First responsibilities: know your area, get there fast and safe, apparatus placement, know how to get your people water and the engine water, maintain proper pressure and what needs to be done when problems arise. Those are things that any engine driver should be responsible for at any fire, but there can be numerous other things that drivers need to be aware of and able to do. Pull and ric out the hoselines, grab the fan and turn it on for ventilation (but do not start to ventilate), grab tools, chainsaws, RIC equipment, pull ladders, turn on scene lights. I think the list could go on, but the fact is that engine drivers have much responsibility, but have much time to accomplish most of these tasks while crews are getting ready and/or advancing lines.
We just recently started pulling the fans for ventilation and it has worked out great. Besides being effective, it shows that there is plenty of time for drivers to do more than pump and help with hoselines. I would like to hear if there are any other ideas that your department may have for engine drivers.
I am Asst. Chief of a volunteer dept. The responsibilities placed on our drivers by the dept. are to maintain water flow for the attack crews, establish water supply, or at least designate the type of water supply for the next in trucks, and to asume the role of IC until an officer of more experienced member arrives and can take over. We try not to put too much on our drivers in the begining since they are also IC. But as a Volunteer Dept. it is the only way to garuntee the IC role is filled by an experienced member. But we relieve them as soon as an officer is on scene, unless they are doing a good job and prefer to stay IC then the officer will take the role of pump operator, this allows the driver to be IC with the safety net of a more experienced IC there to help.
Personally when I drive, I start engaging the pump and getting everything ready to flow water, then as crews are stretching lines I grab whatever tools/handlights I think they may need (and do not already have) and stage them at the door they are making entry through. I then lay out my line for the tanker to hook into when it arrives ( if using a nurse tanker). As I am carrying tools to the door for the crews I get a good chance to see the conditions up close and check the sides and rear of the structure to complete a thorough size up to determine if more resources are needed or what our next approach may be if we need to change tactics. When more personnell arrive on scene I assign someone as pump operator so I can be IC or if the Chief or another officer wants to take IC from me then I breif them so they know what is taking place. I am not a big fan of making the driver IC but it is a necesarry evil sometimes; however we try to releive them of one of the two roles asap, the IC has enough to do and does not need to be distracted by running the pump and vice versa.
Safe operation of vehicle, including seatbelt use by all passengers(confirmed by officer on apparatus). Confirms most logical route to scene. Positioning of apparatus at scene in cooperation with apparatus officer and/or on scene commanders. Operating the pump and/or establishing or assisting in establishing a water supply to the apparatus.Operation of onboard power units/generators and seeing to establishment of vehicle mounted scene lighting as needed. Assists with tool/appliance appropriation and monitors such for return of items .Sheds appropriate warning lights once at scene and may set up traffic management devices with minimal interruption to pump operation etc..
Our drivers responsibilities are
1) to enforce seatbelt use or eng does not move
2) responcible for all on board and get to scene safely
3) establish a continous water supply
4) assist with hand line deployment and tools
5) monitor all communications as a second ear
6) operate as IC only if required
7) ladder to front of bldg
The driver is the one who makes it all happen, with out the driver the engine never gets there. His role is a criticle one with men inside advancing lines, his role is to monitor the panel so the interior crew can complete their job without water loss or pressure drops. This can be the deciding factors in knockdown and firefighter injury . The added roles are only if time permits and always reverts back to the men inside and their water needs. Apparatus placement, knowing the streets, nailing a water supply and making sure his hand lines have water is what got him in the seat ! The rest is extra !
I forgot to mention one more thing.....be adept to different hose lays, and have simplyfied hydraulics.
Far too many departments are the "LDH to the front and pull the preconnect and pump to 150#".
These are not thinking ECCs. I can get a taxi driver to do that!
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