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Blue lights and the publics response to them

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  • #16
    That is another good point I forgot about. Even if NO ONE yielded the right of way while responding, I would want them anyway for safety when my vehicle is parked at a scene. That is also when a little amber is handy if you are allowed to use it.

    Matt

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    • #17
      Rod and AGP,
      You're not just funning about Illinois, are you?
      Bit of history, used to be that in Ill. you could only have blue lights mounted behind the front seat, so most put them in the rear window deck. We also used to be able to have sirens in personal vehicles, too.
      As for the original post. I see people not noticing us when we are in those big red thingies with the lights, sirens, etc... It is not so much that people don't yield, they just don't look. Sure, some just do not yield, but most will. The problem I have seen from a lot of these posts is one of familiarity. Out east you seem to have lack of support from law enforcement, and lack of public education as to what the lights mean. How about an ad campaign. Show the bozo looking in his rear-view, seeing the light and telling a friend with him that the guy behind is probably late going to lunch or something. Then, at the next block, he turns to see it was his house on fire and he kept the crews from getting to the fire. As he gets out of his car, several firemen run past him while a somebody says "Finally, what kept you?". Then show the look of horror and comprehension come across the clowns face. Cut to narration, "Pull to the right for sirens or lights".

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      • #18
        In Ky your red lights and sirens do not give you automatic right away but at the same time the public is required to yeild to emergancy vehicles; police cars, fire engines, and volly p.o.v.s . If caught police can cite the offender but in my area they usually give "friendly" warnings.

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        • #19
          Very good point, that should apply anywhere. You are never guaranteed the right of way. If you blow through a red light thinking everyone will see you and stop to let you pass, you need to get out of the driver seat. Our state law and dept policy in CT for example, is to slow and approach with caution, proceeding when you have secured the right of way (ie- everyone is stopped or there is no one there anyway). Airhorn, Federal Q, and Whelen Piercer and Yelp are a pretty effective combonation for accomplishing this task.

          A good rule of thumb for driving to a incident or directing traffic is just assume that all other drivers are total MORONS. Most of the time, this does prove true

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          • #20
            Here in Va, blue lights are for law enforcement only. Fire and Rescue use red or red/clear, for apparatus, and POV. In POV, we are allowed to run lights but NO siren or other audible warning device. also according to the law, you can only have two lights on you vehicle, and wig-wags and hide-away strobes are illegal on POV. The lights that we can run on our POV are like some of you said a "courtesy light" asking for right of way, but motorist are not required to yeild by law, and you are not authorized to violate any traffic laws. Of course unless you are doing something stupid, MOST police will not bother you for running a few mph over the limit. In my POV I have red/clear sealed beam halogen grill lights, and a Whelen dual head strobe under the rear-view mirror. BUT I generally don't run both at the same time, because that's 4 lights, and is technically illegal. Sounds like BS huh? Well I think so too, but what can you do?

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            • #21
              It's no wonder no one pulls over, blue lights are for snow removal equipment!! Sorry guys, in Ontario we use green lights. The story is still the same though. Just remember that they are usually courtesy lights and most motorists (as we all know) are not very courteous. Pulling up behind someone and honking your horn is a bad idea. Not only dangerous but also gives us a bad name.

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              • #22
                Postal79...
                I too am from the Great Garden State {Southern End} and encounter the same problems... Like others have said The Blue Light is a Courtesy and there are those that move and those that don't --- I've learned to deal with it --- I agree there should be some kind of law or fines levied on those that don't yield but I believe thats been going on since the late 60's to early 70's when this Blue-Light Thing Started in NJ ---It is evil to say but when the person who failed to move for the blue light has an emergency of thier own the first words out of thier mouth are going to be "What took you So Long" I've herd it before --- Most people even in NJ fail to realize that Fire/EMS is 60 to 70% Volunteers that aren't at the station when the call for help comes

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                • #23
                  First, look at the NJ Blue Light Law as it's currently written:
                  "No more than two blue lights shall be used...If one is used it shall be mounted on the center of the roof; the left windshield column;or the front of the vehicle so that the top of the light is no higher than the top of the vehicle's headlights. If two blue lights are used they shall be mounted on either side of the roof at the front of the vehicle directly behind the top of the windshield; or on each windshield column.The blue lights shall be temporaily attached, removable lights of the flashing or revolving type and shall not exceed seven and one half inches in diameter."
                  So ask yourself "does my blue light meet the standard?" Probably not. Therefore any motorist in NJ could contest and probably have any "failure to yield" summons tossed out.
                  Second, in fifteen years of volunteering I never have experienced an alarm panel that didn't get reset or even a house fire that wasn't extinguished because I didn't get to the firehouse first. What I'm saying is slow the F down! Every year we hear of volunteers dying in MVA's while responding in their personal vehicles. No call is worth that price.
                  Lastly, even if you posses a blue light that is completely legal it still gives you no right to utilize it to intimidate motorists into yielding the right of way. Our job is to protect lives and property, not put them at risk by forcing drivers to the side of the road!
                  Trying working to overcome the steroytype of the "crazy blue lighters" by responding with caution and courtesy for those who you've sworn to serve.

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                  • #24
                    JD... don't forget the 50 candle power limitation!!! I don't even think they make 50 cp lights anymore! But just so you know, the NJ law has changed, if they fail to yeild to your blue light write down their tag number and you can go sign out a "failure to yeild" citation against them. Don't forget though, to do this you must have a valid state permit for your light (unlike most FF's and EMT's that I know). If you want I can get you the number of the ammended statute. Be safe all.

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                    • #25
                      the use of blue lights has become an out dated and sometimes embarrassing portion of our jobs. Most people don't use them correctly, and can actually do more harm than good. the fire will STILL BE THERE!I have a member of my company live 4 miles from the station and he can beat me there from my home which is three blocks!I have red lights(fm) and i rarely use them. civilliand get confused enough by seeing lights going in opposite directions to the station and to the scene.

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                      • #26
                        I think the individuals who ignore blue lights are the same people who would either speed up and race away from your engine so they dont have to pull over or they complain and procrastinate when a vehicle with red lights is behind them and they have no choice. Even with red lights I've been called a few names that I could read on their lips as I look at them in their rear view mirror as well as a finger or two. I think common courtesy in our society is whats missing, hence courtesy lights seem to have no value. Someone elses emergency is less important than their dinner. Just my opinion.

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                        • #27
                          I totally agree with you Chief1001. There is obviously a lack in courtesy. We are NOT allowed any warning lights, only our Four-way Hazards. I have had about 5 vehicles yield ever, most motorists just give me funny looks. Personally I think Red (in WI) could and should be utilized, I would think they would be better than trying to run your Hazard lights

                          ------------------
                          They're so hell bent on giving, walking a wire, convinced it's not living, if you STAND OUTSIDE THE FIRE.

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                          • #28
                            FYI...The State of New Jersey Statute reads:

                            39:3-54.12. Rights of motor vehicle with light in operation
                            Nothing contained herein is intended to grant to any member of a volunteer fire company or a volunteer first aid or rescue squad any privileges or exemptions denied to the drivers of other vehicles, and such members displaying emergency warning lights shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and shall obey all the traffic laws of this State, provided, however, that the drivers of non-emergency vehicles upon any highway shall yield the right of way to the vehicle of any member of a volunteer fire company or a volunteer first aid or rescue squad displaying emergency warning lights in the same manner as is provided for authorized emergency vehicles pursuant to R.S. 39:4-92.

                            It's rarely enforced, so drive carefully...
                            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                            On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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                            • #29
                              Nothing like chiming in a little over 2 years after the last post, right NJ?
                              IACOJ Agitator
                              Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

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                              • #30
                                But it's such a fresh topic.
                                IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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