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Is freelancing a routine part of your fireground? How is it addressed prior to an incident or when it occurs, after the incident. Who is held accountable for it? What happens to freelancers and/or their officers? Has it become an accepted way of doing things? If you were an officer (and maybe you are) how would you address it before, during, and after an incident?

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Hello there

Can you describe your defination of freelancing? As you know I'm from a small dept. When we arrive on scene at a structure fire or any other call. We don't have the man power for an officer to stand outside to give orders. Our first arriving officer is in the combative comand mode. For instance at a structure fire my officer is with the hose line. Me being on the truck, I make the dicision on wether to vent and how, search, or do anything I see fit depending on the circumstances that our before me at the time. I'm not an officer so technically am I freelancing?

Jim
In the area I work in, freelancing can be a routine part of a fireground, depending on the city or district. Speaking for my own department, freelancing is not tolerated. As an engine captain, it is my responsibility, to maintain crew integrity at all times, while operating at an incident. My company is my responsibility and if they run free, I hear about it, then they do. Good training prevents freelancing, before and during an operation. We talk about the incidents, together, regardless of the nature. If a company knows the expectations of the officer and visa versa, the chances of freelancing diminish greatly.
hi jimmy
i would cal freelancing working outside the establsihed action plan and/or doing someting command is not aware of. In NHRFR, our CO's are also in the command/combat mode until a BC arrives. What they do is assigned by SOP. They also state over the radio what they are doing.
Without SOP's ever fire is different isn't it? It then depends on what people feel needs to be done and in waht order -- can be dangerious if in the hands of the inexperienced or untrained or the unaware. I would think in your case, if these are your potential assignments, as long as they are communicated to IC so they can be tracked and accounted for, it is not freelancing.

James Ricci Jr. said:
Hello there

Can you describe your defination of freelancing? As you know I'm from a small dept. When we arrive on scene at a structure fire or any other call. We don't have the man power for an officer to stand outside to give orders. Our first arriving officer is in the combative comand mode. For instance at a structure fire my officer is with the hose line. Me being on the truck, I make the dicision on wether to vent and how, search, or do anything I see fit depending on the circumstances that our before me at the time. I'm not an officer so technically am I freelancing?

Jim
-Jeff, I would submit that in addition to training, the best way to prevent freelancing is to insure that all members are aware of their departments SOP's, what the primary actions on scene are and what each members job description and job function are.
-Every time I have witness freelancing it was directly due to the individual not understanding what his job function was (understanding SOP's) and/or being uncomfortable performing that job function (training).

Jeff Schwering said:
In the area I work in, freelancing can be a routine part of a fireground, depending on the city or district. Speaking for my own department, freelancing is not tolerated. As an engine captain, it is my responsibility, to maintain crew integrity at all times, while operating at an incident. My company is my responsibility and if they run free, I hear about it, then they do. Good training prevents freelancing, before and during an operation. We talk about the incidents, together, regardless of the nature. If a company knows the expectations of the officer and visa versa, the chances of freelancing diminish greatly.
Brick,

I totally agree with your statement, my problem comes in on assist calls. Some of my folks are like moths to a flame. It can be a task to keep them focused. When a B/C tells me to cut a h*** in a roof anywhere, yes this is a true story! If I'm not paying close attention, I'll have a firefighter trying to get on a roof and cut a h*** away from the fire. My folks know policy, sort of, reminders are always a good thing, but it falls on me to watch them. That's what's tough about so many muni's and districts so close together.
-I hear ya Jeff. But,sounds to me like you're doing a good job as company officer... supervision; keeping an eye on your people insuring their performance and safety.
Michael and Jeff

What size department do you guys have, how many on engine and truck. How many men on shift.

thanks
Jim

Michael Bricault said:
-I hear ya Jeff. But,sounds to me like you're doing a good job as company officer... supervision; keeping an eye on your people insuring their performance and safety.
James,

I work for a small municipality in St. Louis County Mo. We operate 2 engines out of 1 station. 2 shifts of 7 members, 1 w/ 8 members due to budget cuts. Our engines are both paramedic/rescue engines. 24 total members with the 2 chiefs. 4 sq. miles, 1500 calls a year approximately.
-James, the City of Albuquerque Fire Dept employes 800 firefighters and operates 23 engines, 6 ladders, 2 tower ladders, 18 rescue/ambulances, 2 haz mat squads, 1 heavy rescue and four Batt Chiefs.
-We respond to approximately 100,000 alarms annually and once you remove ems, haz mat, false alarms, car fires, outside fires... we handle 3 working structure fires daily.
-All engines, ladders and squads have full manning of four personnel, the ambulances having 2 medics.
-The City of Albuquerque is, according to the U.S. Census, the 33rd largest city in the U.S. with a population of just over 1 million people. We have undergone dramatic growth in the last 15 years
-Hope that helps.


James Ricci Jr. said:
Michael and Jeff
What size department do you guys have, how many on engine and truck. How many men on shift.
thanks
Jim

Michael Bricault said:
-I hear ya Jeff. But,sounds to me like you're doing a good job as company officer... supervision; keeping an eye on your people insuring their performance and safety.
-James, I understand that operating in a smaller FD there may be times when the IC is not assigned or there is not a designated IC for whatever reason. That being said, that still does not excuse freelancing on the fireground.
-Freelancing here is defined as a member operating on his own within the impetus of his own initiative AND without notifying anyone else of his actions.
-All members of a company should have an assigned function and all members should understand their function as well as everyone else's.
-Some smaller FDs, especially combination and volunteers FDs have even gone as far as having the job function written down and laminated in the apparatus so that each seat has an assigned set of tasks and the priority in which to perform said tasks.
-Without assigned functions there will be duplication of effort, as well as confusion on scene and a loose of speed which is key especially when performing search operations. No matter the size of the FD or the responding companies, there must be organization that all responding members understand. Otherwise it will be amateur hour.
-Professionalism denotes a level of service delivery. All firefighters, regardless of wether they are career or volunteer, must deliver professional level service. If this is not the belief then the member should be shown the door.
Michael

Thanks for the reply. I guess I have a problem with the word freelancing. I understand that with a large dept. it's easy to have an IC and have assigned functions. When we have a job we show up on scene with 5 guys,(3 first engine 2 on truck) 3 more on second due engine (4-6min away) then water supply has to be established. I'm on the truck, we don't have assigned functions, are functions for a lack of a better term are understood. My IC is in the combative command mode he's inside. It's up to me upon arrival to do what I feel is the best course of action to take depending on the circumstances before me, vent,search, stretch a second line etc. I also must justify my actions after. Duplication of task is a rareity for we don't have the manpower to do the job the first time. I don't convey what I'm doing to my officer by radio, believe it's unnessary talk, leave radio free for emergency communications. I don't feel that it's free lancing, Mabe I'm wrong.

Jim

Michael Bricault said:
-James, I understand that operating in a smaller FD there may be times when the IC is not assigned or there is not a designated IC for whatever reason. That being said, that still does not excuse freelancing on the fireground.
-Freelancing here is defined as a member operating on his own within the impetus of his own initiative AND without notifying anyone else of his actions.
-All members of a company should have an assigned function and all members should understand their function as well as everyone else's.
-Some smaller FDs, especially combination and volunteers FDs have even gone as far as having the job function written down and laminated in the apparatus so that each seat has an assigned set of tasks and the priority in which to perform said tasks.
-Without assigned functions there will be duplication of effort, as well as confusion on scene and a loose of speed which is key especially when performing search operations. No matter the size of the FD or the responding companies, there must be organization that all responding members understand. Otherwise it will be amateur hour.
-Professionalism denotes a level of service delivery. All firefighters, regardless of wether they are career or volunteer, must deliver professional level service. If this is not the belief then the member should be shown the door.
-James, after reading your posted explanation, the one thing I feel is essential is for personnel to announce over the fire ground radio where they are and/or what actions they are performing. It really isn't unnecessary radio traffic tying up the air. In fact it is vital.
-Transmitting your location and actions will, at the very least, let everyone know where you are if things go wrong. At best it informs all members operating on scene what you are doing and how they can tailor their actions to assist and facilitate you.

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