Truck Company Daily Checks

Like always, I’m not here to tell you your job.  Do what’s in your SOP’s and what you’re told to do by your bosses.  I’ve been bouncing around the city in my half a$$ promotional status and I’ve had the pleasure and displeasure of working with a variety of crews.  I just want to review your apparatus operational checks that you do every day.  Again, this isn’t a safety check or anything else, just thoughts.

1.  Safety check, walk around, brakes etc…. DOCUMENT ALL ISSUES and send the report to the proper place.

2. Check the jacks for operation, and range of motion before setting them to throw the aerial.  Do you know any override procedures and how the override affects the aerial operation?  When you throw the aerial don’t just spin it and drop it in the bed.  Throw it to the roof and climb it, one fire house I was at had a garden on the roof and it was the truck operator’s job to water it.

3. Saws need to be warmed up or they will gum up and won’t run properly.  RUN them.  Run the generators and hook up a load, flood lights, fans, whatever they should be loaded to get to full operating temperature just like the saws.  If you’re allowed to, clean out the air filters.

4. Sharpen your tools.  “Salty” tools look pathetic and unprofessional.  Grind the burrs off, wire brush them smooth, and then a LIGHT coat of oil.  They don’t have to be super sharp or you’ll just damage them worse the first time you use it.  You’ll get the hang of it.

5.  Check the jaws and open and close them, don’t forget to leave them open just a little.  We have had issues where the motor ran fine but the pump wouldn’t work or a line was leaking.  Unless you have a new style tool that can be connected and disconnected under pressure make sure you go back after you shut it down and operate all the valves to balance/release pressure.

6. A quick look at the ladders to see if they look right and make sure to operate any pencil/little giant that you have, they get sticky.

7. Finally; check on all those odd ball tools that never get used.  They might be in that rusty compartment that no one knows about.  Give a quick look and identify their uses.  They all exist for a reason so make sure you know it.  You might get to use them once in your career but that one time you’ll be glad you had it.

Let me know what I missed and Be Safe


  • Very nice topic to give, and I definitely like the pre-warning of checking your own SOP/SOGs! As another topic, could you do engine checks as well. I will be printing out this topic, as we do have saws on our engine, and the idea of running the generator under a load is not something many people think of when running through their apparatus checks.

  • hdf561 says:

    Good stuff….check out my blog

    Ill keep checking back!!!!!!!

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    Eric, the reason I advise hooking up a load is simple; when you start the motor you only know the motor works. You have no proof of electrical output unless you actually power something. It also causes the operator to trouble shoot if they cannot make something work. It makes the operator more familiar with the equipment. We have had our jaws fail at incidents. The motor is running but no fluid is flowing. After the first time that happened I added “operate tools” to my checklist. I don’t want to carry useless junk on my truck and mistakenly try to use it at an incident. If it does not work and I cannot repair it, it stays on the main floor no question.
    Thanks hdf561
    Stay safe.

  • It’s nice to see thorough appartus checking/inventory as a topic. This task is just much too important for us to approach with the lackadaisical (sp?) attitude many of us do. When things that should operate correctly do not operate correctly, it can cause a ripple through the entire operation.

    Besides changing up how we check our equipment, what about entertaining the idea of changing up which ff checks this equipment? Occasionally, I’d swap out my normal driver/operator with the relief guy. Why? First, it gave the normal guy a break and allowed him to get some hose time. Second, it allowed the relief guy to get additional time doing this very important secondary job. Also, the relief person generally checked the equipment more thoroughly; he didn’t want to miss something and get dogged about it! Sorta like a “back door” check on how well the normal driver guy was checking his equipment.

    This past Spring, I spent a few weeks teaching hazmat topics at the Philadelphia Fire Academy. I spent some time in their stations and noticed a unique method for checking apparatus equipment at the hazmat station (Hazmat is comprised of Engine60/Ladder19/Medic37). The driver had most inspection duties; however, other crewmembers were responsible for the equipment he/she used (SCBA, handlights, hand tools, etc). I thought it was a great way to get the job done; the check went quicker, staff checked equipment they were expected to use, and everyone was involved. I noticed similar tactics at Engine 10 and Squad 47. Guess it was somewhat a city standard…

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