Port aux Basques hopes to implement green flashing lights system
Courtesy lights may become standard equipment for volunteer firefighters
Drivers across the province may see a new kind of emergency light flashing in their rear view mirror.
Green flashing lights, also known as courtesy lights, are used by volunteer firefighters responding to urgent situations in their private vehicles. The new system is designed to warn other drivers to pull over and make way. Similar courtesy lights are used in Quebec and Alberta.
Courtesy lights moved one step closer to becoming legislation when 92 per cent of municipal leaders gathered at the Municipalities N.L. convention Oct. 3-6, voted to turn it into a resolution. Currently the province’s traffic act prohibits any use of courtesy lights for volunteer firefighters.
Pasadena Councillor Derek Anthony, who introduced the motion, noted that there is no offence associated with ignoring this light, as moving over is an act of courtesy and it doesn’t require any changes to traffic legislation.
Port aux Basques Fire Chief Jerry Musseau said although his department hasn’t discussed it, they will most likely embrace the new system.
He thinks it may effectively speed up his members’ response time. “Hopefully when residents see a green light, they know it’s an emergency responder trying to get to an emergency,” Musseau commented. “I think it will help them to respond a little bit faster, yes.”
Musseau notes that a provincewide public awareness campaign would have to be implemented to make divers aware they should pull over to the shoulder of the road or highway, just as they would for red flashing lights. “When 911 went into service we had to have a public education blitz right across the province,” Musseau stated. “That will have to happen if firefighters are approved for getting green lights.”
The move toward courtesy lights is not new, according to Musseau.
“It’s been pushed in the province for years,” he said. “I think it’s getting closer then it ever was.”
Burnt Islands Fire Chief Blaine Hodder says his department hasn’t discussed it yet and is taking a wait and see approach.
“It’s all going to come back to affordability, what it’s going to cost to get this stuff changed,” Hodder said. “We need to wait to see what the legislation is going to be, what the deal is going to be, what we’re allowed to use it for.”
The resolution will now move up to the provincial department of Transportation and Work’s consideration for inclusion into the Highway Traffic Act.
Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Jerry Musseau.