My brother, Don, was involved with fire-department apparatus even before he was hired on to his department, so I've always had a soft spot in my heart for emergency vehicle technicians.
As a young cadet in the department, Don would wipe down the vehicles after a call and polish rigs for a parade. An inquisitive young guy, his love for working on cars quickly transferred over to working on old Internationals, Darleys and Pirsch fire trucks. Eventually, Don became the fleet supervisor and oversaw 28 pieces of equipment in the suburban department.
My brother taught me a lot about apparatus. Also, more importantly, he taught me about the dedication and commitment it takes to transition from a mechanic to an EVT and fleet supervisor.
A group of fire chiefs, fire-truck manufacturers and fire-department mechanics with that same committment gathered in Houston in the late 1980s to discuss the future of fire trucks. At that time, departments were facing unknown technologies, budget cuts and increasing liability issues. That meeting spawned theApparatus Maintenance Section. Soon thereafter, National Association of Emergency Vehicle Technicians formed, the Emergency Vehicle Technician Certification Commission evolved, and the first Fire Department Safety Officers Association held its first Apparatus Specification and Vehicle Maintenance Symposium.
Though NAEVT no longer exists, numerous state and local EVT organizations sprung up to fill that void and to share information, training and networking ideas.
The EVTCC continues to certify and recognize education for technicians from the U.S. and Canada.
FDSOA will hold its 25th Apparatus Specification and Vehicle Maintenance Symposium, Jan. 20-23, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. The agenda includes new topics, new speakers and an all-new ambulance track. Details can be found at www.fdsoa.org.
And FIRE CHIEF and the IAFC continue to honor those who show their committment to apparatus-maintenance excellence. In 2004, we launched the EVT of the Year Awards to recognize the commitment to education and training as the role of apparatus mechanics elevated to professional emergency vehicle technicians. The first EVT of the Year was Jimmy Hydas of Ooltewah, Tenn. We will present the 2012 EVT of the Year Award during the FDSOA's symposium. Who will follow in Hydas' footsteps?
The deadline for nominations is Friday. Do you know of a worthy candidate? Send us a letter explaining why your EVT should be named the 2012 EVT of the Year.