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Just like any other position on the fire apparatus, responsibility and owning your position play a major part in the outcome of the incident or training scenario. We are seeing more and more younger fireman being promoted to the front seat rider as well as young volunteers being forced to ride "shotgun" due to low manpower. Today, we feature a short list of critical traits and characteristics a "front seat rider" must possess before he/she jumps in the seat.

Keep in mind, for every decision that is made by the front seat rider...the plays are in motion and you have set the tone for either a positive or negative reaction to the outcome. Being forced to change the game plan can be accomplished by a good incident commander, but who wants to won the responsibility of un-educated decisions being made?

Forging yourself to become the best you can be starts with "YOU"! Before you run to the front seat to set the tone for the incident and responding apparatus, as yourself "do I have what it takes"?

Here are a few tips to get you started on the right path to becoming a "front seat rider.

  • Front seat riders can’t just take seat space without the necessary tools

    • THINK before you ‘jump up’ and assume the seat…do you have the tools?

    • Knowledge
      • Knowledge of apparatus & capabilities

      • Knowledge of Guidelines, procedures and policies

      • Knowledge of ‘first due’

    • Skills
      • Communications skills

      • Building Construction ID skills

      • Reading Smoke skills

      • Apparatus Positioning & Operations Skills

    • Abilities
      • Ability to conduct a proper Size-Up w/360

      • Ability to choose the correct attack mode

      • Ability to transition to company officer with initial attack company

    • Experience
      • Actual – On Scene ‘Front Seat’ decision making

      • Virtual – Simulation experience is worth the time to obtain

    • Attitude
      • Can Do!  - Let’s get it done!

    • Composure
      • You set the tone – “do it like you have done it a thousand times”

    • Situational Awareness – Always know what’s happening around you!

~Jeremy Rebok, Michael Horst~

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