Recently we increase our driver training by doubling the amount of hours that we actually have to drive and recertify. Since we have implemented this new program, accidents have gone up by 40%. Some older firefighters say that its because they are trying to do all these "new techno. advances and thinking in driving" that people are forgeting to just drive the damn apparatus. People that have had 15 years of perfect driving take the new techno course on safe driving and go out and dent or wreck the engine. Are we making this too complicated and forgetting to just shut the hell up and drive?
The Snake Man
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01-20-2000, 03:47 AM #1The Snake ManFirehouse.com Guest
Are we over thinking too much driver training.
01-20-2000, 08:29 AM #2Ten8_Ten19Firehouse.com Guest
I don't know what kind of "new techno. advances and thinking in driving" you learned in EVOC. The course I just took emphasized knowing your truck and knowing your responsibilities to yourself, your crew and the public. If you look at the number of apparatus crashes in '99 I don't think you can say we're overdoing driver training.
01-20-2000, 11:10 AM #3mtnfireguyFirehouse.com Guest
Snake Man, if there is an increase in the accident rate after the training I would take a look at the course and the instructors.
I have to echo what Ten 8 said... take a look at the 1999 stats for fatal apparatus accidents and we have already started off 2000 with a fatal tanker roll over.
Maybe new "techno" ideas are not the best and we should stick with the basics, but refresher training never hurt anyone.
01-20-2000, 02:38 PM #4Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
I don't know what the specific situation is for you, or why training would lead to more accidents. I agree with the other folks...maybe there's a problem with the training itself in this case.
In general, though, I don't think there's enough driver training going on out there, especially (but not only) in volunteer companies. On average, it takes a new driver trainee nearly a year to get the first driver/operator certification at my station and another year or more to finish all three. Over that time period, they'll be run through safety, basic operation of the rig, how to find their way around the run area, pump and aerial operations (where applicable), and routine maintenance of the rig; and they'll generally log anywhere from 4-8 hours a month on (progressively more difficult) road work. When the officers think that they're "ready", we wait a month or two and then send them out with the Chief to test. Often, this is done after they haven't driven for a few weeks, just to see if the work they did really stuck or not. Our SOGs then call for all certified drivers to operate the apparatus monthly.
Now, a rant:
What makes the general problem worse, I think, is the fact that apparatus are being designed to drive like cars. Some people get in these things, push the accelerator, and BANG...they're off to the races. Meanwhile, of course, these folks haven't a clue as to how to plan for a smooth, safe run as they barrel down the road, or whether they could really control the thing if something unexpected happened. We have an instant screen on our trainees...the first two rigs they have to learn are non-synchromesh 5-speed manuals. That forces them to pay constant attention to speed and positioning, planning their shifts, stops, and starts, etc. If it were up to me, I'd never ride in a rig that was automatic...at least that way, I'd know that the people driving knew what they were doing (or, if they didn't it would be obvious).
01-20-2000, 10:42 PM #5TwostixFirehouse.com Guest
If you have experienced a rash of accidents, there is a loss prevention procedure you might try. Examine them as a group and try to determine if there is a common thread; Backing, Blind side contact, hitting stationary object, etc. If you can find a common factor, focus on it with additional training. Sometimes a simple apparatus modification like adding a mirror to improve visibility is the answer. Speaking of visibility, did it ever occur to ask your engineers, particularly the older ones, how long it has been since they had an eye exam? How old are their glasses? The answers may surprise you.
Be Safe, Get Home -twostix-
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