1. #1
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    Default 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.

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    Default 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.

    Scott Myers

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    we send it out .................it is NOT something to play with.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Default liability

    I presume that many volunteer departments may have a problem in attaining qaulified mechanics to do repairs on emergency equipment and may have to rely on anybody they can find to do the job or pay to have factory people do the work. Where I am we have ASE/EVT certified mechanics and I am the foreman, also certified. In our case we work directly for the Fire department and are in the union so we handlenothing but the emergency equipment repair and scheduled maintenance. Past history, such as the Waterbury Connecticut accident and many others would or should tell us that the liability for faulty emergency equipment is just to great to chance shoddy, poor or unqualified maintenance of emergency equipment. Our job as emergency equipment mechanics are to keep both the firefighters and the public safe. I have the authority to remove equipment from service if I deem it unsafe and the firefighters/operators can request removal from service through the union if they feel unsafe. I don't know what your particular situation might be but safety should never be compromised.

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    Default Volly dept.

    I am on a volly dept. and we send most all of our work out. The only in house repairs we will make is changing light bulbs or wire up a new radio, or small things in the like. When it comes down to an actual mechanical repair, the rig is sent out (only 15 miles up the road). We do have auto mechanics but our department won't let anyone do the repair work except for a truck shop.

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    The situation was a pumper that would not go into pump gear. The PTO would spin, but no pressure. Two member of the FD (not mechanics) monkeyed around with it, and of course did nothing to make it better. It was then sent to the city shop. These guys are not fire oriented, and prefer we don't bring fire apparatus to them. They "fixed" it. I don't know what they did, but it now pumps. However, it sounds like there's an empty six pack of cans rolling around in the pump housing. I am not an officer here, just very concerned. My previous employer was the DOD, and they were very strict on who works on fire apparatus and who does not. We had a mobile fire apparatus repair company work on our trucks in station. When I suggested this, I was looked at like I was insane.

    Our city thinks that there is no liability due to an immunity clause in state statutes. I recall that these are being shot down by judges all the time, but I have no specifics. Even though this place is goofy, it's the last place I'll ever work and I would like to see things done properly.

    I thank you all for the replies.

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    Let's see if the city has the same attitude when the pump craps out during a fire and someone dies, God forbid one of our own.

    By the time NIOSH, OSHA and the family that files the wrongful death suit against them, they will wish that they had someone qualified to repair the rig.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Talking liability issues

    Well it all comes down to this. It seems that our society this day in age is very ladigous. I used to work practically every piece of apparatus that we own. this includes repairs, pm work, pump tests etc. Check NFPA guidelines a certified pump tester should be pump testing your apparatus. As far as repairs and PM work I would have a ceritified emergency vehicle mechanic do the work. It saves a lot of headaches and if by chance something does happen you are covered. One more thing remember to keep good records of all your service work, repairs, and pump and ladder tests, etc. I turned the work over to a technician approximately six years ago and it has saved a lot of time and money. Not to mention vehicle out of service time. I hope this helps.

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    I can only say NFPA 1911 and NFPA 1071 also 1915. 1911 is for pump testing 1071 is the qualifications for emergency vehicle technicians 1915 is preventive maintanence. These are the bibles as I know it for what you are asking about. Also check out www.evta.info the website for techs around the US. you can post questions there also. good luck. FYI 1911 1914 and 1915 are all going to be one standard.

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    I will say this. I work in the shop of our fleet garage for a paid fire department. I am a EMT /FF certified FF1 and 2. I will not touch the pump on our apparatus till I am waterous certified. The last two years we have sent personel to their school and those folks handle these repairs. We have changed out most of our shop personel in the last three years from retirements. ALL work is done by techs or FF's CERTIFIED to do the work. ASE, EVT or component specific training is all that the judge, jury, and lawyers care about. We make sure that there is someone in charge of the repair or service who can sit on the witness stand and say yes I followed the procedures on pages 1234567 of the manual written for this repair. Here is my certification paper work from the people who printed that book. This certificate says I have been tested and have a pratical understanding of the manuals contents.
    I hate the fact we have to be this way but the times require everyone to be aware of the liability involved. We realize that the book does not solve the problem or fix the truck for us. It does however give us some stable ground to defend ourselves.
    The bottom line is do you want to lose everything you own because you can not prove that are trained to do the repair. According to our law dept. they can sue you and the city for negligance. The other thought you might want to bring up is do you want to be responsible for injuries or LODD? It's gonna be hard to explain yourself to a widow and children left behind.

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