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 have no formal written policy to address how we develop nozzle proficiency in new members, but rather leave the decision and training up to the company officer. Our manpower is normally 1-2 (an officer and two firefighters) on engine companies, and based upon our staffing and my personal experience, I believe that the officer needs to be right there NEXT to the probie, directing, reassuring, and providing guidance until the member becomes adept. If the officer is on the nob, the question then becomes who's responsible for constantly evaluating the conditions, gauging progress, and keeping the probie safe
No formal policy either. Traditionally the new guy is on the nozzle. This allows the officer to reasure and direct and keep an eye on things. We run with officer and 2 obviously if they are on an attack line it is just 2 on the line, way too much to do to not have the new firefighter on the nozzle. Should the crew be on a backup line the new firefighter is still on the nozzle with the driver/operator as a door person
Once a recruit has graduated Rookie School he has 12 months to be released as a DPO (Driver Pump Operator), pass his probabtionary test, and get released as a minimum BLS AIC (Basic Life Support Attendant In Charge). We base the order of things on experience. I know my first cycle was as the nozzle man and after that I was thrown into the driving rotation of the engine and ambulance ( I had 9 years vollie and 2 years career experience at the time). Our last rookie had 0 experience so he rode the engine only for three months then got thron in to the ambulance rotation then finally began drivers training on the engine 7 months into his rookie year.
I would love to leave a guy in the nozzle spot unitl he gets a fire but with staffing levels and fires down it is simply a luxury we don't have.
We do not have a policy either. It is up to the officer in charge. However on my shift I always have the probie on the nozzle. for a couple reasons. One it gives them good expenaces they need. Two I usually have my more season ff behind them to guide and assit them., while I have the tic and watch the conditions and there safety. Plus the biggest reason is if they decide to bail and leave it hard to get through at least two guys.
Besides finding that last comment funny, it says something else as well. That you also have accountability with the new firefighter on the nozzle. If they are remote you could have bigger problems with the advance. The new firefighter needs to be under the direct supervision of the officer and being up front allows for that while also providing a true evaluation of the new firefighter.
The proby should always get the nozzle on all car fires, dumpsters, garage fires, etc. This gets the proby past having to shake out his shorts after his first few fires. I personally don't mind having the proby grab the nozzle for room and contents jobs (one room/kitchen fires) if the company has had a chance to see his act during company drill. Attic and basement fires are a different story. Evaluating the proby during company drill to see how he does getting the nozzle down the basement or to the attic door/landing acts in the best interest of the proby. This is due to the fact that the proby (Nozzle) will be the first one getting burned at these fires. As Ray mentioned, the proby should never be outside of the purview of the Engine Officer anytime he is working any position on the nozzle team (Nozzleman and or Back-up). Also, if the proby learns to stop coming in to work empty handed (at least some rolls pal), he will get it sooner...
We also operate 3, or occasionaly 4 person companies. This doesn't give the company officer much lattitude. The probie is either the chauffer, or on the knob. Usually the officer puts the probie on the knob where he can always be directly supervised .
I have to agree with you here. There are so many things that we may not be able to control at a job, one thing that should be certain is the expertise of the pump operator getting us water. If I am in the fire building, and the probie is on the pump, who's watching him/her?
In my department it is not part of any policy or O.P.G., but traditionally, the rookie rides in the 4th spot on the engine which is the pipe man. They all rotate through the busiest house, staying at each on for 2 months, spending a majority of their time on engine companies. They are always assigned the nozzle, after they complete their rotation and are assigned to a specific engine company they are assigned as the forth man, which is the pipe position. The officer has disgretion to assign the 3rd man the nozzle, his role is typically hydrant or back-up man. If a less senior guy is rotated into the house for manpower or O.T., the senior person on the engine will inform him that he will be on the plug. Always struck me funny, the guy with most experience is on the hydrant or in the back.
I think it is important for all new firefighters and new to the company firefighter to get the nozzle position right away. The new to the company firefighter also has to under go an evaluation period, it may or may not be official, however it still should be done. We want to know the type of skill the new firefighter has and what needs to be addressed if anything.
Mr. McCormack- We have the new firefighter on the nozzle for one full year, we have the officer as the number 2 guy. The #2 guy is to watch for fire behind and to watch the building construction for collapse. The #3 guy is what we call the hose humper, he watches corners and moves the hose as needed. This is if we have an Officer for Command, if there is no officer for command we like to move the most experienced to the #2 guy so the officer can be outside for Command. Great discussion sir!
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