Safety 101 - Lesson 21

Training must involve not only how to operate the components of the vehicle, but to know the physical characteristics of the vehicle.For many departments, the arrival of a new piece of fire apparatus is a time of celebration, a time to transfer equipment...

A 2002 low profile engine was originally housed at one company's Station 2. With the arrival of the larger engine in 2004, it was housed at Station 2, with the low profile engine deployed to Station 1. Drivers at Station 2 now had to become acquainted with a vehicle that was more than 2 feet higher, and with a larger tank, at least 2,500 pounds heavier than the lower profile engine. The newer, larger vehicle had different handling and maneuvering characteristics as a result of the different design. Only a training session will enable the operators to better understand the vehicle.

Additionally, most new vehicles will be bigger and the ability to see the rear and sides by using mirrors places new driving demands upon the operator. Cameras have become commonplace on larger vehicles to see to the left side and rear, and spotters to the rear should ALWAYS be used.

As these issues of vehicle operation, limitations, and performance are made known and "learned", it becomes important to integrate them into routine operating practices by incorporating the information in standard operating guidelines.

It doesn't matter whether it is a pumper, aerial, tanker, or ambulance; the same issues apply. If you don't know the operational and handling features of a vehicle, an accident can result. Involve your sales engineers from the manufacturers in this educational process and remember - a new truck means learning to drive all over again!

Lesson #21

The arrival of a new vehicle means learning to drive all over again.

Safety 101 - A new series from the technical and administrative perspective, designed to help you reduce emergency responder injuries, illnesses, property loss and death!

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DR. WILLIAM F. JENEWAY, CSP, CFO, CFPS, a Contributing Editor, is Executive Vice President of VFIS and has over 30 years experience in safety and risk management in the insurance industry. He was named "Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year" as Chief of the King of Prussia, PA, Volunteer Fire Company, and is the author the text Emergency Service Risk Management. He has partipated the NVFC Corner podcasts on To read William's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here.