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I am interested in knowing how other departments operate in code 3 mode.
My department allows for 10 mph over the posted speed limit. We must stop at all Red lights before proceeding and altough not a department SOP or SOG I choose to not run code 3 on the freeway (unless the incident is on the freeway), I have found at times it can increase the response time due to confused drivers. What are your policies?

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I used to have a similar policy and it was interesting to enforce. I noticed the better the company the, the busier the company the more they understood and agreed with the policy. I really only had issues with the slower houses who didn't get as much work. I think we are doing better but the other day I watched a brush unit locally blow by at around 80 in a 40 zone. It was someting to be sitting there Joe Citizen and watch two unbuckled firefighters driving that recklessly. My wife God bless her said, "Wow there must be an emergency" (The red lights and stuff cued her in) I thought maybe not now but if they don't slow down they will make one!
We Have a rural department with no freeways. However, we have two types and we call them responding or enroute. Responding is light and sirens (your code 3) and enroute means no lights or sirens. We call it this due to the county we live in wants common language. Our rules really do not have much on this, but we do have a unwritten rule of 10 mph over the speed limit. When asked or reported we document or say we drove with due regard. In Ohio our drivers courses say that is how we should be driving. Our SOG's state that all driver must drive with due regard to others.
Be safe and train as training will save lives! God Bless
I think the phrase "with due regard" says it all.
We also have a 10 mph over the posted limit policy, along with state law dictating several aspects of response, including use of visual AND audible warning devices when proceeding through a red light after stopping or responding against traffic on a one-way, as well as a couple other instances. I believe our department policy also requires a complete stop at red lights/stop signs before proceeding and prohibits passing any school bus with warning lights operating.

We had a very brief trail during the last stand-down where the 1st due engine was the only company to respond "hot" on mechanical box alarms... This was short lived as we have so much traffic that during the entire experiment the second-due companies never made it more than 2 blocks from quarters before being cancelled... or upgraded to "hot" response when the first due arrived and actually found fire/smoke in the building, and were now left hanging for an extended time as the balance of the box may as well have still been in the dayroom. I'm not saying I disagree with the logic or philosophy of the trend, that was just our experience during a very limited trial.

Be safe Brothers.
We also have a policy similar to this. But to me it is not so much the speed limit but how often dose your personnel train in driving the apparatus. You can drive the speed limit, but if you have firefighters that’s not use to driving that piece of apparatus you can still have an accident.

I am going to agree with Chief Halton, watching two unbuckled firefighters is just as important issue as speed.
We have the 10 over limit rule and stop at every red light, etc. I support and enforce these rules. We code every dispatch so whether it is one or six companies responding they know it they use lights and siren or not. WHen a unit notifies the dispatcher they are enroute they declare responding HOT (lights and siren) or COLD (no lights and siren).

General guidlines off the top of my head are:
Change of quarters/fill in at another station COLD
Trouble alarms, medical alarms, sevice calls COLD
Reported fire in a building HOT
Activated fire alarm: First due engine (and any vehicle in his station) HOT all other companies COLD
BLS transports to hospital COLD

Ten years ago when we went to hot and cold, we had the engine go hot and the truck in the same house go cold but drivers got very confused as the engine would pull out of the station or proceed through the first traffic signal and see the truck sitting still following the rules of the road.
Also, if the dispatched sends out the call as a fire alarm and units go enroute cold but the dispatcher gets a 9-1-1 call reporting smoke or fire, a message is then broadcast such as "companies responding to 123 Main caller reports fire in the basement all units run hot."
These driving issues coming right down to just a few things. We are still killing 25% of our firefighters responding too or returning from the alarm. Of that 25%, 80% are going to be volunteers, 50% of those are killed in a POV. This is very sad, becuase we all know what that young new firefighter wants to do the minute he/she gets on the fire department, that is put the reds lights and siren in his/her car. The next thing you know, they are wrapped around a tree, and that is not what this business is all about. Shame on the fire chief that allows this happen. If that firefighter is not mature enough, they shouldn't be allowed to respond "code 3". Volunteer fire departments allowing POV's to respond "code3" should review there policys of when and what they are allowd to respond "code3" too. Look at the studies and see if responding "code3" really saves that much time. I'm not saying to stop responding "code3", but i think we need to be much smarter chosing what type of a response is justifiable. I could go on and on but if you think i'm crazy, you should read some of the litigation going on around this country. We need to change some of our traditions because they are getting us killed and put us in jail and we are killing lots of innocent people. Contrary to popular belief, we don't own the road when responding "code 3". BE SAFE Jeff
Our policy is simple, drive with due regard and stop at all lights. What does it means when we put on our lights and sirens. Watch out for me I’m about to do something stupid! It only takes a second to put on your seat belt and stop at lights, remember your crew is not the only one counting on you.
Our department implemented a new driving/apparatus operations policy last February after researching the materials from the IAFF, IAFC, NFPA, etc. as well as the existing policies of about 15 departments from across the county. The policy includes stopping at red lights/stop signs, and not going more than 10 MPH over the limit. We make 11,000+ responses a year and we have great guys (and gals) who pride themselves on getting to the scene and getting the job done. I would be lying if I said it was easy selling the new policy to everyone. A couple of things that were key in getting buy-in including getting some of our senior Drivers/Engineers to endorse it and also conducting a discussion/class with the entire department in which the Chief stood up, took ownership and said "this is the way we are going to do things and that includes me".

Within the first 2 months that the policy was in effect I had 2 company officers come up to me (including one who was skeptical at first) and tell me that if it were not for the new policy (and having to stop at a stop sign/red light) their company would have been in an accident. For me that made all the work on the policy worth it.

Attached is a copy of our driving policy. If anyone needs more information please contact me.
Our SOP is very simular to yours. It was recently changed from 10 mph on secondary roads and 20 mph on primary roads.
Need some help we have changed how we respond to calls for medical needs does anyone have a policy that breaks down what medical calls are lights and sirens and what calls are normal traffic. we are a MFR department that has an automatic response with a private ambulance service.

Good question.

1) Dump the 10 mph over rule as it’s generally unenforceable and adopt your state's legal standard for emergency response. For example in Washington State under RCW 46.61.035 related to emergency response, drivers may (c) Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property. I am sure that there is similar legislation in most if not all States. The 10 mph over rule is trouble if you are involved in a traffic collision and plaintiff attorneys will have a field day with this outdated and unenforceable rule.

2) Have your crews respond a posted speed limit. We crash and kill or injure more firefighters and civilians every year and the increased response speed has not proven beneficial to outcomes.

3) Stop at every stop sign and stop light. Crashing through an intersection with a 60 thousand pound fire engine is not a best practice.

4) Freeway responses, turn off your lights, drive at the posted speed limits and when you get close to the incident, turn on your warning devices.

5) Volunteers responding from home in POV should ALWAYS drive the speed limit and wear seatblets.

Finally, wear your seatbelt. There is an initiative out there called the Seat Belt Pledge. I urge every fire department to get 100% signoff by their firefighters on this pledge. This is a tough change for the fire service. Look at Austin FD (Texas) for their policy. It seems like a safe practice that the Fire Service should adopt.

We help no one if we do not arrive.

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