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  1st Responder Network >>  Paramedic's and EMT's Forum >>  EMT's having warning devices
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  Subject: EMT's having warning devices
Post By: EMT0690

On: 12/6/2004
I have a question to all the fellow EMS personnel out there. I have been an EMT for about two years, and for those two years I have been a member of my current EMS organization in New Jersey. Now although my squad is 1/2 paid, and 1/2 volunteer (paid to benefit the citizens during the volunteers weakest hours only) West Deptford twp, NJ handles approx 2000 calls annually, varying from the dreaded slip and falls, to the becoming so common traumatic calls which require immediate attention at the area trauma center via helocopter. We every now and then fall victim to the mutual aid thingy, you know, where the next closest town comes in and takes the call. Now personally I do not have the problem of "taking forever" to get to the building, however it seems like evryone else does. Our BLS units can only respond if there are at least 2 NJ cert. EMTs on board, however we do have members that are driver only and attendants. My township is a rapidly growing 18+ square miles of heavy industrial (i.e. 3, yes 3 oil processing plants, among other heavy industrial facilities) over 23,000 residents already taking residency with in the township, plus 2 more 500 unit housing devolopments plus 1 nursing/ assisted living quarters that we are told can hold well over 450 senior citizens, not to mention that State route 295 runs about 6 miles through our town. Needless to say, our Volunteer status is very close to folding into a paid crew 24/7. Now us members do not have a problem with "moving over" to let a paid crew come in and handle calls. It seems that ever since our "South" building, which housed 1 BLS, and the TWPs HazMat "CBRNE" trailer caught fire at the arms of an arsonist that our call numbers for not responding has risen. And I feel that it is because of the fact that with out that building, our members have to beat the crap out of their vehicles within the 7 minutes of allowed time before going mutual aid to get to a location that is easily 10 minutes away. Most of the 10 minutes is waiting for red lights and ignorant people who dont want to move for our "blue lights." Now in the lovely state of New Jersey, under the title 39: statue (motor vehicle) Any emergancy personnel other then the 1st and 2nd in charge must only have a blue light (as in no other colored lighting devices). Mind you that all our emergency vehicles (police, fire, ems) must be equipt with red warning devices and audible siren. Now my real question would have to be does anyone else feel that due to the amount of concern for patient safety, that all essential personnel (i.e. the 2 EMTs that are needed to respond the ambulance) should be allowed to have red lights which would reflect the urgency in which is needed to desire the need of EMS to ones aid? Now I'm not asking this to prove a point, however any rational replies would be taken into consideration for my on thoughts. Even though the police department states (unofficially) that the members are allowed to do what they feel is ness. to get the ambulance out, which in some situations would include stopping and going thru intersections, and other not so I guess you could put it "legal" things. Our police just tell us that "As long as we do not pose a threat to any of the citizens well being while doing so..." If there is anyone with any remarks/concerns/inquiries. please do not hesitate to reply. If you wish to see where West Deptford twp is, look on mapquest. The zip code is 08096, and that is just accross the delaware river from Philadelphia. Thank you for your time....
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Post By: captcoker

On: 1/31/2005
My thoughts are, if you have the need, and the department see's it as an urgent need, why don't they promote you to "asst chief over supply" or something to that effect. Its a title to allow the use of red lights and sirens. I am really speaking out of turn though, as I am in Fla. and have completely different laws. In Fla., We run Red Lights as Volunteers, the same as the apparatus. And the law was changed 2 years ago that allow us to run up to 2 lights of any type. (IE; strobe, halogen, or LED)
Sirens are prohibited for use by volunteers.
My next point would be that running emergency warning lights on your POV is very risky. Most insurance companies won't cover any accident while using warning lights. And unless your department has some sort of coverage or monetary protection for you, You could be screwed if your sued, injured or your vehicle is FUBAR. Now I'm not saying that lights on a POV is wrong, just need to be carefull. Just think of the consequences of adding more lights = adding more liability. Thats my $.02
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Post By: Xaque

On: 3/24/2005
In Massachusetts any Fire or EMS member is allowed to run with a red light with a signed form from the Chief of the department. There are times when this has been helpful, but there is that added risk. We have made every attempt to have all of our volunteers certified with CEVO II and they are only allowed a Red Light Permit after 6 months of commendable service.

As far as the liability aspect, while a responder is in their POV, and responding with their red lights on, they are insured by the department. It is treated as if they were operating an apparatus at the time.

Just like anything though, with power comes corruption. There have been a number of times when permits for lights had to be pulled because of reckless driving on the responders parts.

My pov is equipped with red lights, but I hardly ever use them. I find that lights and sirens, except in a “true emergency” only make things worse. People act funny when they see lights, and I don’t need that behavior while I'm trying to help someone. Often times I won’t even turn the lights on in the ambulance while transporting to the Hospital unless the patients condition is critical. The lights in my car as a general rule only come on when I'm parked on the side of the road at a scene and want that added protection.

I do appreciate my state allowing me to run with red lights in my pov, but it is important that along with that privilege comes good training in how and when to use that tool.
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Post By: NJMICP

On: 6/4/2005
I'm sorry if this offends anyone out there, but my personal opinion is, that volunteers should not have any types of red lights on their personal vehicles which would allow them to go through red lights... not that all volunteers are bad, but the majority of the "weekend warriors" do not possess the amount of experience and training needed to perform their job effectively. Everyone starts in this field as a volunteer, then work their way up... and when they work their way up, they do it on a regular basis, and if protocols are deviated from, or there is a mistake, med error, etc, there is hell to pay... I know in NJ, volunteer EMT's are not held accountable for ANYTHING!!! they can totally screw up and not have to worry about any repercussions... yes, CEVO is a good course... but just like trying to become a good EMT, medic, RN, etc, it takes more than just a class... it takes repetition and doing it for more than a 6 or 12 hour volunteer shift per week... if you are so worried about getting your ambulance out in West Deptford, and worried about the "wear and tear" on personal vehicle, then pull in-house duty shifts, and get the other personnel to do the same thing... if nobody wants to do that, then there is no dedication in which Squad 6-9 should be 24/7 paid... just like you said in regards to the size of the town/industry, etc, WD SHOULD be 24 hour paid with PROFESSIONAL EMT's... over the past 5 or 6 years, the quality of the EMT's there has degraded horrifically... soon enough though it will be a career department.
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Post By: czhnpp

On: 5/15/2006
I agree. Warning lights on personal vehicles are more of a hindrance than a help. Why not look at other types of response. If you are going to respond,
a.) call the dispatch center and tell them you are on the way.
b.) issue members a radio to enable communications between ambulance and responding crew.
c.) allow for members to go directly to the scene, if the ambulance has a driver.

What abotu relaxing the requirement of two EMTs? In NJ, there is no such requirement by law. Only paid services have to adhere to this. Even the NJSFAC suggests a minimum of 1 EMT, but required is minimum of a CPR card and Advanced First Aid.

So, there are alternatives to your response issues, other than try to issue everyone a red light. You are going to get the same problem with red lights that you have with blue. It's not the lights, its the other drivers.

- Kris Krogstad
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Post By: ffemt045

On: 6/9/2006
Well what can i say but i feel your pain. I am from south western new york and we are in about the same situation. Yes it would be nice to hit the lights and siren to pass cars and procede through traffic control devices (with due regard of course). But studies have proven that you only gain 30 seconds to a minute running code 3 verses code 1. And yes the liability is much less. In NY any emt can use red lights and sirens once their vehicle is part 800 compliant and your agency signs off on it, but everyone wants to know is it worth the risk for the minute that you may save?
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