Volunteer fire fighter responding to emergeny question

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Volunteer fire fighter responding to emergeny question

by: chimo on
Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:37 pm

Situation. I am a volunteer firefighter and I was responding to a medical call at a very rural residence, I was resppnding in my personal vehicle with green light and four way flashers on. I was following behind the pumper on a single lane rural road traveling at approx 70 km hr. the ambulance pulled on to the roadway behind me (approx 100 meters) and followed to the scene. Once we arrived at the scene the Ambulance attendants informed the Fire cheif that I faild to give right of way and that they wanted my name and to have me charged.. I understand that 159 states that all vehicles will stop as close as possible to the curb on the road, but had I slowed and moved to the curb the ambulance would have had to stop behind me while I moved off the road and into the ditch to allow them to pass. I felt that it was safer to proceed the 3 km to the scene. When responding to emergencies, more often than not there would be multiple police cars, ambulance, fire trucks, along with possibly dozens of volunteers with green lights in line arriving at the scene. this is the first time I have run into this and I wonder if I would have a leg to stand on or would I just get the $400-$2000 fine???
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by: Stanton on
Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:39 pm

I don't think that would be a valid defence in Court. The law is quite clear in that you're required to pull over. I think especially given that it was still 3 KM to the scene makes it especially hard to justify. The paramedics are allowed to speed and can make up for any time it might take you to pull over and stop. I can certainly see their concern in that you're delaying their response.
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by: hwybear on
Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:35 pm

I agree with Stanton.

Not only a delay to their response, the EMS has the full "tools of the trade" on board for the medical situation.

Flashing green lights have really no meaning so to speak, no one has to move over (most out of courtesy do), nor can the driver exceed the speed limit and can not go through a red light etc.. however EMS can do both of those things to get to a situation faster
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca
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by: cattlerepairman on
Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:21 am

I am a volunteer fire fighter in a rural area of Ontario as well. The HTA is quite clear - in your POV you are obligated to pull over and make room for the (EMS) emergency vehicle.

On a more practical level, fire gets dispatched to medical emergencies to ensure a swift response, because EMS may be delayed for multiple reasons. Obviously, EMS was quick enough to catch up with you. In addition, an ambulance is probably quicker on any rural road than a pumper is, so why not let EMS get to scene first - pull the pumper over - and then see, upon arrival, if you can assist or clear. Something for the officer in charge of the pumper to think about. Hell, I pull over with the pumper or tanker when I see our own Chief flying up behind me in his Tahoe. Him being on scene before me is very helpful; why should I block his way?

On an even more practical level, friction between EMS and fire and police does occur; none of this is an excuse to act like total dic*s and have charges laid against each other. Most of these issues can be resolved through a civil conversation or, in your case, even involving the Chief to give you appropriate instructions.
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