Pump operator

A pump operator


Pump operators assist firefighting operations by controlling the pumps which supply water and other substances for extinguishing fires. They ensure the substance is delivered in the right amount and under the correct  pressure through the firehose.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to pump operator:

fire appliance pump operator
firewoman, pump operator
fire fighter
fire fighter, pump operator
fire engine pump operator
fireman, pump operator
firefighter, pump operator

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as pump operator.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Pump operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Pump operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to pump operator.

fire service vehicle operator
marine firefighter
industrial firefighter
briquetting machine operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of pump operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of pump operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

fire protection technician
fire inspector
fire safety tester
aviation data communications manager
store detective

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of pump operator.

  • Hydraulic fluid: The various types, qualities and applications of hydraulic fluids used in metalworking processes such as forging and moulding, consisting out of mineral oils and water.
  • Fire safety regulations: The legal rules to be applied for fire safety and fire prevention in a facility.
  • Hydraulics: The power transmission systems that use the force of flowing liquids to transmit power.
  • Fire prevention procedures: The regulations concerning fire and explosion prevention, and the equipment, systems and methods used in it.
  • Fire-fighting systems: The devices and systems used to extinguish fires; the classes and chemistry of fire.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of pump operator.

  • Extinguish fires: Choose the adequate substances and methods to extinguish fires depending on their size, such as water and various chemical agents. Use a breathing apparatus.
  • Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
  • Work as a team in a hazardous environment: Work together with others in a dangerous, sometimes noisy, environment, such as a building on fire or metal forging facilities, in order to achieve a higher degree of efficiency while heeding the co-workers’ safety.
  • Coordinate fire fighting: Organize and direct the operations of fire fighting, according to the ship’s emergency plans to ensure safety.
  • Manage major incidents: Take immediate action to respond to major incidents that affect the safety and security of individuals in private or public places such as road accidents.
  • Maintain hydraulic systems: Perform routine maintenance and repairs on systems which use pressurised fluids to provide power to machines and equipment.
  • Operate hydraulic pumps: Operate hydraulic pumping systems.
  • Use different types of fire extinguishers: Understand and apply various methods of firefighting and various types and classes of fire extinguishing equipment.
  • Operate hydraulic machinery controls: use correctly the controls of specialized machinery by turning valves, handwheels, or rheostats to move and control flow of fuels, water, and dry or liquid binders to machines.
  • Operate pumps for fire extinguishing: Control and operate the pumps of a firetruck or water supply to ensure the firehose is supplied with the right substances under the appropriate hydraulic pressure.
  • Perform preventive maintenance on fire fighting vehicles: Keep firefighting vehicles ready for use at any time. Maintain all aspects of firefighting vehicles and ensure that vehicles function correctly.
  • Manage emergency care situations: Manage situations in which decision making under time pressure is essential to save lives.
  • Operate fire extinguishers: Understand the operation of fire extinguishing equipment and fire extinguishing techniques.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of pump operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Environmental policy: Local, national and international policies dealing with the promotion of environmental sustainability and the development of projects which reduce negative environmental impact and improve the state of the environment.
  • Pollution legislation: Be familiar with European and National legislation regarding the risk of pollution.
  • Environmental legislation: The environmental policies and legislation applicable in a certain domain.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of pump operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Maintain safety systems: Perform activities for the maintenance of fire fighting and related safety systems.
  • Perform risk analysis: Identify and assess factors that may jeopardise the success of a project or threaten the organisation’s functioning. Implement procedures to avoid or minimise their impact.
  • Operate emergency equipment: Utilise emergency equipment and tools such as fire extinguishers, wheel chocks, pocket lamps, and warning signs.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Relay messages through radio and telephone systems: Possess the communication abilities to relay messages through a radio and telephone system.
  • Perform minor repairs to equipment: Conduct routine maintenance on equipment. Recognise and identify minor defects in equipment and make repairs if appropriate.
  • Operate emergency vehicle: Drive and maneuver an emergency vehicle and operate its fixed equipment following standard procedures.
  • Educate public on fire safety: Develop and execute educational and promotional plans to educate the public on fire prevention knowledge and methods, fire safety such as the ability to identify hazards and the use of fire safety equipment, and to raise awareness on fire prevention issues.

ISCO group and title

5411 – Fire-fighters

  1. Pump operator – ESCO
  2. Featured image: By Schuttbourg – Own work, Public Domain
Last updated on November 17, 2022

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