1. #1
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    Default CDL for apparatus operators

    Just wondering how many dept's require the apparatus drivers to have a CDL and air brake endorsement. Also, how about EVOC. Thanks for the input and be safe out there!!

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    My career department doesn't require CDL. Up until recently, they didn't require any training whatsoever, only that you could pass the test (which included an EVOC driving course) and some wheel time prior to testing. We're now doing a driver's academy that includes EVOC.

    My vollie department is phasing in formal driver/operator and CDL. According to our state's statutes, you do not have to have a CDL or other special license to drive an aparatus to and from an emergency. However, by the "letter of the law" you do have to have the specific license to drive the apparatus for other details. We already require an EVOC for those who drive any apparatus, including POV, emergency. Part of the requirement will include a certain number of hours of wheel time on each type of apparatus (light, medium, heavy) prior to being allowed to drive emergency.

    I'm not sure how long it's going to take to do the CDL. As it is, we're restricting driving "heavy" apparatus (tankers) to those with sufficient experience or a CDL. We're talking with the board about helping pay for the CDLs and endorsement testing for other guys.

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    Wink

    Having a CDL DOES NOT prove you CAN drive...although you MAY...legally. It is gaining the experience of operating a vehicle, be it large or small, that is essential, especially wih emergency vehicles. There are "truck drivers" and "people who drive trucks"...huge difference.
    "we learn from history...that we do not learn from history"

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFMBob View Post
    Having a CDL DOES NOT prove you CAN drive...although you MAY...legally. It is gaining the experience of operating a vehicle, be it large or small, that is essential, especially wih emergency vehicles. There are "truck drivers" and "people who drive trucks"...huge difference.
    Very good point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFMBob View Post
    Having a CDL DOES NOT prove you CAN drive...although you MAY...legally. It is gaining the experience of operating a vehicle, be it large or small, that is essential, especially wih emergency vehicles. There are "truck drivers" and "people who drive trucks"...huge difference.
    I got my CDL (class A) back in 1998, and to this day, I am very uncomfortable when somebody makes a comment about my abilities. I am very humble about it, and usually shake off any compliment by saying that I was having a good day, or got lucky (or I don't know what the he77 I'm doing on a bad day).
    All too often I hear OTR drivers bragging about how they can drive and being a "truck driver." These are the same people who use the truck's size for intimidation, and are often inconsiderate when it comes to others on the road. My best advice is that seat time with the right instructors will lead to the best equipment operators. Forget the moniker of being called a driver. Anybody can drive, but you must have an awareness of the equipment to operate it correctly especially around urban areas.

    By the way, if you try for an Air Brake endorsement, don't forget to go for the Tanker Endorsement as well. The knowledge of what the water is doing in the tank and how it affects vehicle control during turns and stops will be a benefit.

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    In general, I agree with TFMBob regarding the CDL, it does not guarantee that the person will be a good driver, although the same can be said for EVOC or any other training course that is put in place. The problem I had when helping to set up a program at my old department is that no matter how much training and driving time and pumping time you give people, some people just are not cut out to be driver/operators. When you tell them they're not ready, you get into questions of fairness which can be terrible for moral of a small department.

    Back to the original question. We strongly recommend a CDL, but not required. Our laws are much like Catch 22 stated. The class B is not required for emergency driving but it appears to be required for training or any non-emergency driving.

    Our driving program consists of seat time with those with enough experience to train others as well as going through pumping scenarios. Those people sign off on the training sheet when they feel you’re ready.

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    Connecticut does not recognize fire apparatus as commercial vehicles. If a fire fighter wants to get a CDL for the FD, he would have to test on a dump truck or other vehicle with a GVW greater then 26,000 pounds.

    CT has a 2Q endorsement to a regular drivers license that allows the holder to operate fire apparatus, military trucks, and farm equipment on the roads. You cannot take a 2Q test in a commercial vehicle. It must be one of the vehicle types for the 2Q. If a fire fighter has a CDL, he does not need to get a 2Q endorsement. The 2Q only covers general operation of the vehicle; emergency vehicle operations are left up to the individual departments.

    The only difference between the two licenses is the 2Q does not have a written test, medical card, or a requirement for drug and alcohol screening. If a person has a CDL but wants to downgrade to a 2Q, he must retake the pre-trip, static, and road tests, which are identical to the CDL, using fire apparatus. The FF must re-test even if he has been using his CDL license to drive fire apparatus.

    Somehow, this all makes sense to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.
    Last edited by KenNFD1219; 11-13-2007 at 03:49 PM.
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    Default Ken

    I moved back to Mn from Ct. I was a "call man" (volunteer) with the City of Groton Co 1 (Pioneer Hose Co.) for about 5 years from 96-01. I was also a dispatcher fof the Subase FD while US Navy Active Duty. I knew Ct had the "Q" endorsement. When I joined the city, I drove the fire chief around the block a few times, parked on a hill, and then was "blessed" to drive the utility vehicles as the Full Timers drove and operated the engines and tower. I did get EVOC through the Navy as I was an MP at the base also.

    If you know any of the guys at the SBFD or GCFD tell em "Brooksie" says "Hi from Mn". Don't know how many will remember me but what the heck. Thanks for the insight also!
    Last edited by MnRFD09; 11-13-2007 at 04:20 PM. Reason: damn fingers won't spell correctly!

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    My department requires a CDL and each driver needs to complete a competency course on each vechicle before being clear to operate them.

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    Default Driver/Operator Training for Volunteer Department

    Looking for S.O.G. on driver operator training for a volunteer fire department. Anything on brush trucks, tankers, pumpers, and platforms. If you have a program please email me at firecaptleal@yahoo.com.

    thanks

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    not to be one just to hop on the band wagon but my dept is looking to start an FAO program. any SOG's please email me a copy if ya can bsimmons332@hotmail.com

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    Ive said it before on here and i'll say it again. Any driver of an apparatus should be required by law to have a current CDL
    Buck
    Assistant Chief/EMT-B

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    The state of NH requires fire apparatus driver's to have CDL-B with air brake and tank endorsement. My department also has an in house training program which covers; pumping, driving, and specialized equipment on that particular truck (if you can drive it you should be able to trouble shoot at least minor problems). NFPA, USFA, IFSTA, and VFIS are great resources for developing a program and SOGs; your can create your own using there information or just cut and paste to your SOGs format. Also, check out www.firefighterclosecalls.com Billy's site provides SOGs and much more for whatever you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck View Post
    Ive said it before on here and i'll say it again. Any driver of an apparatus should be required by law to have a current CDL
    That was the plan in CT when CDLs first came along but the volunteer lobbies whined so much that the old 2Q license was allowed to continue as an exception for fire apparatus. (CT fire apparatus is also exempt from registration and is not under the jurisdiction of DMV. They've never been all that happy about that.)

    The payback is that DMV will not allow anyone to use fire apparatus to qualify for a CDL despite the fact that it's the identical test. In fact, I'm told that, if you showed up for a DMV test driving a privately owned and registered fire truck with regular commercial plates, you could use it to qualify for a CDL becasue it isn't considered "fire apparatus"...
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    In St. Paul, Fire Equipment Operator is promoted position with a written and practical exam. Part of the practical is to drive the apparatus with a certified examiner, though if you pass you don't get a CDL, but have proved proficiency.
    All our firefighters, FEO or not, go to the EVOC course. I believe it's part of the recruit academy now. Besides the class and the skid pad in Rosemount are just plain fun!
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Default Cdl/evoc

    Our department does not require a CDL to operate equipment, but if someone was to read the state statute book closely, a CDL is required when not in Emergency operation or returning from a call. Meaning for parades you would technically have to have one.

    As for EVOC, our members are required to complete a Driver/Operator Class (30 hours) before thinking about getting behind the wheel. Once completed with class they driver for numerous hours with an officer before getting approved to drive.

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    Thumbs up Thank you

    Thanks to all for your insight. I was appointed to Captain and now I'm working on a few different items dealing with EVOC and CDL's.

    Be safe to all!!!

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    Default CDL's

    It's amazing how many states let a volly go out and drive a 21 to 35 ton fire apparatus like a sports car in the "Stop Light Grand Prix" and not require at least a CDL drivers license. As "deputymarshall" said the volly lobbies convinced a lot of people that they would lose members if the CDL requirment was put in place. But with all of the tanker accidents it's hard to see how that practice can continue. Of course getting a CDL may not teach how to engage common sense but it couldn't hurt.

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    It's more than just going out to get a CDL. iIn Minnesota, you would also need a health card, tanker endorsement, air brake endorsement, and depending on how much fuel you have onboard for power tools, maybe even a haz-mat endorsement.
    So is having a CDL the answer or is having dedicated apparatus training tailored for your department more feasible?
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Very good point Rum. Thanks.

    Donethat, as far as our comment goes, it's BOTH volunteer and full timers. I don't want to get in a ****ing contest about it. A 19 y/o vollie was killed when his pov rolled over just today or last night. I got the LODD notice this afternoon. And I believe it was in Baltimore last month that 2 were killed when a apparatus driver went through a light and didn't fully stop. It's all on the driver and his/her attitude in my mind.

    I think the CDL is a starting point which will show the person realizes the apparatus is much larger than a passenger car.

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    I don't know what the answer is-have we been that fortunate or is our training a little better that we haven't suffered a lodd apparatus operation related....(here in Minnesota, career or vollie) Probably a bit of both.
    I can understand what you are getting at.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    I wouldn't think a Haz-Mat endorsment would be needed just for the amount of fuel needed to run your tools. Most of the Items that would require it would be in large quanities. For bulk liquids, a placard isn't required until 1,000 gallons, while for other stuff, it's usually anything over 1,000 Lbs. There are some OTR trucks that carry around 600 gallons of fuel, and the driver is not required to have his HM endorsment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostRider73 View Post
    I wouldn't think a Haz-Mat endorsment would be needed just for the amount of fuel needed to run your tools. Most of the Items that would require it would be in large quanities. For bulk liquids, a placard isn't required until 1,000 gallons, while for other stuff, it's usually anything over 1,000 Lbs. There are some OTR trucks that carry around 600 gallons of fuel, and the driver is not required to have his HM endorsment.
    A HazMat endorsement is required only when the vehicle is "...required to be placarded." In general, placards are required for most HazMats in non-bulk packaging when there's over 1,000 lbs. aggregate on board. Certain items that we refer to as "Table 1" HazMats require placards for any quantity. Bulk packaging almost always require placards. For liquids, a bulk package is any container that holds 118.9 gallons (450 liters). The regs on the subject take up over 30 pages. There are many exceptions. Fuel in the vehicle's fuel tank is always excepted from shipping papers, marking, labeling and placarding.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    It's more than just going out to get a CDL. iIn Minnesota, you would also need a health card, tanker endorsement, air brake endorsement, and depending on how much fuel you have onboard for power tools, maybe even a haz-mat endorsement.
    So is having a CDL the answer or is having dedicated apparatus training tailored for your department more feasible?
    The tanker, air brake, and haz-mat(would never be needed but it cant hurt) are all part of the CDL. You can take all endorsements in one sitting at the DMV. As for the medical card. ALL members of any dept should have one. It just shows one is in good health. Your typical physical card. CDL should be required before you can take the EVOC training
    Buck
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    Thumbs up CDL's

    Sorry, I'm not picking on Vollies, bless them, we wouldn't have the bulk of the North American Fire Service without them.

    But useing as an example where a young (high testosterone quotent) FF, maybe without the most detailed training, who probably drives the rig much less frequently than a paid department member, can jump in a high powered, heavy, high CG apparatus and go balls to the wall Code 3. I don't like those odds. I think the rigors of getting a CDL (I have one) would help display the seriousness of the members attitude about safety and probably help temper the "get there at any cost" attitude I see in a lot of our colleges.

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