Received a question which I was able to initially address during the webcast. The discussion here regards NFPA's definition of Operations- and Technician-level vehicle rescue competencies.

Question: "Here in Virginia the Ops level is all passanger vehicle extrication (all four, side, and roof) and Technician is Heavy Vehicle. Is this a violation? and do you think that operations level only being on all fours to little for that level?"

My Reply:
I like the idea of cars being Operations-level and large vehicles being Technician-level but that's not exactly how it is within the NFPA document. There also is a difference in skill level when working a car resting on all four tires on a level surface compared to working one on its' side or its' roof. These positions are more difficult and more challenging.

NFPA 1670 Standard is where the Ops- and Technician-level competency definitions came from that I addressed in the webcast. Chapter 8 refers to "advanced stabilization of unusual" vehicle situations within the Technician-level competency section. The Appendix of Chapter 8 goes on to explain that "unusual" situations include a car on its' side, a car on its' roof, or a car on a car; all Technician-level competencies.

To simplify things in the hands-on programs that I conduct, I simply say Ops-level = car on it's wheels; Tech-level = side-resting, roof-resting, or car-on-car. Anything with a big vehicle or a piece of machinery is Tech-level also.

I understand and support the State of Virginia's system of car = Ops and big vehicle = Tech but am aware of the fact that it isn't exactly that way in the National standard. You're not in 'violation' of anything; you're just calling specific tasks and evolutions something different than the National Standard.

Yes, I do question whether the NFPA system should be more 'cars are Ops' and 'big things are Technician' but we'd have to wait until the next 5-year revision cycle to get anything changed if that were to happen.