I have a question. What is everyone's opinion on the following: during the development of a firefighter, does it make more sense to go from being a bucket firefighter to the driver's seat, then to the front seat of the engine? Or do people prefer bucket to front seat to driver? I am trying to make the arguement to go to the driver seat before being put in the command seat of the engine, but I am running into some opposition from my station. What is everyone's opinion?
Captain Scott Lambert
Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department
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Thread: which way to go?
03-24-2000, 12:14 AM #1stvfd88Firehouse.com Guest
which way to go?
03-24-2000, 08:29 AM #2S. CookFirehouse.com Guest
I think it would depend on the individual in question. Although they may understand the concept, someone may suck at driving and/or pumping, but make a great company officer.
03-24-2000, 10:22 AM #3morrissFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with S. Cook. However, our progression is from FF to Driver to Officer (almost always). It seems that the more senior FFs become drivers/operators and then to the Officer positions.
I think it totally depends on the individual though.
03-28-2000, 10:26 PM #4pokeyfd12Firehouse.com Guest
Capt. Scott, I agree with Morriss and S. Cook.
My theory is that when you are a firefighter, you learn how to use hoses, nozzles, techniques, search and rescue and everything else that makes a good firefighter. After a few years, some FF seek more knowledge and possibly a step towards officer. The best way to gain more knowledge is to become a driver/pump operator, engineer, chauffeur or whatever you call it. Since the FF already has firsthand knowledge of what goes on at the nozzle end of the hose, he will have a better appreciation of what responsiblity it is to keep that hoseline charged and before that to get the rig to the scene as safely as possible.
After learning the intricate parts of being an engineer, the FF can set his sights on wrapping the picture into a whole and becoming a supervisor or officer.
In my voly dept. the basic ladder consists of experienced FF moving up to engineer, from engineer they can take a move to officership by becoming an engineer officer which has the responsiblity of training prospective engineers, maintaining equipment and the apparatus and scheduling weekly rig checks. There are three positions of engineer officer. Usually after a FF spends some time in the engineer officer ranks, through natural progression and training requirements, he/she can move up to Lieut. (of which there is a first, second and third). From there is Captain, to Asst. Chief and Chief.
It's all a training ladder and each level respects the guy under him because "he's been there."
Engine/Rescue Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)
03-28-2000, 10:48 PM #5stvfd88Firehouse.com Guest
Thanks guys for the responses. I appreciate all the different views on the matter, and agree wholeheartedly. Be safe!
Captain Scott Lambert
Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department
03-28-2000, 10:58 PM #6tc1chiefFirehouse.com Guest
Remember we as children learned how to craw before we walked and walked before we learned how to run. In my Station you join as a PROBY for at least the first six months, then you may or maynot progress to a firefighter. You are not allowed to drive the units on calls until you have passed you initial pump testing. Officers are chosen whith training, experience, and responsibility in mind.
04-10-2000, 03:36 AM #7Chief03Firehouse.com Guest
In our dept. the firefighter goes through the proby program prior to the bucket seat. Then with the time and experience, he or she may be appointed as an officer. The officer is usually qualified on all apparatus, being driver/pump qualified. We may get some firefighters who join but do not wish to be interior. These individuals may exspress a intrest in the drivers seat and will be trained as such. We also have some older members who no longer feel comfort in wearing the bottle and are mostly chauffeurs.
04-10-2000, 04:05 AM #8AdzeFirehouse.com Guest
In my FD, you go from FF to Driver to Officer.
While there are arguments for and against that order and someone may suck as a driver, I think it is a good order.
The officer should have an understanding of every job under his command. While he might know the role of the pump operator through book-smarts, he wouldn't know what was going through the po's mind unless he experienced it first hand.
04-10-2000, 09:52 AM #9Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
Attaining Driver/Operator certifications on all of our apparatus is one of the eligibility requirements for officers at my station. We have a few reasons, some of which are the same as others posted here:
1. We believe it's critical that the people in charge on the fireground understand and have performed all the duties that they commonly command. This includes key parts of the operation, such as pump operations, water supply setup, etc.
2. Officers tend to be some of the most active people on the crew. If they are all driver/operator certified, it greatly reduces the chances of having personnel at the station who are unable to respond for lack of a driver.
3. (Some people will hate this one) It gives us, as officers, a way of screening our eventual replacements. If we have someone who is not skilled or mature enough to be an officer, but wants to be on the "fast track" to a gold badge & hand unit and has fulfilled the rest of the requirements, we can use the two years or so that it takes to complete driver certs to try to whip them into shape. In more extreme cases, we can drag our feet on the certs until they are ready or just refuse to certify them as d/o entirely. This is very rare, but it has happened on occasion.
For those of you who will call this a "good ol' boys' network," I point to the last person this was done to (about 6 or 7 years ago)...he left, went to a nearby station that had no such system, made Lieutenant, and was subsequently stripped of his rank by their Chief in mid-term because of his irresponsible behavior. We saw trouble coming and avoided it. In our system, all the officers must stand for election every year, also...if we were to abuse discretion like this, we'd likely find ourselves voted out. That's the key check/balance in our system.
[This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited April 10, 2000).]
04-10-2000, 11:38 AM #10stvfd88Firehouse.com Guest
04-11-2000, 08:14 AM #11Captain JohnFirehouse.com Guest
I believe in the ideal that if you want more responsibility you will seek it! We firmly believe that you start out as a FF & procede up the ladder. You will find many who are comfortable where they stand. That's not a bad thing! However you will find someone who with proper motivation will progress upwards in your organiation.To awnser your question I prefer to allow new FF's the opportunity to learn the basics of the job. I don't expect them to take the front seat. They have to learn all the details of the "back Step" before they can climb up the ladder. You will find this will make for a more dedicated individual in the long run!
Captain John B Abbruzzese
[This message has been edited by Captain John (edited April 11, 2000).]
04-12-2000, 12:56 AM #12CaptstanmFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with most...
In order to be a good driver one must have experienced what it is like to ride backwards and to be on the hoseline and in need of water. You must be able to tell when to give a bit more volume or know the signs that things are not going well. Then after you ahve been a driver, you can be an officer. Besided...most officers train their drivers. How can you train someone to do something you can not do. However, Some peopl are just not cut out to drive and may make a good officer.
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