I was at a wedding this weekend and came across a gentleman that I had met as a kid. We caught up with one another’s lives. Doing so, we got on the subject of firefighting and a growing problem he is having at work. He notified/warned me of the new trend he is dealing with in the city of San Antonio, Texas. Gang members are stealing emergency vehicles to move up in the ranks in gangs and gain respect from senior gang members.
He elaborated on how it is becoming a part of these gangs hazing and ranks that they have to steal an ambulance, fire truck or cop car and drive off with it. They are actually calling in fake emergencies to get responders in their vehicles to respond to a fake emergency. They stage it and when the opportunity is right and the cop or paramedics are away from the vehicle searching, they jump in it and take off. They will also follow emergency vehicles responding to real emergencies and look for an opportunity there.
The city of San Antonio has every emergency vehicle equipped with GPS tracking. Taking them an average of ten minutes to search and get the vehicle back. The problem is, for us in rural areas, volunteer or paid, we are not fortunate to have our vehicles funded to be equipped with GPS systems. Not even the county Sheriff vehicles!
He went in depth on how the norms and trends of gangs always start in the city but will always continue to reach the rural areas and the smaller gang units. Creating a huge concern for us. So I urge you to keep this in mind especially on volunteer fire departments when you’re on a scene with limited responders; we are always leaving the fire truck on the street, running!
Stay safe out there and always remember the possibility of someone looking to steal your rig.
Here is some links to news articles of emergency vehicles being stolen and not just from gang members.