Drill of the Week: Backing Up Apparatus

By Forest Reeder

This very basic drill has been pushed to the forefront of our awareness recently as a result of civilians and firefighters being struck and injured and killed by apparatus backing up. The use of spotters is part of NFPA 1451, Standard for a Fire Service Vehicle Operator Training Program, and is a best practice for all fire departments to follow.

Before any apparatus or vehicle operator places the unit into reverse, a spotter must be correctly positioned, identified, and eye contact be made between the driver and the spotter. Multiple spotters may be required in certain areas and all members performing spotting duties should be aware of traffic hazards in the backing area and never position themselves between any object and the backing apparatus. Spotters should never ride the tailboard while spotting and back-up cameras should be used to assist in backing but not as a replacement for a spotter. Review your department’s SOG as part of this training and complete a hands-on drill with your apparatus to practice these positions and duties.

Download this week’s firefighter training drill as a PDF HERE.


Forest Reeder began his fire service career in 1979. He currently serves as Battalion Chief / Director of Training & Safety with the Pleasantview (IL) Fire Protection District (www.plvw.org) and is the Director of Training for Southwest United Fire Districts (www.sufd.org). In these capacities, he is responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of in-service training activities as well as a full-service fire training academy program. Forest holds numerous Illinois fire service certifications and holds a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.


No posts to display