Running the pump at a fire is NOT an easy thing to do and let us always remember to thank and offer respect to our engineers for keeping us safe inside. My dept. has 29 members right now, of all 29, FOUR can pump water from our engine. Yes, i said four!!! Kinda scary isnt it??? I am not one of those four but I'm tryin my hardest right now to learn that thing but its very confusing. In anycase, my question is how many guys do you have on your dept. and how many of them can actually run the pump. I dont mean just charge a line and spray some water ( I can do that now), I mean pulling water from the hydrant, drafting from a porta-tank or pond, pumping through multiple lines, circulating the water, all that good stuff
We have about 15 to 20 active firefighting members. Of that I'd say 1/2 can run the pump on the engine and tanker effectively in an emergency situation. A chimp can run the pump on the brush truck. It's a Briggs & Straton w/ electric start. One good thing about our dept. though it's not in stone but it's understood that you stay out of the driver's seat if you can't run the apparatus fully.
I won't say I'm a master pump operator because that is a time learned skill. No amount of classroom will teach anyone to operate an engine under stress. Drafting, relay pumping and, in my rural situation, H2O management are learned over time.
Most trucks these days aren't overly complicated.
Park It. Chock It. PTO in Pump Gear. Tank to Pump Valve. Throttle Up Slowly. Open Each Hose Valve Individually (Again Slowly). Wet Stuff on the Red Stuff. Pack it up. Wash it off.
Go home and tell the wife "I love you, Make me a sammich."
Millis, practice practice practice. Every time you walk in the station. Go to that pump panel and walk through it. Touch the controls in order. You will learn it.
I’d say about 50% of our dept, there’s only a couple of touchy things to operate, relief valve and recycle. The other thing we need to pay close attention to is engagement, before you drop it in drive, got to make sure odometer reads 0 or you can tear up a bunch of stuff. Forgot about the vacuum, don’t want to suck a main flat. Start-up is the hard part, running is easy.
Ready for scary in a dept of 15 sometimes 20 depending who wants to come to the fire.. Maybe only 6 can run the pump not that they have not been showed or offered to be taught. So if we have a fire and none of those 6 are around then well the truck stays in the barn... Pumps are basically the same just different place for different things different truck.... I myself was taught when I was 16 .. Just now I have to get on to a truck look around know their truck and go after it..
We have tried to teach the other ,but no one wants to learn soooo sad......
It always depends on the vehicle I would say. Older vehicles (Renault Camiva) seem to be more difficult to operate, because they usually have more than too many valves to operate.
In my station (aprox. 80+) people only drivers know everything regarding the pump. The rest of the people usually know how to increase the pressure of the water. Myself -through many questions- knows how to receive water from a hydrant/tank, pump from a pond, connect cars in order to increase pressure on the nozzle (in theory, because I have never seen it being used)...
The only thing I admit I don't know how to do (because it confuses me) is the valves that I need to use if I want to create foam from the vehicle...
I can pump it enough to use the water in the tank but I don't care to know anymore than that, but out of our 30 guys we probab ly have a dozen that can use the pump and 4 or 5 of them are masters atr the pumps and usaully we get 1 out of those 5 at every call.
Out of an average response of 20-30 guys on a structure fire I would estimate I have roughly 15 guys with the ability to operate efficiently. A couple years ago we were having an issue with having enough operators which is totally different than a driver. Almost any one can drive the truck but an operator can not only drive it but also operate with it once they get it there. We than held a bunch of classes EVOC, pump 1 and 2, and Rural water movement and had a really good turn out for them which gave us quite a few more people that can operate. Training and practice are key.
I did a quick count and found 12, or about 25% of our members can run a pump with proficiency. Another 5 to 10 could probably get water out of it but I have never seen them do so at an actual fire.
Some never get a chance to, being so far from the firehouse; others want to have fun at the other end of the hose; still others don't feel confident driving the trucks. That's okay; there's plenty of work to go around.