Finding Qualified Technicians is Key to Apparatus Maintenance

Fire apparatus are sophisticated, complicated machinery and, generally, it's best to leave repairs and maintenance to trained professionals. Certified Emergency Vehicle Technicians (EVTs) can be found in privately owned shops and dealerships as well as...

Apparatus maintenance begins with the eyes, Shoup says noting that he always just looks at an apparatus to figure out what's wrong with it.

"You need to open up your eyes and look at lots of stuff," Shoup says. "You'll be able to fill up a whole notebook full of stuff if you look closely enough."

Next, it's important to take a test drive and notice more stuff that might require hands on inspection and diagnostics, he says.

Too often, Shoup says he encounters departments that have taken vehicles to truck shops not familiar with fire apparatus and end up not getting what they expect.

"They pay good money for bad work," he says. That's why he also feels it's important for departments to vet their service centers.

Shoup says even paying attention to little things like wiper blade condition and seat cushion bolstering make a difference in vehicle and firefighter performance.

"Wiper blades deteriorate even if they sit inside and don't get used much," he says. "And, seat cushions always break down because firefighters slide out of the seats."

Shoup has one bit of advice for all departments who seek to keep their apparatus in good repair and performing optimally: "You have to have someone in charge of it and make sure it gets done."