HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The people we call in an emergency, sometimes end up in one themselves. In the past few months, multiple fire engines have been involved in accidents on the roads.
Fire officials say driving one of these trucks is no easy task.
“It’s a special type of vehicle that a lot of people haven’t been exposed to,” Huntington Deputy Fire Chief Chris Wilson says.
Before firefighters can hit the roads in one of the trucks there are some requirements.
According to the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, for a city or county fire department, a person would have to receive their Firefighter-1 certification, which is the first step in becoming a firefighter. Then, they’d have to complete an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course, or EVOC.
As for volunteer departments, driving a pumper truck requires 40 hours of training and for an aerial ladder truck, they would have to go through an additional 40 hours of training.
These sessions include in-classroom instruction and closed-course driving tests. Once those are complete, in the eyes of state officials, a firefighter is eligible to get behind the wheel.
However, there are many fire departments that have their own personal requirements and firefighters have to meet those before they can even sit in the driver’s seat.
Officials with the Huntington Fire Department and the Grayson Fire Department say their drivers have to 21-years-old and have been with the station for more than a year, in addition to the state requirements.
Many departments also require their drivers to have a nearly perfect driving record before they’re even considered.
Officials also say while their number one priority is answering the call, safety to and from is a key element in making that happen.