Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

How are members picked? Experience or seniority. To what level or how often do they train in the disciplines of high angle, confine space, collapse, trench. Manpower? When staffing falls below minimum (vacation, injured etc) do they hire rescue qualified or fill with any member. Fire ground duties? Divers Y/N. And anything else you want to add pertaining to the world of Heavy Rescue

Views: 589

Replies to This Discussion

In Bridgeport we run 1 heavy rescue, it responds to all boxes, mva's with entrapment and technical rescue calls. It is staffed with 5 people, 1 officer, 1 engineer and 3 firefighters. It is a rescue pumper, 10lbs of S... in a 5lb bag, only carried 300 gallons of watter and no feeder line, not a class pumper. their are no qualifications for getting assigned to the rescue, you are assigned by the DC of operations. If an opening occurs due to retirement or promotion the slot is filled by bid, and the bid will be awarded based on seniority only. At any one time the entire company can be staffed with detail guys or overtime. Many competent guys are assigned to the rescue.
I guess since I started this Group I should add how we operate. In Boston we operate with 2 Rescue's. We spit the city in half, we response to every box struck, any tech rescue incident, reports of entrapment or roll overs, water incidents and anything else that the District Chief wants us for. We're in a house with an Engine and Tower ( wish we had our own house) so any accident or stuck elevator in the Engine's first due area we also take in. At one point we were riding 1 & 5, then down to 1 & 4, now 1& 3! They keep adding to us but keep taken away the manpower, but that's a story for another day. As far as getting assigned to the company, it's strictly by seniority. Which to put it in nice terms BITES. They should have had some type of tech rescue training prior to being assigned. Our Captain has no say in who he gets. Something that we're trying to change but not having to much luck with. If manpower is short, they detail others in. It can be anybody, doesn't matter who or where from or how long you've been on the job. Yes you read that correctly! Again something we're trying to change. On the fire ground, we're basically assigned to search. Depending on reports, we split into 2 man teams one to fire floor the other to floor above. If all occupants account for prior to our arrival I'll send 1 member to roof to check on roof operations. Not that they need to check since our Trucks do a great job but more to assist if need be and the rest of us operate in the interior. The District Chief can also change our assignment if need be, there have been times when we've stretched lines. That's his call. As far as RIT goes, if companies have a handle on it ( 1 room or such) we'll assume the RIT duties until the arrival of the RIT assigned company then operate however the IC wants. If there's a MAYDAY transmitted, the non working Rescue also responses to the incident along with a tech support Company.
Sandy have you guys thought about chatting with Ed Kelly about the safety issues inherent in not having the right guys for the job? We have similar issues here and even though our Capt has some say the spot can be filled by anyone for any reason (like how close the company is to their home, to make a political statement, or whatever). I do believe in seniority but in these types of special operations companies I think there should be an application/trial period where the prospective member is not awarded the bid for six months but is detailed there and evaluated by the Officers, Senior guys, and themselves. Sometimes the prospective member finds out they don't fit and don't want to be there.

As for staffing I truly believe that any Spec Ops Co should be staffed with 5FF + 1FO. When we consider our tactics for just about any call, 6 personnel is the minimum that we need. Typically we need an entry team of two, a back up team of two, and then a logistics/support/equipment guy, and the Officer runs the operation at the discretion of the Chief. So if we need to wait for two more people to make entry on anything we are going to: 1) let people die or 2) put ourselves at a greater (and preventable) risk. Plus this type of staffing for a Rescue provides 2 on the fire floor, 2 on the floor above, 1 assigned to the roof, and the Officer can get to where they make the most difference. This is what I would like to see as the standard for my Rescue but for now we also deal with 3+1.
PJ, I'm one of the safety committee members and Ed knows how we feel. He agrees to some extend but for whatever reason we can't get this changed. I like your thinking for SOC. They expect us to do everything which is fine with me, all I ask is that you give me the right tools and people to get it done. A reasonable request I think!
Well Ed is a top notch guy and I guess you guys have likely tried everything. Worcester Fire got their Rescue removed from the bid system. You guys might think about talking with Frank Raffa on how they manage that. Keep me posted.
FDNY is as everyone knows manpower intensive. Spent almost 8 years on Res2cue before getting promoted. 1 Officer and 5 FFs is the staffing. Positions are basically the same as a truck with the exception of Outside Vent Man. Rescues are assigned to 1st alarm boxes, working fires, report of pins in their matrix area or confirmed pins. They also do trench, high angle etc. R2 was also a SCUBA Rescue . The Captains use to have alot of say in who they bring into the company. Recently, we went to a 12% pay differential for special ops so, it should be interesting to see how this policy unfolds....
Hey Mark, Glad to see you on here. I don't expect us to be staffed like FDNY but would like to increase it to at least 1& 4.
My thing is if you want us to do the job correctly and safe then provide me with the tools to get the job done. I'm going to do it anyway but don't make it harder on my crew than it has to be. We've been keeping tabs on the increase for the SOC Companies, that's something we're also trying to push. I doubt we'll even ever come close to 12% but anything is better than nothing and hopefully we can get the ball rolling for future increases
I think alot of people were surprised it passed but, the only bad thing is, are you gonna get guys that don't have the same level of commitment but, see $$$$ signs. Only time will tell. Take care of that Pat Nichols guy....
Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. For some it's about the $$$ not the job. As for Pat, we can only do so much (lol)
The Broken Arrow FD (population 90,000) staffs our rescue with any member. However, all members are trained and refreshed on auto extrication, ropes, confined and trench and about a third for collapse.
We staff our rescue with regular members. It's a squad pumper and runs its own still district. We belong to a mutual aid region immediately north of Chicago. In our region we have 18 departments, all of whom are career to one degree or another and all staff their stations 24/7. Staffing at each department ranges from 5 to 28 per tour with about 235 members staffing 35 engines, 18 trucks (some are quints) and 8 squads. Only one of these squads is staffed exclusively-the others are staffed as needed by engine/trucks crews jumping to them. The majority of the departments belong to the same regional dispatch as well. If faced with a vehicle entrapment most departments get an assignement than includes an engine, extrication company (truck or squad) and a chief plus two ambulances. Some get a second engine or squad/truck. If it comes in as a technical rescue (collapse, confined space, etc.) most get a similar response to the vehicle entrapment plus a response of on duty rescue techs from some or all of the 18 regional departments. The regional technical rescue has a heavy rescue that carries additional equiopment and is also dispatched. We get about 20 technicians on scene within the first 20 minutes. All of these techs have over 300 hours of training. A similar approach is used for haz mat and waer rescue. I have been part of this system for over 20 years and with only a few calls annually requing these special skills the system has worked well.
Sandy...I have always said the Rescues should be at least 1 and 4 and if there is an extra body he should not be detailed out. I was at BCH years ago when that young boy had his hand caught in the meat grinder and the boys from R-1 did an outstanding job working with the Emergeny Room people but there was a guy detailed in and no fault of his he knew nothing about the special equipt that was needed. I was actually allowed into the room whil the members of the Rescue operated the "Wizzer Saw" and other equipt. That was just one incident I saw, hope you can get this changed as the two Rescues should roll with at least 1 and 4. I also feel that certain trucks should also be 1 and 4 but that is for another day..good luck...just my 2 cents worth but who listens to me....BILL


Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service