A huge piece of Americana will be missing from some Memorial Day parades this year as volunteer fire departments hold out their pumpers and fire engines. Representatives of the Wynantskill and Best-Luther fire departments say it's due to requirements the fire truck drivers have a commercial driver's license for non-emergency driving of the rigs.
Firefighters said under the current law drivers without a CDL can only drive apparatus to and from fire and emergency scenes.
"We will not provide any big apparatus to any parade or non-emergency situation," said David Metz, a member of the Best-Luther Fire Department Board of Directors.
Wynantskill Fire Chief James Schirmer said the fire trucks are big attraction. The two fire companies will send pickup truck-sized apparatus so there is a presence in the parades in North Greenbush, East Greenbush and West Sand Lake.
Fire departments keeping their trucks at home apparently is not a widespread trend, according to the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, which represents volunteer departments, said Robert Leonard, an association spokesman.
Rensselaer County legislators and firefighters joined State Sen. Roy J. McDonald, R-Saratoga, to call for passage of state legislation to lift commercial driving license requirements in all situations. McDonald urged his fellow state legislators to get a bill passed.
Leonard said FASNY is hopeful that the state Legislature will enact a law removing the requirements.
Written by Times Union
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix