A Firefighter endorsement is a driving license endorsement issued by some states in the united states that allows firefighters to drive fire engines without the need for a class A or class B drives license.
Firefighter endorsements are absolutely essential, they allow firefighters to drive their fire trucks without requiring higher ranking drivers’ licenses. What this does is actually speed up the process of completing the firefighter training along with a lot of other things.
In some states with a low population density, most of the firefighting work is done by volunteers. Through the use of these firefighter endorsements, these volunteers can also drive fire engines and help save the day.
Also, with the increasing number of fires in the US, quickly training the firefighters is becoming more and more necessary.
Without this endorsement, a class A or B driver’s license is required which as you can imagine can take quite a while, therefore this endorsement was made so that every firefighter doesn’t need to apply for a higher class driver’s license.
Who is a Fire Truck Driver/Engineer
After you become a firefighter, one of the branching paths that you could take becomes the fire engineer or otherwise imply known as a fire truck driver. However, this is not always the case in some cases, the fire department will hire individuals and appoint them directly as fire engine drivers.
For a person to become fire engine driving certified you need a firefighter endorsement, as we’ve already mentioned before. However, it must be noted that this type of firefighter endorsement is not present in all states.
In some states, the DMV still requires the firefighters to have a class A or a class B driving license. Mostly larger states with a low frequency of fires don’t have these types of DMV firefighter endorsements, the reason for it is simple. They don’t have that urgent need for new firefighters.
Classes of commercial Drivers License
Commercial driver’s licenses or CDL’s have different classes based on the gross vehicle weight rating. There are generally 3 types of driver’s license classes A, B, and C.
- Class A: In this type of driving license you are allowed to drive any vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of over 26,000 pounds.
- Class B: This type of driving license is required to operate a single vehicle with a GCWR of over 26,000 pounds.
- Class C: Required to operate a commercial vehicle, with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,000 lbs.
Problems before the 2011 FireFighter Endorsement
Before the introduction of the endorsement plan which allowed class C drivers to drive fire trucks with the firefighter endorsement, you had to have a class B or A driver’s license and on top of that, you would also have had to have a firefighter restricted permit.
Getting a class A or B drivers license is a lengthy and time-consuming process, since the requirement of this endorsement was in areas with low populations this made matters even worse.
Since there was a high possibility that their local DMV didn’t have the necessary equipment for the test that they require.
Therefore firefighters would have to then, go across the state to just give their test. In the urgency of the California fire and the massive fires that started in smaller counties. This process took too much time and hence was replaced by the firefighter endorsement.
Through the use of this endorsement, you no longer need to have a firefighter only permit, you just needed to meet some requirements and had to have a class C drivers permit and you’re good to go.
Requirements for a Firefighter Endorsement
So what are the requirements that you need to get this endorsement? let us explain.
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of safety concerns related to the use of large vehicles. So the DMV has to be extra sure that the firefighters who do get the endorsements are fully capable of handling these vehicles, therefore they have included the following requirements that are mandatory for all those who apply for the firefighter endorsement.
- First, you need to have your certification of employment or have to show proof that you are a volunteer.
- Next, you will need to have a certificate showing that you have completed the fire equipment training program.
- You will also require the official signature of the fire chief.
The driving training that you will participate in should include the following four components.
- The course should be according to the standards set in the NFPA 1002, Chapter 4 (2008 version) or the Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator 1A course which the office of the state marshal has adopted.
- It’s should teach the drivers to correctly and safely operate the fire safety apparatus that he is allowed to use.
- It should include at least 16 hours of classroom training and another 14 hours of actual driving practice, which should be supervised.
Once done with the training take all the necessary documents to the DMV, and from there you will have to pass a written test, once you passed the test and previously have shown proof of your involvement with the fire department, the firefighter endorsement will be added to your driver’s license.