This is yet another wake up call for Fire Chiefs and leaders to visit/revisit yours/mine/our department fire apparatus driving policy as well as “acting” policies and training/qualifications. While we “get” the challenges of staffing, we see many agencies placing personnel in positions that they may not be fully trained or qualified for: Apparatus Drivers. Fire Officers.
Can a flight attendant be an “acting” pilot just because that flight attendant rides on the aircraft?
Are you boarding that flight?
In Kansas City (MO) more info is coming out about what led to that crash in December 2021 that killed three civilians. The report states that the pumper was speeding and ran a red light when it crashed into a car, continuing on, knocking a pedestrian into a building. That building collapsed about a minute later. The crash trapped a Honda CRV under the pumper, killing the driver and a passenger. The families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against the city.
But the police report reveals other facts, shedding light on how deficiencies within the department in three key areas were factors in the crash…
Staffing shortages — ”Whose turn was it to drive?”
Investigators learned Fire Station 19 did not have a permanent driver. The night of the crash, the station’s interim driver, was serving as acting captain. He was new to the firehouse and when the call to a fire came in, he asked the crew, “Whose turn was it to drive.” In interviews with police, other firefighters confirm they used a rotation system for driving. On that night, a 21-year-old Firefighter became the driver.
That was the interim drivers first night as an acting captain and the 21-year-old Firefighters first night as an acting driver.
“We need mandatory, rigorous, regimented training for someone to complete successfully before they get behind the wheel of a fire truck,” said one attorney involved in this incident. Records showed the truck was speeding at the time of the crash and ran a red light. But that was not against the department’s policy at that time. Since the crash, the department has changed the policy to require fire apparatus to stop at red lights.
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Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.
The Secret List 4/3/2023-1332 Hours