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Thread: Questions related to Driving Apparatus in PA

  1. #1
    Forum Member IMFD62's Avatar
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    Default Questions related to Driving Apparatus in PA

    I can not find the state laws online regarding driving the trucks, what certifications are needed, etc.

    Is there any law stating what the minumum requiments are for driving fire apparatus in PA, and are their any insurance liability issues that can come from not having the cer4tifications on file with your station?
    Last edited by IMFD62; 06-11-2012 at 06:37 PM.


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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IMFD62 View Post
    I can not find the state laws online regarding driving the trucks, what certifications are needed, etc.

    Is there any law stating what the minumum requiments are for driving fire apparatus in PA, and are their any insurance liability issues that can come from not having the cer4tifications on file with your station?
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has no requirements whatsoever other than you have to be 18 years of age. There are no requirements to have prior training of any kind- No EVOC, no nothing. HOWEVER- most liability insurance companies that cover fire companies require drivers to be 21 years of age minimum. And certainly there could be added liability should a driver get into an accident without training, any good lawyer can tell you this. Ask Jeff M, he should be able to tell you what kinds of training someone should have to operate fire apparatus.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 06-11-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has no requirements whatsoever other than you have to be 18 years of age. There are no requirements to have prior training of any kind- No EVOC, no nothing. HOWEVER- most liability insurance companies that cover fire companies require drivers to be 21 years of age minimum. And certainly there could be added liability should a driver get into an accident without training, any good lawyer can tell you this. Ask Jeff M, he should be able to tell you what kinds of training someone should have to operate fire apparatus.
    Buff is correct, each department has their own set of requirements. The dept I am with, requires 8 hours of driver training, with a experienced operator and our chief/asst chief takes you on a road test to "qualify" you. EVOC is also required before you become qualified. Some depts may require you to obtain a CDL, I know the few paid depts in my area require it. I took pumps I, along with the 8 hours of mandatory pump training on our engine before I became qualified, and I plan to complete the Driver/operator national certification. Obviously, the D/O cert might be considered a little overboard, but if you want to not get raped by a lawyer in the event of an accident, or pump cavitation, or what have you, if you have the training to back up what you did, will make things a lot easier.

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    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    If you want to get picky, fire trucks are not exempt in any way from standard DOT / DMV laws in PA unless they are responding to an incident. If the vehicle is registered to where the driver must have a CDL, then by law, they should have a CDL. I have never heard of it being pushed, but there is no legal loophole for you to go through unless responding to an emergency.

    That being said, do I have a CSL, no. Do I think that you should have a CDL to drive apparatus, I am leaning more to this and am in the process of getting the CDL. We have made a policy that the department will pay for the CDL as we are driving trucks that carry non-baffled water tanks, have air brakes, are physically larger than anything else they would ever drive. The tricky part is that I can drive a tri-axle dump truck for the farmer without a CDL as farm vehicles are exempt other than they should be able to pass a DOT inspection and are only to be operated during daylight hours.

    We require the driver to be 21, have EVOC, have seat time, get signed off by 2 of the 3 chiefs and have pumps I to run the truck to a call.

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    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    [soapbox]
    I'm not in PA (NY), but...

    I'd like to see a "CDL-F," equal in all respects to a CDL-B, except that it would be restricted to fire apparatus.

    Why not just go CDL-B? Part of the "plan" would be that the license would be free, or at worst, equivalent to the cost of maintaining a regular Class D (normal driver's) license.

    Classroom training for the initial rush of licensing could be done nights and weekends, with each department responsible for hands-on training. Once things settle down, regular classes could still be held to capture new members.

    The classroom training could also include EVOC.

    Let's get the DMV testers out for the occasional weekend, and in varied locations, where departments could bring their own apparatus (or share a neighbor's).

    If an individual wants to convert their CDL-F to a regular CDL-B, they would be responsible for doing so on their own. Since the CDL-F would be equivalent in all respects to a CDL-B, it would be a matter of a new license and some money changing hands.

    The "free" license would mean that small/financially challenged departments would be able to get their folks licensed at a fraction of the cost. And financially challenged or not, it would mean that more FD drivers would be trained/certified at a higher level than what their VW requires...

    Just a thought.
    Bikefire and johnsb like this.
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    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Cant give you the title and section off the top of my head but in pa firefighters are exempt from CDL requirements. All that is required is a signed certification from the fire chief, no requirement for evoc or age those are either department policy or insurance company rules. Here is CDL fact sheet from PennDOT dated Nov 2011: http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms...ets/fs-cdl.pdf

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    Title 75, PA Vehicle Code, Chapter 15, Section 1504 (d)...

    ii) Any firefighter who is the holder of a Class C license and who has a certificate of authorization from his fire chief shall be
    authorized to operate any fire or emergency vehicle registered to the fire department or municipality, regardless of the other requirements of this section as to the class of license required. No fire chief, fire department, including any volunteer fire company, or municipality shall be liable for any civil damages as a result of the issuance of a certificate authorized under this paragraph unless such act constituted a crime, actual fraud, actual malice or willful misconduct.
    (iii) Any member of a rescue or emergency squad who is the holder of a Class C license and who has a certificate of authorization from the head of the rescue or emergency squad shall be authorized to operate any rescue or emergency vehicle equipped with audible and visual signals registered to the rescue or emergency squad or municipality, regardless of the other requirements of this section as to the class of license required. No head of a rescue or emergency squad, the rescue or emergency squad or municipality shall be liable for any civil damages as a result of the issuance of a certificate of authorization under this paragraph unless such issuance constituted a crime, actual fraud, actual malice or willful misconduct.

    That said, check with your insurance carrier as to THEIR requirements for your drivers.

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    HuntPA: You are not correct in your assessment of requirements for drivers in nonemergency conditions. The law as described by xchief23 does not differentiate between emergency and non-emergency operation. Perhaps you were confused by the problem in New York several years ago when the law had to be amended to cover returning from calls. The Federal Govt. invests the issuance of licences to the states, so the effect of the federal CDL requirements are superceeded by the state law.

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    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    I apologize. I must have been misinformed on the requirement. I will have to check when this was ammended or if it has always been that way. There are several around here that have always had that view.

    Thank you xchief for showing the actual word of law.

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    HuntPA,

    Also found in title 75 (PA motor vehicle code):

    1606. Requirement for commercial driver's license.
    * * *
    (b) Exemptions.)The following persons are not required to obtain a commercial driver's license
    in order to drive the commercial motor vehicle specified:
    * * *
    (3) A person who is a volunteer or paid firefighter with a Class C license and who has a
    certificate of authorization from his fire chief while operating a fire or emergency vehicle
    registered to the fire department or municipality.
    (4) Any member of a rescue or emergency squad who is the holder of a Class C license
    and who has a certificate of authorization from the head of the rescue or emergency squad
    while operating any rescue or emergency vehicle equipped with audible and visual signals
    registered to the rescue or emergency squad or municipality.

    Firefighters have ALWAYS been exempted from the CDL law in PA provided that they are only operating a vehicle registered to the fire department or local government. A few other pointers are it only applies in PA and you need a written authorization from the fire chief saying which vehicles you are allowed to operate.

    Here is a link for the 2010 copy of PA Laws Relating to Emergency Services
    Last edited by thumper57; 09-01-2012 at 03:34 PM. Reason: added link

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