ATV/UTV Operator (ATVO/UTVO)
The ATV Operator uses All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) class off-road vehicles to complete fire management activities, including scouting and preparation, fire operations and post-burn monitoring and follow-up. The following standards are designed to ensure operational safety and proficiency have been taught and exhibited in a consistent manner across the entire Conservancy fire organization.
These standards are relevant to non-fire stewardship activities if adopted by local Operating Units for such work.
The Operator must have appropriate training to operate ATV or UTV equipment. ATV/UTV training must cover the following subject areas:
The ATV Safety Institute, other private vendors, as well as government agencies provide suitable hands-on training. Fire staff will maintain records of ATV/ UTV training with other fire training documentation, cards or certificates.
Instructors for Conservancy-led training must be technically proficient in the subject matter, experienced in demonstrating and coaching safe riding skills, and certified as an instructor by a state agency or vendor. If not certified as an instructor by a state agency or vendor, an individual may be approved by the relevant Fire Manager for instructing Conservancy staff and volunteers, based on review of the individual's knowledge, experience, and completion of relevant hands-on ATV/UTV training.
Recognition of Prior Experience
It is recognized that Conservancy staff and volunteers may have considerable experience (many years) and knowledge in the use of ATV/UTV equipment, but lack documentation of training. The relevant Fire Manager may review an individual's knowledge and experience and certify them as ATV and/or UTV Operator. Such review must be documented in writing and must consider each of the five training subject areas. Certification must be kept on file with the person's other fire management qualifications documents.
ATV/UTV Operator must annually complete RT-130 Annual Fireline Safety Refresher training. Operators should bring up safety and lessons learned from mistakes or near-miss incidents from the past year during that portion of annual refresher training. Non-fire staff may adopt alternatives to the RT-130 annual safety refresher, such as annual ATV/UTV safety-related conference calls or the use of online resources Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, or ATV Safety Institute.
Personal Protective Equipment
In addition to the PPE required during fire operations (see Requirement #5), a helmet is required that meets or exceeds your state's safety standards. Look for either a DOT or Snell Memorial Foundation label on the helmet. Standard fire hard hats may be used on the fireline when chin straps are in use and equipment operating speeds are kept low relative to the hazards and terrain of the local setting.
Every geographic region has its own site-specific hazards and challenges for ATV/UTV Operators. Safety and operational briefings should mention such local hazards, and fireline supervisors should consider an individual's familiarity with the local setting when making assignments. All Operators, regardless of experience level and local familiarity, are expected to exercise caution and good judgment when operating an ATV or UTV. Operators should examine their vehicles for any special equipment (water spray devices, mounted drip torch, power blower, etc.) and be familiar with their function and safe use prior to operating the vehicle. Operators should also pay frequent attention to the security and balance of any tools, water, or fuel loaded on their vehicle.
Care should also be given during the loading or unloading of ATV/UTVs from trucks or trailers. Ramps should be load-rated, sized appropriately, and secured during use per manufactured design. While transporting ATV/UTVs on public roadways, operators should ensure that straps or tie-downs of suitable size and number are in use and comply with all applicable motor vehicle laws.
Last updated July 20, 2017.