YES The company officer of an engine, ladder, or rescue company should be proficient in all aspects of operating the apparatus. In fact the officer should be proficient in all of the skills required of his or her firefighters on the company. If a problem occurs the first person the engineer/apparatus operator, or what ever your department calls them will go to is their officer. If the officer does not know the job then how can he or she lead the company? How can the officer evaluate performance, conduct company level training, and complete employee evaluations if they are not proficient in the subordinated duties?
I think officers should know how to run the pumps, and in our department all the officers from Lt. on up have to have pump operators to be an officer. I think as an officer whether it be a Lieutenant or higher should have that know how in case there is a problem and the officer needs to have that knowledge.... I think having an officer that has no knowledge of running a pump is a problem, as a Captain you need to know the trucks and how they run so you should have this training before you get to the position of Captain. In my department you have to be qualified on all the apparatus to be Captain. That is how our department does it anyway....
In my department a Captain or higher has to be a apparartus driver to be a officer. Sgt and Lt can also be a apparatus operator if they take the classes to be apparatus operator.
Standards for officers differ from department to department and what the county requires also.
YES !! Being on all our "Drivers Lists" (Pick ups, ambulance, Heavy Rescue, Engines and Ladder) is one of the qualifications for anyone hopeing to run for any Lt., Capt or Chief position and "Pump Operator" is part of the requirement for the engine and ladder lists. The chief shouldn't be masking up and crawling in or running a pump, but he most certainly must know how and why the rest of us are doing it and how to avoid desasters in those areas. PS: No driver training is even offered in the first year of membership.