Q&A - Emergency Equipment for Volunteer Firefighters

Q&A ImageJust wondering what "discharge of a members duties" means? Also I'm wondering why BC doesn't have an emergency equipment policy for volunteer firefighters? There are quite a few volunteer halls here in Victoria that would benefit in response times if they could utilize flashing lights and possibly even sirens.

Langford, Colwood, View Royal just to name a few, are right smack dab in the middle of the "Colwood Crawl."

If anyone were stuck in the middle of it and trying to get to let's say the View Royal hall...They wouldn't have a chance to even get there in time. They would be stuck and their response time would probably be closer to 20 minutes vice the 6 in the truck they are required to meet.

Emergency Vehicles

In order to have and use emergency equipment a vehicle must meet the definition of an emergency vehicle. Vehicles driven by volunteer firefighters are included in this definition.

Emergency Equipment

Flashing lamps

4.28 (2) Red, white or amber flashing lamps may be used on the following vehicles:

(a) a fire department vehicle driven by a member of the fire department in the discharge of the member's duties;

(3) Only those vehicles described in subsection (2) may be equipped with a system which alternately flashes the headlamps of the vehicle.


7.02 (2)No vehicle shall be equipped with a siren, whistle or bell unless

(a) the vehicle is an emergency vehicle,

Discharge of Duties

When something is not defined in legislation, the common meaning is sufficient. In this case, discharge of duties would be attending to an emergency, travel to and from a building inspection, school talk about fire safety or anything else reasonably job related.

Government Policy

CVSE Compliance Circular 02/12 sets out one flashing red lamp and siren policy. While this clarifies use by Search & Rescue and Highway Rescue vehicles, it gives some idea how narrowly policy will be applied.


This is likely where volunteers will run into difficulty with their personal vehicles. In order to operate as an emergency vehicle you must insure as an emergency vehicle. Failing to do this would leave you open to significant liability if a collision were to occur.

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