01-14-2000, 10:28 PM #1ffemt1034Firehouse.com Guest
Apparatus Operators Driving Dangerously
Well, This is my first post, so hi to everyone. Great site.
Heres my dilemma,
I have an apparatus driver who gets so excited that he ends up driving very dangerously to fire calls, no matter what it is. I have to wonder if anyone will get killed because this guy is auch a wack. I have told him how i feel and also spoken to the fire chief, who seemed to acknowledge me....but im not sure. Our dept does not have a policy regarding responses, which contributes to this problem. Im on the verge of not riding calls anymore and signing a motor vehicle compaint against him. Any suggestions?
01-14-2000, 11:43 PM #2Hammerhead338Firehouse.com Guest
Hi ffemt1034, how's is going.
I know how you feel, in my old vollie dept we had a person who was the same way. The officers would not do anything about the problem so we took it in our own hands. The one's that were senior to him would bump him from driving the truck and the others would not get on the truck untill he got out of the drivers seat. It took about 4 or 5 months ( not very smart ) before he got the idea, he came to me and asked me about what was going on and I told him. He settled down alot but some times he would lose it again and we would have to talk to him again. Good luck.
01-17-2000, 10:47 AM #3Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
Just because your fire truck has emergency lights and sirens does not give anyone the authority to drive like a maniac. Has the Chief ever ridden shotgun with this driver? That may put an end to the problem. Another thing your Department can do is sign a petition refusing to get on the rig if he/she continues to drive, or ask the Chief to come up with a standard operational procedure/guideline for apparatus responses.
Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo
[This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited January 17, 2000).]
01-17-2000, 11:56 AM #4morrissFirehouse.com Guest
Have someone in authority in the department discuss his driving with him. Explain that is does not help the people we are responding for if we do not get there! If this does not work, the driver could be suspended from driving for a period or from the department if the situation warrants.
In our department, we have an officer ride "shotgun" and he can instruct the driver to slow down. The driver is resposible for driving, but the Officer can direct him in the name of safety. The converse of this is not true. No Officer can instruct the driver to "speed up" or to take unneccessary risks.
01-17-2000, 01:39 PM #5Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
I'd be very careful about going to outside authorities (e.g. filing a complaint with the PSP or your local police) until you've made sure you've done all you can internally. You could easily end up on the outside looking in, and still have the same unsafe driver on the road.
You may want to try the Chief again. First off, point out that you're concerned for your personal safety, but you're also concerned for the Chief's liability exposure. After all, in PA the Chief signs off on all drivers (legally) and is responsible for their actions, whether he's there when something goes wrong or not. If you haven't done so already, you may also want to cite some specific examples of unsafe driving so that the Chief can see the severity & nature of the problem. In addition, if you aren't a driver/operator yourself (or even if you are), you may want to get some opinions from other driver/operators who've been on board with this driver. Their opinions may carry additional weight with the Chief.
These are all suggestions...you may have tried some or all of them. I would just encourage again that you work this out internally if at all possible. Nothing tears up organizations more quickly than actions that are perceived as "betrayals" from the inside, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
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