KCFD changes red light policy following Westport crash

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 4:10 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - One of the first orders of business for KCFD Interim Fire Chief Ross Grundyson was a new directive that immediately changed requirements when responding to emergencies.

Just two weeks after taking the interim job, Grundyson sent a directive to all personnel mandating all KCFD vehicle operators on an emergency response make a complete stop when they -- among other things -- are at red traffic lights, at stop signs, at blind intersections, or when intersection hazards are present.

The directive goes on to say the use of lights, sirens, and air horns does not automatically give the right of way to emergency vehicles and that KCFD operators must drive defensively, to be prepared for the unexpected or inappropriate actions of others.

The interim chief goes on to order that emergency vehicles “shall not exceed the posted speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour. At no time shall an emergency vehicle exceed the posted speed limit in a school zone during the time the reduced speed limit applies.”

The directive states that KCFD is committed to providing the safest work environment for its employees and citizens.

These changes came more than a year after a fire truck crashed into a SUV in Westport killed three people.

Investigators determined the driver of the pumper, Dominic Biscari, ran a red light and was speeding when the truck entered the intersection of Westport Road and Broadway. He was charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the case. Biscari entered an Alford plea, meaning he maintains his innocence but believes the prosecution’s evidence against him would likely result in a guilty verdict.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 18,775 collisions that involved fire department vehicles responding to or returning from incidents in 2021.

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