Speeding in the fire apparatus

Fire apparatus are powerful machines and must be operated responsibly and with “due regard” for the safety of the public

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my friends in the fire service. We’re going to talk about speed and fire apparatus.  

Apparatus operators, how many times have you driven the rig like Sammy Hagar with “one foot on the gas and one on the brake?” Ever been quoted saying you drive the apparatus “one way, and that’s wide open?”  

Now to the other side of the apparatus cab. Officers, have you ever had an operator who drives Big Red like they stole it? Or does that describe YOUR driving habits before you were promoted? 

I’m willing to bet most drivers and officers have either driven way too fast – or rode with someone who has – at least once in their career. 

So, what does that mean for the fire service? Well, for starters it means that our apparatus are not always being operated according to that all-important statement, “with due regard.” That, my friends, is a real problem. 

Let’s suppose a fire apparatus is responding to a call with lights and siren. The driver has the pedal to the metal and is well over the speed limit. A car runs a stop sign at an intersection and the rig T-bones the car, killing the teenage driver.  

Sure, the kid ran a stop sign. But the apparatus operator was far exceeding the speed limit and the officer allowed it. They are just as much, if not more, at fault. If the apparatus was traveling at a lower speed, the driver may have been able to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the collision.  

Fans of Spider-Man know the saying, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Fire apparatus are powerful machines and must be operated responsibly and with “due regard” for the safety of the public. While it may seem contrary to the nature of the job, a big part of driving with “due regard” means slowing down.  

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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