Commissioners set regulations for emergency lights, sirens on volunteers’ private vehicles
Jefferson County volunteer firemen will now have to go through a process in order to put emergency lights and sirens on their personal vehicles.
Chairman Richard Malm said on Monday the county has been working with all of the fire departments for the past year to develop a set of regulations for obtaining a license for the lights and sirens for private vehicles.
In order for a volunteer to get a license they will have to provide the county with a copy of their driver’s license and driving record.
Applicants will have to obtain a letter of authorization from their insurance company. Malm said it will likely make some insurance rates go up for individuals but having insurance is a key component of the regulations.
Second District Commissioner Roy Dunnaway said most people do not realize that emergency workers and law enforcement are responsible if they cause an accident.
“You might run 75 mph in a 55 but if something happens you’re still responsible,” Dunnaway said.
Malm said volunteers need to realize that they have to follow the rules of the road.
“Even our emergency vehicles have to slow down or stop at a stop sign,” Malm said. “This is what some of our volunteers don’t realize.”
Applicants will also have to take a defensive driving course that many county employees take.
Although commissioners authorize sirens and lights for private vehicles the discretion is left to the individual fire chiefs. Malm said he would prefer that only the fire chiefs have the lights and sirens.
In other actions:
• Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard said all of the structural steel work on the 154th Street bridge is complete and top slabs for the bridge are being put in place. Construction should be completed within the next couple of weeks and the bridge should be open by the end of the month.
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