By Adam K. Thiel
I expect this story will generate a lot of discussion over the next few days.
My own experience(s) with running calls in both a lights-and-siren equipped POV as a volunteer deputy chief, and now as a career fire chief, have convinced me that no matter what we do to be visible, emergency response in a passenger vehicle (or any other vehicle, frankly) is an extremely hazardous activity that deserves a serious risk-benefit assessment every time.
When you look at the number of firefighter fatalities each year during POV responses, it seems clear that they deserve special attention by fire departments and individual responders.
If you respond POV, it's critical to understand your state laws (and their interpretation by state/local law enforcement officials), department SOPs, and perhaps most importantly, your personal liability for anything that might happen during a POV response.
The United States Fire Administration has a lot of great resources, and links, on its Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative website.