We recently completed our annual drivers training course (VFIS).  I heard many complaints concerning the vehicles required to drive through course.  We have a 75' Quint, an E-one Engine, Seagrave Engine, Salsbury Rescue, 3-Horton Type 1 Ambulances, and F-250 pickup.  I required the following vehicles to be driven through the course if an FAO:

75' Quint, E-One Engine, Seagrave Engine, Salsbury Rescue, 1 ambulance, and F-250 pickup.

I have two questions:

  1. What does your department require for annual drivers training?
  2. What would happen if known pencil whipping of course for vehicles not driven?


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You shouldn't be "qualified" to drive anything that you can't drive through an EVOC obstacle course! Those courses are laid out with ALL types of apparatus in mind! After all, you WILL have to be faced with tight clearances in real-life scenarios with these larger apparatus. If you can't drive them on a controlled course, then HOW do you expect to be "qualified" to drive them in actual responses?

Too much, "pencil-whipping", "chalk-talking" and watching videos and simulators! NO substitute for the real thing!
It depends. Was the course set up to a standard set of specifications, or was it done randomly, or was it done by SWAG?

The other consideration is that there are places that are simply too tight for modern fire apparatus. In those situations, the FAO should have the "no go" option. If the EVOC course is set up too tight for safe navigation for the largest apparatus on hand, then the course might need adjustment.

We set up our EVDT (EVOC by another name) course based on the length of the apparatus.

If your course isn't set up on the same principle you might be able to improve the course by sizing it to the vehicle. Just like real life, smaller, shorter wheelbase vehicles will fit in places where a larger vehicle shoult not tread.
Don't have the same type of setup and don't do annual course training. Personally I don't put much stock in driving around a bunch of cones, the realism isn't there. Yes, such obstacle courses are required in order to get your driver/operator, but we do driver training in the real world in real world conditions. It is easier to maneuver, etc when you have crewmembers who can get out an assist in spotting the rig....especially when backing.
VFIS is our insurance carrier and dictates the entire EVDT course every 3 years. Annual refresher can be either classroom session or documented road time.

Pencil Whipping is ultimately fraud IMO and there's no room for it in the fire service. I'm not just referring to pencil whipping competency course sheets. If you pencil whip those, what else is getting pencil whipped? Truck checks, fire reports, fit tests, breathing air quality, etc. As far as what would happen, I tend to see a lot a fining and jail time associated with fraud... are you willing to take that chance?
BC Nick,

I totally agree, my first thought was fraud and lying on a training report. Passed it up the chain and became no big deal. The instructor said he had no malicious intent by filling out sheets for vehicles not completed. Thanks, I didn't think I was making a deal about nothing.
I just got done with our classroom part tonight.Our people have to drive ALL of the trucks on the course IF they want to drive them on the road.As far as 'PENCIL WHIPPING'I would not want to be in YOUR shoes if anything ever happens.I teach the VFIS also,and if something ever does(hope it dont)happen you could lose EVERYTHING you have and also whoever is driving at the time could also and jail time.VFIS EVOC you set the course by the size truck.
EVDT every year.

"Pencil whipping" for vehicles not driven Doesn't occur, period. All operators must drive the course in each vehicle they are authorized to operate.

Keep in mind, the EVDT or EVOC classes are done to provide the bare minimum qualifications and competencies only. Nothing replaces real world street experiences and performance.

Just think of how much better our performance would be on such courses if; instead of cones, we used children. I'm betting people would have a different attitude.
When I was training drivers the first couple of hours were always spent in a large parking lot going thru cones. While not a replacement for real world expierence it does help teach someone who has never driven something as large as an engine the way it manuvers, and how much room it takes. The cones teach how to find objects in your mirrors, since most people dont use mirrors like they should in their personnel vehicles it is a behavior that must be retaught. The next several hours of training were spent on a variety of small, winding roads( it's not hard to drive straight) and making tight turns. Final couple of hours where spent on highway and driving at night. After training hours were met and they had to be done using at least two different drivers trainers, a recommandation was made to the line officers yes or no by the trainers who rode with the individual. The line officers then made their recommendation to the chief. For annaual qualifications that was left to the line officers as they all rode in vehicles with the drivers. Too many complaints from the officers and that person would start all over. With software we were able to track the amount of time each person operated a piece of equipment during the year based off of run reports.
When I started driving back in the 70s what I got was driving in a non emergency driving and then emergency on the open road under the eyes of a officer. Then the county came up with a driver's training course which was just a classroom setup. It covered accidents involving county apparatus and then driving rules setup by the county enforced with driving movies.
I had also taken a short course offered by the state training authority which was a ambulance design course which also involved a driving course to show attendees what it felt like driving and riding as a medic and patient in the ambulance.
I also became part of a committee about changes in driver training which I believe became EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator's Class)
We are suppost to have a yearly classroom courses to review driving rules but because of money shortages there has not been a instructor to come to the station or for personnel to go to a classroom. What we get is a DVD to watch in the station and have a training officer say you took the class.

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