There is no doubt one of the most difficult tasks as a firefighter is operating at the pump panel of a fire truck.
When we see the driver/engineer/operator at a working fire, it looks as though he is not doing much. However, if the job is done correctly, it requires a lot of mental preparation to provide the proper pressures when the standard hose lengths, diameters and nozzles change from those that are preloaded on the truck.
These individuals are also responsible for keeping track of their equipment and inventory and making sure the truck is operating correctly by observing the other gauges associated with the pumping operation. Knowing how to troubleshoot a situation is vitally important.
Accounts of budget-challenged Detroit firefighters using pop cans, coins, door hinges, pipes and doorbells to get emergency alerts were alarming to say the least. But, in many ways, it's all too similar to fire departments continuing to use unreliable, outdated paper logs for equipment and apparatus maintenance checks.
Time to exit the fire bubble
Technology exists to establish bulletproof protocols for performing timely, complete and accurate maintenance checks.