Thread: CDL Required

  1. #1
    jlw52 Guest

    Question CDL Required

    Does your department require operators of emergency vehicles over 26000lbs. GVW to have a Commercial Drivers License with the proper endorsements? If not, what training is required and how is it documented? Do the instructors have any type of certification?

  2. #2
    mwalshnh Guest


    The State of NH does not require that Fire Fighters driving Apparatus have a CDL, we are in an exemption somewhere, however, my department and many others mandate through local policy that anyone driving the apparatus have the CDL with tank and air brake endorsements. Also the State Fire Academy hosts an Emergency Vehicle Operators Course...which runs students through the drills and exercises for driving appartus.


  3. #3
    PTFD21 Guest


    Our dept. in MI does not require CDL - class B. The drivers are exempt providing they have received certification from the Michigan F/F Training Council. Our dept. requires that you recertify on each apparatus every year. The driver must complete a written test, truck specific test, and practical testing on hydrant supply evolutions.

    ED C.
    "Doin' it for lives and property !"
    <A HREF=""" TARGET=_blank>"</A> Pittsfield Twp. F.D.

  4. #4
    Drew Smith Guest


    State of IL does not require a CDL. However, a non-CDL Class B DL is required. The fee is $10 versus $60 every four years. The FF must go to a state facility to get a leraning permit (the requires a written exam) then we give the road test (by one ouf our licensed examiners).

  5. #5
    Hammerhead338 Guest


    In the state of MO, you are not required to have a cdl. I have heard of several area depts requiring there personal to have a cdl, and my dept doesnt requiret it. We took a course last summer on driving but it was never finished and about the teacher I dont know what kind of training he had. My personal appion is that every driver should have a cdl, and all the depts should have classes of safe driving that you should have to attend.

    Local 3905

  6. #6
    jlw52 Guest


    Thanks for your replies. Pennsylvania also provides an exemption provided the Fire Chief approves the driver. This may not be a problem for the career departments which have extensive training programs but could be for us vollies. I know several chiefs who have no established criterion and no personal experience with heavy vehicle operation approving drivers after "after a couple trips around the block." A CDL requires a physical exam, written and driving tests to operate a heavy vehicle - NON Emergency. Is a Fire Chief putting him or herself, and the department,in legal peril by not having a similar testing program along with an EVO class?

  7. #7
    Aff Guest


    Minnesota doesn't require a CDL, but the training at our department is fairly strict. It takes at minimum a year because you are required to show proficiency in all 4 seasons. For the states that require a CDL or variation of such, are there special requirements for air brakes and/or jake brakes?
    Stay Safe...

  8. #8
    Bob Snyder Guest


    Although I don't personally think that there's a problem with not requring CDLs in principle, I'd certainly say that the Chief who approves drivers "after a couple trips around the block" (literally or figuratively)is both irresponsible and asking for legal trouble down the line.

    My station does not require CDLs, however we require extensive off- and on- road training in driving, equipment operations, and pump operations on each piece of apparatus individually. All training is documented by the trainer (engineer or officer responsible for that training session), including what was done and his/her evaluation of the trainee. Eventually, everyone must be checked off by the Deputy Chief (who is a career FF/engineer in a nerby city department) and the Chief on each rig individually.

    Generally, the first certification takes 9 mos to 1 year, the remaining two take another year to 1 1/2 years to complete. We start everyone on our 1972 CF-600 Mack, complete with its extremely unforgiving standard transmission. If you can't eventually master it, you can't drive for us. If you can master that rig, you've learned how a truck works and how to control one. This way, we absolutely eliminate the problem of people jumping into an automatic rig and trying to drive it like it's their car. Although I'm sure there's room for us to improve, this has all been very effective. We've had the occasional nick or scratch (everybody makes mistakes), but no real accidents in many years.

  9. #9
    iwood51 Guest


    Chalk up NY as another state that doesn't require CDL. Although this is not required, my Department is also very strict on driving qualifications. Everyone must start out on either the ambulance or our small rescue truck and work up from there. We utilize 5-ton converted army trucks as 'stump-jumpers' for fighting forest fires and they are in a league of their own when it comes to EVO. It usually takes about a year to get qualified on your first 'truck' (I don't include vehicles that are ambulance sized in this) please don't flame, the question was for CDL requirements not vehicle op's in general. We have 4 class-A pumpers, 2 rescue trucks, 2 stump jumpers, 1 brush truck, 2 tankers (1 on road 1 off road), and 3 ambulances, so obviously it takes a while to get qualified on all apparatus (it took me almost 8 years!)

  10. #10
    Ken Hanks Guest


    Connecticut requires a 2Q license to operate fire appartaus with a GVW over 18,000 puonds.

    The 2Q class presented by the CT Fire Academy is 24 hours long and covers pre-trip inspection, static course, and the road trip. There is no written exam or physical required for the 2Q.

    Testing is done by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. The class is running an average pass rate of 80% on the first attempt. This class was written with input by the DMV.

    A Class 1 license is needed for tractor trailer fire apparatus.

    There are a few chiefs in CT who think that as long as there is an emergency, anyone can drive. If the vehicle is cancelled enroute or a licensed driver does not respond to the scene, the apparatus is driven BACK to the fire house with lights and sirens! Some people do not have a clue.

    Ken Hanks
    Naugatuck FD IAFF L1219
    CT Fire Academy

    [This message has been edited by Ken Hanks (edited November 14, 1999).]

  11. #11
    INDY FIRE Guest


    No CDL required in Indiana.

  12. #12
    Dalmation90 Guest


    Like Ken said, minimum is the 2Q, but we very strongly encourage the CDL-B, and actively discourage just going for the 2Q. We also require members be a minimum of 21 before we even begin driver training on any apparatus, even the ambulances or rescue that don't require a special license, never mind emergency operations. (Members can join at 16 as active (exterior) firefighters)

    The comment on returning lights & sirens and people not having a clue is interesting.

    I've been involved with one incident that had a LODD, and that was of a member of a department that was making a mutual aid move-up to cover another station. He lost control of his POV en-route to the station on wet roads, and was killed.

    Since that time, I've gone through that community a number of times. Yep, they travel back to the station with their lights on (which is really ridiculous when your all sitting at a red light and the fire truck is just there with it's lights spinning). I've also seen that same department out on a road test of one of their trucks...with a person on the rear step, no bunker gear on, no safety belt on, just them out driving around the streets at normal road speeds and him holding onto the chrome hand-hold.

    I guess it's just me, but after having someone killed in a motor vehicle accident, even in POV, I think that you probably should have reviewed and revamped all of your driving policies.

  13. #13
    raricciuti Guest


    I agree with jlw52 - approval alone from the Chief (or anyone else) would last micro-seconds in court. Lawyers love that sort of stuff. Our department (combination career/volunteer) requires a CDL for all fire apparatus, in addition to the state (PA) accredited pump operator and aerial operations courses, plus an in-house training program and test (all documented in case something happens later). A CDL is not required for operating our utility vehicles (a pickup and Jimmy), but you must have EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course) certification to drive them lights & siren. These requirements apply to both career and volunteer operators - the truck doesn't know who's at the wheel.

    P.S. re: Ken Hanks post - are you serious about the code-3 back to the station??? I'd like to sit in the courtroom when that comes back to bite someone!

    R.A. Ricciuti, Firefighter
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  14. #14
    colfireman Guest


    In our province BC,our driving laws have changed in the past 10 used to be classed on the weight now it is on axles.s a standard single axle pumper would only require a standard class 5 licence w/air endorsement.Our dept has a o.g. for the old higher standard of a class 3.we also put all firefighters through driving class.there is a class 1 and the second is Emergency Vehicle Operations.this is a standard throuout BC and is recognised by the powers that be.I would urge you to go beyond the minimum and properly train these important people(it is the lives of everyone riding that engine that depends on it)

  15. #15
    Dwight Conrad Guest


    As Indy Fire stated, Indiana does not require CDL to drive. My dept. doesn't give much of a training either. But, as I will be instructor officer next year, I plan to try to improve that. And I think we should have Cdl to drive. However, I also feel this may keep many from driving if they cannot pass the tests. I have also heard rumors in the past that Indiana was considering the requirements. But nothing has happened yet.

  16. #16
    Drive P17B Guest


    I live in Missouri like Hammerhead but I disagree with him on the concept that a Class B CDL is the correct answer. I have a Class B been DOT'd and all that. This test is still too basic for our needs. The physical doesn't mean much to me either. If they are on the job they should already be physically qualified.
    I agree we should have better training of our drivers. I had EVT training here and that was still books. We have to at times operate our vehicles to its extremes. I'm not saying to drive it on the edge but some circumstances call for us to do this. We drive on all road surfaces and in all kinds of weather. I'm sure alot of you have had to respond in an ice storm, a flood, ect. How about the civilian factor? How many of them acctually pull to the right unless you give them the hint?
    We need to teach our drivers and firefighters the limits of their apparatus. These vary greatly between Manufactures also. What the vehicle is capable of doing and not doing. Take for instance when we had our flash flood last year here in KC many of our pumper drivers did not realize that the intake was mount only one and a half ft from the ground. 2 pumpers got hydrolocked. I saw a question about Jake brakes from a guy in one of the forums and was asking the SOPs of other departments on them. He did not say why they were not allowed to use them only that they weren't.
    I guess what in a long-winded kind of way I'm saying is that just because a person has a certain kind of liscense doesn't mean they are fit to drive a fire vehicle emergency or otherwise. It takes the traing from those that have done it and are doing it. With an intrest not only in getting to drive the big red truck with lights and sirens but an interest in doing it in a manner that will get the personel and the the equipment to the scene without delay and compentently operate it on the scene.

    I guess I'm preaching at the choir here :^)

  17. #17
    Twostix Guest


    Your state may or may not require a CDL, but the fact remains, in many cases, we have amateur drivers doing emergency driving in big trucks. In this day of knee-jerk litigation, the more you do in anticipation of a possible crash and subsequent lawsuit, the stronger your position will be. In the trucking industry drivers must have a CDL, undergo a bi-annual physical with drug screening, be subject to random drug screening, pass a pre-hire driving test of which a written record is kept and provide an annual written report of any violations which the company then compares with an extract from their state licensing agency. Adoption of some or all of these measures would make a positive statement that your fire company is making an effort to run a safe operation. In-house driver training should follow an established lesson plan and be thoroughly documented with individual files for each engineer. Like it or not, we are in the trucking business and the more we do to establish our professionalism, the better our stance before the public and in the courts. Be Safe, Get Home -twostix-

  18. #18
    Davidjb Guest


    Another thing that needs to be remembered is that a cdl alone does not make a good apparatus driver. Driving a piece of fire equipment around town and driving to a call are completely different situations. Experience is the key here I think. There are people on our dept. that I would ride around town all day with but would not consider riding to a call code 3 with them driving. They either have no experience or they just plain shouldn't drive something that size over the speed limit. I'm sure you know the type of person I am speaking about.
    Some of our best drivers (myself included) have never had a cdl but have the experience (I used to drive a wrecker, towing tractor trailer units)and can remain calm and in control when responding to a scene, and I believe that keeping a cool head and being able to watch what's going on around you while on a run makes a good driver, a cdl is nice to have, but not everyone that has one should be driving a fire truck.

    David Brooks, Firefighter, D/O, 1st Resp.
    Newmarket Fire & Rescue
    Newmarket, New Hampshire

  19. #19
    Rick Bond Guest


    Florida states you must have a "E" endorsement on your D.L., But only requires a class "E" (standard vehicle) Drivers Lic. However DHSMV relies on the fire training academy or the police academy to conduct the drivers training and all you have to do is present your department I.D. to DHSMV and they put the "E" endorsement on your D.L. My department requires that you get a class D D.L. with an "E" endorsement. My station also requires you be a member off probation with the state Emergency Vehicle Operators Course (EVOC) and be checked off on the operation of each apparatus by the Training Capt & Chief. The problem that I have seen is you still have no real idea how the person will drive when driving hot until they drive hot.


  20. #20
    pvfr fyrfyter Guest


    Nebraska doesn't require CDL but our legislature is again trying to pass it. on the dept. being rural in nature most all members grew up driving grain trucks and manual transmissions. people are required to be checked out on each piece of equipment prior to operation. the officers set the unwritten criteria but are enforcing it fairly and properly. em. veh. op. courses offered by licensed(?) instructors are few and far between around here. if you can't show common sense any other time you will always be riding, an thats happened a time or two. if a CDL were required then the dept. and our parent legal agencies would be required to pay for all required to get the CDL and that would put a serious crimp in our already miniscule dept. budget.

  21. #21
    F02 Guest


    Indiana does not require ANY kind of license to drive a firetruck......believe it or not.

  22. #22
    PFD JAKE Guest


    "IT"S GOOD AND IT WORKS" I am a driver operator and am required to hold a CDL, and take a defensive driving course issued by an approved instructor. Just look at it this way, your on the back of a responding apparattus to an a emergency faceing backwards who would you want behind the wheel other than expirencee ,a driver that has had the proper training and licences

  23. #23
    cherryvale1 Guest


    In SC you are required to take the Emergency Vehicle Driver Training class given by the SC Fire Academy. When this training has been completed, the Fire Chief "can" put the endorsement on the back of you license.

    At that point your Officers have to check you out in each vehicle and certify that you are able to drive. I believe any person driving a fire vehicle should have continous training and be tested on every response. To many times, once a person has been approved to drive, no one ever says another thing until the wreck happens.

  24. #24
    rbf Guest


    I have been reading the replies above and agree that in this day of legal knee-jerking, a CDL is a good idea. North Carolina does not require CDL for fire apparatus. In an all volunteer fire department, how do other departments that require their operators to have CDL's handle that? Does the fire department pay for the physical and the extra cost of the CDL?

    Be Safe!

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