Firefighters Nick Jamieson, Jonathan Schali and Casey Zenger all were promoted during the ceremony.
Engineers are the step up from frontline firefighters and are in charge of driving the department’s vehicles. They also handle firefighting apparatus including the water pumps on the fire trucks at fire scenes.
“I’m very proud of them, and we’re getting ready to move the department forward,” Chief Steve Hall said Tuesday, Nov. 27.
The three passed a 100-question written exam on fire engineer criteria and a hands-on testing process that included driving and operating various fire trucks, Hall said. Two other candidates did not pass the written test.
Jamieson, Schali and Zenger were originally volunteer firefighters who were promoted to full-time firefighters in October 2008, the chief said. Schali remains a West Stanislaus volunteer firefighter, in addition to his responsibilities as a full-time fire engineer for Patterson.
Two Patterson engineers, a firefighter and two candidates from outside the department were scheduled to be tested Wednesday, Nov. 28, to fill five open captain positions. Results of those tests were not available as of press time.
Acting Capt. Chris Priola, firefighter Marty Greunke and Schali were among those undergoing a four-part test this week that includes a panel interview and exercises in time management, conflict resolution and commanding an emergency situation.
A fire crew typically comprises at least one firefighter, an engineer and a captain. The engineer drives and prepares equipment, while the captain manages radio and cellphone communications. The captain is also responsible for assessing the situation and directing how an emergency should be handled.
Four engineers who have been serving as captains and a permanent captain have been driving engines while also supervising crews for more than a year, because the department has had too few engineers.
Promoting the three firefighters to engineers and some firefighters and engineers to captains will ease pressure on the engineer and captain ranks, Hall said.
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