Mobile shower, catering group seeks hours relief to better aid firefighters responding to disasters

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The National Mobile Shower and Catering Association is seeking hours relief for its member companies’ drivers operating under a Resource Order from a federal agency. (NMSCA photo)The National Mobile Shower and Catering Association is seeking hours relief for its member companies’ drivers operating under a Resource Order from a federal agency. (NMSCA photo)

A group representing carriers that provide catering and shower services to firefighters and other first responders to natural disasters and other events is seeking a reprieve for drivers from several federal hours of service regulations.

The National Mobile Shower and Catering Association (NMSCA) is requesting the regulations relief for its member companies’ drivers who are responding under a “Resource Order,” an order issued by a federal agency directing firefighters and supporting personnel to respond to forest fires and similar emergencies.

NMSCA specifically requests that these drivers:

  • Be allowed to extend the 14-hour on-duty period to no more than 16 hours
  • Not include “waiting time” while performing duties as part of the 16-hour on-duty period
  • Be exempt from the 30-minute break provision
  • Extend the maximum 60 hours on-duty in seven days to 80 hours on-duty in seven days
  • Extend the 11 hours of drive time to 12 hours
  • Extend the eight days in 30 electronic logging exemption to 12 days in 30

The exemption from these regulations would apply to approximately 30 companies positioned in the western U.S. The group says to fight wildfires, the National Forest Service and other federal agencies call upon federally-contracted private firefighting companies, who are exempt from a majority of regulations when they respond. When the firefighters arrive, they set up a base camp and quickly require food and water, which is when a Resource Order is issued to the nearest mobile shower and catering company, NMSCA says.

The group adds that most of this work is seasonal, and the equipment used by these companies generally travels less than 5,000 miles per year.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on NMSCA’s request, which can be made here through Dec. 27.