An out of service public safety vehicle like a firetruck won’t do the community any good. That’s why you should inspect its equipment regularly for issues and possible repairs. Before hitting the streets of Wichita, KS, make sure you do proper maintenance for your public safety vehicle regularly. Follow the tips below on how to take care of your vehicle the proper way.
Perform maintenance check before your first response
Inspect your fire apparatus first thing in the day. As a firefighter using the vehicle, it’s your responsibility to keep the firetruck in top shape. Also, keep in mind that repair facilities focusing on firetruck equipment are only open during normal business hours. Check for problems that need repair as early as possible.
Create a checklist of what needs to be inspected
It’s easy to miss the little details and hidden parts of your firetruck without a handy checklist. This can endanger your crew and the community you are serving, so better come up with a checklist to avoid missing out. Ask your emergency vehicle technicians (EVTs) for a list of the things you should check regularly. This includes suction valves, fire pumps, water tank, compartment doors, as well as the firetruck’s engine and electronics system.
Relay the firetruck’s condition to the next user
Firefighters usually take turns using the firetruck and responding to emergencies. When you are relieving your shift, communicate with the next firefighters in charge, and take time to discuss the condition of the vehicle. If there is an equipment that needs attention, be sure to relay it to them. It also helps to discuss the type of incident you responded, and what parts of the firetruck, specifically the fire apparatus you focused on using.
Treat the firetruck as your own
Since multiple firefighters take turns to use the firetruck, it’s easy to treat the vehicle as a rental car. And you wouldn’t care for rental cars the way you treat your personal vehicle. That’s why it’s important to treat your firetruck as your own, giving enough time to check for issues and have them repaired.
Think of maintenance check as a rule, not an exception
Consider maintenance as part of your standard operating procedure. Inspect the truck before and after each response. Never leave your headquarters without ensuring you have checked all the items on your checklist. And once the day ends, have a quick look once again, jotting down the issues you encountered after a day of responding to emergencies.
Understand the nooks and crannies of your firetruck
Don’t be someone who just sits in front of your fire apparatus. Take time to learn how it works, and become an expert on this matter. Deep understanding of your firetruck gives you a better sense of how you can properly take care of it.
Proper maintenance of your firetruck ensures the safety of your crew on the road and on the emergency site you are responding to. Take responsibility and ownership of the vehicle, and in turn, it will give back the care you are giving. And this should be a team effort, including the entire fire department, not yours as a firefighter alone.