It was a regular duty night at my suburban volunteer fire department. I had about four years experience, but was the junior man on the engine crew so I was assigned to the lay out/hydrant position. We were dispatched second-in on a box or street alarm (it is really immaterial to the point of the close call) in a large apartment complex. Due to some unusual circumstances, the volunteer Captain of our crew rode in the passenger’s side rear facing seat, and the Lieutenant of the duty crew rode the officer’s seat. I happened to be in the driver’s side rear facing seat. As we turned into the complex and neared the street to the unit of interest, the firefighter sitting across from me got his in-cab headset wiring tangled on his SCBA. I leaned across to assist in freeing him from them and suddenly slammed back into my seat. Figuring that the driver, who was an excellent driver and always drove under control, was at the location for me to lay out, I hopped out and proceeded to the rear of the engine to pull the suply line as I had done numerous times before. Also as before, I customarily put my hand on the rear of the apparatus to get the grab handle as I rounded the rear. However, I noticed a familiar odor in the air but couldn’t identify it readily. When I put my hand on the rear of the engine, it moved… backwards…that odor, burning rubber. Uh-oh. The driver missed the turn, slammed on the brakes (thus my slamming forward) and was backing up to turn into the side street to the unit. Needless to say, walking the few blocks to catch up to the engine was the least of my concerns, as was the well deserved and appropriately presented butt chewing that I got from the officers aboard. How lucky I was that a car was not coming in the oncoming lane, or that there was no other apparatus follwoing immedialy behind me, or that I did not make the rear of the engine before the driver started backing up. Many lessons were learned/reinforced: Ensure you and your driver know where you are going, don’t get off the apparatus EVER until directed by the officer (I knew that, but had a mental lapse), and be aware of your surroundings once you get off any apparatus. Had I not placed my hand instinctively in the back of the engine, I may have been backed over. Yes, it’s an embarrasing story, but hopefully it will serve so that others will not make the same mistake.