Fire Department Tanker Safety - Part IV

The need to develop an effective driver training program and to enforce fire department standard operating procedures and policies cannot be overstated.This is the fourth and final installment in our series on the safe operation of fire department tankers...


18. Do not respond at an emergency rate (Code 3) when no emergency is known to exist. Apparatus have been involved in collisions while responding with lights and sirens to perform a cover up at a neighboring station. This is not an emergency. As well, fourth or fifth due apparatus have been involved in crashes well after the initial apparatus arrived on the scene and found no fire or emergency condition. As soon as it is determined that no emergency exists, or that the initial arriving apparatus can handle the emergency, all other responding apparatus should be directed to reduce their response to a nonemergency rate.

19. Always have at least one firefighter accompany the driver of the tanker. The passenger can assist by operating warning devices, handling radio transmissions, and being a second set of eyes. The passenger should not hesitate to warn the driver when they feel that the tanker is being operated at an unsafe speed.

20. Practice driving the tanker in adverse road conditions. It is not reasonable to expect that a driver who has only been trained in daylight hours, on clear dry roads will be qualified to operate the vehicle safely at night on in adverse weather.

Conclusion

Following the twenty points listed above will certainly lead to a reduction of the hazards associated with operating fire department tankers. The need to develop an effective driver training program and to enforce fire department standard operating procedures and policies cannot be overstated. These actions will have a profoundly positive effect on the safe operation of tankers, and for that matter all emergency vehicles.

The information contained in this and the previous three articles is only a small portion of the overall information contained in the USFA Safe Operation of Fire Tankers report. Fire departments that operate tankers are strongly encouraged to go to the website cited earlier in this article and download a free copy of this report. This will be the first step towards improving the safety of the operation of tankers in your department.

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Michael Wieder, CFPS, MIFireE is the Assistant Director & Managing Editor for Fire Protection Publications(IFSTA) He can be contacted at MWieder@osufpp.org to answer any questions or comments you may have.