It was company policy for the new firefighter to have the nozzle until they caught a structural fire. (A Job) Then they would move to the other positions/assignments. What does your company do and why?
We too have no set policy, per the department. As a boss on the rig it is my set policy to have the probie on the tip with a back up man and then myself directly alongside the nozzle. One reason being that i am ultimely responsable for my crew, and i fill i can keep a better eye on the "new guy" with this system.
Our Probies are not really probies as they come (HIRED) from our Volunteer ranks. However we run a 3 man crew. And if the new guy/gal is in the jump seat the pipe is theirs. And we run pretty much the same as Nate Patton mentioned, however some of our Sr Officers like to stay outside and assume the role of I/C even if the Chief is O/S.????
Our Volunteers which respond in thier POV are not given the pipe unless its a surround and drown or overhaul situation. WE are a small department so we know very quickly who should be on the nozzle, as this is the bread and butter of our job. And when Im on shift that pipe is mine unless assigned other wise :L)
Ray, It is most common in our department to give the probie the hydrant position. We have 4 members and often forward lay our supply line (which I am not so fond of) so in the morning one member is assigned the hydrant and the other the nozzle. I however do not agree with this practice. I like to give the probie the nozzle because at the hydrant (and we are talking forward lay) the probie is working independently and without direct supervision. I would rather them be with me (the officer) so I can have them work under direct supervision. Once I feel comfortable with how they are on the fireground I can move them to the hydrant were they will be working alone. Bottom line most of my department is giving the probie the hydrant because the senior members want to fight fire not hook up to a fire hydrant, so they give the probie the sh!tty job not looking at the big picture.
I'm sorry to say but my company does it back asswards. We have the probie hit the plug! I feel the probie needs to be on the pipe or at least on the hand line with an officer, being in close proximity to a senior, seasoned member.
On the job training if you will. I realize in the volunteer service this can be hard to accomplish at times.
I feel its quite a bit of pressure to put on the new guy to establish the all important water supply. I remember the first time I had to hit the plug, it was nerve wracking, you had the chief and all these other guys depending on you to have the supply established and have it go without a hitch. In our districts we have to different cuts of coupling thread so it was imparative that you remember when to use adapters depending in what town your were operating in. More pressure, and really no one close at hand to help bail you out if you had a problem.
We have no formal policy, which is similar to almost all of the post above.
Since we run with a Boss, Driver, and FF, the FF (probie or not) gets the nozzle 90% of the time.
If we have a delayed response by the Battalion, and the 1st due boss HAS to take command, the 1st due FF will be assigned to the attack team coming off the 2nd due company. His getting the nozzle or not in this scenario is up to the 2nd boss.
I am a firm believer that the Boss should NOT have his grubby hands on the nozzle. I have worked with more than one Boss back in the day that would rip the knob out of your hand so he could "play" this is total BS. When I made boss I swore to myself that I would never do that. So far so good.
With good firehouse training and proper fire stream evolutions, anyone can be a good nozzleman under supervision. With a confident voice in their ear, reassuring and/or correcting, even the newest probie should do fine.
If you have the luxury of having more people on the line, the most senior guy should be your "roving linebacker". This is the guy that can anticipate needs and problems. He has been around to know what kind of corners may give you problems etc. (This info comes from Lt's McCormack and Klett classes I have taken over the years. I fully buy into it.)
Hey Eric I like that term "Roving Linebacker"! I really believe that is essential for working handline crews, if manpower permits.
In a comment I left regarding using 2 1/2" handlines in a residential I said if I was not on the nozzle I would do this to make sure we could progress unimpeded with no kinks or hangups.
I help a friend of mine from time to time with his FF I class and we stress this to the probies in the class, anticipating can save you quite a bit of trouble later in the evolution/advancement.
Let me say again, that I DO NOT take credit for the term "roving linebacker". I picked up that little jem, years back at a class that Lt. Timmy Klett was teaching at. I too like it, and now I spread the word as well.
The beauty about the senior guy "roving" is that he, or she, has probably seen it before. You and I know when a line is going to kink when advanced. And we both know what corners are going to catch the couplings. These are things that we can anticipate and overcome BEFORE they hinder the advance. Another friend of mine likes to say that the few extra seconds you take now, could save you precious minutes later.
While we are on the topic of kinks, I too teach at a FF1 academy, and it is very well known by all that if you ever step over a kink or walk past a kink without kicking it out, I will own you. I feel that if chasing kinks were stressed more to EVERYONE early in there career we wouldn't have people stepping over kinks and not doing anything about it. If you have ever been on the end of a hoseline with poor flow, you know what I am talking about.
Oh yeah. We were operating at a kitchen fire back in May, we made our entry off a back deck through sliding glass doors. The hose line was stretched in with an experienced guy on the pipe and myself. I left him to walk back the 1 3/4
hand line to make sure that we didn't have a plate of spaghetti there and what do I see, one of our Lts.steeping right over the mess. I yelled to a police officer who happened to be out side and he ended up getting the line straighttened for us. I was ready for the rubber room after that.
Since then every opportunity I get I also stress not walking over ANY line that looks it could remotely kink when charged.
As an officer, one of my biggest responsibilities is the newest FF. I keep him glued to me. Whatever the assignment, he goes where I go. If we are on the attack, he takes the nozzle and I am right behind him. I want him to always have the nozzle because it gets him experience, gets him involved, I can guide him, calm him down, but also evaluate him. With not as many fires as before, we have to use every opportunity to teach and evaluate.
-The short answer to the question of when rookies get the nozzle is... all the time, barring very unusual circumstances.
-The thought process is that rookies will generally suffer from more tunnel vision than other firefighters and thus fixate on the fire itself, therefore place them on the nozzle where other more experienced firefighters can keep an eye on them.
-In short, the benefit is that we will always know where they are and what they are doing. The senior man is usually the back up man and can keep one eye on the new firefighter and the other on monitoring interior conditions, escape routes and monitor progress, freeing up the lieutenant to support where he can, encourage when needed and generally supervise the company.
-The nozzle tends to be the position that newer firefighters are chomping at the bit for so why not put him in that spot.
I would definitely have to agree that the probie gets the nozzle right away how else are they going to learn. If you are the Officer you should have the experience to direct and you should also be paying attention to what is happening in front, behind, up top , and beside you constantly monitoring conditions and also watching the actions of your firefighters.
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