Tillering Techniques, a class taught by Seattle (WA) Fire Department’s Lieutenant Steve Crothers, covered the principles, concepts and dynamics of driving and tillering a tractor-drawn aerial. It is intended for anyone desiring to enhance their skill levels as driver/tiller operators. “This training is intended to foster a positive learning environment and to encourage success,” says Crothers. “A skilled tiller operator and driver are essential to an effective fire response. To bring your firefighters to that high skilled level is no easy task and can be a significant challenge.”
At the beginning to the class, Crothers told his students that, “The skills you develop during this course will prepare you to overcome the common pitfalls that tractor-drawn aerial operators encounter.” To that end, the class included dynamic video examples that provided students with unique perspectives that illustrated the superior and substandard tractor-drawn aerial fundamentals. The video had never been seen publicly, but will be released to the fire service soon.
Regarding the class, Crothers says that although several of the concepts introduced in the curriculum appear simple, they can be quite challenging to master. Most importantly, Crothers asserts that learning on the job should not be how tillermen learn how to operate these types of apparatus. “The tractor drawn aerial is an extremely unique piece of apparatus that requires formal training” he says. “The days of “On the Job Training” (OJT) should be the way of the past.”