Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator, THSP

Position Category: 
All-Hazard Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
AD Class: 


The purpose of this position is to serve as a fire Apparatus Driver/Operator and as a member to a firefighting crew.


  • Operate a fire department apparatus through various weather, topography, and traffic conditions and through congested residential or developed areas by incorporating maneuvers to ensure a safe and timely response under stressful circumstances.  During operation the incumbent must understand the effects of vehicle control involving liquid surge, braking reaction time, and load factors; effects of high center of gravity on roll-over potential; general steering reactions, speed, and centrifugal force; applicable laws and regulations; principles of skid avoidance, night driving, shifting, and gear patterns; negotiating intersections, railroad crossing, and bridges; weight and height limitations for both roads and bridges; identification and operation of automotive gauges; and operational limits.  Proper positioning of the engine considering factors such as wind direction, water sources, hazards from failing structures, and assuring maximum utilization of the units personnel and equipment.
  • Performs routine tests, inspections, and servicing functions on the systems and components associated with the assigned apparatus and the equipment stored on the engine.
  • Ability to operate apparatus pumps, generators and other specialized equipment.  Calculation of pump discharge pressures by applying the principles of hydraulics as they pertain to water flow friction and friction loss as they relate to hose layouts, distances and numbers, low-pressure water supply systems, and problems related to dead-end mains or the reliability of static sources; location of fire department connection; alternative supply procedures if fire department connection is not usable; operating principles of sprinkler systems.  Incumbent provides water supply to fire sprinkler and standpipe systems so that the correct volume and pressure is present.  The ability to use hand tools, recognize system problems, and correct any deficiency noted according to policies and procedures.
  • Serves as a fully-trained member of a firefighting crew engaged in the protection of life and property.  Performs difficult firefighting, hazardous materials, emergency medical and rescue operations quickly and without hesitation.  Performs rescue operations in various venues including overland, vehicle, structure and confined space.
  • Serves as a leader for the personnel assigned to the engine and may serve as the acting Company Officer if required, directed, or the situation dictates.

Position Knowledge and/or Requirements

  • Knowledge of firefighting operations and fire apparatus driver/operator skills are gained through direct experience and/or completion of the requirement to meet minimum standards set by the National Fire Protection Association, (NFPA 1001 and 1002) or equivalent.
  • Knowledge of fire suppression principles, theories, and tactics necessary to support or possibly direct a crew to effectively combat water craft, marina, structural, wildland, aircraft, vehicle, and other types of fires.
  • Must be knowledgeable of firefighting apparatus and equipment and conduct training on the apparatus and equipment associated with the engine.
  • Have an in-depth knowledge of fire pump operations both structural and wildland, hydraulics, and water systems to include sprinkler and standpipe systems.
  • Must be knowledgeable of rescue practices which may be required during emergencies such as aircraft crashes, vehicle accidents, structural fires, water and overland rescues, hazardous material spills, and confined space.
  • Have knowledge of emergency medical practices with the appropriate certification level established by the assigned park or unit.
  • Have knowledge of fire protection principles and procedures to restore water distribution systems and various types of complex fire detection, reporting, and suppression systems.
  • Have knowledge of building construction and be able to recognize potential dangers associated with building types and the effects fire may have on it which may be catastrophic for firefighters.  Understand dangerous building conditions, and the development and utilization of fire pre-plans.
  • Must have the practical knowledge and the ability to lead and coordinate personnel assigned during emergency operations.
  • Incumbent must have an in-depth knowledge of the incident command system and with the implementation of ICS.

Supervisory Controls

The incumbent receives general supervision from the company officer, or other incident management supervisors who outline duties and responsibilities.  Most duties are performed independently with instructions provided for unfamiliar or unusual situations.  Emergency scene work is reviewed for proficiency in achieving desired results, and adherence to accepted firefighting and rescue principles, practices, and techniques during post action review.  Normal work assignments are carried out using normal independent initiative.  The incumbent serves as a leader for the personnel assigned to the engine and may serve as the Acting Company Officer if required, directed, or the situation dictates.


Procedures and guidelines for doing the work have been generally established and supported through standard operating procedures, NPS regulations and policies, manuals, formal training and health and safety codes.  Some problems encountered may not be specifically covered by guidelines or require resolution to a particular situation requiring sound, experience judgment by the incumbent.  Questions are frequently referred to the supervisor or incident management team for resolution.


The incumbent operates specialized and complex equipment in fire suppression and protection activities associated with structural, vehicle, aircraft, vessel, and wildland fires, hazardous material incidents, emergency medicals, search and rescue, extrication, motor vehicle accidents and other types of all risk/all hazard events.  At fires or other emergency incidents, building construction, weather conditions, multiple alarms or incidents may isolate a firefighting crew for extended periods of time without higher supervision which will require the incumbent to exercise independence and initiative in directing assigned crews.

Scope and Effect

The purpose of the assignment is to respond to emergencies and effectively provide life safety and property conservation functions.  The incumbent is to act as a full performance team member in implementing firefighting objectives for a safe operation while effectively performing response to all risk/all hazard events, including structural fires.  The incumbent shall be accurate and precise in day-to-day decisions and fire ground operations.  He/she shall provide leadership, maintain discipline, and serve as a fire team member.

Personal Contacts

The incumbent has personal work contacts with all levels of fire and park management, fire ground personnel, park visitors, partners and concession incumbents, other NPS incumbents and fire service personnel in the local response area.  The incumbent may also interact with media operations, family members, special interest groups and others with interests in the incident including investigators, and law enforcement.

Purpose of Contacts

The purpose of contacts is to obtain briefings and orders, as well as relay incident information to and from the incident management team and other fire team members.  The incumbent serves as a leader for the personnel assigned to the engine and may serve as the Acting Company Officer if required, directed, or the situation dictates.  As a leader, the incumbent must gain the confidence of engine company personnel, incident management staff and park managers; demonstrate effective and realistic knowledge, skills and abilities to ensure safety on the fireground and for the fire suppression teams depending upon him/her for support and direction.

Physical Demands

Firefighting work routinely involves physically rigorous assignments and strenuous activity.  The incumbent must maintain excellent physical condition to carry out assigned responsibilities including the ability to pass an arduous duty physical, and handle a variety of heavy and cumbersome firefighting equipment.  Emergency firefighting situations often require clear reasoning and decisive action under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress.

Work Environment

The work environment is predominately outdoors in all types of weather, any time of day, and possibly for extended periods of time.  The incumbent is subject to temperature extremes, wind, rain, snow, full sun and subject to extreme heat, burns, falling objects, exposure to smoke and noxious fumes.  The work environment itself involves high risks with exposure to potentially dangerous situations and unusual environment stress requiring a range of safety and other precautions.  The incumbent is required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to include structural fire protective coat and pants, helmet, gloves, safety boots, eye and hearing protection and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).


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