1. #1
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    Default Be careful operating trucks.

    I found the following story and wanted to remind all who operate responding engines to be extra careful.


    http://www.wboc.com/Global/story.asp?S=5535936

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    Thanks for the information and the reminder. I teach Emergency Vehicle Driving and I am always looking for articles and stuff relative to accidents. I wish you could find out the final outcomes on some of these cases (my students always ask--"We'll what did he finally get?"

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    Ok, I will.

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    I would still like to see drivers of all emergency vehicles required to have atleast a class B CDL...preferably Class A

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck
    I would still like to see drivers of all emergency vehicles required to have atleast a class B CDL...preferably Class A

    Why? A CDL is a piece of cake to get and has no bearing on being able to handle a truck. I've had a Class A with tank and haz-mat endorsements since the CDL was introduced, as a driver trainer I had many "truck diver school" graduates that already had the same license and endorsements that I had that I wouldn't have let drive my lawn mower. A CDL is just a piece of paper that can be bought most anywhere if you want one bad enough.

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    I think a CDL can be a part of the picture, but it has to be a more complete package.

    When I was learning to drive, I found my EVO (Emergency Vehicle Operations) course useful, but short. The best came from experience. I encourage our new drivers to get out on the roads frequently after thier training to engrain the skills in place before they start to forget things.

    We now use four levels of driver training in our dept.

    Level 1 comes during a probationary FF's rookie course, before he is allowed to respond to calls. It involves discussing POV driver SOG's, the relavent stats, and making the case for cautious driving on the way to the hall.

    Level 2 comes when a probie has had about 6 months on the department, and finished his basic training. This 1-day course instructs in basic CDL inspections, as well as driving the utility trucks (F-350, etc.), and the non-air brake engines in non-emergency situtations only.

    Level 3 comes within a year, and after the applicant recieves thier Air-brake endorsement. After this orientation, they are permitted to drive all department vehicles non-emergency, or a second due unit provided they are rolling code-2 (routine/with traffic).

    Level 4 is obtained after successful completion of a EVO course, and being able to demonstrate those skills on our units in the presence of an officer. The driver is now qualified to operate any unit at any time.

    I am also working on an off-road course to deliver next spring, which will supplement the above training specific to working on the mountain fire roads and ski hill cat roads in and around our district.

    It may or may not be enough, but since we don't drive all-day every day like a busy urban dept. We have to make the extra effort. Our history has shown that failing to do this will cost us one way or another.
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    Requiring a CDL may work, I doubt it thought, It comes down to personal descipline, department descipline, and proper training, most of the time you can take a step back and just watch your guys on any emergency situation and see who has the calm head to handle it and who has no business behind the wheel of and emergency vehicle. I'm sure there are alot of firefighters thank can drive a emergency vehicle during drivers training, but as soon as the alarm goes off they get in a hurry and make mistakes. Thats where the descipline comes in.

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    As a holder of a CDL, and a guy (some would say geezer) who has been driving Commercial Vehicles AND Emergency Vehicles for quite a few years, I don't think a CDL, in itself, would do much, if anything, positive. The Training required to operate a Vehicle (regardless of size) in a Emergency Response mode is a LOT different than just wandering down the highway. And, don't forget the person who just can't drive a lick, in anything with wheels. This person will be the first to want to try out the Tractor Drawn Ladder Truck. There is also "Mr. Cool" who is NEVER anything but laid back in full control. He's the one who's brain turns into a bowl of jello when you turn on the Lights and Siren. Firefighters are Special People, and Apparatus Drivers are even more Special, they should have the tightest requirements and the best training available.
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    I am somewhat sort of in agreement with most of the comments here regarding commercial drivers, but there is one subtle point that I would like to make. This came out originally some while ago, and again during my EVOC theory classes. Essentially it is this:

    1) when Johnny Q Public sees ANY emergency apparatus on the road either at code 3 or just normal driving, he ASSUMES the driver to be:

    Competent at operating the vehicle in question

    Now the fun part. As a person who grew up living on long haul trucks, and having driven a tanker or two myself, the only (mostly) benefit of having a CDL or Canadian equivilant is that it suggests that the driver who possesses such has a higher level of knowledge regarding his vehicle and getting it from Point A to Point B efficiently and safely. Also that certification imparts that the driver is also RESPONSIBLE regarding the maintenance of that vehicle.

    I asked someone a while ago about the air brake system of a particular piece of apparatus and the answer was .... welll... not encouraging. The "driver" had no idea about the system in general, other than to "press the foot pedal and pull the button". Beyond that he knew how to read the air gauge and that was about it.

    As Martin noted above, all his drivers have to attend and PASS an air brake endorsement course. This is a requirement for anyone to operate any air brake equipped vehicle in the Province of British Columbia. This is because according to the Motor Vehicle Branch, the driver must know the full operating systems of the brakes and to make adjustments to them. That being said, if he gets into an accident and the investigation finds that the brakes "failed" due to improper adjustment or a general mechanical failure that could have been solved through a decent driver inspection prior to going out, he will be charged in a court of law. Why? Because he "knew". He either knew the systems were faulty to begin with and did not report it/fix it. Or "he accepted responsiblity AND liability because he "failed" to complete the pre-trip inspection correctly.

    That is the whole point (in my opinion) of a driver having to complete a CDL. To be a part of or cause of an accident because of a failure of the truck due to improper maintenance (driver's responsibility to ensure) or improper adjustments/inspections (driver's responsibility) is no excuse. The driver is responsible for full operations of that vehicle anytime hit hits the road. To say "I didn't know", will not cut it in court.

    That all being said, even though I have many hours of driving experience with Malahat under all weather conditions, with nearly all the trucks (was just learning the Tanker when I left), I am quite happy to have completed the EVOC training for Fairfax. Although I still kinda think that the driving part of the course was a bit lame, and somewhat unrealistic, its an important part of qualifying to be a driver. Its always a good thing to get out with a certified instructor once in a while and be "checked" out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xploded
    I found the following story and wanted to remind all who operate responding engines to be extra careful.


    http://www.wboc.com/Global/story.asp?S=5535936
    Yes, that was a dark day here in Delaware when that story first hit the news.
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