Firefighter Endorsement

Been hearing whispers about DOT not excepting the CA DMV FF endorsement. Anyone else have any info on this?

It’s a very limited endorsement, only covers you to and from an incident, and only for a very narrow set of equipment. It’s been heavily abused for years and CHP is cracking down.


Thanks for the response. How is CHP cracking down exactly?

It would be driving out of class, referring to the class of your license.
Other states have not accepted the FF endorsement for years. Numerous years ago a CDF strike team was advised that it would not be accepted on their way back from a fire, therefore the strike team traveled through Utah, Idaho, and Oregon to return to California.


Please share known instances of CHP “cracking down” on drivers with the FF endorsement. It is not just for driving to and from an incident. Most California fire departments are using it for all driving.

Interstate is an entirely different issue. As is private, since they will be stopping at weigh stations and inspection points. That could be an entirely different experience, but I’ve never driven privately.


Are you a federal employee, a contractor or a state/municipal employee?

These rumors have been floating around in the Feds for years.

I have never heard of a strike team rerouting over the licensing. I doubt any state is going to harass a strike team of engines, that are properly licenses in their respective state.

If anything DMV has been expanding the FFer endorsement the last few years, because it lowers their workload.


I’m state, basically what I’ve heard is DOT/DMV is going to start requiring our crew FAEs/FCs to have their CDL with the proper endorsements to be able to drive a crew bus here pretty quick. Also hearing they’re planning on coming after the Engine operators next.

I know how the rumor mill can be, so I’ve made this topic in order to find out if there’s any substance behind this one or not. Thanks for your reply!

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Crew FC’s have been required to have a CDL with correct endorsements for a long time, as well as HFEO that’s because Crew Bus’s and Transports are regulated vehicles, as well as bigger stakesides. That’s why the have the CA# on the side of the vehicle. Shouldn’t be anything new about it.


That’s always been my understanding as well. If nothings changed, great.

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Exception for farmers, firefighters, emergency response vehicle drivers, and drivers removing snow and ice. A State may, at its discretion, exempt individuals identified in paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) of this section from the requirements of this part. The use of this waiver is limited to the driver’s home State unless there is a reciprocity agreement with adjoining States.

49 CFR Part 383
Subpart A
paragraph 383.3 section (d)

This is Federal law .


I stand corrected on that.

Thank you!

Thanks arff!

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Long time lurker, don’t post very often. I thought I would interject as a CAL FIRE employee on this subject. The California FF endorsement became law many years ago and was introduced by Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries from Riverside County. He was an RVC Volunteer at one time. The intent was to make it easier for Volunteer FFs to drive apparatus to and from emergencies. The problem was the interpretation of the law. CAL FIRE decided that a FF endorsement allowed us to drive any vehicle as they are emergency vehicles. The new requirement from DMV states you have to go through a driving school to obtain a Commercial License. L2881 likes the FF endorsement because it removes BU8 personnel from the random screening pool. The kicker is do you let someone drive our regulated vehicles affixed with the CA 9002 with only a FF endorsement. If the driver was involved in an accident in a regulated vehicle, CHP would probably cite you. The department had kicked the idea around of removing the wino bench from the ECTs so they aren’t regulated.
Some of our FCBs have FF endorsement and got noticed by CHP during a bit inspection. Recently, DMV, CAL FIRE, CHP, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration met at Davis Mobile Equipment and CHP wants us to be licensed correctly for the vehicles we drive, DMV wants FF endorsement, and CAL FIRE wants FF endorsement. They left the meeting waiting for the attorneys to fight it out. Fire Away


California law does not supersede Federal law. Simple.

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Wasn’t arguing that, just giving insight to what CAL FIRE is doing.

So let me get this straight i converted from my commercial class B to a FF class C and i might have to go back through all that to get a commercial class B again? If so Hoping there is a record i had a commercial.class B at one point.


Amen! I did the same thing.

Depends on what your agency wants to do

someone said in this thread somewhere about engine operators, I get the crew carrier and passenger endorsement thing. Im confused I need read this thread again. I dont see how CHP could just pick on CAL-FIRE to do a certain thing and other LG govt agencies in CA would be exempt to follow a different set of rules. Back to post 1 for me to do some reading.