1. #1
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Age of FD drivers, minumim

    What are most departments SOP's/SOG's on the age of a Firefighter before they can drive the apparatus to/from the scene? Here it is 21 YOA. Are your policies from the City/Twnshp or Insurance? Do you have any rule bending with the age defintion? We have a FF that is ADO (Apparatus Driver Operator) certified and only 20 YOA, very responsible and a spotless driving record but is still forbidden from driving any City FD fleet vehicle. What are the thoughts on it?

    All answers will be considered graciously.

    Mark

    e-mail if needed: mark440@firehousemail.com

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    If in doubt - Call us out

  2. #2
    pokeyfd12
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post


    Mark, our SOP/SOG's on driving district apparatus is the same. The firefighter must be 21 years old and have at least 18 months in "good standing" to be able to drive. That is the by-laws of the fire company and the 21 rule comes from the insurance company.

    I would love to let an 18 year old drive the truck. I just can't get it out of the back of my mind the fact that he/she has only been driving a car for 2 years maximum.

    We have some under 21 firefighters that are good pump operators but I don't know if I feel comfortable having them jump out of honda civic and into a 40-ton, 46-foot long rolling road block. On the other side of the coin, we have a couple of under-21 people that have CDL licenses and drive tandem axle dump trucks for a living.

    I guess it's the insurance company that puts the squeeze on the fire departments.

    Lt. Kevin C

  3. #3
    st34ff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Arrow

    In my company it is 21 for ANY Fire Company Owned truck, ever our vans. I feel that for non-emergancy response, 18 should be fine for a Van/Bronco/SUV. For the trucks, 21 defintaly. I am 21 years old, but I don't feel I am ready to drive the trucks yet. I want to wait a few years if I can before I start driving.

    Kyle www.chalfontfireco.8m.com

  4. #4
    FirefighterReed
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In our fire department you have to be 16 to join as a jr. member 18 to be a full member 21 to drive the apparatus to/from the scene. If your 16 and there is another member who is 21 you can pull the trucks out of the bay into the parking lot to wash them. Which I've gotten to do a lot. Our insurance is the one who set that rule up.

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

    Fire Fighters job is never done

  5. #5
    vollieff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our Dept requires at least 5 yrs in the company in good standing, 30 yrs of age min. and EVOC, pump I and II within a year along with 10 hrs driving with engineer and 3 engineers to sign off after the 10 hours, not to mention pump time.

  6. #6
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    5 years really? That is along time. Is that for a VFD or Career dept? On the VFD here, I don't think that we have many who stick it out 5 years. There are few of us that will. Do you have assigned Engineers or qualified personell that can drive or fight fire?

    Thanks for the repsonses

    Mark

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    If in doubt - Call us out

  7. #7
    ffthumper
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In our department, fire district hired volunteers with Paid Chief and two Paid daytime firefighters, Juniors join at age 14, Seniors at age 18, Drivers begin driving after adequate district mandated training with certified drivers and tested by officer, at age 21, as set by Insurance Company.

    The biggest problem in our department with young drivers, is that most think there is an invisible forcefield that surrounds them when they turn that blue light and siren on and they respond to the fire station thinking nothing will happen to them, everyone will automatically get our of their way, no one will pull into their path, and road and weather conditions will be perfect with their vehicle doing exactly what they think it should do. It is usually a few years down the road they finally wake up to the real world.

    Because of this, we try to put our new drivers through every scenario we can, including obstacle courses, backing into tight alley spaces, and general driving with a certified driver or officer, then extensively testing on truck familiarization, pumping, drafting, operation of other equipment such as generators, ladder, hydraulics, prior to turning them loose on the road.

    There is no way to train for every possible situation, as long as the certified driver is comfortable with the new drivers actions, and the officer is fine with testing procedures, you make a decision and ride with it, until proven wrong on down the road.

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    James W. Johnson, SFPD

  8. #8
    bob1350
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    To join our dept, you must be 21 (city insurance reasons) and have a valid driver's license. You can not drive a piece of equipment to a call code 3 until you have been on for at least year. We won't even start training you to drive something until you been on close to a year. That's going to make you at least 22 before we let you drive.

  9. #9
    Chief456-2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Its 21 at my station and you must have EVOC. Only consideration is if you are a paid firefighter from the city with driving experience.

  10. #10
    vollieff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    mark440
    yes, 5 years, but I must admit we do have a clause in the SOP that the chief and chief engineer can sign off on that if the guy is a driver with exp.from another co. I don't think we will budge on the 30 yrs old though (we just lowered it from 35yrs old). Oh, and yes we are a VFD. we have engineers and qualified drivers. the engineers are always the first to drive, drivers are if none or not enough engineers come. our chief engineers lets all drivers and engineers know that we are firefighters first

  11. #11
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    16 to join for EMS/Outside fire operations...18 for interior firefighter...21 to drive. Insurance is part of it, but I'm sure if we felt compelled that we needed younger drivers, we could pay a higher premium to allow it.

    If you're close to 21, you might be allowed to participate in the parking lot obstacle course drills, but no road time training until after your birthday.

    Even if not a driver, all firefighters of any age should know how to engage & operate the pump, start the generator, and emergency procedures. I still remember back in probationary training being shown the throttle on the pump panel -- with the basic
    warning You Should Never Touch This...BUT if you see that someone is about to get hurt by a burst or loose hose and the pump operator isn't here, hit the red button to throttle down the pump.

    My personal belief...slightly vary it to something like "5 years good driving record..." Not sure what "good" is...I don't think a speeding ticket or two when you're 18 disqualifies you...but there better not be any reckless driving or DUIs. That ensures you're at least 21 to drive (16+5...) but also gives you a way to fairly evaluate new members regardless of age.

  12. #12
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Well, after I posted this question we were toned out to a Helicopter crash is our district. The zone was a VFD zone and the Firefighter in question was the only one to show to the station. Three pages later (3 pages for manpower in this dept is unheard of, last mulitple page was over 10 years ago) this Firefighter was the only one to show to the Fire Station. Ambulance is run by another FD 7 miles out, and the call needed an engine. So after 3 pages this Firefighter goes ahead and goes in the engine alone. Extremely cautious driver, did not run code, followed the speed limit (So he says). Some of the other Firefighters have their feathers ruffled over this incident. BUT when he arrived on scene, there were 3 other Firefighters on scene POV. Now, our policy states respond to station then to incident in FD fleet. What do you think, if they would have followed the policy then he would not have been put into that position. I think he was basically forced to do this with the lack of personell responding to the station and following policy. But what do you think? I think it was fairly responsible to make it out there safely, and to be able to operate the pump without problems. Just fielding opinions in this incident. To clarify, the county has a good MA policy in place, but the MA dept was not able to respond due to other incidents, there were 2 type 2 wildland incidents going on at the same time and this happened to be one of the helicopters working one of the incidents. It had gone to the airport for work and fuel then went for a test drive and lost the rear rotor.
    What do you think?

    Mark

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    If in doubt - Call us out

  13. #13
    fireater
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    In our Dept. You get on at 16 and have 2 years to observe and get the min. trainning that is requied by our dept. and then at 18 you can drive, attack, wear scba and whatever else that you have for trainning

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    Stay Safe and remember to put the wet stuff on the red stuff

  14. #14
    SCFAO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In my Dept.(County Fire Service..20+ stations) the basic county requirement is at least 18, CDL or Class E DL, state emergency driver training course, state pumper operations course, state mobile water supply course. Each station chief can add additional requirements, ours requires the new driver to undergo rigorous training and be able to show that he/she is competant in the operation of each truck. Countywide...we have had a few incidents where the younger drivers hit trees in tight driveways, etc....but the majority of our major accidents (MVA or significant damage to apparatus) have been done by older personnel. Also, our County is self-insured...so that's not a factor. Age alone doesn't decide who is or isn't a good driver, even a 35-40 y/o can go "siren" crazy.

  15. #15
    Jim M.
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Mark440 - to answer your question - the FF who drove the engine without permission was extremely lucky. Every state has different laws on liability. Every insurance company has different wording in their policies regarding liability coverage. What are your's???

    What if a van load of kids pulled directly into the path of the on-coming engine? No chance to stop, van gets T-boned, 8 kids dead. Who's at fault? In some states, the van driver is 100% responsible. In some states, the engine driver is responsible (PERSONAL financial liability) because he was responding to an emergency without lights and sirens (YES, EVEN IF THE VAN PULLED IN FRONT OF HIM).

    You need to know the laws of your state and what your insurance coverage is. Good intentions don't count for ****. The outcome in this incident was good but the potential for personal liability should be clearly understood. Your Chief should communicate clearly and without any confusion who can drive.

    Anyone driving without permission in my dept is driving a stolen vehicle.

    Just my 2 cents worth.


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    Remember, it IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you!

  16. #16
    pfpchief
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    21 with chiefs blessing. all drivers must met minimuim driving time reguirements aprox 10 hrs driving and 5 hrs pump training

  17. #17
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    First, in answer to the question of age requirements:

    PA law calls for minimum age of 18, our insurance provider wants a minimum age of 21, and that's what we use. We require extensive driver training time, such that it takes about two years for the average person to gain certification on all three of our apparatus.

    Second, in response to Mark440's post, the answer is clear to me. What that person should have done is called for the next due engine when it became evident that nobody was going to show up. Taking rigs on the road without the proper training and certification/licensing is dangerous and stupid.

    I guarantee this: if you start getting replaced on your responses by next due companies, those people who are going to the scene will start getting their butts to the station to get apparatus on the road. Bet on it.

  18. #18
    Snackbar
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    It seems that the insurance companies really dictate when someone can drive.. But, age is not the issue.. Some 18 year olds are more mature than a lot of 21 year olds. If you were raised in the fire dept. like I was. at 18 you have a good sense of what is expected of you.
    But, as I say. insurance has been the biggest killer of ,much of the younger people in the fire service.
    Love and Peace,
    Snackbar

  19. #19
    Snackbar
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    It seems that the insurance companies really dictate when someone can drive.. But, age is not the issue.. Some 18 year olds are more mature than a lot of 21 year olds. If you were raised in the fire dept. like I was. at 18 you have a good sense of what is expected of you.
    But, as I say. insurance has been the biggest killer of ,much of the younger people in the fire service.
    Love and Peace,
    Snackbar

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    Mammoo

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