Action News Investigates: Firefighters using illegal lights on cars

Action News Investigates: Firefighters using illegal lights on cars


ANDREW: ACTION NEWS INVESTIGATES HAS LEARNED STATE POLICE ARE TARGETING PITTSBURGH AREA FIREFIGHTERS WHO ARE USING ILLEGAL LIGHTS ON THEIR PERSONAL CARS. FIREFIGHTERS ARE PUSHING BACK. WENDY: INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER PAUL VAN OSDOL WITH HOW THEY CLAIM VICTORIA ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW — CLAIM STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW COULD PUT THEM AND THE PUBLIC AT RISK. REPORTER: WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE BLUE LIGHTS THAT SOME VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS USE WHEN THEY ARE TRYING TO GET TO THE STATION IN A HURRY, AND THE RED LIGHTS THAT VOLUNTEER AND PAID FIRE CHIEFS HAVE IN THEIR PERSONAL VEHICLES. THE RECENT ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS BY POLICE HAVE RAISED ALARM BELLS WITH LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS. WHEN EAST KAREN A KNEE FIRE CHIEF ADAM COWHER RUNS HIS LIGHTS HE’S HARD TO MISS. YOU HAVE IT COVERED HERE AND THE RUNNING BOARDS AND AROUND FRONT YOU HAVE IT. REPORTER: THERE IS ONLY ONE PROBLEM. ANYTHING YOU SEE INTERIOR MOUNTED ON THIS VEHICLE IS ILLEGAL. REPORTER: THAT MEANS MOST OF OF THE LIGHTS. HE FOUND OUT HIS LIGHTS WERE ILLEGAL A FEW MONTHS AGO WHEN HE GOT A VISIT FROM STATE POLICE. THE TROOPER ISSUED WARNINGS TO THE CHIEF AND TWO OF HIS VOLUNTEERS WHO WERE USING BLUE LIGHTS LIKE THIS ONE MOUNTED INSIDE THEIR VEHICLES. DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THAT THE LAW PROHIBITED THESE LIGHTS? NO, YOU KNOW, WE BLATANTLY WOULDN’T DISOBEY A LAW. REPORTER: IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS STATE POLICE SAY THEY’VE ISSUED 25 WARNINGS TO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA FIREFIGHTERS FOR USING ILLEGAL LIGHTS. IT ALMOST LOOKS LIKE THEY ARE LIGHTING IT UP FOR CHRISTMAS. WE ARE NOTICING THESE VEHICLES, AND WE ARE TAKING ACTION BY ISSUING THEM A WRITTEN WARNING TO LET THEM KNOW, LET’S GET THIS RIGHT SO NO ONE IS IN DANGER. REPORTER: A TROOPER SAYS THE CONCERN IS THE INTERIOR LIGHTS TO MAKE FIREFIGHTERS LOOK LIKE UNDERCOVER POLICE. I’M NOT SAYING THAT THE VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS ARE ATTEMPTING TO IMPERSONATE A POLICE OFFICER, BUT THE PERCEPTION THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC HAS, THEY DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE, AND IT COULD BE A DANGEROUS SITUATION. REPORTER: BUT COWHER WORRIES THE PUBLIC WOULD BE IN GREATER JEOPARDY IF HE FOLLOWS THE LAW, WHICH ONLY ALLOWS A SINGLE LIGHT ON THE TOP OF FIREFIGHTERS’ PERSONAL VEHICLES. I THINK IT WOULD BE LESS SAFE. THE UPDATING MODERN LIGHTING IS MUCH BETTER AND BRIGHTER. REPORTER: IT’S NOT JUST VOLUNTEERS, THIS VEHICLE USED BY FIRE CHIEF DARRELL JONES ALSO HAS ILLEGAL LIGHTS. WHEN ASKED ABOUT IT HE CHECKED WITH THE CITY LAW DEPARTMENT. THEY REVIEWED IT AND TOLD ME THAT MY LIGHTS DO NOT MEET THE STANDARD BY HAVING THE EMERGENCY LIGHTS INSIDE THE CAB OF THE VEHICLE SO I IMMEDIATELY ORDERED NEW REPLACEMENT LIGHTS. REPORTER: MT. LEBANON’S FIRE CHIEF SAYS HE TOO NEEDS TO GET A NEW LIGHT PACKAGE TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW. IT’S VERY WELL LIT BUT THIS DOES NOT COMPLY BECAUSE IT DOES NOT HAVE A 360-DEGREE LIGHT MOUNTED TO THE ROOF. REPORTER: THE LIGHTING LAW DOES NOT JUST APPLY TO FIREFIGHTERS, ACTION NEWS INVESTIGATES FOUND SEVERAL CITY PUBLIC WORKS VEHICLES WITH ILLEGAL INTERIOR LIGHTS, INCLUDING THIS ONE USED BY THE PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR. IT HAS A LIGHT ATTACHED TO THE VISOR. I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT THE REQUIREMENTS ARE WITH REGARDS TO THE LIGHTING. WE CERTAINLY WANT TO BE IN COMPLIANCE ABSOLUTELY. OUR LAWS ARE JUST MAYBE 20 YEARS BEHIND. REPORTER: STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAN MILLER HAS HEARD ENOUGH COMPLAINTS FROM FELLOW FIREFIGHTERS THAT HE IS SPONSORING A CHANGE TO THE LIGHT LAW. WE WANT THEM TO HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF THEY NEED TO KEEP EVERYBODY SAFE WHEN THEY ARE RESPONDING. REPORTER: RIGHT NOW THE BILL FILED BY MILLER WOULD ONLY AFFECT VEHICLES WITH RED LIGHTS, THOSE USED BY FIRE AND EMS CHIEFS. BUT SOME VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS ARE ALSO PUSHING FOR CHANGES TO

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100 thoughts on “Action News Investigates: Firefighters using illegal lights on cars”

  • THEY KNEW!!! These lights come with notices. Those who had profeddionally installed them would have disclosed thus to them. AND, the Internet is loaded with the laws pertaining to the use of red & blue lights on a vehicle. These are cases of ABUSE OF POWER, plain and simple.

  • The cops are being silly asses about this. If the people think they are cops they will get over and a real FF will keep going. So wheres the issue? The cops are trying to punish people for what someone MIGHT think. Stupid.

  • So….. I can assume the troopers will be handling the fires instead? Let the firefighters respond and save lives! Just like how these same officers don't ticket other cops over traffic violations they should extend that practice for those who are ACTUALLY responding to an emergency.

  • Jonathan Parker says:

    In Alabama some of us volunteer firefighter s us red and white and yellow .blue are not allowed.cops hate firefighter because we get more glore and More people like us.cops grow up

  • They say you can only have blue lights and not red but yet they complain when the blues make you look like police officers so if that why don’t they let you use reds!

  • I believe the firefighters need the lights more then you do officer. Lol. How stupid are you. Wait till your house burns officer. Wouldn’t you want the first responders to get there?

  • In my state, which is moderately conservative, but pretty liberal, dont allow red and blue lights flashing on or in the car.

  • Red=Fire
    Blue=PD
    Thought that was a nationwide standard. However PD is a revenue flow for most locales, while FD is a necessity, that doesn't fill town accounts with $$

  • So many here are getting all upset. It's simple, follow the law. If it's not working update it. The fire fighters will do the correct thing, and the legislature I'm sure will update the law. No one is getting cited.

  • Police using the excuse that the interior lights make responders look like undercover police is baloney! LE has been using that bogus line for decades. Get off that ride and grow up!

  • That "trooper" looked ridiculous… i would have a VERY hard time holding it together in front of her… I'd be laughing far to hard…

  • Well if the troopers are noticing them I'd say that they are effective by doing their job.by being noticed… that's what they are there for..to provide warning notive

  • ok here's what i think i think volunteer firefighters should be able too use red and white lights but not blue lights, because police cars mostly use white and blue.

  • In Colorado, you can run red/white lights and a siren/horn. At least one light must be mounted to the top, but others can also be installed else were.
    Green/blue won't get you anywhere.

  • truckersteve1973 says:

    Really! What liberal BS is this these firefighters should have all the lights they need and more! You people need to find real things to report on and the city, county and state can shove it!

  • Oh thank god the Pennsylvania state police are getting those pesky volunteers! Instead of ya know, actual criminals……..

  • im in the process of becoming a volunteer firefighter in the state of arkansas and we go threw state police and our personal cars are allowed to have lights in our cars and on top ill be running a mustang with light bar on top lights in the back window and in the front window all red

  • Blue means law enforcement, red means emergency, clear/amber is general caution usually found on any non emergency vechile like city, security, tow etc, green/purple usually is volunteer however does not signify to let pass, thoes r pretty universal colors all over the world

  • Hey you know what lady firefighters when somebody is dying we want to get to the fire station as soon as we can we obey the laws we do everything and we also make sure that we drive safe you people you lady you don't drive safe you just crashed through things in low through lights and blow through everything so don't Target us and think that you can say that we're not obeying the law you don't even obey the law you're probably crooked anyways so who's to say that you're not safe cuz you're not you people think that you can run your lights anytime you want you oh by the law no you don't you don't pay a lot you go against the law you take people in that don't have any warrants you beat people up you shoot people for no probable cause you are not a law person you people aren't the law or the criminals half of you cops or criminals anyways you sell drugs you rape women are you do this or you do that so you get away with it anyways so who's to say that you are doing right so don't be Point things at fireman and think that we're doing something wrong you look like an idiot on this YouTube talking to these people thinking that you are all that but you're not all that so get it right if you want to do something help the fire People Help the firemen and help them get through to the fire stations safety and safe so don't think that we don't know what we are not here to argue about stupid lights we are here to save lives and with you arguing about light saying that we're doing something wrong we're not doing nothing wrong it doesn't matter what color they are just as long as long as we get to the fire station we are good but most of us fireman we don't break the laws we try to save lives and you try to kill life that's what you all try to do so don't sit there and try to make it sound like you're trying to be a hero lady get it right that makes me so mad that you people think that you can just run your mouth and think that you're just better than us I don't think so we're all the same for all First Responders and we will push back and we will run our lights I don't care what you say we will run our lights and we will make sure that we are running safe don't work against us work with us and that's the way it goes

  • It does not matter if they don't know the difference just as long as they move to the side that's all it matters so if you realize firefighters also disguise their rates as firefighters that says firefighters are volunteer firefighters

  • The thing is is you cops all complain about this and that and this and that this and that but you know what till the day that you catch a firefighter doing something wrong firefighters today have to have emergency lights in the back and the front so people know what's going on especially if there is fire fighters that have license plates that says firefighters so it don't matter if we have lights are not and quit complaining about just because you have lights and we can't it doesn't make any difference because we are First Responders that save lives so that's the way it goes and if you don't like it quit the force

  • Wow. There must be some more important issues to deal with? And for the love of Christ the PA state police need to get rid of that Rediculous chin strap. I'd be embarrassed.

  • TECHNOLOGY has advanced beyond the laws of the State. People are driving around distracted from their surroundings. Air Conditioners block out the warnings of the loudest sirens. All VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS need a very high VISIBILITY when responding to EMERGENCY calls.
    STOP HARASSING THE VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND CHANGE THE OUTDATED LAWS.

  • Only police should run blue lights and fire and ems should run red and amber and public works should run amber its that simple and would lessen the confusion for the public and it shouldnt matter if the lights are mounted on the interior or exterior of the car as long as they can be seen

  • Sirens Of SW Ohio says:

    The Public Works vehicle may have interior lights as long as it is not have red, or blue. It is most likely amber which is not illegal.

  • Yeah us dumb idiots are too stupid to know the difference between red and blue police lights and Amber warning lights…

  • I'd like to say I thought Pennsylvania residents are smart enough to know the difference but… we did Re-Elect Tom Wolf so maybe not!

  • I was runnnin lights and siren to my station and when I got there the entrance to the parking lot was blocked by cars backed up at a stop sign so I pulled into the exit one. Let me remind you I was still running lights and siren. The cop pulled up to me and tried to make me pull back out and wait to come in the entrance. I told him to fly a kite and went around him. When I got back after the house fire there was a reckless driving ticket on my windshield.

  • Sennxn Emergency TV says:

    Here in the UK, if you seen an unmarked vehicle it could be anything! It could be fire and rescue, ambulance, police, secret intelligence or royalty protection vehicles. Or even government vehicles

  • Blue lights are illegal on any non-police or LE vehicle. Period. Red is only legal on AUTHORIZED fire / EMS vehicles. White and yellow are legal as construction / wrecker vehicles use them.

  • Guys, it's 2019. This video was uploaded in 2015. This issue was amended in 2018.
    Stop whining. It's a fixed issue.
    Pennsylvania Title 75, Chapter 45, Subchapter D, Section 4572, Sub-Section 7 permits this.

  • If I went down south and I saw blue lights I would just think its municipal/highway vehicles. In Ontario, Canada that's what road maintenance vehicles use.

  • There is always issues between police and fire fighters. Cops don’t want anyone to encroach on their authority. It is ridiculous. Fire fighters are trying to save lives and need to get there ASAP.

  • PaintballGaming says:

    If they’re so worried about people with blue lights looking like police officers why don’t they just make them all red lights

  • GLADIATOR GAMING INFO says:

    They should fix the problem simply by letting volunteers have green and white lights instead of red and blue on their cars

  • Okay most if not all "undercover police cars, don't even have lights. There thinking of unmarked. And even still. Most unmarked police cars use red&blue lights.

  • Austin Mellott says:

    1:45 my God psp what the difference if it's red light still gotta get out of the way any how how would you impersonate a cop

  • Lol don’t go to central pa then. Almost all volunteer firefighters use blue lights on or in the vehicle and both

  • Volunteers pay for their own lights. Placing them inside makes it difficult to steal and the weather doesnt affect them. Grow up. You dont like the lights then you fight the fire.

  • Robert Clolery says:

    When they issue a warning , the should pull the fuse and impound the car the next time they are caught.

  • Robert Justus says:

    Come on down to Texas folks. I have room in our department and we can run red/blue. Get out of those ridiculous states.

  • The Cops just cant stand it that anyone who is not a cop, looks like a cop. They are all so insecure give them a donut

  • At least in NY, the Chiefs' vehicles are considered a department vehicle regardless of whether the department actually bought or owns it

  • I hope they changed this stupid law. Thank you to all Firefighters who put their lives on the line all the time!!

  • These laws have been around for over 50 years. In most States. And for cheap or anyone else that doesn't know this is a moron. Your poor excuse of I did not know or why can't I, makes you even a bigger moron. I'll bet anything you knew. but you thought you could get away with it.

  • I'm a firefighter and I think god my state allows us to have red lights but when are we going to talk about the police breaking the law every day by violating citizens rights?

  • what so cops think they can own in cab lights, thats ridiculous why should police be the only ones allowed them

  • I'm not getting into the whole personal vehicle whacker light debate. This has to be the most asinine thing I've heard has been made into an issue.

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