On our job the second arriving engine co. establishes water supply. Our hosebeds are set up with 1500 feet of 3" hose flat packed . Our hydrants are usually spaced well for short forward or reverse lays. many times the 2nd. arriving engine jackasses off the first in engine 100 feet or so to the hydrant. The second responsibility of the second due engine is to stretch their own line on the fire. Because our companies are arriving witin minutes of each other the 3 arriving engine is assigned the back up line and the second arriving engine goes to the floor above or flanking position after completing water supply.
The duty of the second due engine company in our city is to assure a water supply for the first due engine as our manpower situation dictates a tank water attack in most circumstances. Our engine personnel is generally 1-2 (an officer and two firefighters with occasional exception.)
That being said, when I am detailed to drive the engine, I never rely upon another engine to automatically grab a hydrant and lay a supply line into my company. If we are engaged in an all-hands rescue effort, or in an immediate defensive mode operation upon arrival, I ALWAYS communicate the need for a supply line to the second-due engine directly over the radio and ask for them to acknowledge the request.
Whenever possible, I attempt to grab my own water source as I have never been lucky, and have never been comfortable relying solely upon someone else to get my water-especially when it is MY responsibility to provide the continuous supply to my crew as I am personally responsible for their safety-this is a responsibility I take very seriously.
We are fortunate to have well spaced hydrants with good looping, and although we have an aging infrastructure, our weak water areas are identified, and problem hydrants discovered during our annual inspections.
Our tank water is generally 500 gallons, with one 750 arrangement out on one of our two (2) peninsulas. We run 4" LDH for supply lines with each company carrying 1000' in a split hose bed, and have just recently introduced hydrant assist valves (HAV). Should the second-due engine encounter a water supply issue, we also have a third-due engine on the box assignment who is required to assure an additional water source.
The second due Engine really only has one task to accomplish initially...support the operations of the FIRST DUE Engine. The first thing the second due Engine Officer should do upon arrival is communicate with the first due Officer to determine what positions, tasks, or problems they need help with. The Driver/Engineer/Chauffeur/Pump Operator, etc., should give them some water if they are not on their own hydrant (damn preconnects...). Initiating the stretch of the second or "back-up" line simultaneously with the stretching of the first line is unprofessional and inefficient. If the first line is not stretched, flaked, charged and placed into operation (in that order), what are you backing up??? Let the third due Engine stretch the second line. If the first due Engine has a relatively short stretch (four or five lengths), and they are doing fine without help, then it is okay to start a second line. I understand many departments only have three or four pieces of apparatus coming, however, it is the effect the numbers initially arriving have on the first line's progress that makes the difference, not how many eventually get there; and not how many lines can eventually get stretched... Also, If going to the floor above with a second line, just be sure to estimate one length more than the first line so you can make the floor above and get a piece of any extension without stretching short...
Our second due engine will make sure the ladder truck has entered the block and than back down the street as a precaution (in case of a problem like a frozen hydrant or an exposure problem) The crew will in most occupancies will stretch a line above the fire in the opposite direction. Our first engine will establish its own water supply by taking it going in or reversing. Do not forget about the truck we can stretch more hose you can not stetch a ladder.
Our 2nd Engine is the Initial RIT (IRIT) with the OIC serving as the Safety Officer. Part of thier duties include pulling a back up line, controling utilities and creating a 2nd egress. The 2nd arriving chief becomes the safety officer and the 2nd Eng OIC returns to IRIT. The 3rd truck then joins the IRIT to make the complete RIT.
In North Hudson Regional, we respond 4 engines, 2 ladders, a rescue, safety officer, BC and DC on a reported fire, smoke or anythingg that sounds real. We normally ride 1 + 2 on our engines so our SOP's call for the 2nd engine crew to assist the 1st engine crew in getting the first line in service. Also since our first engine usually has the attack, our second engine is water supply so 4 of the 6 members on the first 2 engines stretch the 1st line and two members are involved in water supply, one at the atatack engine and 1 at the supply engine. Basically we utilize 2 understaffed engine companies to make up 1 well-staffed company
We have alot of narrow streets where we are so we also utilize a system where, if the first two engines arrive before the 1st ladder, the second engine in the block can "bump" the 1st engine to water supply. It works very well for us.
We do something similar for hi rise in regard to teaming up the 1st 2 engines for attack, but we utilize the 1srt engine chauffeur as elevator control and the 2nd engine chauffeur as control man on the floor below the fire. His job is to connect the attack line to the standpipe on the floor below the fire, flake the line out, ensure there is no debris or pressure-reducers and monitor the attack, sort of like a pump operator on the floor below th fire . Our third-arriving connects to the FDC
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