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  1. #1
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    Default Teach pump ops to non-DO's?

    There is some disagreement in our officer ranks as to whether or not we should teach pump ops to our non-driver operators. Everyone in the department is required to learn to drive all apparatus, but some haven't done so yet or are on probation and can't drive yet.

    There's disagreement about if we should go over pump ops with the whole department as a department-wide training. Some people argue that the knowledge could be dangerous for non-drivers who may decide to go do something with a pump panel when they shouldn't touch one. I argue that basic hydraulics and pump operations is something everyone should understand and when they get to learn to drive, they will be ahead of the game as far as pumping goes. I think if someone freelances and touches a pump that they aren't authorized to touch, it's a whole other issue to deal with. What do you all think?


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    In my department, you aren't allowed to drive an engine without knowing how to pump it.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    In my department, you aren't allowed to drive an engine without knowing how to pump it.

    Thanks, Maybe I should be more clear. We normally teach our DO's how to pump as part of their driver training. I am proposing an overall pump and hydraulics class for the whole department and have opposition from other officers. I think everyone should understand pumping not just DO's.

    I also wonder how well each individual trainer teaches pump ops to their trainees. We don't have a standardized driver training program, we just allow senior members to instruct however they feel appropriate, and then the trainee is tested by one person at the end before they are allowed to respond in any apparatus.

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    MembersZone Subscriber achief15's Avatar
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    I would have to side with every firefighter having a minimum understanding of pumps. Anything can happen, and in an emergency you may need that one person to help with the pump, just to get you water, or shut it down. Should anything happen to the D/O on the truck (medical emergency for instance) having another person available could make a huge difference in the incident. Even if you just show them how to engage the pump, get water and flow it may be beneficial. This wonít mean they are qualified operators, just "Plan B". As for formal pump training, I see you are in FLA. Surely there is already a great program available through the local delivery system. And, in no way am I implying any negativity towards your department, but just because a senior member is teaching new D/O's, if he/she is doing something wrong, then the bad habits will continue. In my NC department, we use the VFIS model for our driver training and now the state's pump operator training through the community college, which is our delivery agent. (However not too long ago we did it the same way that you are now) So far it seems to work training-wise.

    So not everyone is a D/O, but almost anyone can get us water if the need arises. Itís helpful in a smaller department like ours.

    Glenn Rainey
    Colington, NC

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    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    I actually do have a couple of guys that are pump qualified but not driver qualified. Mainly these folks were drivers and no longer feel comfortable driving the newer, larger rigs but they will pump it at a scene and let the younger FF who drove there be available as a pack guy instead.

    Other than that you are pretty much trained on both or none at all and never the reverse. I have no one qualified to drive a rig that isn't pump qualified. Except of course for the ladder which instead you must be aerial qualified. I guess the only exception will be when the new rescue comes in.

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    I plan to train to operate the pump, but not to drive the engine, for my volunteer department. I have one non-functional eye, and thus no depth perception, so driving the big red truck is not for me. But I want to be able to do as much as I possibly can, just in case there is a need for it someday. It seems that in our department at least, our roles are more "fluid" than they may be in a career department, so I can picture a call where we get on scene and the officer in charge feels the person who drove there would be more useful performing a task other than pump ops and if I were trained on the pump we would have more options.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member fireguy919's Avatar
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    Everyone learns how to pump the truck. With being volunteer you never know who is going to be there. Given an example of what happened to one of our neighboring departments. They have very strict driving requirements. They was toned out for a structure fire. They had 4 guys on station, and one visiting from another department. (The visitor was on their department before but moved to another when he moved.) The guys that was there told him they couldnít drive. His department was automatic mutual aid. (And a lot of times we run if you are close to that station and your station is responding itís k do get on their truck.) So he said I can drive it but he did not know how to pump it. As he was gone from that fd when they got the truck. They told him yeah we know how to pump it. So off they went. Arrived on scene and everyone that knew how to pump the truck had no clue on what they had to do. He was able to figure it out but it did take a few minutes. Next truck on scene had pulled lines and flowing water by that time.
    Training does not make perfect. Training makes permanent!

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    Thanks guys, those are great points. I reviewed our SOP's and had thought previously that we had a stipulation in there that noone was to even touch a pump panel without being a DO. I can't find any such language, so that helps me. I agree that some people can stand by a pump panel but not be a driver. Often times an officer has to drive a truck where they would be much better served working on the fireground and not running a pump alone.

    any other opinions are welcome.

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    The last thing I want when I am inside is for the hose to lose pressure. Well, it's not the LAST thing I want, but close to it. Sure is frustrating to be on the nozzle when there is someone at the pump who doesn't know what they are doing.

    I say train everyone. Never know when you will need it.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    So what's better? Train everyone a little bit or train some very well?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    So what's better? Train everyone a little bit or train some very well?

    I'm leaning towards the train some very well, and doing a special engineers class for just the DO's and giving the basic safety to everyone. I think things like how to shut down a hoseline in an emergency, or simple things like that. Say, a hoseline blows and the DO is not the nearest one to the pump panel, etc. I want to eventually have a standarized training for all of our DO's on pumping to help eliminate any holes in the individualized training of our senior members when they do driver training with people.

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    Question Gezzzz

    Iíve never understood why so many consider running the pump as mysterious rocket science. Itís like you canít run a pump until you first walk across the water. Bull.

    Train everyone to operate everything on the department. Sure, some will do better than others. Make the proficient ones the primary operators. Tell those that do poorly to keep their hands off it. But never disallow someone the chance to learn something new.

    Stay Safe

  13. #13
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Our paid staff is sent through a complete pump class every couple of years, driver or not. Any of the volunteers who wish to attend are welcome.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 11-28-2005 at 06:42 PM.
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  14. #14
    Forum Member THEFIRENUT's Avatar
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    I don't think that this is a right or wrong question.

    On one hand, I don't see anything wrong with teaching everyone how to operate the pumps on your engines.

    On the other hand, I do however need to point out that this is an advanced class and probably should not be given to members who are in desperate need of basic classes (PPE, ladders, hoses and such).

    I guess what I am trying to say is that it all depends on the dynamics of your training. If you only have one instructor... then I think everyone could attend whatever is being taught. What I think works for us is having one or two instructors who teach all the basic stuff and having others, who are well versed in certain subjects, teach some more advanced classes.

    Anyway, it may be just that your officers feel threatened by having others learn what they know (you know...the job security thing). Well, I guess that I have rambled enough now and will move on to smaller and less important things. Take care.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by THEFIRENUT
    Anyway, it may be just that your officers feel threatened by having others learn what they know (you know...the job security thing).
    Bingo!

    This will be a tough one to deal with because you'll have to argue the safety/training apect of it, and get no where fast, because the real issue is the driver's and officer's letting go of their 'specialness'. Good luck.

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    I have been at this endevor for one year and have accomplished quite a bit as far as both in-house and state fire school training. I agree with those that say you should learn the basics of the art of fire fighting before you attempt operating the pumps. My volly fire co has a rule that you must be a certifled pump operator and have emergency vehicle training certificate (EVOC) from the state before you can drive a vehicle or operate the pumps.

    While getting the EVOC is black and white, becoming a "certified pump operator" is not defined and appears to be subjective. I know guys that have EVOC and have taken pumps 1 & 2 (32 hours state training) who are not "certified pump operators" (and hence are not on the drivers list) and "approved drivers" who have have not taken EVOC.

    Last summer I took EVOC (after taking essentials, live burn, FF1 review, ect...) but I have little pump experience. I snuck into the class and passed with aprox. 2 hours of practice with the engine. I have some past experience driving a school bus which helped a lot. A fellow with an equal amount of time in the service as me has pumps 1 but no essentials, no live burn and no FF1 review and he is considered a serious canidate to be a pump operator while I'm considered a probie by some, and pinhead book worm by others.

    Oh well, I had the choice to take the pump ops route with him but I decided early on to be as useful a member of the fire co as possible and this ment getting the basics under my belt, so as much as I want to be given the opportunity to drive and operate pumps when needed, becoming a certified pump operator is way down the list of priorities for me. Having said that, given the size of our small dept I desire to have a least a working knowledge of the pumps.

  17. #17
    Forum Member THEFIRENUT's Avatar
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    Good for you "thomas15". When you are first starting in the Fire Service, you need to be a spong. All the classes that you have taken are great. Keep up the good work, but remember with all your classes, you still need to gain experiance on the job. "Knowing" and "doing" can sometimes be very different. Always remember...be the very best Firefighter that you can be!!!! Take care and stay safe.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeBurner
    Bingo!

    This will be a tough one to deal with because you'll have to argue the safety/training apect of it, and get no where fast, because the real issue is the driver's and officer's letting go of their 'specialness'. Good luck.

    Hmm, this is a good point. I can definately see this being part of the issue. Definately NOT an easy thing to deal with, almost not worth it. I do appreciate everyones comments. thanks.

  19. #19
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    What is everyone's #1 goal? Life Safety. After a reasonable amount of time and the basic firefighting is covered everyone should have the ability to learn a little about any apparatus your department has. I am not saying they run it to the biggest fire your department has every had, but the time they are the only one there. Or the guy who can run Command needs to run Command not the pump, or the best SCBA guy on the department is the only "pump operator" there today.... doesn't it make sense to put the best guy for the job in the job as long as all jobs are covered by the a person competent enough to do it safely and not damage the equipment.

  20. #20
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    Where I am at everyone learns to drive and operate all vehicles. Though many cannot/will not drive the platform.

    Heck, even the explorers learn hydraulics/pump operations. We know the basics of how to run our pumps.
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