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Emergency Vehicle Preventative Maintenance Certification

by Stephen Wilde, President of EVT Certification Commission, Inc.

EMA Emergency Management, EMS Emergency Medical Services, FD Fire Departments, Law Enforcement, badges article logo label

The emergency service has always ensured that response and rescue personnel are trained and certified to appropriate levels based on “accepted standards,” such as the NFPA standards for firefighters and fire officers. A great deal of emphasis is placed on maintaining the condition of the apparatus and equipment used by these personnel, but what about the people who maintain and repair the vehicles and equipment? What level of training have they received to keep a sophisticated piece of machinery in proper operating order? The emergency vehicle technicians’ need for training, education, and recognition are the same as it is for emergency response and rescue personnel. However, these needs are often unfulfilled.

The EVT Certification Commission, Inc. was created to help meet those needs. The primary function of EVTCC is to test and certify emergency vehicle technicians on the repair, service and testing of fire apparatus. EVTCC also encourages the development of effective training programs which address the training and educational needs of the emergency vehicle technician. EVT Certification exams are offered at sites across North America; at fire departments, manufacturer’s training, mechanic’s association training seminars, etc.

There has been a lot written about emergency vehicle maintenance, or the lack thereof. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), EVT Certification Commission, ASE Certification, and emergency vehicle manufacturers have been advocating the importance of maintenance done by “qualified” technicians. With budget constraints, departments may be tempted to cut out these crucial items, with unintended results. The purpose of maintenance is to have safe ready-to-use apparatus available at all times. Poorly maintained vehicles may result in equipment failure at the most inopportune time.

This mission prompted NFPA to write a maintenance standard, NFPA 1911, Standard for the Inspection, Maintenance, Testing, and Retirement of In-Service Automotive Fire Apparatus and a technician qualification standard, NFPA 1071, The Professional Qualification Standard for Emergency Vehicle Technicians.

The implementation of the NFPA 1911 standard is critical to the safe operation of emergency vehicles. A key factor in the safety of all apparatus is the out-of-service criteria, found in NFPA 1911 that requires the apparatus to be repaired or removed from service when defects are found. This standard requires qualified technicians, daily/weekly operational checks, diagnostic checks, periodic inspections, and maintenance and performance tests. Do not overlook the new annual performance tests that are now required along with the annual aerial and service pump tests.

Anyone involved in the maintenance, repair or inspection of apparatus needs to get this standard and use it. Some of the high points of the 1911 are:

   •   Out-of-service criteria that require apparatus be repaired or removed from service
   •   Out-of-service lists that require qualified technicians to determine the severity of the defect
   •   All apparatus is covered by standard, whether in-service or reserve
   •   Requires qualified (see NFPA 1071) technicians to perform maintenance, inspections, diagnostic checks and performance tests
   •   Requires daily/weekly operational checks be performed
   •   New annual required performance testing of low voltage electrical system, line voltage electrical system, foam system, brakes, vehicle weight, parking brakes, and on board breathing air compressor systems
   •   Annex information on setting up and implementing PM programs
   •   Annex forms for daily/weekly checks, semi-annual/annual forms, and annual testing forms
Maintenance inspections of emergency vehicles reduce down time, helps hold down the cost of repairs and increase the safety of apparatus. Old or new, these are complex machines with highly sophisticated technology. No matter how new your apparatus is, it could break down at the most inopportune time if you don't follow the inspection and maintenance schedules as outlined in NFPA 1911 and manufacturer’s recommendations.

NFPA 1911 requires that the inspections and maintenance be done by “qualified” technicians as stated in NFPA 1071, The Professional Qualification Standard for Emergency Vehicle Technicians. NFPA 1071 establishes the minimum requirements for a person to be considered qualified to inspect, diagnosis, maintain and repair emergency vehicles.

Annex B, page 27 & 28, of NFPA 1071 lists appropriate EVT Certifications and ASE Certifications to help determine a technicians qualification.

The bottom line is, obtain NFPA 1911 and NFPA 1071 and implement both standards into your organization. Ensure that your apparatus is inspected and repaired by qualified technicians. If your department inspects and repairs apparatus in-house, require EVT and ASE Certifications. If you hire an outside vendor, ask to see their technician’s EVT and ASE Certifications.

For more information about:

EVT Certification, go to or call 847-426-4075
ASE Certification, go to or call 1-800-390-6789
For NFPA, go to or call 1-800-344-3555

About the Author

Stephen Wilde operates Certified Fleet Services, Inc., a emergency response vehicle repair facility in the Chicagoland area and is President of EVT Certification Commission, Inc.

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