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Pros And Cons Of An Engineer Postion ?

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  • Weruj1
    replied
    We never subscibed to this and when we had them we pretty much did the "Bonsey" thing. The thing I did not understand about this from a POC/Volly perspective is what do you do if there are none available ? Seems silly to me. Our local "big city" has a position called "First Driver" but I am not 100% sure how they work it there. '77's department still does this I think and for them it is mostly about maitenance issues more than anything, IIRC.

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  • KevinFFVFD
    replied
    my volunteer department does not have a title for the position other than "driver". however, since our stations are not staffed 24/7, the driver is usually the first person who gets to the station. but if there are several of us at the station we just ask who wants to drive that night. the paid department here however does not a have the title "driver" or "engineer" in the ranks. there the rank of lieutenant is the driver and pump operator. this is how many departments in mississippi work. you have the rank of firefighter, then lieutenant(driver/pump ops.) and then the captain(engine/truck officer).

    i have only been a driver for a short time, but i love it. i dont get to fight fires that much, but i just love the possition. i didnt think i would be very good at it at first, but one i started driver training i was hooked. i just like going down the streets with lights and sirens and then getting on scene and working the engine. some guys on my department however hate driving. its all in what you make it. i have also known many guys on the career department make it to driver and stay there for the rest of their career.

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  • Dave1983
    replied
    Its not a promotion for us, but if you sit in the seat you get an extra $.75 per hour. Compensation for the added responsibility of the rig and all the equipment.

    We do have a training program for each of the different rigs, and the senior man on the crew is usually the primary engineer for that rig.

    BTW, our drivers dont "bump-up" if the CO is off. Thats an acting officers position which pays an extra $1.00 an hour and is a seperate set of qualifications and training then engineer.

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  • MalahatTwo7
    replied
    Not sure exactly how it works for the County, but I've noticed that its the same guys who drive the Engine for each shift. So I would hazard a fairly decent guess that is a worked up position here. I know the basic training requirements that go into being the Engine Driver - and the career drivers all seem to have "Technican" on their shirts.

    Back at Malahat VFD, I was the unit Engineer and the Engine driver. Duties for me consisted mostly of ensuring all the maintenance schedules for all electric or mechanical equipment was up to date. Primarily that meant getting the trucks in for their bi-annual safety inspections and any maint on all small engines.

    Personally, I think its a good idea to have a select number of folks who regularly drive. That way the driver does get to know the gear the truck carries and knows all its noises and characteristics. Therefore, hopefully knowing when something is "Not Right" before it becomes a catastrophic failure at a crucial time.

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  • FirstDueCTVol
    replied
    Hey if its a promotion - go for it. But I think- at least around here that title is a thing of the past. The engineer title came from the days of steam engines when you needed a engineer to ensure the safety of the men around the steam boiler. Although that was before my time.

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  • gunnyv
    replied
    [QUOTE=johnny46;754970]It wouldn't be a dead end ay more than the FF position./QUOTE]

    I mention the dead end issue because that is what the largest dept in our area-Detroit- does, and it gets referenced regularly here during the discussion. As I understand it, they have a choice to make, driver (FEO) or Sgt, once they become an FEO they cannot be promoted out of it.

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  • FFFRED
    replied
    One thing to consider is that if one doesn't need to promote to Engineer before your 1st Line officer position then you can and will create pay compression issues.

    My current dept only has firemen and bosses, there is loosely structured flexible method that more or less means the most senior men in the company get the seat if they are trained chaufffeurs.

    FTM-PTB

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  • doughesson
    replied
    Though paid guys usually look at volunteers as a bunch of yahoos racing to be first at the station so they can drive,my old volunteer department would have a regular driver engineer assigned at each station unless he was at work or doing family things to keep a happy home.
    If the regular engineer couldn't make it,there were plenty of people,officers and not who were qualified to drive and run the truck.If not,we might be in deep kimchi as the guy appointed on the fly might have passed the state pump operator's course but have no driving time,which makes for an interesting ride to the call(been that guy and will wait for the EVOC cert)
    Even though our Chief Engineer has never packed up in 25 years except to take some probie into a trainer as a buddy,it isn't retiring in place,or for those that can't do anything else.Not the way he does it.
    I think it's best to have someone who's been on a hose a few times before turning them loose on a pump panel without a leash, license or adult supervision.That way,they'll know why a team would be wanting the pressure raised or lowered or any of the myriad things an engineer does.
    Not only that,he knows that rig inside and out and will teach you if you ask.And God help the stand in driver that puts a scratch on his baby.You'd rather explain it to the Chief and Board of Trustees,that's all I'm saying.

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  • MIKEYLIKESIT
    replied
    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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  • Bones42
    replied
    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.

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  • ullrichk
    replied
    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.

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  • johnny46
    replied
    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.

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  • JHR1985
    replied
    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

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  • SPFDRum
    replied
    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.

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  • gunnyv
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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