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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My first question is off the job how good of friends are you with this guy? Second question is are you a Pump opperator? The reason I ask these questions is because It sounds to me like you are after this guy for some reason. We have no idea what he was going to do when you started adding lines to his apperatus. It also sounds like you opened the inlet valve to fast and the engine lost it's prime you did add that he corrected the problem why didn't you? I agree that the operator should stay at the panel or in close proxemity but as an officer I know that during exterior ops. that there is alot of things the operator is doing. Breaking down airpacks, putting away eq. cleaning up eq. ect. So we need to look at the big picture here and not just jump on this guy he may have been doing his job and just because you don't like him we all attack him.
You should never have anyone who is running the pump walk away from your panel or ever be out of communications with the hose crew
All of our engines ar top mount for this reason, so the operator can see whats going on. If someone needs more pressure or if the Chief says shut the line down a computer cant do it.
He and I had just connected the hose. The tank was 3/4 full and no swirl with the other line. My guess is neither of us opened the bleeder valve first. When we finished he started walking away again. Don't know if he was going to the other side to get on the truck(?) or what.
There's a reason we call it a pump operator
Wow. Does everybody live in a wall green world?

Why does the pump operator need to see what is going on anyway?
I agree with you. The operator does not need to see what is going on. Top mount although they may be nice, I feel that should not be the reason to purchase them. We have found that the best way to keep the operator at the panel is to give them a headset that only has a 10' cord. All they need is to listen to the radio and adjust as they are told and to also advise IC of their water situation.
With us, the pump operators position is by the panel. We have automatic controls, but most use the manual instead. Having said that, if we happen to be extremely short-handed at a job, then the pump op may have to perform other tasks, not desirable, but might happen. In this case there'll be nobody else available to play with the hoses and controls anyway!

We only have one inlet for a rigid draghting hose on our pumper, and it can move all the water the pump can handle anyway, so this specific instance couldn't happen. If we were connected to a hydrant (normal operation) then adding another input simply requires connect, bleed, open valve. Forgetting to bleed the line could cause prime problems of course.
When i am lucky enough to be on the pump i NEVER leave the area around the engine. Sometimes i get down to move a hose or put a piece of equipment up but never go to the fireground untill i am relived. You are asking for trouble no matter how ytour pump is set up, computer controlled or not. The pump operator holds the lives of his hose crew in the palms of his hands and in his ears. A good pump operator can tell when something is going south by the sound a pump will make or not make. Always stay with the pump.
OK, so I guess this being on Page 3 - I will disagree with you.

We have new electronic Class 1 pumps as well - they are not to be used as an auto-pilot feature.

My pump operator is a professional engineer who AT TIMES and UNDER MY DIRECTION be required to multi-task... Is this the safest for overall operations / NO.

Neither is operating at the manpower levels that the fire service does either. He at times is required to hand jack his own water supply to a nearby hydrant. We carry 30' LDH whips. I have even asked him to throw a ground ladder for secondary means of egress on a fast attack or rescue before the ladder company arrives. Or how about venting a 2nd floor window by throwing one threw it on order.

A well trained pump operator should be capable of listening to his machinery and understanding what is happening. Hey Nascar guys can tell a crew chief if a tire is going down, rubbing or even identifying engine noises... Goes back to amount of time the person is trained and exposed.

Should the PO be wandering around to shoot the BS, NO. Does he need to see the fire, NO. Does he need to see the crews operating, NO. He needs to understand his roles, responsibilites, and capabilites within our department's scope of practice - Hell YES.

And his training should match those demands as well.
In my department the driver is not allowed to leave the pump when in operation.
Well I am glad there is a few here not leaving in a prefect world.

With that being said. Asst 29 you talk about the top mount pumps. FETC you talk about man power.

We just bought a new engine for our depart. Yes it has a top mount pump. Yes the main reason for the top mount pump is for being able to see the fire ground. The reason is for lack of man power. My self as chief, most of the time I am the pump operator and IC. Or if I am not there the next command officer is the IC and pump operator. We need to see the fire ground. If we have the manpower on scene then the pump operator stays with the pump and the operator does not need to see the fire ground.

FETC and Asst 29 we are all on the same page here. For the rest of the comments on this thread. I would really like to see your operation at a fire scene. I really doubt everyone here is as prefect as we all make it sound. I have been around over the years. I have been on scenes of paid / vol departments where the pump panel is vacant or the pump operator has been off doing other task. I have scene IC being involved in interior work. I have some of my own fire scenes that I have done the very thing mentioned above. Does this make it right? No. But hey we got to do what we got to do to make things work. Brothers and Sisters, this is just plain facts.

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