Now I live in a state which allows full RLAS on POVs. And I use them. I volunteer on a department which runs about 600 calls/year. There are three traffic lights between me and the station most of the time. There is long-distance visibility at two of the three lights. If I'm running RLAS, it can save me from one to three minutes at each intersection. Yes, I realize that intersections are where a majority of accidents probably occur. I come to a complete stop and ensure that I have full control in all directions before proceeding.
I know that it doesn't matter if I'm a volunteer, a paid Chief, a cop, or running in an ambulance: we all must be responsible and professional when running RLAS. Whether in a rig or my POV. Because we all die the same if we screw up: no matter who we are or what we're driving. And innocent people can be hurt or killed, too.
Realizing that the stakes are high, my department is pretty aggressive about downgrading to non-emergent. For the first quarter of this year, our first-arriving engine arrived emergent less than half the time. The first arriving unit may be an officer, a firefighter, or one of our first-response medical units. So "having between 10 and 50 L&S equipped vehicles converging on a single location" isn't likely to happen on my department. We have an SOP which governs the mode of response based on type of call. POVs downgrade when the first engine goes en-route on a majority of call types, for example. And we enforce our SOP vigorously.
It seems to me that the proponents of removing RLAS on POVs ought to carry their arguments to the logical conclusion and remove them on their department rigs as well. And then start lobbying for RLAS to come off of cop cars and ambulances. Common arguments about RLAS just don't hold a lot of credibility with me.
My POV is bigger than a police cruiser, so "well, my Fire Engine is bigger so it makes a difference" doesn't hold water. Remove them on police cruisers? I doubt it will ever happen. And "you'll have many emergent units converging on the same scene?" You don't have more than one fire station in your town/district? More than one cop? People, this happens every day on nearly every call. You must realize that you're only requesting the right-of-way and that you must be sure that you've been yielded to before proceeding. Some of this is called defensive driving.
Yes, I know that this is one of the proverbial "Unix vs. Windows," "vi vs. emacs," and "vollie vs. paid" arguments. But wackers come in a lot of different forms. Like the sheriff's deputy who couldn't believe it that I beat him to my fire because he was doing 80 mph en-route (I was a lot closer!). What was he going to do to the fire: shoot it? Then *why* was he running emergent? My point: some wackers are paid.
Professionals are not always paid. Maybe not even usually. Point: there are more unpaid firefighters in this country than paid ones. A lot more. And I've met a lot of unpaid professionals.
And since this is one of the proverbial religious arguments, I know that I won't change your views and I'm pretty sure that mine won't change enough for me to remove the RLAS on my POV soon. But you're welcome to try.Return to Beaty Home