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  • Red Light on POV in NY

    If you are an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) in my neck of the woods in Northern New York it is a generally accepted practice that you can have a red light, siren etc on your POV. But can you run just a red light? and no siren? And I understand that just because it is generally accepted does not mean its legal - read below.

    My reasoning is this: I have a very simple mini blue light bar that I don’t even use any more because it is ugly, a bug magnet, and my truck cannot fit into the garage with it on. Did I mention that I also live in the middle of nowhere and the deer and Amish don’t care what kind of light you have; in other words it is not necessary.

    If I were ever to become an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) could I just have the light (with a red lens) for "on scene" illumination for safety and identification. What I like about the light is that it provides 360 degrees of light and not just something that is on the dash.

    BUT....

    Technically, in NYS I think that you cannot legally run red lights and sirens on a POV because it is not considered a "fire vehicle" under NYS V&T section 115. Your POV is certainly not any other kind of emergency vehicle. And perhaps, if you choose to not follow the law and get into an accident or cause and accident where will the responsibility fall? Your family, your house, your retirement, your kids college fund... You get the idea after all it is YOUR vehicle – not the FD’s

    What I mean by not being considered a "fire vehicle" is that the vehicle (POV) is owned by you and perhaps your bank. 115-A states that a "fire vehicle" is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.

    So does this mean that every fire chief and assistant in NYS who uses a POV with a red light and siren is breaking the law? Surely I must be mistaken and would appreciate any good, factual, and helpful information.

    Thanks -NoCoFire
    Last edited by NoCoFire; 04-01-2011, 11:49 PM. Reason: I spelled wronge

  • #2
    Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
    What I mean by not being considered a "fire vehicle" is that the vehicle (POV) is owned by you and perhaps your bank. 115-A states that a "fire vehicle" is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.

    So does this mean that every fire chief and assistant in NYS who uses a POV with a red light and siren is breaking the law? Surely I must be mistaken and would appreciate any good, factual, and helpful information.

    Thanks -NoCoFire
    I guess you could consider the Fire Chief as a Public Authority. Hence, it would not be against the law as you have outlined.

    Don't take my word on it, I haven't a clue to the "definition" of Public Authority.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Originally posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

    Comment


    • #3
      You are correct.

      In NY, nobody other than a Chief officer, which includes Deputy and Assistant can run a red light and siren. Only they are considered emergency vehicles.

      Captains, LTs and firefighters are not considered emergency vehicles and can only run blue lights.
      Train to fight the fires you fight.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
        You are correct.

        In NY, nobody other than a Chief officer, which includes Deputy and Assistant can run a red light and siren. Only they are considered emergency vehicles.

        Captains, LTs and firefighters are not considered emergency vehicles and can only run blue lights.
        LaFireEducator,

        Thank you for your reply and I understand who can run red lights but the question is if the vehicle is your personal vehicle, from what I can see and understand, it does not fall under the title of "fire vehicle" as defined by NYS and therefore cannot display a red light and siren. Again from what I can understand by trying to interpret this legalese that unless a vehicle "...is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law."

        If John Doe is voted in as a fire chief or deputy and puts a red light on his vehicle his vehicle is not automatically owned by the state or a public authority, or a county, or a town, or a city, or a village, or a fire district... but it is owned by him/herself. If it does not meet the above criteria then it is not a fire vehicle right?

        I am the first person to admit that sometimes I cannot see the forest for the trees but this seems pretty cut and dry - but I must be missing something because generally in NYS outside of Cities and suburbs with big budgets many officers (Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs) have a red light(s) and siren on their personal vehicle. That could be thousands of people, and no one has asked this question before?

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you thought about asking your local Sheriff or the highway patrol?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
            LaFireEducator,

            Thank you for your reply and I understand who can run red lights but the question is if the vehicle is your personal vehicle, from what I can see and understand, it does not fall under the title of "fire vehicle" as defined by NYS and therefore cannot display a red light and siren. Again from what I can understand by trying to interpret this legalese that unless a vehicle "...is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law."

            If John Doe is voted in as a fire chief or deputy and puts a red light on his vehicle his vehicle is not automatically owned by the state or a public authority, or a county, or a town, or a city, or a village, or a fire district... but it is owned by him/herself. If it does not meet the above criteria then it is not a fire vehicle right?

            I am the first person to admit that sometimes I cannot see the forest for the trees but this seems pretty cut and dry - but I must be missing something because generally in NYS outside of Cities and suburbs with big budgets many officers (Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs) have a red light(s) and siren on their personal vehicle. That could be thousands of people, and no one has asked this question before?
            Originally posted by rm1524 View Post
            Have you thought about asking your local Sheriff or the highway patrol?
            RM1524,

            Yes I have an email into the sheriff and into a EVOC instructor, right now Im looking at NYS Town Law and may be onto something...

            Thanks for your help. -NoCoFire

            Comment


            • #7
              town law: here


              No luck. and the search continues....


              -NoCoFire

              Comment


              • #8
                section 115-a states that:

                § 115-a. Fire vehicle. Every vehicle operated for fire service
                purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public
                authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire
                corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section
                fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire
                company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.
                Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles only for the
                purpose of section one hundred one of this chapter: 1. a vehicle
                operated by officials of the office of fire prevention and control,
                2. a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a
                fire department
                , or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or
                county or assistant county fire marshall, or town or assistant town fire
                coordinator, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or
                under the direction of such person, and
                3. a vehicle specially designed and equipped for firefighting purposes
                which is regularly used for firefighting purposes by a firefighting unit
                on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes
                and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.


                So from what I can gather, and LaFireEducator I warned you I sometimes cannot see the forest for the trees, is that the fire chief and deputy chiefs in NYS can display a red light and siren because they ARE or ARE NOT considered a "fire vehicle" because

                1. They are part of a fire district, department, or company as identified under general municipal law section 100 here.

                2. In my case the government entity of the Board of Fire Commissioners has approved their position and that is required here. Specifically see 11a "...The board of fire commissioners at its
                meeting next succeeding the making of such nominations shall consider
                the same and shall appoint such persons to the offices to which they
                have been respectively nominated..."


                So I have showed that they are part of a fire department and have been appointed to the office of deputy chief but here is where I am having trouble

                3. Therefore their vehicle is considered a "fire vehicle"... or is it? Section 115a #2 states "a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a
                fire department" this could mean a vehicle that was issued (owned) by the fire company, district, department etc.. OR does "ordinarily" mean their personal vehicle?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                  RM1524,

                  Yes I have an email into the sheriff and into a EVOC instructor, right now Im looking at NYS Town Law and may be onto something...

                  Thanks for your help. -NoCoFire
                  I have found that if you want a question answered get on the phone, forget the e-mail. With that said be prepared to wait on hold a lot and you may have to make several calls to the same person.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can see why nobody is paying attention to you. You're acting like you have a beef with the red lights and siren usage on the Fire Chiefs POV. As well, are they running them legally. So lets breakdown your original post:

                    Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                    If you are an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) in my neck of the woods in Northern New York it is a generally accepted practice that you can have a red light, siren etc on your POV. But can you run just a red light? and no siren? And I understand that just because it is generally accepted does not mean its legal - read below.
                    Normally if you run lights, you are asking for "permission" of right-of-way. That also means that you are required to run a siren, for the same effect.

                    Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                    If I were ever to become an officer (Chief or Asst. Chief) could I just have the light (with a red lens) for "on scene" illumination for safety and identification. What I like about the light is that it provides 360 degrees of light and not just something that is on the dash.
                    IF you became Chief, that is an option that you would have to make. But if you're running lights to the scene, you should have a siren. If you have no intentions of ever running hot, then use of red lights only for "safety" on scene is your prerogative.

                    Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                    BUT....

                    Technically, in NYS I think that you cannot legally run red lights and sirens on a POV because it is not considered a "fire vehicle" under NYS V&T section 115. Your POV is certainly not any other kind of emergency vehicle. And perhaps, if you choose to not follow the law and get into an accident or cause and accident where will the responsibility fall? Your family, your house, your retirement, your kids college fund... You get the idea after all it is YOUR vehicle – not the FD’s
                    Actually, under 115, as you quoted below, does LEGALLY define a POV as an emergency vehicle for the position that a person holds. So for liability, in an accident responding to a call, or going to a scene running hot, the FD is liable for any accidents.

                    Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                    What I mean by not being considered a "fire vehicle" is that the vehicle (POV) is owned by you and perhaps your bank. 115-A states that a "fire vehicle" is operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.
                    As I said originally, the Fire Chief is considered a person of "Public Authority", and can use his POV as an emergency vehicle under the Fire Dept. He can run and use red lights and siren as designated, running to an official FD call.

                    Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                    So does this mean that every fire chief and assistant in NYS who uses a POV with a red light and siren is breaking the law? Surely I must be mistaken and would appreciate any good, factual, and helpful information.
                    Reread this:

                    § 115-a. Fire vehicle. Every vehicle operated for fire service
                    purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public
                    authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire
                    corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section
                    fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire
                    company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.
                    Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles only for the
                    purpose of section one hundred one of this chapter: 1. a vehicle
                    operated by officials of the office of fire prevention and control,
                    2. a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a
                    fire department, or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or
                    county or assistant county fire marshall, or town or assistant town fire
                    coordinator, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or
                    under the direction of such person, and

                    3. a vehicle specially designed and equipped for firefighting purposes
                    which is regularly used for firefighting purposes by a firefighting unit
                    on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes
                    and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.
                    Don't know how much more you need to know or read. A FD Chief has the right to run red lights and siren, and his POV is allowed to be considered a Fire Vehicle, it is all there.

                    FM1
                    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

                    Originally posted by EastKyFF
                    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
                      I can see why nobody is paying attention to you. You're acting like you have a beef with the red lights and siren usage on the Fire Chiefs POV. As well, are they running them legally. So lets breakdown your original post:



                      Normally if you run lights, you are asking for "permission" of right-of-way. That also means that you are required to run a siren, for the same effect.



                      IF you became Chief, that is an option that you would have to make. But if you're running lights to the scene, you should have a siren. If you have no intentions of ever running hot, then use of red lights only for "safety" on scene is your prerogative.



                      Actually, under 115, as you quoted below, does LEGALLY define a POV as an emergency vehicle for the position that a person holds. So for liability, in an accident responding to a call, or going to a scene running hot, the FD is liable for any accidents.


                      As I said originally, the Fire Chief is considered a person of "Public Authority", and can use his POV as an emergency vehicle under the Fire Dept. He can run and use red lights and siren as designated, running to an official FD call.



                      Reread this:



                      Don't know how much more you need to know or read. A FD Chief has the right to run red lights and siren, and his POV is allowed to be considered a Fire Vehicle, it is all there.

                      FM1
                      Firemech1

                      a public authority in NYS is NOT a public person who has authority - like a fire chief or deputy chief. You can find that information here. Thanks - NoCoFire

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NoCoFire View Post
                        Firemech1

                        a public authority in NYS is NOT a public person who has authority - like a fire chief or deputy chief. You can find that information here. Thanks - NoCoFire
                        Thanks to the link. As I said, I didn't know the definition of "Public Authority", in my FIRST post.

                        However, I do believe there is some law or bylaw that allows a person in position to do what you're commenting on.

                        I am curious though, if you are talking about a career or volly Chief. Or just making a blanket curiosity question.

                        FM1
                        I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

                        Originally posted by EastKyFF
                        "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey charlie, have you googled the New York State Motor Vehicle Code that pertains to using lights on a volunteer's pov?



                          http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/ems/pdf/srgvat.pdf

                          Section 375

                          It is the best I can do until Pasobuff returnes to the forum!!
                          Stay Safe and Well Out There....

                          Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Your question is answered in § 115-a., you're just not reading it correctly. You have to read it as separate paragraphs, then it will (hopefully) make sense to you.

                            § 115-a. Fire vehicle.

                            Every vehicle operated for fire service purposes owned and identified as being owned by the state, a public authority, a county, town, city, village or fire district, or a fire corporation subject to the provisions of subdivision (e) of section fourteen hundred two of the not-for-profit corporation law or a fire company as defined in section one hundred of the general municipal law.

                            Any of the following vehicles shall be fire vehicles only for the purpose of section one hundred one of this chapter:

                            1. a vehicle operated by officials of the office of fire prevention and control,

                            2. a vehicle ordinarily operated by a chief or assistant chief of a fire department, or a county or deputy county fire coordinator, or county or assistant county fire marshall, or town or assistant town fire coordinator, or such vehicle when operated in an official capacity by or under the direction of such person,

                            and

                            3. a vehicle specially designed and equipped for firefighting purposes which is regularly used for firefighting purposes by a firefighting unit on property used for industrial, institutional or commercial purposes and which vehicle is owned by the owner or lessee of such property.

                            The first paragraph states that EVERY vehicle owned and operated in an official capacity by a fire district/dept/company is classified as a "fire vehicle", regardless of who operates it. This covers the "official" chief's vehicles, as well as the apparatus, etc.

                            The first sentence of the next paragraph goes on to cover vehicles IN ADDITION to the aforementioned vehicles owned by the fire district/dept/company, hence the "any of the following vehicles" as opposed to the ones already previously mentioned.

                            Subsection 2 is the key paragraph, which covers ANY vehicle operated by a Chief or Asst Chief that is being operated in an official capacity.


                            So to summarize: As long as the vehicle, ANY vehicle, is being operated in an official capacity by a Chief or Asst Chief, the law allows for usage of red lights and sirens, and said vehicle is considered a "fire vehicle" i.e. emergency vehicle under NYS law.


                            In plain English: The Chief/Asst Chief of a volunteer dept can put red lights and sirens on his POV or work vehicle and use it to respond to incidents same as he would a "marked" dept vehicle. He's afforded all the same rights and privileges of an authorized emergency vehicle when doing so.

                            There are plenty of volunteer Chiefs downstate here in the NYC Metro area who run red lights and sirens on their POV and/or work vehicles. All well within the scope of the state laws.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Chauffer 6,

                              Thanks for breaking that down. When read that way I see what you mean. I was reading into this too much. Despite what some may think I have nothing against running red lights, when appropriate, but I am for my colleagues being protected and operating within the bounds of the law.


                              I appreciate your time, candor, and experience.


                              -NoCoFire

                              Comment

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