More volunteers could use emergency lights

Volunteer members of search and rescue teams would be allowed to equip their private vehicles with emergency lights under legislation approved Tuesday by the House.

House Bill 4642, sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom, adds search and rescue teams to the definition of emergency responders authorized to use flashing lights while on a response call.

“Search and rescue volunteers play a vital role in assisting firefighters and police and sometimes are among the first to arrive on the scene of an emergency,” said McBroom, R-Vulcan. “Equipping their vehicles with emergency lights will make our roads and communities safer, support better response times and potentially help more lives to be saved.”

The current Motor Vehicle Code authorizes emergency lights to be used on fire department vehicles, police vehicles, ambulances, privately owned vehicles of volunteer or paid firefighters and privately owned vehicles of volunteer or paid members of a licensed life support agency.

Delta County Search and Rescue members in Escanaba brought the omission of their organization from the list to McBroom’s attention for the possibility of making the change. The measure will specifically help volunteers on water and ice rescue teams.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.