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  1. #1
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    Default explorers and apparatus driving

    the question came up last night at our dept. drill/meeting, "should explorers be allowed to drive apparatus?" the apparatus in question was a Polaris Ranger. Does anyone have any Dept SOGs regarding this, or is there some sort of law governing this? looking for any assistance. thanks in advance!


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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mspradio2215 View Post
    the question came up last night at our dept. drill/meeting, "should explorers be allowed to drive apparatus?" the apparatus in question was a Polaris Ranger. Does anyone have any Dept SOGs regarding this, or is there some sort of law governing this? looking for any assistance. thanks in advance!
    When I was a Junior I wasn't allowed to drive anything. Plain and simple.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Thanks, I'm hoping for more replies on this subject. Our dept. is looking at it from a liability standpoint. Nothing against the explorer program, they are a great assest at the right time/place.

  4. #4
    Forum Member t0asty's Avatar
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    The only time I have been sitting in the drivers seat of any apparatus is when I was learning how to use the Power Take Off (PTO), and during the annual fire department open house. Personally I would not allow explorers to drive. To big of a liability. If you did I personally would require a minimum age of 19 and that they have been driving for 3 years and have an utterly clean driving record. (I would not even allow someone with a different to drive).

    I know the private EMS company that I am applying for "requires" you to be 21 to apply because the employees will be required to drive. In talking to them they can make exceptions depending of the driving record.

    To note I am 19 years old. (ok ok I'm 18 and 363 days old but by the time some of you read this I will be 19). I don't think many teens my age are able to handle driving. I personally don't know if I can yet. If I can't I will quit till I can handle my situation.

    So again. I say don't risk having explorers drive. Even if they drive for some other place they don't drive for you.
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    It's not the brightest thing to come into a topic and try to provoke a bunch of guys/gals with more time on the firehouse crapper than you do in the firehouse.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    No. Explorers have no place driving apparatus.
    Career Firefighter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    it looks fairly easy to see where this is going. I've been checking some explorer web sites, and so far have not found one that talks about driving any apparatus. If anyone has any official policy in writing, I'd appriciate a copy. thanks!

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I don't consider things like a john deere gator or a polaris ranger to be "Apparatus". Those are tools.

    I don't have a problem with a licensed explorer/junior driving a small apparatus (SUV or car) in a non-emergency mode for non-emergency things. There is nothing any different about that than driving from home to the station. We don't allow it anyway but if it were up to, I would allow it. Explorers/juniors should not be a substitute for adult drivers at calls and they obviously should not be driving large apparatus except for training, which is completely prohibited by state law here anyway.

    As far as Gators and Rangers, again if it were up to me, I would allow them to drive them. It is a tool, not an apparatus, not a car or truck. They're probably safer than the lawn mower.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  8. #8
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    Negative.....
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  9. #9
    Forum Member tbonetrexler's Avatar
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    What does your insurance company say? If they require a certain age to drive, then adhere to that age limit.

    Personally, my volunteer department's insurance company requires a driver to be 21 years old, but the two fire companies i work part time for only require an age of 18. I have been driving ambulances since i was 18 (im 20 now).
    Do a little dance, make a little rum, Italian Ice! Italian Ice!

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  10. #10
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    I don't think your department or city's vehicle insurance is going to have anything to do with it. These are not vehicles. They are power tools with seats.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  11. #11
    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    I don't think your department or city's vehicle insurance is going to have anything to do with it. These are not vehicles. They are power tools with seats.
    I think the OP used the wrong title and many, including myself, figured he meant the BRT. Probably why most are going off on such a tangent.
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 11-21-2008 at 04:51 PM.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    We also had another bit of info thrown in by our chief deputy from the Sheriff's Office. He is also a FF/Arson Investigator for our dept. Our state DNR(Minn) requires anyone 17 and under to wear a DOT approved helmet when using an ATV.

    It was asked if that still applies with built in roll protection. The answer was "absolutely". Both of our ATVs have water tanks attached for brush fire calls.

    Our explorers do not respond to calls, as they do not have pagers or radios. They come up to the station on their own, and are given a useful task, whatever the case may be.

    I want to again thank everyone for their input.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Juniors/Explorers should not be allowed to operate ANYYYYYYTHING even remotely associated with being a vehicle or a power tool. Period.

    Hell, while we're on the subject, Juniors/Explorers should not be allowed to:

    -Respond after 11pm or before 6am on "school nights."

    -Be able to carry a pager in school

    -Respond from school to an incident, no matter the urgency

    -Respond using any sort of blue, red, green, magenta, purple with yellow polka dots, amber lights or sirens.

    -Respond if their grade point average falls below 3.0 or a C- average

    -Operate anywhere near "hot" zones

    I'm all for Juniors/Explorers responding on apparatus to incidents as long as no senior firefighters are present to fill available seating. When I was a junior, there were many a time when I was the "hydrant catcher."

    Upon arrival at an incident, Juniors/Explorers should remain within the cold zone, assisting drivers with making hook-ups, replacing air bottles, shuttling tools, cleaning tools, cleaning air packs, or otherwise assisting with non hot-zone operations.

    When I was a Junior many, many moons ago, I was able to do a hell of a lot more than I should have been able to. Does that make it right? No. Too many Juniors are dying these days, for stupid reasons, and reasons which were preventable.

    Thats my story and I am sticking to it.
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  14. #14
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    I don't think Explorers should be driving anything.

    Also, you should check with whoever is in charge of your local learning for life program. I believe the boy scouts have very specific rules as to what explorers can and cannot do. If you truly have an explorer post chartered with the BSA you need to be following their rules since you are covered by their insurance.
    Last edited by Lump532; 11-21-2008 at 08:29 PM.

  15. #15
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Our Explorers are allowed to use any of the power tools (gas, electric, air, hydro, etc) for supervised training but not for incidents. I feel this is perfectly acceptable and I would challenge any of you to come up with a good reason why not. "They might get hurt" is not a good reason. That is a lame excuse that lacks any actual thought. They might get hurt tripping over the door jamb at school, which is far more likely then them getting hurt during supervised training with a hurst tool on a car in the parking lot. And BTW, the state dept of labor, osha, and several other agencies and industry groups have ruled this is allowed and it is in writing.

    As far as our Gator goes, it hasn't been discussed specifically. As far as I'm concerned, it is a power tool and they can use it for training.

    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    I think the OP used the wrong title and many, including myself, figured he meant the BRT. Probably why most are going off on such a tangent.
    I think you're probably right. For the benefit of other people here who are not grasping this...

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT DRIVING FIRE TRUCKS
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    I think you're probably right. For the benefit of other people here who are not grasping this...

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT DRIVING FIRE TRUCKS
    Gee, thanks.

    Anyway, After doing some google searches I think your all set from a liability standpoint. Learning for life's guidelines state explorers are allowed to use power tools under supervision. There are also guidelines listed that allow for explorers to drive motor vehicles. Either way you look at it you should be covered legally.

    Here is the link

    It looks like its just a matter of whether or not your department wants to let them. Good luck with that, we all know how much fun dealing with fire service personalities is!

  17. #17
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    Default aparatus

    you could always allow them to drive based on whether or not the chief thinks their ready, Theres guys in my department that are 58 that shouldn't be driving, theres also a kid whos 20 who is one of the best drivers we have, (minimum is 21 except in a case by case basis if the chief thinks their ready.)

    I don't see any problem driving an ATV as long as they have a driver license of some sort, where i live we have rescue snowmobiles and pretty much anyone can drive them, unless the run over the PT laying on the ground theres not to much that they can damage other than themselves

  18. #18
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    This my friends is an example of an EXCELLENT post by Brother FWDbuff.

    Honestly, most of you need to look at what you have explorers for. Are they there to learn and experience firefighting? OR are you simply lieing to yourself and using them to augment inadequate adult staffing?

    The intent of these programs is EDUCATION, not augmentation of your staffing. Placing these youth in harms way is not the intent.

    To answer the original poster. NO, explorers should not be driving any FD vehicle...EVER. And saying a Polaris Ranger is a tool and not a vehicle is silly beyond all belief. Do you ride on it? Is it powered? Golly sounds like a vehicle to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Juniors/Explorers should not be allowed to operate ANYYYYYYTHING even remotely associated with being a vehicle or a power tool. Period.

    Hell, while we're on the subject, Juniors/Explorers should not be allowed to:

    -Respond after 11pm or before 6am on "school nights."

    -Be able to carry a pager in school

    -Respond from school to an incident, no matter the urgency

    -Respond using any sort of blue, red, green, magenta, purple with yellow polka dots, amber lights or sirens.

    -Respond if their grade point average falls below 3.0 or a C- average

    -Operate anywhere near "hot" zones

    I'm all for Juniors/Explorers responding on apparatus to incidents as long as no senior firefighters are present to fill available seating. When I was a junior, there were many a time when I was the "hydrant catcher."

    Upon arrival at an incident, Juniors/Explorers should remain within the cold zone, assisting drivers with making hook-ups, replacing air bottles, shuttling tools, cleaning tools, cleaning air packs, or otherwise assisting with non hot-zone operations.

    When I was a Junior many, many moons ago, I was able to do a hell of a lot more than I should have been able to. Does that make it right? No. Too many Juniors are dying these days, for stupid reasons, and reasons which were preventable.

    Thats my story and I am sticking to it.

  19. #19
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    I think that the insurance company of that department or squad needs to be called and look at the company that covers the “tool”, “equipment”, “apparatus”, or how anyone wants to put it. The reason I’m saying this is that every policy is different.

    In your eyes is there a difference between a full member and a junior member more than age? Well how dose the insurance company look at it?

    Mspradio2215…
    When it comes down to it look at it this way; insurance, insurance, and then your gut feeling.


    *** IMO ***
    If you hold any certifications in any way or belong to a fire department / rescue squad then you should have an umbrella policy that you pay for and hold. I know this sounds way to harsh but when you get 12 people in a room that don’t understand all the laws god only knows what can happen. By you holding a certification you become liable no matter where you are.

    This even goes down to the one for CPR. If it’s a nice day and you walk by someone in the park that looks like there “sleeping” and don’t check for a pulse, a good air way, and that there mentally there and keep going then you could be liable to the important 12 people on the right side of the court room.

  20. #20
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    And saying a Polaris Ranger is a tool and not a vehicle is silly beyond all belief. Do you ride on it? Is it powered? Golly sounds like a vehicle to me.
    Right. So I guess they shouldn't be allowed to mow the lawn when they go home since driving the lawn mower is too dangerous.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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