If you have ever dreamed of driving a fire apparatus and want to pursue that as your career, you must first become a qualified and skilled firefighter and have graduated from the fire academy in good standing. A firefighter driver, also known as an engineer, is charged with transporting other department members safely and accurately to and from the scene of a fire or accident.
The driver must be experienced in locating the fire apparatus strategically at the fire scene for optimum access and success of the operation and safety of all including bystanders and setting up the water flow for department members. He or she will also operate the climbing apparatus and assist other crew members by setting up ladders for them.
A driver/engineer performs daily maintenance inspections on vehicles to ensure that the vehicle and firefighting equipment is safe for use. Drivers also ensure that riders adhere to strict safety precautions before driving.
Drivers must possess a thorough knowledge of firefighting apparatus and keep up to date on changes in technology. Nothing must fall through the cracks. The minimum education requirement is achieving a high school diploma or equivalent. Some also consider earning post-secondary education to make them more attractive candidates when seeking a position as a driver/engineer.
Other mandatory requirements include holding a valid driver licence for your jurisdiction and size and type of vehicle, pass a criminal background check and drug screening, be physically fit and ready to go at a moment’s notice, have good credit, pass a vision test or wear prescription lenses to enhance your eyesight, and be at least 18 years old. You may also want to consider keeping up a good reputation in your community.
Consider joining a volunteer fire station to gain knowledge and experience of the rigours of the role and its requirements. It’s a logical starting place and can bring about feelings of satisfaction and pride in your abilities to fight fires and earn respect from members of your community. Volunteering is a natural stepping stone to your future career.
You will also need to graduate from the fire academy. Before enrolling in the fire academy, candidates must pass two exams designed to test their abilities, both mental and physical. The first is a written exam and covers memory, reading comprehension, logic and spatial awareness. The second test is the Candidate Physical Ability Test which is designed to assess one’s strength and physical fitness. Once these tests have been successfully completed, a candidate is able to enrol in the fire academy for specialised training.
Upon graduating from the fire academy, a candidate is free to seek a position as a firefighter and work toward gaining knowledge and further specialised training that would enable him or her to eventually become a fire apparatus driver/engineer.
Driver Training is one such topic you will need to master quickly. Driver courses will give you the basics and from there you will need to engage in much practice driving a fire apparatus. And that will put you on your way to becoming a fire apparatus driver/engineer. And the good news is the training is all available. If you really want it, go for it and be great at it.