In St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, those fire trucks and ambulances blending in with normal traffic just may be headed to an incident.
While flashing lights and screaming sirens are the norm in most jurisdictions, some officials are taking a long, hard look at response methods, as the number of crashes involving emergency vehicles continues to rise.
In 2004, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation listed emergency responses as one of the 16 Life Safety Initiatives that need to be addressed to reduce the number of fire and rescue personnel killed.
But, some areas such as St. Louis and Salt Lake City are ahead of the game. Both have had "reduced response" policies in place for many years. And, Anne Arundel county adopted the procedure a few months ago.
"Every call to 9-1-1 doesn't generate an emergency response," said Capt. Steve Simpson, CHIEF medical officer for the St. Louis Fire Department.
When I first caught sight of this article, I thought they were getting rid of emergency response all together. However, that is not what this article is about at all.
The article states how several fire departments have combated accidents which occurred during emergency response. They have instituted a tiered response. Tiered response basically groups calls into three responses: Hot, warm, and cold. Hot - everything runs lights and sirens, Warm - just the first due runs emergency and the second due runs silent, and Cold - silent response. For example Structure fires = Hot, ALS calls = Hot, Broken arm = warm (possibly), bloody nose = cold. Of course any officer can upgrade or downgrade the response. This is just a guideline. I think it is a good idea, although I do not think we have a problem with accidents during emergency response. This might be an effective program to be proactive to an issue other Departments are facing.