Trent Mays is one of the fire equipment operators here at Station One in Wichita Falls.
“A fire equipment operator is responsible for a particular piece of apparatus with the fire department,” Mays said. “Some are ladder trucks. Some are squads. We have rescues, heavy rescues. Every equipment operator is required to be able to drive one of those pieces of apparatus.”
Mays served as a firefighter within this department for five years before he tested and was promoted to fire equipment operator.
“Now being a firefighter — or any position on the fire department — you’re required to be able to do the position above your rank. So, a firefighter has to step up and be able to be a fire equipment operator. Equipment operator has to step up and be able to be a Lieutenant,” Mays said.
Currently, firefighters are required to have two years experience before testing for the next step — something the Firefighters’ Association wants to change.
On Tuesday, the city council will decide whether or not a firefighter has to have five years experience before they can test for that fire equipment operator role
“Being proactive — looking towards the future — we want to have that beginning position to have more experience before they’re thrust into that spot and a lot of responsibility put on them,” WFFD Fire Chief Jon Reese, said.
Reese said each of those in the department have their fellow firefighters’ lives in their hands and they simply want to also put safety first through experience.