Qualification Part 2

This is a continuation of Qualification Part 1

So we successfully pulled our draft, and after the training officer was happy with the result, we disconnected and repeated the process for the other candidate. It seemed that I would be the guinea pig for all the mess ups and corrections that would needed to be made. I didn’t mind, the guy that I was testing with was a little shy about going first.

So after that, we manuvered around to the training tower. I had no idea what to expect on this part of the test, but it turned out fairly simple. We were instructed that the training tower was on fire, and we were to connect to the standpipe system. This time, again, the hose was already out for us.

After that was done, we were evaluated on “catching a plug” and foam operations. We were the first of the new engines to come through that had a foam system installed so I spent a minute educating the training officer on how it works.

The real tricky part was the driving test.

We were to drive a set course, through a residential neighborhood and a small industrial complex, then out on a state highway to the city limits and back to the training center. We each took turns driving what I guessed was an 8-10 mile course under normal road conditions. We then returned to the training center. This is where it got real interesting.

We were told that we would back down a long lane. Sounds simple right?

Certainly not.

This long lane was covered with low lying trees (we were told to avoid), potholes, and several other road hazards. Of course, I went first. With the training officer as a backer, I began moving down the lane.

I had issues with this part. Mainly, because the my backer was moving out of my line of sight in the mirrors. This caused me to follow procedure and bring the vehicle to a stop until he decided to walk back into my line of sight. Eventually, I just gave up on trying because we would have been out there all day.

The next one was the trees. I had absolutely no space to get down this lane, and somehow miraculously threaded the needle with a 4 ton vehicle between the trees and a rather large and deep pothole.

After this, we did a 3 point turn and backed down the lane again in the opposite direction. Again more of the same.

Once we were done, we returned back to the main training center. Both passes. They said our pink sheets (the triplicate form we keep in our personnel jacket) would be in the department mail. Score.

Now, that being said, I haven’t driven so much since then. I really don’t get a chance to, between my unit rotation and other duties, I don’t get much opportunity. Also, our SOP’s tend to pre-assign a role to everyone, and there can only be 1 driver, 1 private, 1 lieutenant, and 1 medic.