1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Paying your own insurance?

    I was talking to a random stranger online that claimed he worked for a VFD in Texas
    and that he was 20 and could drive some of
    the apparatus at his station.

    When I asked how (seeming most places it's
    21), he said (apparently he has a nice size
    wallet?) he was approved by his VFD to get
    his own private insurance taken out on the
    Engine & the Booster and that he can drive
    them now that he's paying the insurance.

    Any thoughts, comments, "can this be true"
    responses on this would be appreciated..

    [This message has been edited by AdamHOU (edited 03-05-2001).]

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm 19 as well and hate going to the station and not being able to pull the engine because I cant drive it and then going home.

    Your 19 years old, why don't you ride and fight fire. There's more involved in driving than getting to go fast with the lights on and waving at the pretty girls. Let the older guys do it, your young.

    You cannot start in the middle, you must start at the bottom. Until you show you've got what it takes in the heat of the battle, the crew isn't going to be comfortable with you behind the wheel or at the pump.

    Is this my gleem of hope? It might break my wallet but it would be worth it.

    No it's not your gleem of hope and it wouldn't be worth it. Here's what the rest of the department will say - "that boy is just here to play with the siren." They won't respect you or think they can depend on you. If they did, they'd find a way to put you on the insurance or buy your insurance, if your buddy is telling you the truth (I've never heard of it).

    Get in the apparatus, ride backwards, work your tail off at the scene and be happy. Earn the priveledge of taking the crew to the scene.

    Trust me on this, the biggest day of your life will be when the chief says "Adam you got the wheel." Just wait, don't rush it.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well personally I am 20 and my departments insuarance says 21 so I don't drive often, but every so often I do get to role a truck on a call when I am the onlly one that can role it from the station. I work on an ambulance and you can drive those at 18, but this guys story, unless he was driveing a BMW or Lotus, is just a big fish tale to look cool, I have seen it before.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I think you are missing one really big point. Do you understand the liability that the driver takes. Driving is not what is important. Anyone can get a piece of apparatus to the call, it is pumping, operating the piece of apparatus when you arrive on scene that is the most important. I love the people who just think that it is fun to drive around with the lights and siren on. It is a HUGE responsibility. Are you willing to risk law suits for not following the rules? Someone said that they sometimes just take the apparatus because there is no one else to drive. I wonder what would happen to your department if your insurance carrier found out what you just said. Are you willing to risk the department loosing their insurance over missing one call? Rules are set for a very important reason not just to disapoint someone. Wait a few years. It seems to me that you have a lot to learn other than driving.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Adam --

    What's your rush?? I have been doing this for some time now, and I don't get a thrill out of driving. It just doesn't do it for me knowing that when I get there I can't leave my unit even if we are not engaged in water supply, etc.

    I guess I just like fighting fire too much too be stuck at a pump panel. But hey, to each his own!

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    I'm not in a rush, I never said I was.

    Some dude told me that he did that and all
    I was wanting to know basically was if it
    could be done.

    That's all. I feel like I'm being roasted..

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Adam, dont' sweat it. I was one of the people who couldn't wait to drive either, and still prefer it to riding in the back most of the time. At my house, you can drive the ambo at 18, Tiller at 19, and drive the squad or the truck at 21. We used to have a mini-pumper, which (i think) you could drive at 20...oddly though, this mini pumper was 33' long, weight 44,000 lbs and had a 470 hp detroit. I'm not positive it's an insurance requirement to be 21 to drive, though no doubt, it's a good idea.

    As for the responsibility...yes, it's huge...know where you're going, guess what the other drivers are going to do, etc. then you get to the scene. We don't have a wagon, so I'm not stuck at the pump panel, but while everyone else gets to run in, i've gotta get dressed and usually do something more disciplined and less fun...cut a roof, get utilities, throw some ladders, etc.

    Small payoff though...I figure on 80% of our runs the driver is the only one who does anything, and he gets to do something on the other 20%.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Generally most departments as you said have a 21 age requirement. As others have said driving is not all that big of a thrill nor should it be a discouragement. If you plan on staying in the fire service volunteer or paid for a while or life long you will get to drive more than you could imagine. i am the Assistant Chief in our department and have been involved in the Fire Department for 15 years. I would much rather be the guy on the line than stuck running the pump(not to degrade those who this is all they want or can do). If it is the exitement your looking for, go inside fight the beast and come out safe thats the real challenge. If you are of the oppisite and just want to learn have an officer or senior driver take you out in the truck (not to drive) and drill running the pumps, drafting keep this in the back of your mind "THE DRIVER OPERATOR HAS MORE RESPONSIBILITY THAN MANY RECOGNIZE, GETTING YOU TO AND FROM THE SCENE SAFELY, ENSURING WATER FLOW, APPARATUS PLACEMENT TO ENSURE THE BEST ATTACK POSITIONING AND OVER AND ABOVE ALL SAFETY FROM START TO FINISH! I do not think you are getting the so called "SHAFT" it is just a process and standard set by the department taking in consideration your officers or senior drivers do not have their head in the sand. Hope this helps stay safe and be in control!!

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I heard a story of a guy in a near-by dept. that had some how gotton his own insurance and waas able to drive his dept.'s apparatus. Personally I thought it was a big fib. It is hard to believe that someone would want to pay that much money(and you know it has got to be alot) just to drive a truck. I am 19 now, I'll be 21 in about a year and 3 months, and I'll probably get checked off to drive, but not because I want to but because we need drivers. I would rather fight fire any day, rather than standing beside a loud truck pulling valves and reading gauges.
    And for waving at the pretty girls, I must say that I have never gotten laid for the sheer fact that I was a firefighter.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    On my Department, we have an all volunteer membership of 25 and run one pumper and one cube van rescue. We have 12 members who can drive and pump water with our pumper. In order to operate either one of the vehicles, you must be over 25 yrs old, due to the Towns blanket insurance policy which I am told will get a lower rate. This has been the Dept. policy since before I became Chief in 1995 and we haven't had any need to change it or challenge it. However, we do permit the younger members the occasional chance to pull the air horns or toot the siren.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    And for waving at the pretty girls, I must say that I have never gotten laid for the sheer fact that I was a firefighter.

    OK, be honest. You've tried to use it to your advaantage though haven't you?

    "Yeah baby, you know I'm a firefighter and if something bad happens to you, I can help... Maybe we should sleep together in case there's a fire at your place, first cold night and all when you fire up that heater it could start a fire. Stop Drop and Roll, a little CPR, maybe some palpating your pulses, listening to your breath sounds, check your ABCs. And I can show you some handy knots if you've got some rope."

    Oh, and since when did wave = laid? That may be why...

    And maybe if you'd shave and wash...

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