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  • Ambulance Running Lights or not?

    Lots of controversy in NH on should an ambulance with a non life threatening injury run lights and sirens or not? Assuming your bus is involved in a MVA while transporting a patient and they sue the dept/town ( go figure), would there be more liability by the use of lights or non us of lights? Hospitals are trying to have lights/sirens us reduced. Others view it as it's an emergency call! We need to run lights.Trying to find guidance on the right thing to do, but not get sued by doing it. Thanks one and all.

  • #2
    Non lights/sirens you should be driving as normal traffic. Should be no more liability than any other vehicle as long as you are driving like normal traffic.

    Honestly, I'd bet more liability when driving with lights/sirens in use.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    • #3
      Honestly, in 15 years on a career department, in a Milwaukee suburb, I don't remember transporting more than a handful of people red lights and siren to the hospital. If the injury or illness isn't life threatening why are we putting the patient at a higher risk during the transport than the reason they called us for in the first place?

      Red lights and sirens are massively overused in the emergency services and we create the probability of a dangerous event more than we need to when they aren't required. I create quite a brouhaha around here when I talk about there being no need for tenders to run red lights and sirens after the water shuttle is established and tenders are waiting in line to dump.

      I know it's out of fashion but let's start using some common sense in our responses.
      Crazy, but that's how it goes
      Millions of people living as foes
      Maybe it's not too late
      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

      Comment


      • #4
        Why in the fook on god's green earth would you even *consider* running hot while transporting a patient that has an NLT issue?? I did Municipal EMS for almost 20 years and 80% of transports were NLT and done without lights and sirens and obeying all traffic laws.
        "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
          Honestly, in 15 years on a career department, in a Milwaukee suburb, I don't remember transporting more than a handful of people red lights and siren to the hospital. If the injury or illness isn't life threatening why are we putting the patient at a higher risk during the transport than the reason they called us for in the first place?

          Red lights and sirens are massively overused in the emergency services and we create the probability of a dangerous event more than we need to when they aren't required. I create quite a brouhaha around here when I talk about there being no need for tenders to run red lights and sirens after the water shuttle is established and tenders are waiting in line to dump.

          I know it's out of fashion but let's start using some common sense in our responses.
          I agree, response should be based on the best information you have at the time. Responding (Fire or EMS) or transporting as if someone's life depends on it when it CLEARLY does NOT is like crying wolf or saying the sky is falling. The Public gets numb to the sirens and air horns so they are less effective when you really DO have lives on the line...

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          • #6
            You guys should hire Mike Wilbur to come do a class in your area to show the exposure to your personnel, citizens and municipality when you run hot to everything. You cannot say that you were using "Due Regard" if you were running hot to a call with very little likelihood of serious injury, death or significant property loss.

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            • #7
              I agree with you guys, the red lights and sirens are overused, but I don't see any possibility in reducing this overuse, because we can't know for sure if a life is threaten or not

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              • #8
                Originally posted by speedtechlights View Post
                I agree with you guys, the red lights and sirens are overused, but I don't see any possibility in reducing this overuse, because we can't know for sure if a life is threaten or not
                Do you get dispatch info that tells you what the nature of the call is? Can you not trust that info? Hard to justify a Code 3 accident while responding to an ankle injury. Our region comms center utilizes the Priority Dispatch EMD system. It's not infallible but in all it is a nationally recognized system that tells you who to send and how fast they should get there.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RFDACM02 View Post
                  Do you get dispatch info that tells you what the nature of the call is? Can you not trust that info? Hard to justify a Code 3 accident while responding to an ankle injury. Our region comms center utilizes the Priority Dispatch EMD system. It's not infallible but in all it is a nationally recognized system that tells you who to send and how fast they should get there.
                  RFDACM02 you asked what I was thinking.... If someone calls for help and tells dispatch I hurt my arm it is different than people calling and saying someone is on the ground with people doing CPR. Not that things can not change but it is the best information available to you at the time and you respond based on that.

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                  • #10
                    We had a service in our area that used to run hot to all calls, citing dispatch uncertainty as the reason. But alas, it really looked like they needed every second of response time to ensure they met the required minimums as they had a very large coverage area. Dangerous gamble if you ask me.

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                    • #11
                      Side Rail here.....station coverage. If your company is dispatched for station coverage for someone nearby....how do you respond to their station? Lights and sirens? No lights and follow normal traffic?
                      "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bones42 View Post
                        Side Rail here.....station coverage. If your company is dispatched for station coverage for someone nearby....how do you respond to their station? Lights and sirens? No lights and follow normal traffic?
                        Flow of traffic. Same question: What legitimate emergency would you use as your defense for responding hot to another's station?

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                        • #13
                          1) There is a HUGE difference between running hot when dispatched to an ambulance call and then deciding whether to run hot or not to the hospital. It is an undeniable fact that the info given to the dispatcher and the real incident may not be in agreement. But the determination of mode of transport, emergency of non-emergency, should be a clear cut decision based on the assessment of the patient. Running emergency with a non-life threatening patient is just plain stupid.

                          2) A non-emergency move up to cover, is just that, non-emergency.
                          Crazy, but that's how it goes
                          Millions of people living as foes
                          Maybe it's not too late
                          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Regardless of WHY you are responding lights and sirens, HOW you drive under emergency response is more important. In 25 years, I've only been involved in 4 accidents while running lights and sirens. Twice I was hit while stopped, one resulted a minor scratch, (still wasn't my fault) and once I was hit by a drunk driver with minor damage.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johnsb View Post
                              Regardless of WHY you are responding lights and sirens, HOW you drive under emergency response is more important. In 25 years, I've only been involved in 4 accidents while running lights and sirens. Twice I was hit while stopped, one resulted a minor scratch, (still wasn't my fault) and once I was hit by a drunk driver with minor damage.
                              4 accidents in 25 years? Wow! Granted 3 of them you got hit. I guess I have been incredibly lucky, zero accidents in 39 with 15 of that in a urban setting around Milwaukee. I do agree that HOW you drive when driving emergency is critical. Good attitude, great situational awareness, and keeping the vehicle under control, are what control an emergency response.
                              Crazy, but that's how it goes
                              Millions of people living as foes
                              Maybe it's not too late
                              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                              Comment

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