State lawmakers, Detroit firefighters' union discuss 'no lights, no sirens' policy

Posted at 5:44 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 18:36:17-04

Some state lawmakers say a new 911 policy is slowing down emergency response times.

They joined members of the firefighters' union to discuss concerns over a “no lights, no sirens” policy for some calls.

“(These are) code changes that put our residents in harms way," said State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo. "As citizens of this city, we are pushing back against that.”

Fire trucks will now respond to calls depending on a code system. What is considered a non-emergency call will be answered without lights and sirens.

Detroit firefighters respond to about 4,000 calls a month.

Eric Jones, Detroit Fire Commissioner, says the policy increases safety by reducing the potential of traffic collisions during emergency runs.

Last year there were 17 accidents. For some state lawmakers, they are concerned about the residents.

“How does the public identify that there is a true emergency? Lights and sirens,” Garrett said.

Jones says other major cities have gone to this policy including Miami, St. Louis, Phoenix and Boston.  

The union president for Detroit firefighters accuses the city of changing the policy to manipulate response time statistics.

Detroit Fire Fighters Association President Mike Nevin says the solution isn’t incident response changes, rather more EMS and fire rigs on the streets.

“What the city is doing now is using the code system and they are moving it into fire to hide emergencies because we can’t crack the national standard with a water run fire in four minutes,” Nevin said.

The city says the president of the Detroit firefighters' union is providing false and misleading information.

Commissioner Jones has responded with a three-page bulletin.

In the meantime, Nevin says they plan on suing to reverse the policy.

View the Incident Response Policy bulletin sent to all Detroit Fire Department personnel below: 

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