As I drive to work every morning a little after 6am, I pass a Fire Station just off the main road. Every morning almost without fail I notice, what I can assume to be, the morning crew just getting started for the day. No matter if you call it a Rig check, truck check, equipment check or something else it is all the same thing; making sure you have the items you need to answer emergency calls for service.
I know everyone, myself included, has done countless of these rig checks and could probably recite the sheet forward and backward just from memory alone. However this poses a question, just how much are we actually checking the truck vs just going through the motions?
These checks are so absolutely important, almost more so than anything else. How many of you have just done half checks, just glanced over the truck and called it good, or skipped rig checks altogether? I'm not proud to say it, but I know I have in the past. You get to the station late, theres a game on, theres a show you want to watch, a store you have to run to, your just tired and want a nap, or the "trucks all good" from the outgoing crew, or any number of other excueses that could come to you. This mindset is downright dangerous!
Say you did all that, now you have an emergency call, maybe the truck wont start, you don't have enough fuel, or the bay door will not even open. If you do get out the door when you get to the scene and now you are missing a vital piece of equipment, or something is broken now what do you do? Not only are you potentially putting the patient in undo distress or delaying a responce that could save life or property, but you are also opening up yourself and your department to unnecessary liability, and you could also be tarnishing the name of first reaponders everywhere.
Think of it from a personal standpoint. You go camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, or even just on a vacation, do you just grab your bags and go? Probably not. If your like me, you make a list of stuff you need and as you pack it you cross it off. This way you know you have all the supplies you need for whatever it is you are doing. Rig checks are the same exact thing.
While they can be tedious, somewhat time consuming, and inconvenient to you at the time, take that time to make sure that you, your truck, and your equipment is ready to go. Being proactive is better than reactive. Once the tones go out theres no time to be second guessing if you have the equipment you need. Take the few extra minutes to do a proper rig check and have the peace of mind knowing you are starting the day as prepared as you can be.
About the Author
SEAN WALSH is an EMT with North Stelton Fire Company EMS Division in Piscataway NJ for the last 9 years. He is also a Public Safety Telecommunicator with a county based agency in NJ for the last 4 years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at Thomas Edison State College (NJ) in 2013.