1. #1
    FirefighterReed
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post juniors as pump operators?

    How do you feel about a junior ff being the pump operator at a grass fire or a minor fire. Maybe even possibly a working fire? Just looking for feelings on this.

    ------------------
    Find em hot......Leave em wet...

    Fire Fighters job is never done

  2. #2
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Jr's as pump operators? Ha, let me stop laughing before I continue.
    As a Firefighter it is very important to have exactly what you need. There are factors that play into operating a pump, more that driving and chocking the wheels. Engineers are usually on a dept 3-7 years before they are promoted to Engineer. In a VFD where the calls are not very many you need to have the most qualified person running the pump, it is somthing that comes with experiance. It is important that you have the firefighting experiance before you start operating the pump. You need to know how things are going to react when you push and pull knobs and levers on the panel. As a junior, hang out with the ADO and watch if you want but do not operate the pump. Get the firefighting experiance before you start operating the pump.
    Take this as you may, but these are my feelings. You asked for them.

    Mark

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    If in doubt - Call us out

  3. #3
    Engine58
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Welll..I SHOULD be a junior firefighter but unfortunatley my town doesnt have a junior program but getting to my point.My brother is LT and Engineer For our ladder company and from going to wetdowns, drills, etc...I know how to operate the boom and SOME things on the pump but not always but my feelings are YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE A JUNIOR ON THE PUMP PANEL BECAUSE EVEN SOME EXPERIENCED FIREFIGHTERS HAVE SOMETIMES A HARD TIME OR SITUATION THAT THEY GET INTO WHILE PUMPING AND A JUNIOR WOULDNT BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE JOB I SAY.

    ------------------
    Andrew
    South Amboy, New Jersey
    Junior EMS Responder
    "EMTS DON'T DIE THEY JUST STABILIZE"

  4. #4
    FirefighterReed
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I should have been more clear on what I asked I meant to say How do you feel about a junior running the pump on a day time call where you need all the senior ff that shows up. This would be on maybe an mva or grass fire absolutely not at a working fire. The reason I bring this up is because we had this happen the other day a truck was pulling a trailer full of hay that burst into flames and we had two guys and a junior show up. Well the junior had been trained and knew how to operate the pump so we stuck him on it and he done a great job. So what are your feelings on that?

    ------------------
    Find em hot......Leave em wet...

    Fire Fighters job is never done

  5. #5
    FF.FOREVER
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    There is a fire dept not to far from us that has a jr.ff that runs the lead pumper and can pump with the best of them. I believe if the jr.ff is interested enough in the fire service then they will put more of an effort to learn the fire trucks and their equipment. This jr.ff runs the pump at all different kinds of fires even working fires. I wouldn't of belived it if I didn't see it. I don't believe that all jr.ff can handle the responsibilty of pumping a truck, but there are a few jr.ff that will surprise you. Even though they are jr.ff give them credit where credit is due. The jr.ff just became a senior.

  6. #6
    Fired0g
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy

    What a sad, sad state of affairs.

  7. #7
    BTFD11-19
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I think having a junior pump operator is a great idea. As long as you have enough juniors to change scba bottles. The junior ff can run the pump, more than likely freeing up the most knowledgable ff, the driver, to go interior. Ithink i've heard that only 20 or 30 years ago, 14 and 15 y/o's were driving, wearing packs, going interior, and fighting fires. some "kids" today may not be "the most responsible" but alot of them are very capable firefighters thatr will grow and learn, and are the future of firefighting.

  8. #8
    iresq
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    A driver/pump operator's primary concern is the apparatus. Even on a simple grass fire, he should not leave the vehicle. What if something happened to him? Would junior boy drive home? What if something happened to the pump? Would jr. have the knowledge to take the appropriate actions that could save a life or prevent major pump damage? I think not. If you need more resources, call for them.

  9. #9
    SBFire333
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    I beleive you should know how to be a Fire Fighter before even thinking about learning to become an MPO. I understand that some Depts. have staffing shortages and are ill expericeed due too lack of calls, but lets not stick someone in charge of running a piece of equipment that has lives attached to it. They are new to the fire service and in experienced at it. Let them learn to be a fire fighter first.

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    The opinions and views expressed herin are solely mine and not on the behalf of the organization I belong to.

  10. #10
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    First off, this would be flat out illegal in PA. The section of the Child Labor Laws governing junior members under 18 years of age forbids this particular activity, among others.

    Second, if you can't turn out more people than this for calls on a regular basis, or at specific times of the day or week, then you need to augment your response with automatic mutual aid, at least during your low-manpower times. I don't need to know the rest of the circumstances to make that statement.

    Third, the importance of the activities of the pump operator to the safety of personnel and the success of the operation demands that the pump operator be seasoned and experienced enough to understand not only what's going on at the pump, but what's going on around the rest of the scene. I've often been told that when picking a safety officer, you should pick someone as or more qualified than you are to run the scene. A similar criteria should apply to the pump operator...he/she should be as good or better than you at that pump.

  11. #11
    Quigs
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department is "fully" ( ha ha ) staffed by career personnel. New Hires, no matter what their experience, are not permitted to be operators until they have completed their 3 year apprenticeship on the job. During their 3 years, they are trained and drilled on a regular basis, and are always with one of our older chauffers. No one is put behind the wheel until our BC, Capt. Sr. Chauffer, and the new guy all feel comfortable.

    As for Volunteer companies, I'm sure there are companies that have "jr's" that have practically been raised by their dads or moms at the firehouse. I think the volunteers need to do what they feel is best for them on an individual basis. If you feel little johnny can manage the pumps at a grass fire, or a car fire or something, thats fine. I personally don't want someone who can't handle the job on the supply end of my knob, but I'm sure there are some kids out there who can handle it better than some older men...

    If there is a staffing problem in your department, and you only have little johnny and his dad on the first-in, your town needs to look at ways of better staffing their department. Even if little johnny can work the pump... daddy shouldn't be pulling a line inside by himself.

    Stay safe.
    Quigs

  12. #12
    Fyrball105
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    OK, I'm back again, I'm not able to keep my mouth shut on here, so here's my feelings. I feel that a Jr. on the pump can and does work, I come though the Jr Squad at my dept.and the first classes we had was on pumper. I took the fire department engineer class at 16, and it was the jrs that got put on pumps to free all firefighters for fighting the fire. It was no uncommen for me to ride to scene in truck, then run the pump while my driver fight fire.I'm 26 now and an advisor on our explorer post and teaching these guys the pump. IF Not for one of my explorers, on two fires we'd had some guys hurt when the driver of the truck was unable to get water!!! YOU SEE THAT? a 14 y.o. saved the day!! and as using jrs on small fires, things like that I say do it, they have to get pump time somehow, that brings them up makes them good on pumps.

  13. #13
    SBFire333
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    I am sorry what kind of redneck dept. are you on??? Why is Driver driving an engine that he can not operate. It is the driver's job to that rig and he is responsible for it. To have a Jr. operate a rig is insane. Someone who is this young should not be even allowed on a fire scene and if they are it is only too watch and observe. Like I said before in my previous post "Let them learn to be a firefighter first". It is too much responsibility to put on a kid who doesnt even know what fire really is. It is no wonder why there are so many LODDs. Stay Safe and Be Smart for the next call.......

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    The opinions and views expressed herin are solely mine and not on the behalf of the organization I belong to.

  14. #14
    Sand Creek Lynn
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Fyrball105: What does your insurance carrier think about the department using a 14 year old pump operator? And your township or the political body you serve?

    I hope you were pulling our legs.

    But if not tell us more about the department. It would likely be a really interesting story.

  15. #15
    FirefighterReed
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The political bodies or township don't care who is operating the pump or the hose for that matter as long as it gets done. Do you think the guy living next door to the fire department even knows what the chiefs name is? No not unless he is in the department which in our case he is not. They don't care about us or how we operate as long as we are there getting it done. Then we you do show up it's always the same thing "What took you guys so long". When your on a volli dept. doing without any county, city, or state funding it comes from our pockets and the fund raisers we do. When we do have them people are so cheap it is hard to get any money out of them.

    ------------------
    Find em hot......Leave em wet...

    Fire Fighters job is never done

  16. #16
    Ed Shanks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    >>
    I should have been more clear on what I asked I meant to say How do you feel
    about a junior running the pump on a day time call where you need all the senior
    ff that shows up.
    <<

    Legalities aside, it would take an exceptional jr. ff. to be trusted with pump operations, on any call.

    You wanted opinions - there's mine.



    ------------------
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176
    RKMC MAL

  17. #17
    OFD16
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    ummmm....no

  18. #18
    Whip
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My opinion is no, one of my reasons, that I have not seen posted so far is the possibility of the truck, or the pump panel becoming part of the IDLH atmosphere, then what, you can't where an air pack, so I guess you then have to leave the panel. It is also more than just being a pump operator, it is safety also and the ability to really understand your supply vs demand, it's not just have someone set it up and you just stand there. As I have said with a lot of other issues pertaining to junior members. The things that you do are very valuable, but please understand the limits of what you can do (leagally). All of the things the most juniors wish to accomplish within the fire service will all come in time. Be patient and be safe.

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    Stay Safe.

    Lt. Whip FSI/EMT
    Ledyard CT FD

    [This message has been edited by Whip (edited July 15, 2000).]

  19. #19
    Fyrball105
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    ok, I'm going to try and answer all the questions> First I guess you can call us a redneck Dept. No offence taken, we are small vollie dept. manpower is low during day time. You have to be 21 to drive the truck, we have guys that is all they do is drive, then others do the pump, fire fighting. As far as the insurance question, the explorer post is through the boy scouts, they have better coverage then our line firemen. The explorers have two things they are not covered to do, that is enter a house on fire, or be nozzle man on out side. I feel that explorering is a great program, and it shows that teenagers can do good in this time that so many is not doing good things, And No people really don't care how you do it as long as the fire dept. does get there to put out their fire.

  20. #20
    Mike DeVuono
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Some of our nation's greates heros were men under the age of 18. If they know what they are doing who cares how old they are?


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    Mike DeVuono
    Warminster Fire Dept.
    Engine Co. 91

    "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

  21. #21
    Quint1Medic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    First off-Fyrball, thanks for the way you replied to the name-calling...you showed some class

    I'm in a career department where there are a few people that couldn't pump their way out of a paper bag. I can understand the whole liability issue that's been brought up. However, pumping is very much an academic exercise - it involves watching what's going on around you and math skills on the fly. Both are well within the capabilities of a bright 17-year-old.

    As for being able to analyze what's occurring on the fireground: most fires take place inside, right? Nobody that's standing by a pump panel is going to be getting much of a chance to analyze anything, because they can't see through walls. There's also some sort of rule that the fire's always on the officer's side of the truck. I spend most of my pump time at fires balanced on the auxiliary 2 1/2" discharges, peering through the empty crosslays at what's going on.

    I wouldn't necessarily want a 14-year-old on the panel, but if a kid's been an Explorer/junior for a couple of years, goes through pump class, and is able to pump in various scenarios with different officers - under pressure - then let 'em pump.

    [This message has been edited by Quint1Medic (edited July 16, 2000).]

  22. #22
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    You know, I've been following this thread since the first day...I was torn then and I'm still torn as to what to say! And for me not have an opinion one way or another, I'm sure y'all agree is rare!

    Everyone, for and against is making very good and valid points.

    1st, I think *all* members should know how to operate their pumps -- from engaging the transmission, to getting water out of them. At the most basic level, how to shut it down if something goes terribly wrong like a burst line on the loose.

    I remain uncomfortable with the idea of leaving a junior member on the pump. But then again, I'm sure there are exceptional young people out there with the maturity to do the job well. And there are a lot of flaky adults out there who shouldn't run a pump!

    Maybe we need to ask ourselves what are the traits in the great pump operators we know? Are those skills we can nurture in youngsters? Here's my quick list --
    -- Knowledge of the pump and what all those guages mean from a practical perspective.
    -- Basic knowledge of hydraulics. Not asking for rocket science, but they gotta now how pressure and flow relate in the lines they have.
    -- Multi-tasking -- they can interpret many "inputs" like the guages, softness or hardness of the hose, radio traffic, officers speaking to them directly, and sort out from all that information what they need to know and what they need to do.
    -- Communication -- they have to be able to tell someone when something's going wrong without being shy or fearful. I think a lot of people, youngers especially, can be intimidated by the brass just because. They also need to be able to tell an officer of their limitations -- if they're told to do something and can't or don't know how, they have to tell them right away and why not.

    Experience helps with the above a lot -- it gives people a frame of reference from which they make assumptions when confronted with a lot of information quickly. As you get more and more experience, the simple things become automatic where you don't think about them, leaving more time to think about the important stuff.

    A young member backing up a nozzle man on an outside line doesn't have to think of very much -- he's just focused on a narrow slice of the scene and following someone around. Putting them on a pump where they need to taken in the "whole picture" is quite a bit more responsibility and stress to put on them!

    But then again, there isn't a whole lot to take in and interpret at a brush fire or car fire...pretty much make sure you have water left in the tank and the pressure on the line isn't so high the firefighters are being lifted into the air by it! Frankly, on those fires you're probably in a situation where you can set it and forget it with the pump -- open the tank to pump, charge the line, set the pressure and go to the attack.

    Matt, still ambivelant as all get out on this one!

  23. #23
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I too, started off as a Jr/Exp Firefighter. I played many roles in the dept. I did, although I shouldn't have, operated the pump numerous times on calls. Not do to the lack of manpower but the lack of knowledge & practical experiance of the driver on those calls (most times came from the same driver). Now being almost 4 years out of the post have gone through and certified in IFSTA's ADO for both Pumpers & Arial devices. I relize now what I was doing and frankly it scares the sh** out of me to know what I was responsible for. Back then I felt comfortable with it, now I am somewhat older and wiser and know that it was the wrong decision to accept that responsibility. If I would have killed anyone while "operating" the pump, what would have happened? Would the BSA have covered it? Would I be driven from the Fire Service for the rest of my life because of this one "mis-hap"? I know that I would never be given the trust again to partake of any duties outside of the Fire House! It is an awful lot of responsibilty to assume at such a "young age".

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  24. #24
    Sand Creek Lynn
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Regarding your insurance. The boy scouts are going to cover injuries when you have a 14 year old running an engine? To the child maybe. Maybe!? To any other firefighters not boy scouts? Nope.

    Will your deparments liability carrier cover the department or your municipal agency with a 14 year old as engineer? VERY unlikely. And those in charge who assigned a 14 year to be the engineer are going to have a very interesting experience explaining THAT decision to a jury.

    I'm in a short handed department also and I can appreciate your situation but you are putting yourselves and the community at great risk.

    As firefighters aren't we supposed to minimize the risk to our community rather than add to it?

    [This message has been edited by Sand Creek Lynn (edited July 16, 2000).]

  25. #25
    Truck#109
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I know there is no replacement for experience, but......

    I was driving/pumping when I was still in my 1st year of service. Now to do this, I took outside courses and every in-house opportunity I could to learn about pumping. I and am now in my fourth year and am teaching fellow FF's about pumping operations.

    So I ask - Why should it matter if the pump operator is junior or not, as long as he/she KNOWS what to do!

    ------------------
    Play Safe!

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