No Lights, No Sirens, Big Problems? Quiet Fire Runs Irk Union

September 11, 2018, 8:11 AM


A new policy that allows some Detroit fire runs to be made without lights and sirens is sparking a disagreement between the city's fire commissioner and the head of its firefighters union, The Detroit News reports.

At issue is whether "going easy," i.e., without the usual clamor, is safer for fire crews and the public. The commissioner says it is; the union chief disagrees. 

Christine Ferretti writes:

The policy, which began last month and applies to all fire personnel and those who drive fire department vehicles, classifies runs by two codes: one for emergent runs and the other for non-life threatening calls.

...But Detroit Fire Fighter Association President Mike Nevin said the incident response policy leaves too much room for error and could cause firefighters to be underprepared to handle the city's most critical cases.

Nevin appeared Monday before a City Council subcommittee session to provide an overview of the new protocol that he is demanding "go away."

Code 1, or the more urgent calls, would mainly apply to active fires in structures, autos or fields. Code 2, or "go easy" calls, would be for "smoke outside a structure, odor or carbon monoxide calls inside a structure with no signs of sickness, downed wires without fire and other calls with no life threat or illness, the policy says." Code 3 applies only to EMS and is for non-life threatening situations. 

The policy change was based on a firefighter's masters thesis, and is being followed by other departments elsewhere in the country. 

Read more:  The Detroit News

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