Roundtable: Apparatus Driver Training Program

By John “Skip” Coleman

Last month’s question dealt with sprinkler and fire alarm systems and whether you allow your firefighters to reset the systems or replace sprinkler heads that have been activated. But the crux of the question dealt with legal aspects of this issue. Last month’s article deal with the concern of firefighters being allowed to complete tasks that they were (in most cases) not adequately trained to do. Most states require certification to legally replace sprinkler heads or reset fire alarm systems.

Let’s look at another topic that can cause huge legal concerns–driving fire apparatus. As Billy Goldfeder reminds us, firefighters are frequently involved in accidents while operating fire department apparatus. Often these accidents result in serious injury and death to both firefighters and civilians. 

There are certified and/or accepted courses designed to properly train firefighters in the driving of fire apparatus. The use of these courses by certified instructors can reduce the frequency and severity of accidents and reduce the subsequent legal liability to the driver, officer, department, and municipality. That brings me to this month’s question: Does your fire department have a certified/accepted driver training program?

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Skip Coleman: Firefighting RoundtableJohn “Skip” Coleman retired as assistant chief from the Toledo (OH) Department of Fire and Rescue. He is a technical editor of Fire Engineering. Fire Engineering; a member of the FDIC Educational Advisory Board; and author of Incident Management for the Street-Smart Fire Officer (Fire Engineering, 1997), Managing Major Fires (Fire Engineering, 2000), Incident Management for the Street-Smart Fire Officer, Second Edition (Fire Engineering, 2008) and Searching Smarter (Fire Engineering 2011) and 2011 recipient of the FDIC Tom Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award.

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