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Home > Topics > Safety
November 08, 2012
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Cop pulls gun on firefighter: Lessons to learn

I can feel the heartburn of the jurisdiction's risk managers as they try to figure out how to shield the city or town from the liability of a personal vehicle crash.

By Arthur Hsieh

Looking at the video recording, I didn't find it clear that the law enforcement officer was overreacting in this situation.

If his viewpoint was the same as the dash cam, he was pursuing a vehicle that was running at high speed and through stop signs through a residential area.

Wisconsin vehicle code does allow volunteer firefighters to equip their personal vehicles with red lights and siren, though they were not visible nor audible during the time of recording.

Here's a larger concern: I understand that, in a fire, every minute does count. It's very predictable that way.

But I'm not convinced that the damage by fire is worth the risk of being killed or killing another person in a crash while responding to the call.

Beyond the issue of injury and life loss, insurance companies are not likely to cover the damages unless the personal vehicle had been designated an official emergency vehicle.

I can feel the heartburn of the jurisdiction's risk managers as they try to figure out how to shield the city or town from the liability of a personal vehicle crash.

Many firefighters also have roles as EMS responders. The argument becomes even murkier in these cases, for the need for speed to an incident.

Given the current controversies about the importance — or lack thereof — of speeding to a call in an ambulance, no less a personal vehicle, I don't believe that the risk is outweighed by the lack of benefit.

Let's stay safe out there folks.
 

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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