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Pros And Cons Of An Engineer Postion ?

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  • Pros And Cons Of An Engineer Postion ?

    We Are Considering An Engineer Postion On Each Apparatus. Currently We Rotate Drivers Each Shift. What Are Some Pros And Cons For Having A Permanent Engineer?

  • #2
    Well, at one of the departments I was on being a "driver" (as they called it) was a bid slot.

    One guy is responsible for the truck, its equipments, knows the truck and where everything is very well.

    Sort of like driving your car all the time, you knwo when something just is not right, not working right, or is out place.

    Of something goes wrong, they are responsible and answerable for it, none of this making excuses nonsense that happens frequently.


    Personally, I think that it should involve a stipend as you are the one responisble for it and it SHOULD require additional responsibility and work - thus more pay.

    Especially since you are not likely to go into too many fires if you are the MPO and have to run the truck all the time.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    • #3
      One pro is that the engineer really gets to know the apparatus. If a noise suddenly is heard or if that noise has been looked into and found not to be a problem. With different drivers all the time that little noise has to be investigated every time because info was not passed along as it should have been. Also the drivers have a better knowledge of the district because they are always driving. Everyone should know their district but when you ride in jumpseat you cannot visualize all different streets.

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      • #4
        its a promotion in our department.

        Their job each and every shift is to make sure that truck is working and in tip top condition. They need to know that truck inside and out along with their district. There is more to it than pumping a fire.

        You gotta make sure all the tools are in ready condition.
        If something breaks on scene, you gotta fix it
        Depending on your SOPs and Locality, if you have a 3 man engine, and two go in to fight the fire....you can technically be in command of assigning incoming units
        And, if the LT or Capt is off.... you may be bumping up
        The Box. You opened it. We Came...

        "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

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        • #5
          It's a promotion here, too.

          The benefits go beyond the familiarity with the apparatus. As an apparatus chauffer, I'm on the same vehicle every day at work and I work with the same officer. If you have a good working relationship with your officer, you can deal with some of the things at the station, including problems. You can alert the guys if the captain isn't happy with something, giving them the opportunity to correct it before it becomes a real problem. Conversly, if there's an issue the guys want brought up, it helps if I talk to my captain or get the other chauffers together and try to deal with it before it goes to someone's office.

          If this rank is appraoched properly, I think it's a great way to prepare to assume an officer's rank. It's a stepping stone for those who want to go on up the ladder and a good rank to hold for those who don't.
          Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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          • #6
            It's a promotional position in the RFD. Once promoted, as an Eng. you are required to maintain and be responsible for the apparatus you are assigned. You get to know the unit you are assigned to very well.

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            • #7
              We run 3 man companies and do not have an engineer/FEO position. The senior FF has his choice if he wants to drive or not, unless there is a probie on the company. I would agree with the advantages others have mentioned. However, in a small dept, how much detailing occurs when the driver takes off, and the engineer is a paid promotion? Is the engineer a stepping stone to Lt or a dead end? Would the engineer be acting Lt when the regular boss is off, necessitating another move? Is there a minimum manning for engineers, when one is off do you upgrade a FF to fill the slot, or hire OT? Are the engineers on a separate overtime list? We have considered it and the consensus is it's not worth the trouble.

              With only 3 assigned per rig, most of us rotate the driving spot by the swing/rotation. I drive 3 days, he drives the next 3, so on. Whether you are driving every day or not, you know what's going on with the rig you are on every day. I believe that it is better to share the duties and for each firefighter to understand pump ops.

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              • #8
                If you rotate drivers/engineers, do you rotate who's in charge, too? That would be more confusing than rotating drivers every-other-day, to me. If the senior guy/officer is driving, does he stay outside at the panel instead of taking charge of the entry team? I agree that having cross-trained people who can fill in/move up when needed is a good thing...but I feel more comfortable with fixed positions.
                Member IACOJ

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ThNozzleman View Post
                  If you rotate drivers/engineers, do you rotate who's in charge, too?
                  The officer doesn't drive-except to the hospital if both FFs go with the ambulance on a Priority 1. When the officer assigned to the company is off, he is either replaced by an officer on OT or by the senior FF on the company that day, providing that FF meets the min qualifications to be an acting officer.
                  He asked for pros/cons. I see the detailing inherent to a set position, and the lack of crosstraining, as cons.

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                  • #10
                    For us, Fire Equipment Operator; aka engineer, is a tested promoted position. Has all the benifits many have listed above, plus while in the pool, you get to know the city real well as well as all the apperatus. Their bids for rigs and/or vacation is senority based on FEO only. If we are short scheduled short, OT is called in grade. Or if it's short notice, a firefighter can work up-usually those off the current drivers list. Does the city always do this, no. Has it called problems, yes. If the Captain is out, it's not the driver that slides over but OT or the senior firefighter on the rig or a detail off the current captians list. The drivers promotion is not a direct step to captain, but if they go that route, the pay steps are quicker.
                    So to answer the question, if your department doesn't have a pool of drivers or those on the promotion list showing proficiency, rotating may be the best choice. A rising tide floats all boats and rotating will increase ability with a smaller pool.
                    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
                    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
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                    Co-author of the Second Amendment
                    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
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                    • #11
                      Whew.... all this sounds so complicated.

                      Lt
                      Driver
                      Firefighter(s)

                      Easy. LT is off, driver moves up and a firefighter bumps up, they send rookie or OT out.

                      We also have swing drivers, which move out when a driver or officer is off. Just like a rookie swinging but they drive the truck
                      The Box. You opened it. We Came...

                      "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gunnyv View Post
                        We run 3 man companies and do not have an engineer/FEO position. The senior FF has his choice if he wants to drive or not, unless there is a probie on the company. I would agree with the advantages others have mentioned. However, in a small dept, how much detailing occurs when the driver takes off, and the engineer is a paid promotion? Is the engineer a stepping stone to Lt or a dead end? Would the engineer be acting Lt when the regular boss is off, necessitating another move? Is there a minimum manning for engineers, when one is off do you upgrade a FF to fill the slot, or hire OT? Are the engineers on a separate overtime list? We have considered it and the consensus is it's not worth the trouble.
                        It wouldn't be a dead end ay more than the FF position.

                        We're on a separate list from FF positions. we don't have separate EMS, we run 4 man companies. When there's a hole in a higher position and it's not filled by an OT of the same rank, we ride up one rank.

                        Maybe it wouldn't work with 3 man companies, but it works fine here and it ain't complicated at all. Not having the rank is just an excuse to avoid hiring people and giving raises--that same old song and dance from the government.
                        Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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                        • #13
                          I work for a small paid department that does have a driver's position. Driving duties are typically rotated among FF and FF 1st Class (roughly equivalent to senior FF, but merit-based rather than seniority-based). Exceptions to rotation can be granted by the company officer so driving sometimes winds up a "light duty" assignment. There has been some desire among the ranks to create a separate driver's rank geared toward allowing older firefighters to essentially retire in place.

                          The separate driver's classification seems to make more sense the larger the department is. I can see advantages, particularly where firefighters may be routinely detailed out of their usual territory. As a company officer, having a good regular driver freed me up to concentrate on issues more important than what route to take to a call.
                          ullrichk
                          a.k.a.
                          perfesser

                          a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

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                          • #14
                            This has been interesting reading.

                            In my Vol company, the guys that are getting "on in years" and not looking to make entry anymore are the ones stepping in as drivers.
                            "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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                            • #15
                              I work in a small suburban department. We have engineers. Engineer is a tested position and the pay is 6.25 % over top firefighter pay. One of the nice things is that all of our full-time firefighters are drivers, so when the officer is off, the engineer trades seats and has a fireman drive.
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