With seven local firefighters certified to give the latest version of a driver and apparatus competency exam, Dawson County is only the second department in the state testing personnel at that level.
“Driver operator is probably one of the most important standards that needs to be tested,” said Dawson County Emergency Services Assistant Chief Robbie Hughey.
According to Lanier Swafford, chief of emergency services, the training is not required by the state. “We’re going above and beyond what is required to train our personnel to this level,” he said.
The evaluation tests standard procedures for operating truck apparatus, includes a written test and covers the vital skills needed to operate the trucks efficiently.
Teaching the new curriculum raises the level of training for personnel, Swafford said.
“It provides our personnel a safer working environment where they’re more cognizant of operating their equipment,” he said.
Citing tough economic times, Swafford said the training also “helps us get more longevity when we’re having to use older equipment.”
March 19 was the first time the evaluation of the new curriculum was given at the county training center on Dawson Forest Road.
Hughey said being able to administer the test validates what the department has been working toward the last several years.
“This is very valuable to our department and anyone else who wants to train here in our county,” he said.