Should the pump operator stay at the engine or wander around the scene? I'm asking because one of our people has a habbit of setting the engine and walking of. We are a volunteer department and have two engines with the computer operated pump. Supposedly set your pressure and watch. We lost prime momentarily the other day and he was at the rear of the engine away from the panel(top mount). Seems that if you are not at the pump when something happens you stand a good chance of either screwing up a pump or getting someone hurt. This is why we have the top mount so the operator can watch the fireground.

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he should stay at the pump until he needs a brake and someone else takes over. if he is running around and the tank runs dry and there is firefighters in a building he could get somebody killed or even hurt plus there will be some pi$$ off firefighters come out of that building
the driver/engineer has one duty, and that is to operate the apparatus. he drives the truck, he works the pump. he should not be off doing other things, end of story. TCSS
How did you lose prime? Did you run out of water ?
A pump operator has to be AT THE PUMP, period. Even a computer enhanced pump requires attention ALL THE TIME. When you are the IC, the Chief or the Safety Officer it is alarming to look over at your engine and find no pump opperator. It is their responsibility to let the IC know what is going on with the water supply and anticipate when they need water if we aren't hooked to a hydrant and in my area that isn't often. We often assign a junior member or an associate member who doesn't fight fire to assist the engineer. Sometimes that means getting equipment off the truck or finding a drink for the operator or anything else he needs while he is at his station, ON THE PUMP PANNEL!!

My husband has arthritis in his knees. He can't gear up and go but I know exactly where to find him on-scene, on the pump. Once he gets up there, he is there until the hoses are ready to be broken down. You can bet he has his eye on what is going on at the other end of those hoses and on the pannel all the time. As the SO I will occassionally climb up there so I can see things better myself but that is his domain. He will often shout to me & point to something he thinks needs my attention. We work well together that way but I will admit that it doesn't work as well with other pump operators. I don't trust a guy I can't find where he is supposed to be.
i agree the pump operatoe should stay with the pump panel unless he is hooking up lines or another function like that we also have an engine with the computer on it. It makes it nice but you still have to watch the pump and gauges and having a top mount pump is nice to be able to see almost everything.
We were pumping a 4" line from a drop tank and added a 2 1/2 line to another inlet. when I opened the inlet valve it lost prime. Our operator was walking off when it happened. He did get back on the engine and re-prime. Fortunately we were only doing exterior ops at the time. He was also holding 3/4 tank on the engine. Didn't like it when I got on the pump and filled 'his' tank. Our policy is keep the tank full when drafting.
At my department if you are operating the pump you stay at the truck unless relieved by another member.
Okay, well it seems like you caused the loss of prime which I still don't understand if you had a tank of water. So the question is why were you manipulating the pump controls if you weren't the operator?
"So the question is why were you manipulating the pump controls if you weren't the operator?"

Quite possibly because the person who was supposed to be operating the pump was on walkabout?

We have two trucks with the electronic throttle/governor/pressure relief valves and there is no way we can leave them unattended.

One thing that ALWAYS pissed me off when I was running the truck was to have someone else come over and start doodling with the controls. Maybe your PO learned something, and will stay close at hand from now on. Then again, maybe not.
As an operator you are to be at the controls at all times. There should be no excuses for not being there. A true operator will pride themselves on first getting you all to the scene safely and then providing you with what you need to complete the task at hand and then to finally get you back to station safely and they sure can't do that by walking around being nosey. As far as touching the panel and adjusting anything that is a no go. Even knowing what they are doing is wrong does not give you the right to do it. You should notify OIC or your Chief Engineer if you have one and let them take the proper steps to rectify the situation. It's called chain of command.
With Our Dept. you stay at the pump panel, if they need less pressure or more then they can get it quickly, not to mention if something happens to the pump and it loses water the attack crew could be in deep trouble.

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