PDA

View Full Version : Anyone familiar with flashing 'courtesy lights'?



kirch
02-10-2003, 03:53 PM
I've heard that in some states volunteer EMTs are allowed to use green flashing lights when enroute to the ambulance or a call. I've been told that the lights don't give the driver any special priveleges (like red and/or blue flashing lights do) but helps to get people out of the way. Can anyone confirm or deny this and provide some information on it?

Deputy Joe
02-10-2003, 03:59 PM
Kirch, I believe that in our neck of the woods, green lights are for command posts.

It doesn't sound like a bad idea. I know it was frustrating when I was on the volunteer fire department. People wouldn't move over for our hazard lights.

kirch
02-10-2003, 04:18 PM
I've always thought it a little odd that volunteer firefighters (here in WI) can, with the authorization of their chief, install flashing red lights in their vehicles and those of us who are EMTs (with just as much at stake) don't have that ability.

shooter1201
02-10-2003, 04:28 PM
The ONLY department vehicle in my area equipped with GREEN lights belongs to our Fire Chief....who ALSO has RED emergency lights on his department vehicle.

Our EMTs and Volunteer Firemen use traditional RED emergency lights.

Pigskin
02-10-2003, 05:37 PM
Sorry, never heard of using green lights. Our volunteer firefighters are authorized to use red flashing lights on their personal vehicles & most all first responder EMT's are volunteer firefighters.

OffDuty
02-10-2003, 07:05 PM
Legal for EMTs in Indiana to run green. Vol. Firemen use blue.

Delta_V
02-10-2003, 07:33 PM
In KY, fire fighters and members of rescue squads (this would include EMTs) are allowed to use red lights and sirens on their personal vehicles.

I've seen green lights on several security vehicles, along with amber lights.

Niteshift
02-11-2003, 08:14 PM
It's so variable............ When I lived in PA, volunteer firemen could use blue lights (the chief and asst. chief could use red), but in FL, volunteers use red lights and only LE can use blue.

Green around here is essentially unregulated, so it's a free for all. I have seen a few security companies using them instead of amber.

KYGlockShooter
02-11-2003, 08:29 PM
Accually, Kentucky varies from county to county as to who can have emergency lights in their POVs. Gotta love the laws in the only state that still has the office of "Jailer."

Sig220Man
02-11-2003, 08:42 PM
I can't find any references to Volunteer Firefighters in the California Vehicle Code, and as far as I can tell green lamps are only authorized as a "courtesy lamp" to be mounted on the door or running lamp and not to exceed six candlepower. You often see these on semi-trucks.

If the Volunteer Firefighter is driving a vehicle that is owned by a fire suppression agency, then as best I can tell they would fall under "Authorized Emergency Vehicle" and can use red lights and a siren (blue is authorized only for LE in California). If they're responding in their own POV, then I would say their vehicle can't have any special lights on them.

Then again, in metro LA it's not likely that I will run into any, at least in their official capacity.

<small>[ 02-11-2003, 07:43 PM: Message edited by: Sig220Man ]</small>

Peeler
02-11-2003, 09:24 PM
In the UK , some doctors have a green flashing light on the roofs of their cars. This does not give them any special priviledges on the road, however, as mentioned previously it warns other road users that there is an emergency doctor on route to something and therefore they will hopefully give precedence to him/her. Only doctors are allowed to use this colour.

dc298
02-11-2003, 09:46 PM
In Ontario.......Red/White flashing are only used by Police..Fire and Ambulance...NO Vehicles other than previously mentioned can show red lights to the front) Blue is for snow plows..Green is for volunteer firefighters(no special priveleges just headway). Yellow/white for tow trucks and other vehicles that may be a hazard on the roadway..

ateamer
02-11-2003, 11:53 PM
The only green lights I know of are the center rotator on Battalion Chiefs' vehicles or other fire command vehicles.

For some reason, security guard companies think they need amber lights on their cars. I don't know why, because they are not allowed to turn them on on a public road, unless they are on the scene of an emergency, such as running across a traffic accident.

In New Mexico, I saw blue strobes on tow trucks. Interesting.

Delta_V
02-11-2003, 11:57 PM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by KYGlockShooter:
<strong>Accually, Kentucky varies from county to county as to who can have emergency lights in their POVs.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Technically that is incorrect. While some volunteer departments may have specific regulations, the Kentucky Revised Statutes give ALL volunteers the right to display emergency lights.

KRS 189.910 defines an emergency vehicle as "...any motor vehicle used by a paid or volunteer fireman, paid or volunteer ambulance personnel...while responding to an emergency..."

KRS 189.920 goes on to say that any of the above vehicles may be equipped with red flashing lights.

Traffic_Goddess
02-12-2003, 12:12 AM
This is a BIG pet peeve of mine...
I wrote many a citation in regards to emergency lighting in regards to display and use.

Green lights may only be used in PA for command posts. Blue lights may be used for POVs of responding EMS and fire personnel. Persons using them must have permission and be on a list maintained by the fire chief.

IMO, the blue lights were a joke. When I was an EMT and ran ambulance, I received a lot of pressure to get a blue light...my response was always that it was better for the department to have a citizen say, "Look at the way that jerk is driving!", than, "Look at the way that jerk from the fire department is driving!" :rolleyes:

jeeper
02-12-2003, 02:01 AM
Kirch, are you sure EMT's can't run red lights? In the LaCrosse area some of them do, although they also maybe FireFighters.

In WI, with approval of the Fire Chief volunteers can run red lights/sirens/flashing headlights. And in that case their POV becomes an emergency vehicle.- Blue is LE ONLY.

In New York, volunteer FFs can run full blue lighting packages on their personal cars.

Vtfuzz
02-12-2003, 12:30 PM
In several states, blue and green lights are considered "courtousy lights", and can not be used with a siren.

Here in Vermont, police vehicles use Blue or Blue/White. Fire and EMS vehicles use Red or Red/White.

Personal vehicles for Police, Fire, and EMS can recieve permits from the state, but you can only have one permit.

spo0k
02-12-2003, 01:08 PM
While I was recently in NYC, I noted that some emergency vehicles seem to always have their lights on, whether on a call or not. They were not trying to weave through traffic or anything, just driving through the streets like anyone else, but they had their lights on. Being from Ohio I found this curious, as whenever we have our lights on, whether we have sirens or not, we are given right of way. This is useful for those responses to the hospital where you need to get there quick, but dont want to make the patient more upset by using the siren. Of course, we will blip the siren here and there if traffic deems necessary.

<small>[ 02-12-2003, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: spo0k ]</small>

IPDBrad
02-12-2003, 01:37 PM
In Indiana:

LE-Red/White/Blue
Fire/Ambulance-Red/White
Volunteer Fire (in POV's)-Blue
Medical Personnel (in POV's)-Green
Wreckers and road work crews or just about anyone who wants to install them-Amber

I have never seen a green rotator.
Lots of security wannabes use Red/Amber

Green/Blue/Amber lights Do Not allow someone to circumvent any traffic laws.

KYGlockShooter
02-12-2003, 11:37 PM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by PatrickM98:
<strong>Technically that is incorrect. While some volunteer departments may have specific regulations, the Kentucky Revised Statutes give ALL volunteers the right to display emergency lights.

KRS 189.910 defines an emergency vehicle as "...any motor vehicle used by a paid or volunteer fireman, paid or volunteer ambulance personnel...while responding to an emergency..."

KRS 189.920 goes on to say that any of the above vehicles may be equipped with red flashing lights.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I stand corrected. :)

SCSOsgt.
02-13-2003, 02:37 PM
In NY,
- green lights are used for EMS personnel in POV's.
- Blue lights are used for volunteer fireman in POV's.

Both have no authority to respond as emergency vehicles ( can't speed, pass trafic, disregard one-way, etc ).

- Fire chiefs and Asst. Chiefs of volunteer depts. are given red lights and sirens for their POV's, and they can respond under emergency vehicle authority.

- Amber lights can be used by most everyone else ( construction/slow moving/escort vehicles, tow trucks, delivery vehicles ). This type of light serves only as an added warning, it gives no special authority to the user.

- Police and fire vehicles use red lights ( sometimes with combinations of white,amber, or blue ).

BAP
02-14-2003, 07:19 PM
Here In NY, under section 375 of the VTL. Vol ambl. can use green lights on their private vehicles. Blue lights can be used by vol. fire and red lights are for use by all emergency vehicle. It is a warning light only, to ID the vehicle and for people to move out of the way, they usually don't. All users of the light must obey all traffic laws when responding and must have an authorization card from their chief to display. There are a number of stipulations that go on about the use of the light in this section

Don
02-14-2003, 07:28 PM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by Sig220Man:
<strong>I can't find any references to Volunteer Firefighters in the California Vehicle Code, </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Because there IS none. A volunteer firefighter driving his POV has NO legal ability to drive "outside" of the traffic rules and regs. I never really understoody why California is so damn anal about this. Considering where I lived there, volunteers were often the ONLY fire department in any given area. And volunteer EMTs were the ONLY ambulance personnel there.

Sig220Man
02-14-2003, 08:21 PM
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by Don:
<strong> I never really understoody why California is so damn anal about this.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">The California Vehicle Code is rather anal about a lot of things :rolleyes:

kirch
02-16-2003, 04:39 PM
jeeper:

I should qualify my previous post.

I can't remember the exact wording of the law (I looked it up once) but EMTs and volunteer firefighters CAN have red lights in the personal vehicles. However, they can't exceed any traffic laws UNLESS:

1. They have a siren also and are using the light AND siren.
2. They have EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operation Certification).

The decision on whether or not EMTs and firefighters are allowed to use red lights and sirens in their personal vehicles is up to the chief. We have separate fire and EMS directors where I live and the fire chief gives blanket approval for firefighters to have red lights in their vehicles. Most do speed, roll through stop signs, etc. enroute to call even though none of them have sirens and, therefore, are technically in violation of the law.

The EMS director, after researching the subject and consulting attorneys, decided not to authorize any responding EMTs to have red lights and sirens in their personal vehicles. His determination was that there is too great a liability for the organization if an EMT responding to a scene or the station were to be involved in an accident while running with a red light only, or without EVOC.

This causes some friction with volunteer firefighters who are also EMTs. Several have used their red lights while responding as EMTs and been warned against doing so in the future.

Personally, I like the idea of courtesy lights and green seems like a good color. I believe most people, if they see the lights, are willing to get out of the way. But, no matter what color the light is, people who don't have the proper training and equipment have to be taught that they can't ignore traffic laws.