To: Head of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: April 26, 1999
Re: CDL Exemption for Firefighters

In response to a question asked as to whether a firefighter is required to hold a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) in order to operate fire apparatus, if that vehicle is not going to or returning from a fire, I offer the following answer and opinion as provided by DFS General Counsel:

NO. A CDL is not required for firefighters to operate fire apparatus at any time while performing official duties. 540 CMR 2.06(6)(A)(ii) states in pertinent part, "Drivers may with a class D license operate emergency or fire equipment…such exempt drivers shall include…a member of a volunteer or paid fire organization, when either responding to an emergency or otherwise performing official duties…"

Therefore, any firefighter holding a valid class D license may operate any fire equipment without a CDL, in performance of all official duties as directed by the head of the fire department.