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Do any of your departments use seat assignements on the engine, if so what are they, what works well, and what doesnt work very well? We have a six seat engine with an assigment for each seat, when staffed at 4 (typical) the crew picks up the slack. Obviously there is the officer and driver, we use the officer side for the nozzle man and vent man (engine has to do truck work as well), the driver side is the plug and irons. Since we only have 4 man engines, the officer will vent windows on walk around and take electric; the officer is also the back up man. The plug man will take the irons if we are not catching a plug. This has worked ok for us, needs tweeking since we dont run with more than 4 unless its a special day (new years, 4th July).

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We have a minimum 3 person crew, with 4 "on paper." Officer and Driver are always assigned and are static. Driver pumps, officer takes command and determines strategy...depending on the part of town and who the BC is, the first in officer will usually lead the fire attack. We also have the "pipe" and "plug" positions. If we are riding 4, the pipeman takes the nozzle where he/she is told to go...the plug person will take the hydrant. If we are riding 3, we typically will not fill the plug position and will use 2nd due crews depending on the situation. Some crews will pull their nozzle person off the second due and always use the 3rd person to take the plug.
The engine in my house has riding positions they are Chauf, Officer, Nozzle, Back up,, Control, and Door. In the case the truck isnt there the door will force the door and otherwise he doesnt touch the irons..If we go hydrant to fire the control will secure the hydrant. If we have a 4 man and not 5 the boss will force the door....
It's hard having riding positions with a 3 person company, maybe 4 on a good day, but we do. The FF/PM rides behind the officer all the time. Reasons include: The may be the one wrapping the plug on a structure fire, If my company is attack, direct, clear orders can be given face to face. With a 4 person company, the FF/PM is still the hydrant person and the fourth person is given orders via headset prior to arrival. With short staffing, you do the best you can.


Great discussion, we have started to discuss seating assignments, but being a volunteer company this is rather tough.  I will agree that seating assignments are great, and should be stated, discussed, and trained on.  Our company has a policy, that the driver's position is obvious, the officer needs to remain with his or her crew.  One engine has seating for eight with two fold down seats for newer or non-interior personnel, the second engine has seating for six.  So as stated the driver and officer are pretty much set in stone, although the officer's seat may be filled by the highest interior qualified person with the most experience if no officer is present.  The rear facing seat behind the officer is dedicated as the nozzle, while the forward facing seat is the back-up.  The officer's side fold down is the hydrant person, therefore, first out the door and out of the way of the hose team.  The forward facing and rear facing seats on the driver's side are irons and third person for hose control and advancement.  The fold down seat on the driver's side is to assist the driver with pump connections and other tasks such as flaking a line, assisting at the door, and may be placed in the position of outside vent or throwing ground ladders if feasible.  Obviously the engine with six seats is the same minus the two fold downs.  Now like I said, with being a volunteer company, it is tough, as you will get some personnel who jump right into that seat and will not move regardless of being told or having a more experienced person to fill that same seat.  While our first out engine is pretty much the same crew majority of the time, there is really no discussion in the truck other than what we gain from reports, the construction of the building, the area, and the like.  Within our policy there are assignments for three, four, five, six or more seats being filled, therefore there is really no difference in opinion, it is pretty much set in stone as to what you will be doing in that seat.  There is a disclaimer throughout the procedure which states the officer of the engine may change the seating assignments as they see fit.  For instance, as stated there is plenty of times a person will jump into the nozzle seat because that is where they want to be and there are more qualified personnel on the truck, now of course that goes two-fold, because how else are the newer members supposed to gain "tip time" when they are forced out of the way by more experienced personnel.  With the newer personnel, and myself being an officer, I will take into consideration who or what apparatus is on the street to back me up, even if I am first in, which chief's are on the road, and who my crew is, I may actually leave that person to perform the nozzle position provided there is a very experienced and qualified person to back them up and help teach them in the position, this is all based off conditions, reports, etc., or I could change the person.  One of the arguments I have had was that I would like to see the positions to be able to flip depending on the side of the fire, for instance, if we pull out of the station, and the fire is on the driver's side, do we really need to have the driver's side personnel skip pulling a line to wait for the guts on the officer's side to come around the truck to get the nozzle, in my opinion, no their positions should just flip and the driver's side takes the line, while the officer's side personnel take the other positions.  So it all depends on how you write the procedure for the seating assignments, and the training which goes into ensuring those assignments are instilled into the members, as well as having contingencies in place to be able to change the assignments if you see fit as the officer or lead personnel.


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