Being a FF in New York State, I think it is a good idea for all apparatus drivers to have a CDL or at least the knowledge required to pass the CDL written test.
Since the recent flurry of worried emails and posts on this subject began, I have started the process of obtaining a CDL with tanker endorsement. Right from the start I've found that the information in the CDL manual is excellent: things like how air brakes work or how to inspect a truck for road worthiness should be required for drivers.
Or so it seems to me, after driving all types of fire apparatus over the last 27 years.
Being a resident of New York I do find a few issues with this. The County I live just found a accounting mistake and is 2.5 million dollars short taxes will go up again. So this is partly a cost factor how much money are we going to spend to get drivers. A few problems go with this.. in NY fire trucks are not registered vehicles so we can't take the test on one of them so now we have to borrow a truck from somewhere. What about anytime a member might have to take off from work? Although I do believe (strongly I might add) that trained/responsible drivers are a absolute must. Does just having a CDL mean you can handle an emergency vehicle? I don't think so. A company can implement a driver training program that could train and keep current excellent drivers it's just a matter of education and setting minimum levels but it can be done. This is definitely an issue with no short term solution.
I do not think that this STUDIP at all. You have to stop and think of the logic to this. I am a member of a Volunteer Fire Department, I aslo am a Class "B" Commercial Driver for our County DPW. Were as for me to drive that dump truck i need to have a CDL drivers licenses. That dump truck does not weigh loaded more that any of our fire trucks in my department. Our tanker which is our heaviest truck weighs close to 30 TON loaded. You put someone that is not familiar with the weight, air brakes you have someone in a bomb. That is an ACCIDENT waiting for some were to happen. As a tax payer there is no way that i want my tax money to go towards replacing a new fire truck that was totaled by an out of clas driver.
I also believe that if you have the CDL and that you do not drive every day rhat you should also refresh every year by going to emergency driveing class. There are a lot of guys in my department that have CDL Licenses and i wil NOT get on that truck, because that is the only time that they use it, to drive fire trucks.
How would you feel it someone driving a fire truck with out a CDL wrecked that truck and one of your loved ones were involved in it? I would feel like $hit and and would use all my resourses to hang everyone inviolved.
These veichles are like a loaded time bomb. You do exseccive speed when responding to calls. It takes a lot of knowledge, responsibility, and a lot of COMMON SENCE to drive these very heavy fire trucks.
Plus i feel that if you drive these fire trucks that you should go through some kind of drug and alchohol testing.
Thats the law in New Hampshire as described to me while taking my CDL test with the State of NH DOT law officer. (exempt during emergency operations)
Here is another one for you all to read, consider, argue, and bash.... whatever.
If you are an officer RIDING on said fire engine or tanker that requires a CDL by law, what would happen to you the fire officer who HAS a CDL, should the vehicle you are riding in be involved in a serious collision with a non CDL driver at the wheel?
Are you now open to further liability knowing that you are allowing another firefighter who (in the eyes of a civil lawyer) is NOT qualified, compotent or appropriately licensed per the state required laws?
BTW: Our department requires CDL as a requirement of our job (non-funded as it is a pre-req) and the department pays for EVOC class once hired. Some are whining about unfunded mandates, (hey the milkman is required to have a CDL but the state doesn't pay for theirs) We pay for our license upgrade and time out of our own pockets.
There is a lot of comments on how CDLs make sense. No doubt the better trained the driver the better off we all are, but look at this way. I f we train a driver to respect the vehicle he's driving and to become aware of his surroundings when responding could he be more cautious then the guy who's use to driving all the time (CDL). A solid training program and on going training can make for the CDL, I don't mean just 2-3 hours and he's good to go I mean solid time behind the wheel, EVOC, evaluations and on going training. A CDL is an excellent idea but don't think it should be mandated.
a fire appliance is not a race car, its a heavy vehicle that goes, handles and stops like a heavy vehicle. Over here we need an MR (medium rigid, must be 21yrs or over) licence to drive a Pumper, or a HR (heavy rigid) to drive an arial appliance. After you get the licence, you then have to become a NSWFB pump operator before you can drive (a fairly stringent proscess in itself) . Its a great idea, too many people think fire trucks are invincible when they crash just the same as a commercial truck.
Would be happy to get a CDL...where do I sign up and who is paying for it...? I already Volunteer my time , my vehicle , my gas and my family time....I am not complaining I do it without regrets....I love what I do....but I cannot justify the expenses to my family for something that I may only use occasionally....sure it is a good idea...but if these are mandates then grant money should be available.....Paul....you will not hear me complain about training.....EVER....
The cost of getting a class B cdl is somewhere around fifty bucks, it varies from state to state. Why should the department cover the cost of a cdl? We have many EMTs and paramedics on my department and we didn't pay for one class. Have You never bought your own tools for you're gear? I'm sorry if that comes across as rude it's not meant to be, I just don't think money is as big of an issue as everyone is saying.