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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2014, 8:31 PM
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It takes money to turn a volunteer department in a career department. And lots of it.



I would expect that sometime down the road, the U.S. Government will regulate volunteer fire departments out of existance. Some people in the U.S and at the State and Federal levels, in various locaitions in the United States....dislike volunteer deparments...and see them for very much less than what they really are.

Firemen and EMS seldom get paid enough for what they do, and have to go through. Their knowledge, experience, ability, skills, and all the certifications they have......THEY do not get paid enough.

When I worked full time EMS, after I left a volunteer EMS department....I worked hard, long hours and steady. And working hard and steady was not hardly worth the pay I was receiving from a fulltime - paid agency. BUT....I absolutely loved riding on an ambulance - running trauma calls, doing patient assessment ( lung sounds - neuro and vascular assessments - Ausculation of heart sounds - palpations ) and other things. My first truck, I worked with a guy I graduated from class with. Six months or so after that, I had my own truck and ended up working with 4 or 5 EMTs that was fresh out of class. I trained each and every one of them.

At one time, I was the "Professor" of 12 lead EKGs , and we regularily practiced ( read and diagnosed 12 lead EKGS on the company "Intra-Net") EKG intepretation. EKG's was my niche, and one of my greatest strong points in EMS ; and I had a slew of them from patients I cared for. I am not as anxious and outgoing for Fire and Emergency calls as I used to be. But when I did / and still do. I take the patient and family into consideration.

I would love to see alot of rural fire departments, that are "Clear out in the boondocks" go "paid" through federal monies. Those departments that are "way out in the sticks" and can be on scene quickly.

Volunteer EMS agencies that are "Way out there" could also go paid. Federal money could help alot of residents, or money set aside from hospital endowments maybe could help out.

Rural Departments , both Fire and EMS, is the backbone and blood stream of America. Without them......most locations would not survive. But it hurts me to see a fire apparatus ( primary engine ) go down the road with a 1970 rotating lightbar, and is 40 + years old. 500 gallons of water ( or less ) don't do much on a structure fire, or a brush fire for that matter. And since the department lacks proper money and
funding......training is compromised. Old equipment...or no equipment, old style, and "Veteran" firefighters hurts recruiting. No one is interested. Communitys fail in fire protection, insurance rates climb, and there is no one there to adequately deal with a disaster, fire, or emergency.

I do fire inspections, fire prevention, and a host of other things. From about the year 2006 to 2010 ( ?? 5 years total ?? ) , I tested about 800 feet of fire hose, BY MYSELF......... EACH year - in front of our fire station. What normally is done as a shift effort ( 4 - 5 people ) ...I completed by myself, in weeks, and very much alone. Take the hose off the rack, carry it to the truck, hook the hose up to the truck, crank the pump up and pressure test the fire hose. Disconnect the hose, drain the hose, roll the hose up and take it back to the "rack". One year I had one guy ( he has since retired ) help me test about 200 feet of hose. But other than that, I done it by myself. I popped pain meds for my lower back pain for two or three days. ( "Advil" works wonders )

Walk up and down multiple flights of stairs with 50 to 100 feet of fire hose on your shoulders, sometimes very wet fire hose. Bend over and properly roll up 800 feet of fire hose.

Deal with Haz-Mat Incidents, Dangerous vapors, metal fires, hydralic fires, a "good chance" for a "Hot Metal explosion", and a large host of other dangers...and you can see, my salary....along with many others, is not level, or "on par" for our experience, training, huge responsiblity, years of service and skill set.

Volunteers ( EMS & Fire ) at times do just as much, if not more than paid departments. They evidently love their job, and they have a sense of community service....or they would not be there. They to....The volunteers...are Underpaid.


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Old 04-12-2014, 10:01 AM
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Old 04-13-2014, 2:20 AM
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When I was 18 I had lights and siren, then Life hit me. Hell I can respond faster with out my lights on. We have to stop at every light even if its green.. So no lights on mean i can go through green lights..lol..
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Old 04-15-2014, 1:41 AM
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When I was 18 I had lights and siren, then Life hit me. Hell I can respond faster with out my lights on. We have to stop at every light even if its green.. So no lights on mean i can go through green lights..lol..
Lights and siren have a purpose.

In EVOC class ( emergency vehicle operations class ) we were told that lights and sirens in "a lot" of situations only saves you minutes in a response.

BUT....for that seriously ill person, or person with serious or severe trauma. The person trapped. The car wreck with severely injured victims, the child having as severe allergic reaction....or severe asthma problem = minutes DO COUNT.

I have been dispatched on numerous calls...... "NUMEROUS" calls that were not what was dispatched to me over the radio. Some were not as bad as described on dispatch, and some were quite WORSE after arriving on scene, and a "second truck" or a "Second Engine" was requested. It happens. Third hand information from the caller...or the original witness and caller gets messed up and confused on scene.

In any event, the best thing to do is to get to the scene of the emergency as safely, and quickly as possible. Remember that lives may very well be on the line......and that life.....might be your friend or relative. That also....regrettably.....has happened before.

When disaster strikes......who do they call --------------> "9-1-1"
What responds? ---------------------------> An engine and a Rescue ---> Firefighters - EMT's - Paramedics - Rescue Specialist.
What do they have? -----> The tools to get the job done.

We sometimes get criticized and cussed. We are critiqued by people who do not even "have a clue". We sometimes face budget problems and manpower shortages. But when disaster strikes, someone gets injured or entrapped.......we are expected to perform no less than 110%... and with less equipment and staffing.

One of our supervisors whom has since retired recently, me and him.....twice made up a list of rescue equipment that needed to be ordered. To the best of my knowledge...it has never been ordered. I understand it is budget problems.

We answer bogus, or falsified "9-1-1" calls. We respond to "pranks" , arsons, and practical jokes that have "gone sideways". We at times are misused and abused. We are hailed as heroes come election time, then halfway through the "time in office" we face budget shortfalls and cutbacks. Sometimes even worse....we face layoffs. Our morale is sometimes at an all time high that the biggest jumbo jetliner cannot reach, then times it is so low.......a submarine cannot reach it because a submarine cannot go that deep.

We face problems from citizens, and are judged excessively harsh by those whom do not know, or can't even fathom what we actually do. The ones that gripe, would not even "mask up" if asked to do so. Not everyone wants to go inside a burning house, suit up and deal with a chemical incident, or respond to a incident involving multiple trauma patients. But one minor, small and tiny slipup from the Fire / EMS service.....and they want our heads on a totem poll.

Go to a "Pub" while their is a large industrial fire on the evening news, or a large warehouse that is burning. A lot of people whom do not understand Fire Science - Building Construction - Fire Suppression - Teamwork, and a host of other "Topics" related to the task of extinguishing a fire.....will say " Golly gee, that was stupid." "What the heck took them three days to put out a fire.....what morons? The people who have nice white color...or blue color jobs and the only risk they feel comfortable with in life ; is driving in bad weather to get to and from work.....criticize those whom are charged with protecting them. Those whom "put their life on the line" on each and every call. They ( Fire / EMS ) could get ran over, shot, electrocuted, entrapped, hurt or killed from an explosion, succumb to a toxic or low oxygen atmosphere, hurt or maimed from and "exploding hose" ( it has occurred before ) , have a sudden health emergency, or be involved in a "backdraft", and other miscellaneous events. Are we praised for doing our job of Extinguishing Fires, Fire Prevention and Fire Inspections......or are we chastised for every little mi-nute event? Our responsibility simply cannot be understood to a lot of people, nor do they realize what we give when we are working a car accident - at night - with the temperature at 20 degrees and the wind blowing at 30 miles an hour.....while they are safe and warm in their bed fast asleep. They don't understand being in a structure fire with your face mask full of steam and you cannot see a measely one inch in front of your face. They don't understand being lowered into that "confined space" that is dark and about forty feet deep, while wearing rescue gear and SCBA ( Self contained breathing apparatus ). They don't understand the tedious work that goes into fire prevention and inspection, but are in "AWE" when we do public presentations.

Here is another one for you = "I don't understand.....The ambulance was there in three minutes.....How could they have died? They were alive and breathing when they were put in the back of the ambulance". Death happens. If it is your time to go.....it is your time to go ( be deceased ). The EMT's and the Paramedics did not "kill" anyone. They "Bled out internally" from the trauma...and did not make it to surgery in time, hypovolemia or infection got the best of the burn patient, the brain swelled up in the head trauma.... and the pressure could not be relieved in time, or an "embolism" went to their lungs and killed them instantly.

Less equipment and less staffing for Public Safety is the political way of "saving money". But saving money in this aspect.......further endangers lives and property. You cant cook a steak and prepare an evening meal...unless you have the correct cook wear. You cannot dig a ditch unless you have the proper equipment. You cannot save lives and property unless you have the proper equipment and sufficient manpower to do the job with.

"Armchair Warriors" ? ( humph ) ---> Where would the unknowing and ignorant be without them?

Regardless , those few minutes, or few seconds that you save by running lights and siren.....really do mean a difference between "Life and Death". And again.....it may be someone you know or are aquainted with.


God Bless Public Safety ( Fire / EMS / Law Enforcement ) - and for the sacrifices they make.....each and every day.




( No color choice = capitalized words in my posts are stressed words - I am not yelling )



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Last edited by ff-medic; 04-15-2014 at 2:06 AM.. Reason: correct spacing
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Old 04-15-2014, 2:09 AM
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Our State REQUIRES Volunteers have the same and as much training as Career.
A lot of locations have a mix of Paid and Volunteer. I have a relative that is a line officer in Florida, and that is how their department is set up. And to my knowledge.....there is no complaints from anyone.


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Old 04-15-2014, 8:38 AM
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Lights in our department are a priviledge, if you screw up with them your card gets pulled. All lights are at the discretion of the Chief, who inspects each installation for approval. I don't know if other agencies do it this way, but it does head off a lot of issues in the future. There are other specific rules for use in our town, but that's outside this discussion since it's local.

Quote"It takes money to turn a volunteer department in a career department. And lots of it."

To turn our 125 active member (250 total) Volunteer department to Career was estimated to be 10 million dollars for the first year. For that reason and after 2 years of hashing it out, it was found to be too expensive. A retirement benefits plan was devised instead at a cost of 1 million, which soon became half that since not all members wanted to join.
The Fire Tax increase for that was 7 fold, which made a big splash in the local paper, but soon faded when the whole story came out. Now using basic math to go Career it would cost a tax rate increase 70 times what were paying before. There was a push for Career EMS due to the call volume compared to fire calls but that soon faded as well.

Some departments in our area are mixed, and they work, but I have found it eventually causes problems as what has happened to multiple agencies in Westchester County to our South.

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Old 04-15-2014, 6:02 PM
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Quote"It takes money to turn a volunteer department in a career department. And lots of it."
SCBA , Training , fuel , Inservice, overtime, Firehose, Pump test of trucks annually, SCBA testing, Radio communications,
Rescue equipment ( hardware, rope....Ect) , Medical ALS and BLS equipment , building utility bills, pay raises and cost of living increases, bunker gear, uniforms , fans, pike poles , axes....and other stuff. Included is routine maintenance on apparatus and money set aside each Fiscal year to purchase apparatus with in the future.

The above is just some of the things that cost a Fire Department to run.


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Old 04-15-2014, 6:09 PM
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To turn our 125 active member (250 total) Volunteer department to Career was estimated to be 10 million dollars for the first year.
You can do a paid service of a day. One engine and one rescue to get out the door with for an initial response, volunteers respond as backup.


Quote:
There was a push for Career EMS due to the call volume compared to fire calls but that soon faded as well.
Outside billing service. All you need is initial startup fees.


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Old 05-03-2014, 8:03 PM
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Our county department handily got rid of volunteers quite easily. The union came in and convinced the districts that they needed to pay the liability for the vollies, and since the vollies weren't as well trained, they might as well hire full time firefighters. Now we pay a lot more, and we have to pay for what was once a volunteer and community supported ambulance service too.

That being said, any department that uses volunteers who respond to scenes in POVs with emergency lighting should also look closely at vehicle maintenance standards used by their department and make SURE the vollies adhere to the same strict standards for their POVs. At every turn now, lawyers are looking closely at every possible angle to point fault. Your department retires sedans at 80,000 miles? Better make sure that somewhere in your policy you specify a policy for vollies too, that closely matches your department policy or you leave them wide open to litigation.
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Old 05-03-2014, 9:40 PM
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Well in that case, you need these for your truck :

Cool vehicle graphics and paint job = Vehicle Wraps / Floor and Wall Graphics - Serving New England - NHWraps.com

Lightbar = Liberty™ Series - Whelen Engineering Automotive

Grille Guard = Expedition Push Bumper Grill Guard by Progard - Fleet Safety

Dual band mobile radio = Vertex Standard | VX-6000

P25 Mobile radio = Vertex Standard | VX-7200

Portable / Mobile repeater = Vertex Standard | VXR-1000

Analog / P25 Portable = Vertex Standard | VX-P920


Antennas for the top of the truck = One VHF- Low band antenna, One VHF- Highband antenna, Two UHF antennas ( one UHF Conventional and one UHF P25 ) and and One antenna for the portable repeater.

Tint the back and rear passenger windows.



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Old 05-09-2014, 7:33 PM
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I have a "rider" on my insurance that covers me running emergent, our department requires it. They ask for a letter from our insurance company and the chief "inspects" our vehicle before we are allowed to run emergent. Per our SOP we are required to have 360 lights and a siren if we want to run emergent.
I do use a pursuit mode in my SUV my light positions are as follows
Pos 1. Rear LED's
Pos 2. Side and front LED's, all in basic quad flash pattern.
Pos 3. Wig Wag, opticom and different flash patterns on my LED's more of a rapid flash.
I also have a park-kill hooked up so that the lights go into a more "blocking pattern" when it is in park (Pos 2). I did have the lights hooked up so when you hit the horn (tap2) the lights changed patterns again.
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Old 05-09-2014, 7:57 PM
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Outside billing service. All you need is initial startup fees.


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These are great!!! they charge is 8%
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Old 05-10-2014, 1:05 PM
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Does it happen that someone will claim to be a volunteer FF or EMT just to have the lights and a siren?. I know there are some nut jobs out there that like to be whackers but with all the unmarked vehicles now being used it's hard to tell if it's legit. Crown Vics get a second look as most people assume they are some kind of law enforcement but now a variety of unmarked cars out there it's hard to tell.
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Old 05-10-2014, 2:36 PM
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Does it happen that someone will claim to be a volunteer FF or EMT just to have the lights and a siren?. I know there are some nut jobs out there that like to be whackers but with all the unmarked vehicles now being used it's hard to tell if it's legit. Crown Vics get a second look as most people assume they are some kind of law enforcement but now a variety of unmarked cars out there it's hard to tell.
I worked at a place where we set up 400+ squads a year. People would come in all the time trying to get red and blue lights. To the general public we would sell red, white and amber. If u wanted blue, u needed a badge or a DL from a different state with a letter from your chief to buy blue. (IL vols run blue) I wish more places did this
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:50 PM
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needed a badge or a DL from a different state with a letter from your chief to buy blue. (IL vols run blue) I wish more places did this
I think Pennsylvania is the same way - Police is red lights and Fire / EMS is blue.

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Old 05-12-2014, 2:19 AM
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Wirelessly posted (Opera/9.80 (BREW; Opera Mini/6.0.3/27.2354; U; en) Presto/2.8.119 320X240 LG VN530)

My dad was a fire police officer from October of '77 to June or so of '84, for the Roslyn Fire Company, Abington Township Fire Department in Montgomery County, PA. (He was a Sergeant, Secretary and 3-Year Trustee at the time he left when we moved out here to AZ.)
On his 1976 Ford Country Squire LTD wagon, he had a roof bar with two revolving blue lights, a quarter wave VHF-Hi whip, and a CB whip. He had a Regency 2-channel HT that fit into a drop-in charger on the transmission hump that was connected to the VHF-Hi whip. Eventually he was also a deputy commissioner for the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Police Association, and had a 2-channel VHF-Low band mobile added, connected to a low-band whip on the left front fender.
Instead of a siren, he bought a 2-tone electric air horn from JC Whitney, and added a flasher module to it. He could flip a toggle switch, and it would alternate between the high & low tone continously. He also modified the OEM horn, which was dual-tone, the same way, and it would alternate between high & low tones as long as he pressed the horn button on the steering wheel. (Once, he was able to clear traffic for a township police car who was attempting to run emergent on a call. As soon as they got clear, my dad moved over, shut down his horns, and the cop went on his way lol.)
Anytime he went down to/through Maryland, he had to cover the lights, because blue was the police color there.
I had an uncle who was a fire chief in neighboring Cheltenham Township, and he ran a pair of red lights on his station wagon.
Here in Arizona, police and fire both run red & blue. Fire department medics/rescues (read: ambulances) run the same. I believe private ambulance companies run red/amber. AzDOT trucks run blue/amber, while ALERT (AzDOT traffic control specialists who do the actual lane restrictions/closures at incidents) have amber in front and red/blue to the rear.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:35 PM
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It takes money to turn a volunteer department in a career department. And lots of it.



I would expect that sometime down the road, the U.S. Government will regulate volunteer fire departments out of existance. Some people in the U.S and at the State and Federal levels, in various locaitions in the United States....dislike volunteer deparments...and see them for very much less than what they really are.

Firemen and EMS seldom get paid enough for what they do, and have to go through. Their knowledge, experience, ability, skills, and all the certifications they have......THEY do not get paid enough.

When I worked full time EMS, after I left a volunteer EMS department....I worked hard, long hours and steady. And working hard and steady was not hardly worth the pay I was receiving from a fulltime - paid agency. BUT....I absolutely loved riding on an ambulance - running trauma calls, doing patient assessment ( lung sounds - neuro and vascular assessments - Ausculation of heart sounds - palpations ) and other things. My first truck, I worked with a guy I graduated from class with. Six months or so after that, I had my own truck and ended up working with 4 or 5 EMTs that was fresh out of class. I trained each and every one of them.

At one time, I was the "Professor" of 12 lead EKGs , and we regularily practiced ( read and diagnosed 12 lead EKGS on the company "Intra-Net") EKG intepretation. EKG's was my niche, and one of my greatest strong points in EMS ; and I had a slew of them from patients I cared for. I am not as anxious and outgoing for Fire and Emergency calls as I used to be. But when I did / and still do. I take the patient and family into consideration.

I would love to see alot of rural fire departments, that are "Clear out in the boondocks" go "paid" through federal monies. Those departments that are "way out in the sticks" and can be on scene quickly.

Volunteer EMS agencies that are "Way out there" could also go paid. Federal money could help alot of residents, or money set aside from hospital endowments maybe could help out.

Rural Departments , both Fire and EMS, is the backbone and blood stream of America. Without them......most locations would not survive. But it hurts me to see a fire apparatus ( primary engine ) go down the road with a 1970 rotating lightbar, and is 40 + years old. 500 gallons of water ( or less ) don't do much on a structure fire, or a brush fire for that matter. And since the department lacks proper money and
funding......training is compromised. Old equipment...or no equipment, old style, and "Veteran" firefighters hurts recruiting. No one is interested. Communitys fail in fire protection, insurance rates climb, and there is no one there to adequately deal with a disaster, fire, or emergency.

I do fire inspections, fire prevention, and a host of other things. From about the year 2006 to 2010 ( ?? 5 years total ?? ) , I tested about 800 feet of fire hose, BY MYSELF......... EACH year - in front of our fire station. What normally is done as a shift effort ( 4 - 5 people ) ...I completed by myself, in weeks, and very much alone. Take the hose off the rack, carry it to the truck, hook the hose up to the truck, crank the pump up and pressure test the fire hose. Disconnect the hose, drain the hose, roll the hose up and take it back to the "rack". One year I had one guy ( he has since retired ) help me test about 200 feet of hose. But other than that, I done it by myself. I popped pain meds for my lower back pain for two or three days. ( "Advil" works wonders )

Walk up and down multiple flights of stairs with 50 to 100 feet of fire hose on your shoulders, sometimes very wet fire hose. Bend over and properly roll up 800 feet of fire hose.

Deal with Haz-Mat Incidents, Dangerous vapors, metal fires, hydralic fires, a "good chance" for a "Hot Metal explosion", and a large host of other dangers...and you can see, my salary....along with many others, is not level, or "on par" for our experience, training, huge responsiblity, years of service and skill set.

Volunteers ( EMS & Fire ) at times do just as much, if not more than paid departments. They evidently love their job, and they have a sense of community service....or they would not be there. They to....The volunteers...are Underpaid.


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I've lost track of this thread. Is is about lights-n-sirens or your personal accolades?
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:43 PM
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I've lost track of this thread. Is is about lights-n-sirens or your personal accolades?
Haha. Right on!
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:05 AM
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Yup, time to bury this thread.
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Old 06-04-2014, 1:03 PM
wa2chj's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC Metro
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Having been a member of several EMS/Rescue Squads over the past 35 years I've been certified/Licensed, and used several different color lights (Blue, red, white, and green) depending on the department and how I was responding, I can state the following. In most jurisdictions, the lights are "courtesy" lights. On volly POVs, they do not have the force of law. That said, let a law enforcement officer see a volly having a hard time getting through traffic, in my experience, they will fall in a head of you and take you to the call, or pull over anyone who deliberately tries to block you.
Personally, if someone is being that way, I try to not get mad, and just hope that the person I'm trying to get through traffic to help is someone the idiot delaying me cares about.
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