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  • Siren & Airhorn use

    Just wondering what is the SOP-SOG's on siren and Air horn use on state wide departments? I have had the siren brake used on me from the engineer twice in the past month (during the day). What are your state laws on fire apparatus in route running hot. What does your community think of use of them during the day and night. I think it is one way to let the community know we are working and we just don't lay around in lazy boys. chris, IL

  • #2
    Siren and airhorn use should be at the discretion of the driver. If you have traffic or are approaching an intersection fine, use it so traffic will know your there. At 2:00 am, you may go across town and not need it at all. Many times at night when I am in my unit (I have a director unit for an EMS agency) I'll never use the siren. But I will come to a complete stop at all stop signs and intersections where I have the red light to insure that there is no traffic. I've heard that the Uniform Traffic Code which regulates traffic including that of emergency vehicles somewhere states that if you are using warning lights that your audible warning devices (such as siren) should be on as well. But thats only what I heard, you will have to check further on that one.

    Ed

    [ 07-24-2001: Message edited by: emsbrando ]
    I.A.C.O.J.-Member

    "The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits".-Albert Einstien

    "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door"-Milton Berle

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    • #3
      You've got 'em...use 'em
      We were told of an instance where a fire truck was involved in an accident at an intersection, it went to court and they were found negligent because they were not using all the warning signals available to them.
      Our department does leave discretion to the captain, but in most cases they are being used.

      Stay safe
      As Always, Stay Low and Stay Safe.

      Comment


      • #4
        Discretion. Discretion. Under NYS V&T Law for emergency operation, when in emergency response mode, a siren is required whenever a vehicle & traffic law or regulation is being broken. However, for many of us urban depts., wailing on the siren at every intersection is not always advisable due to other units may be entering the intersection at the sametime. You want to talk about confusing for motorist.

        Neal, your best be is to look it up yourself, or get it in writing from the person who has told you that. We had one guy running around when I was a vollie EMT that said if you on a call, or have a patient on-board you have to use your siren. You are at a higher risk for using it when unnecessary and getting into a wreck then not at all. I'm sure there is a little more behind that story. Also check your state V&T laws, and NFPA. Whether or not you are an "NFPA State" or not, there have been instances where it was used in civil court to prove reasonable doubt. Now, if you are going through a red light, and say a car hits you, they may not be found criminally liable if your siren is not on.

        -------------------------------------------
        The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

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        • #5
          In Connecticut, state statutes say if you are using lights, sirens must also be used. For EMS responses, if the caller asks for a silent approach, we will turn off sirens only when in close proximity to the scene. As far as airhorns, that is the discretion of the driver (not the officer). Personally, I use airhorns coming up onto intersections and traffic, but not IN it. Nobody likes an airhorn in their ear.

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          • #6
            Don't allow them on POV's too many problems with the young grunts, just wasn't worth it.

            Checking with insurance companies some will not cover you if you have these things on POV's.

            So I'm not tell anyone to install them or remove them but you may want to check on this to make sure you aren't left in the cold.


            Stay Low - Be cool.

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            • #7
              To add some to the above.

              We use them on the rigs with the following out take from our SOG. At night after 22:00 if the road is clear lights only.

              During the day as needed.

              To trash fires no lights or sirens.

              This is just the high lights of the SOG.

              Stay Low - Be Cool

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              • #8
                In Alberta our traffic act states that if the lights are on and the vehicle is in motion the siren needs to be on.

                This also becomes a local discretionary (ignoring the law) at 02:00 but, if we see any indications of traffic on route to the hall the sirens whale.(pedestrian or vehicular).

                Our emergency services committee questioned the use of sirens a while back. The RCMP simply put it that if someone were to pull out or step out in front of a rig we would be at fault as we were not using all avalible warning systems to alert the public.

                We run two codes "hot" and "cold". Hot... everything on and make noise. Cold...nothing on, non emergency response AKA "A stroll on over for a looky see."

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                • #9
                  In wisconsin when you take the emergency vehicle opperations course it is burned into your brain that you are not technically an emergency vehicle without both lights and siren in opperation while you are driving to the scene. We will run lights and sirens at all times unless after 10pm and no traffic. If we see one car while enroute the siren gos on. Air horn is at drivers discression. I agree with previous replys on the legal aspects that arise if you are in a accident.

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                  • #10
                    Follow your company Policies and State Laws, then if u choose to deviate understand the ramifications...its rather simple. If you are a siren happy wacker, get over it and grow up, if your engineers are siren hating minimalists thats a different issue. Some of you who post queries regarding siren use strike me as wackers who are upset that you arent allowed to go screaming all over town.

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                    • #11
                      In VA, the traffic codes state that all warning devices must be utilized. Everything but headlight flashers at night, that's not legal. If you are running hot the siren is supposed to be on. Legally if you have an accident, and it wasn't a good lawyer will rake you over the coals. We do usually bend the rules though. My general rule is this. During the day, I run everything lights, sirens, horns, whatever. During transport to hospital on ambulance, I usually don't run siren all the way because we have a 30+ minute transport time. But I do turn it on as I approach another car or an intersection, I turn it on. At night I run siren to fire calls, because you never know when someone might pull out of an intersection infont of you, and it takes a lot more to stop a fire truck. On ambulance response, I usually only run it when encountering traffic, or blind intersections.

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                      • #12
                        Man these discussions about SIREN/AIR HORN/LIGHT/BELL/CASTRATED DONKEY use leave me dumbfounded! How about a litte common sense by all and let it be.

                        -Nick

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                        • #13
                          The Brother from Maine has hit the nail right on the head!
                          ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                          Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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                          • #14
                            We dont have a SOG on siren use...my feelings on it are...the lights are on..the siren better be going...the Q2b, horns...and powercall...its all u need...if we are up, they should be up..
                            stay safe...
                            biv

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by firefighterbiv2335:
                              [if we are up, they should be up..[/QB]
                              I bet the taxpayers would beg to differ.

                              Comment

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