law and I was the Chief's son..

                      You will need to double check on times, but between 14 and under 16, not allowed to respond to calls after 6 or 8 during school hours and 10 pm on weekends and summer.. 16 to 18 - 11 pm during school hours after 2:00 am on weekends and no time limit during holiday or summer vacations..

                      If you are 17 and graduated from high school.. under PA child labor laws you have the privileges of and 18 y/o...

                      It should be up to the department and the parent of the 16 to 18 if they will allow them to respond with blue lights or not.. If they are responsible enough let them run them if they aren't by no means allow them.
                      Last edited by LouisianaMedic; 12-06-2003, 05:03 PM.

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                      • #26
                        I don't know if somebody already posted this because I didn't read through all of the replys. In PA you cannot go into a burning building under the age of 18. If the commanding officer declares the fire under control/out then a Junior FireFighter under the age of 18 can enter the building with another firefighter over 18. As for the blue light law, as long as you have a valid license from the state of PA weather it be a junior license or a regular license you can run a blue light.
                        Rob
                        FireFighter/EMT/VRT
                        Engine Co 3
                        Westmoreland City

                        These opinions are mine and mine only nobody eles.

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                        • #27
                          In my department it is my understanding that if you are 17 and have completed Firefighter Intermediate, you can fight interior. Now doing so or not is up to the descretion of the officer or senior member on scene and if he's comfortable with going into a burning building with you.

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                          • #28
                            18 years old to ride or enter a hazardous environment.Blue Lights allowed, but restricted to certain users.
                            Don't let what the other guy does influence how you prepare for being a Firefighter. We must have FF1, be 18, and then you ride as a 5th on the Engine company for 6 months. Alot to absorb in a short amount of time. Let it sink in. You'll be a better Firefighter for it.
                            Jester...

                            "I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left"

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                            • #29
                              I know people will not agree, but if something happens and that 17yo is in a burning building and gets killed....guess what NATIONAL STANDARD you are going to be held to. YEP..... OSHA!!!!!!!! And I am not talking about criminal, But a Civil Court. And that department will loose big, and some family is now going to own their local department.
                              AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

                              IAFF Local 3900

                              IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

                              ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

                              F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB

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                              • #30
                                I would check the child labor laws and I think they come into play here. Also check your bi-laws and see what age they say for a structural fireman. Bring it up to an officer? Thirdly, be aware of the person who says they dont need training and think they know everything. Fourth, as a state law for us, you must have a blue light card and be of legal age, 18, to operate one. Blue lights dont really give you special privlidges, its a pretty light to put on your car and if the person in front/behind you doesnt feel like pulling over then its accomplished its goal.

                                I agree with jester12, "don't let the other guy influlance how you prepare..." Get your courses in, attend as much drills/courses as you can, ask questions, and pay attention. I wouldnt bother competing with him, its wasting time, ya know?

                                ****
                                (It is in my opinion that a minor should not be operating a blue light because they are of little value to calls (refering to NYS), they can't be structural, perform EMS tasks, or drive apparatus. Whats the need to be first on scene or there promptly?)

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