Liability and Maintaining Apparatus
We (allright....I) have an issue with a practice going on in our department. Currently, when a fire apparatus has a problem, the departmental "shadetree mechanics" tinker with it, and use thier "ingenuity" to fix things. If it is a bigger problem NOT with the firefighting portions of the truck, city mechanics (SAE certfied) will fix it. If it involves the firefighting portion, they won't touch it. So then, certain firefighters who think they can, do start working on the pumps, PTO's, etc. In my former employment with another department, the issue of liability problems arose and ONLY certified mechanics will work on the truck and EVT or Fire mechanics will work on anything involving the firefighting portion.
The department thinks that there is no liability on thier behalf by doing much of this work themselves WITHOUT the training. The mentality is "you can't sue us because we're the government" is prevalent but my understanding is many of these immunity clauses are getting shot down by judges. We have mobile repair personnel less than an hour away, so they are available. I'm interested to hear what other departments are doing with this issue.
Liability and Maintaining
I had a whole department try to tell me that a pump was not operating correctly and cavitating. All of these people where also suppose to be highly trained pump operators and mechanics. These people thought they knew what they where doing also. To make a long story short, I showed them they where just pumping to much water and cavitating the pump and the pivot gauge showed it. Talk about egg on their face.
NFPA says the department has final say so on who is qualified to work on their truck. But think about it, do you want a non-certified EMT to work on you just because he thinks he know what he is doing? How about if I just rolled out of the bed and decided to be a firefighter because I put out a couple of car fires in the shop?
I don't think its worth it. Their are alot of factors invovle with rescue equipment that are not in a normal shop. It just not worth a brake down with men in the middle of a blaze.
I'm sorry for any spelling or grammer problems. I'm just a mechnic and never was good with english.