Emergency Vehicle Response Policy

Technical BulletinLast updated Wednesday, March 1, 2006
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This research has analyzed the problem that the City of Lynchburg Virginia did not have a comprehensive or effective benchmark program in order to promote a safe and effective emergency response procedure. The purpose of this study was to analyze the current emergency vehicle response procedure for the City of Lynchburg to determine if an alternate response is necessary to ensure the safety of citizens and emergency responders.The descriptive research method was used to answer these questions: a) What are the current response standards for the City of Lynchburg? b) What dispatch procedures currently exist that may be altered to increase citizen and responder safety? c) What training elements are required for dispatchers and firefighters when changing response codes? and d) what have other localities in Virginia done to ensure that there are not increased liabilities when deviating from their current response policy utilizing emergency lights and sirens? Response policy review was carefully conducted and the dispatch nature codes were extracted from the 911 Center CAD system. Procedures included utilizing professional publications, NFPA Standards, and attorney review for liability issues. Two survey instruments were used to determine training requirements and liability issues.The results of this study indicated the need to revise both the nature codes and the fire department response policy to reduce exposure to citizens and responders. Liability issues when responding in the non-emergency mode to emergency calls did not exist. There are far greater liabilities when all units respond with lights and sirens to every call. Recommendations included providing in depth training for personnel based upon recognized standards and adopting the revised response policy and nature codes. Both of these help balance risks with the safe and timely arrival of personnel to an emergency without exposing the public or responders to undue risks.

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