Flashing or Rotating Lights

Flashing Green Light in a Vehicle Operated by a Firefighter

As of April 1, 2021, the Flashing Green Light Regulation is in force in Québec. The Regulation allows firefighters who use their personal vehicles to install a courtesy light to make them more visible on the road in emergency situations. It follows the pilot project conducted by the Ministère de la Sécurité publique from 2015 to 2020.

Use of a Flashing Green Light

When called by a fire safety service, firefighters authorized to use a flashing green light may activate it when going to the fire station or the location of an intervention using their personal vehicle. The flashing green light helps other road users identify firefighters and encourages them to behave with courtesy. In addition, when it is safe to do so and when the situation so requires, firefighters who have activated this light are authorized to drive on the shoulder and stop their vehicle in any location as long as it does not compromise the safety of other road users.

Compliance with the Highway Safety Code

Personal vehicles equipped with a flashing green light are not considered emergency vehicles. At all times, firefighters must comply with the provisions of the Code, such as speed limits and traffic signs and signals. Otherwise, they will be subject to the applicable penalties.

Firefighters must have their certificate with them every time they activate the flashing green light. Certificates are associated with an individual. As such, a flashing green light may be activated in a vehicle that is not registered in the firefighter’s name. However, a firefighter must remain employed with the fire safety service to keep the certificate.

Firefighters who use a flashing green light outside of an emergency situation are liable to a fine of $200 to $300.

Authorization From the SAAQ

Firefighters may be authorized by the SAAQ to use a flashing green light only if they meet all the criteria set out in the Regulation.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. The municipal authority in charge of the fire safety service which employs the firefighter has adopted a resolution providing for the use of the flashing green light by firefighters of that service. Each authority is free to adopt a resolution regarding the matter. Firefighters should contact fire safety service managers to find out whether such a resolution exists or their municipality’s intentions.
  2. The firefighter has completed the training at the École nationale des pompiers du Québec (ENPQ) on the rules for the use of a flashing green light. The ENPQ, with the firefighter’s consent, will confirm to the SAAQ that the training has been successfully completed.
  3. In the 2 years preceding the application for authorization to use a flashing green light, the firefighter has not been the subject of a penalty under sections 180, 185 or 191.2 of the Code (chapter C-24.2). The SAAQ will carry out this verification; firefighters do not need to provide any documentation.
  4. In the 3 months preceding the application, the firefighter has obtained a favourable written recommendation from the municipal authority that employs the firefighter. This recommendation can be given only if the assessment of the firefighter’s employment record shows that the firefighter complies with the protocols and guidelines of the fire safety service.

Application for Authorization to Use of a Flashing Green Light or for the Renewal of This Authorization

If all eligibility criteria are met, the firefighter may file an application with the SAAQ to obtain a certificate of authorization.

After one year, the certificate can be renewed on the firefighter’s next birthday. Afterwards, applications for renewal should be made every 2 years. The SAAQ will send out a renewal notice.

Step 1 – Firefighter

  1. Fill out the “Coordonnées du pompier” section in the Demande d’autorisation pour l’utilisation d’un feu vert clignotant (PDF, 241 KB) form (in French only).
  2. Indicate whether it is a new application or an application for renewal by checking the appropriate box.
  3. Sign in the spaces indicated.
  4. Forward the form to the person in charge of your fire safety service.

Step 2 – Fire Safety Service

  1. Fill out the sections concerning you in the Demande d’autorisation pour l’utilisation d’un feu vert clignotant form that has been forwarded to you by the firefighter making the application for authorization or renewal.
  2. Sign in the spaces indicated.
  3. Fax the form to the SAAQ at 418-643-1262.

Documents to keep

While it is processing your application, the SAAQ could ask you for a copy of the recommendation letter and the municipality’s resolution. Make sure to have these documents on hand before submitting your form to the SAAQ.

Request to Cancel or Replace the Certificate

If the firefighter no longer works for the fire safety service or if the municipality no longer authorizes the use of a flashing green light, the firefighter must notify the SAAQ to have his or her certificate cancelled.

The SAAQ can also replace your certificate if it has been lost, stolen or damaged.

Step 1 – Firefighter

  1. Fill out the sections concerning you in the Demande d’annulation ou de remplacement du certificat d’autorisation pour l’utilisation d’un feu vert clignotant (PDF, 219 KB) form (in French only)
  2. Indicate whether you are requesting a cancellation or a replacement by checking the appropriate box.
  3. Sign in the spaces indicated.
  4. Forward the form to the person in charge of your fire safety service.
  5.  

Step 2 – Fire Safety Service

  1. Fill out the sections concerning you in the Demande d’annulation ou de remplacement du certificat d’autorisation pour l’utilisation d’un feu vert clignotant that has been forwarded to you by the firefighter requesting the cancellation or the replacement.
  2. Sign in the spaces indicated.
  3. Fax the form to the SAAQ at 418-643-1262.
  4.  

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information and to learn about the technical standards applicable to the purchase and installation of a flashing green light, see the frequently asked questions.

Terms of the regulation respecting flashing green lights

What are the rights granted to firefighters who receive a certificate of authorization from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) to use a flashing green light?

The flashing green light is a courtesy light. Firefighters who receive an emergency call from a fire safety service may activate a flashing green light when travelling to the fire station or to the location of the intervention. The flashing green light helps other road users identify firefighters travelling to an emergency situation and encourages them to behave with courtesy. In addition, when it is safe to do so and when the situation so requires, firefighters who have activated this light are authorized to drive on the shoulder and stop their vehicle in any location as long as it does not compromise the safety of other road users. Firefighters must act in a way that does not endanger the lives or safety of others. 

The flashing green light does not exempt firefighters from the provisions of the Highway Safety Code. They must obey all the rules, including speed limits and traffic signs and signals.

Are municipal authorities required to provide flashing green lights to their firefighters?

Municipal authorities are not required to provide flashing green lights to firefighters; they decide this matter.

What are the different steps for a municipality to authorize the firefighters of its fire safety service to use flashing green lights?

Once the municipality has adopted a resolution authorizing the use of flashing green lights by the firefighters of its fire safety service, each firefighter’s application must be analyzed individually. For this purpose, a manager could be assigned by the council to carry out the various verifications and sign the recommendation letters.

Does a resolution template exist?

No. The format and contents of resolutions are the responsibility of each municipal council and its clerk.

Who is required to cover the expenses related to the flashing green light (fees for the training at the École nationale des pompiers du Québec, purchase of equipment)?

The Québec regulation does make any provisions regarding the cost of training or the cost to purchase a flashing green light. The expenses related to the flashing green light may be covered in part or in whole by the municipal authority or the firefighter.

When a firefighter leaves a fire safety service, does the certificate of authorization remain valid?

No. The municipal authority must inform the SAAQ, which will then cancel the firefighter’s authorization.

When will firefighters receive the renewal notice for their certificate of authorization?

In the case of a first application, the certificate of authorization is valid for one year, plus the number of days until the firefighter’s next birthday.

For example, the certificate of a firefighter who obtained an authorization on December 1, 2021 and whose birthday is March 7 will be valid until March 7, 2023.

Subsequent authorizations will be issued every two years on the firefighter’s birthday, as long as the eligibility criteria are still met.

For each renewal, the form Demande d’autorisation pour l’utilisation d’un feu vert clignotant (available in French only) must be filled out.

Can all firefighters, regardless of employment status, use a flashing green light?

Yes, all firefighters may be authorized to use a flashing green light as long as they meet all the conditions listed below:

  1. The municipal authority in charge of the fire safety service at which the firefighter is employed has adopted a resolution providing for the use of the flashing green light by firefighters of that service.
  2. The firefighter has completed the training at the École nationale des pompiers du Québec on the rules for the use of a flashing green light.
  3. In the 2 years preceding the application for authorization to use a flashing green light, the firefighter has not been the subject of a sanction under sections 180, 185 or 191.2 of the Highway Safety Code (chapter C-24.2).
  4. In the 3 months preceding the application, the firefighter has obtained a favourable written recommendation from the municipal authority that employs the firefighter. This recommendation can be given only if the assessment of the firefighter’s employment record shows that the firefighter complies with the protocols and guidelines of the fire safety service.

What happens if a firefighter does not obey traffic rules?

Firefighters who do not obey the Highway Safety Code are subject to the same penalties applicable to other drivers.

Must firefighters switch off the flashing green light when driving through a municipality that has not authorized its use, even if driving on a road under provincial jurisdiction?

Québec laws and regulations apply throughout the province. A firefighter who meets the criteria set out in the Regulation, who is authorized by the SAAQ and complies with the applicable conditions may use a flashing green light everywhere in Québec when responding to an emergency call from a fire safety service. A municipality may deny the use of the flashing green light to its firefighters, but it cannot prohibit its use by other authorized firefighters on its territory.

What happens if a firefighter uses a flashing green light when not responding to an emergency?

The Highway Safety Code applies and the firefighter faces a fine (section 283.2).

Does a driver need to hold a Class 4A licence (emergency vehicle) to use a flashing green light?

No, a vehicle equipped with a flashing green light is not considered an emergency vehicle. The flashing green light is a courtesy light, and a valid licence of the appropriate class is sufficient for firefighters to activate a flashing green light in their personal vehicles when going to a fire station or the location of an intervention in an emergency situation.

Will road users be required to yield the right of way?

The flashing green light is meant to encourage courtesy. Thus, road users are not required to yield the right of way, but they can identify a firefighter when they see a vehicle equipped with a flashing green light behind them or at an intersection. This way, they can facilitate the firefighter’s travel.

What happens when a vehicle equipped with a flashing green light is used for a purpose other than responding to an emergency call from a fire safety service?

The light should be removed from the vehicle. If it remains in the vehicle, it must not be activated or plugged into an electrical power source (the light’s power cord must not be plugged into the outlet).

Could a person working as an industrial firefighter obtain an authorization from the SAAQ to use a flashing green light when responding to an emergency from his or her employer?

No. To be authorized to use a flashing green light, firefighters must be employed by a fire safety service established by a municipal authority and respond to an emergency call from a fire safety service.

When did the SAAQ begin issuing certificates of authorization to authorize firefighters to use flashing green lights?

Pursuant to the applicable regulation, the SAAQ has been issuing certificates of authorization as of April 1, 2021.

Purchase and installation of a flashing green light

Where must the flashing green light be installed?

The flashing green light must be installed:

  • so as to be detachable
  • inside the windshield, facing out
  • in an area covered by the motion of the windshield wipers
  • outside the windshield’s tinted area that lets in less than 70% of light
  • in a way that does not obstruct the driver’s view
  • in a way that does not interfere with driving manoeuvres
  • in a way that does not prevent the operation of safety devices; for example, the light must not impede the deployment of various airbags (which are often located in the pillars on each side of the windshield or on the passenger’s side)
  • in a manner that does not present a risk of injury in case of an accident

It is important to choose the right place to install the flashing green light and attach it securely.

Can more than one flashing light be installed in the vehicle’s cab or on another part of the vehicle (front grill)?

No. The vehicle must be equipped with a single green flashing light installed on the inside of the windshield. A flashing green light may not be installed anywhere else inside or outside the vehicle (front grill).

What type of flashing green light may be used?

Device

The device must meet either one of the following conditions:

  • be composed of one or more light emitting diode (LED) modules with a flash rate between 1 Hz and 4 Hz
  • comply with SAE Standard J845 (February 2019 version or later)
Light

The device must have the following characteristics:

  • it is equipped with a light shield that reduces the glare in the windshield
  • its maximum size, excluding the attachment system, must be 260 mm wide, 76 mm high and 185 mm deep
  • it can be unplugged from its power supply

Is it possible to use a flashing green light in a vehicle that is not registered in the firefighter’s name (spouse’s vehicle, for example)?

Yes, because the certificate of authorization issued by the SAAQ is associated with an individual, not a vehicle. However, firefighters must always have their certificate issued by the SAAQ with them when they respond to an emergency call while using a flashing green light.

If a firefighter changes vehicles, what conditions apply with regard to the use of a flashing green light?

There are no applicable conditions, because the certificate of authorization issued by the SAAQ is associated with an individual, not a vehicle. However, firefighters must always have their certificate of authorization with them when responding to an emergency call while using a flashing green light.

Does the use of a flashing green light affect the insurance of the firefighter’s vehicle, in the case of an accident for example?

Firefighters are responsible for checking with their vehicle’s insurer to see the impact that using a flashing green light could have on their insurance.

Training

Who administers the training on the use of flashing green lights?

The École nationale des pompiers du Québec (ENPQ) is responsible for developing and administering the training in partnership with Québec’s Ministère de la Sécurité publique, the SAAQ and the Ministère des Transports. Visit the ENPQ’s website to register.

Is the training offered by the École nationale des pompiers du Québec mandatory?

Yes, the training is a prerequisite for obtaining the certificate of authorization issued by the SAAQ.

What is the duration of the training?

The training lasts approximately 3 hours.

How is the training administered?

The training is offered through distance learning on the website of the École nationale des pompiers du Québec. At the end of the training, the institution will issue an attestation to participants. 

Last update: April  6, 2021