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small volunteer department, limited number of personnel.  SOG's state command unit all types of fires, even though there may only be 3 people showing up.  which would you want showing up at your house, an engine in a few minutes or a command unit with an engine possibly waiting for crew several minutes?

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Jim, you raise a valid point , do we really need all 3 chiefs at call, it's a tough call, I have at times instructed the Asst Chiefs to respond to the station to make sure we get off the floor, when we go out of district 1 chief goes[ usually myself] the other 2 respond to the station for coverage, Our staffing for a min crew on a Engine [ Driver, officer, 2 FF's ] , Truck [ Driver , Officer, 2 FF's] , Rescue [ Driver, Officer, 3 FF's ] ETA { Driver, Officer, 2 FF's]. I really don't think there is a right answer to this
Well Mike you are correct, no real right answer here as we all have different variables and challenges. We all, regardless of our status or size must remain fluid and dynamic to alter responses when needed. The fact that you have 3 chiefs is a good thing. Man the things I could do with that kind of manpower to build a proactive solid command team.... I usually teach how to implement the
same level of command team service but the local dept does not have that kind of manpower. You are lucky, and if you can be flexible with response, you will provide greater services to your community as compared another agency with just one chief officer available.

Bill
www.fetcservices.com
Well as of last nigt they added a Dep. Chief for Days , which gives me a little room to reshuffle the deck a bit , Don't ask me why but they did . So now i have to appoint someone to the post.

Bill Greenwood said:
Well Mike you are correct, no real right answer here as we all have different variables and challenges. We all, regardless of our status or size must remain fluid and dynamic to alter responses when needed. The fact that you have 3 chiefs is a good thing. Man the things I could do with that kind of manpower to build a proactive solid command team.... I usually teach how to implement the
same level of command team service but the local dept does not have that kind of manpower. You are lucky, and if you can be flexible with response, you will provide greater services to your community as compared another agency with just one chief officer available.

Bill
www.fetcservices.com
In our volunteer Department we have 3 chief officers, with the fire chief responding always direct while the  2 assistant chiefs may or may not respond on an engine.  Some fires we will have all 3 chiefs on scene but only 2 will be committed while the 3rd is free to be available for another call.  We also handle rural fires, and in these cases, one chief always stays in town to cover a fire call in the city.  For Departments with fairly short travel distances, the chief knows he or she will be barely on the scene when the first engine arrives.  For Departments with long travel distances, the chief may be there a considerable time before an engine arrives.  In these cases the chief could use the time wisely and do a size up.  However, in many cases the chief is under attack by the victims because the victims do not see a response to their situation.  It takes an experienced chief to be able to turn this problem into an advantage and improve the size up information that can lead to a more effective incident strategy.

Ok, since i started this I have to add more clarity. I'm not asking whether or not the IC vehicle rolls, just if it should be first on scene for all fires.  Another point I have to stress is the manning issue.  During the day, there are, maybe, 1-3 people available during day time hours. 

So does the manning issue change any opinions.  It sounds like the some chief officers are available during the day, or man a vehicle.  But what do you do if you can't man the apparatus?  do you wait on scene with IC car and watch a fire get out of control?

So does the manning issue change any opinions.  It sounds like the some chief officers are available during the day, or man a vehicle.  But what do you do if you can't man the apparatus?  do you wait on scene with IC car and watch a fire get out of control?

Ex. We were toned out for a grass fire.   I was the only one to respond.  Upon arrival the fire was approaching a boat next to a pole barn.  I called for mutal aid, and extinguished the fire before it caught the boat on fire.  Again, should I have taken the command vehicle to give direction to no one and no other units?  I'm not talking about a fully staffed dept. or a volly with many people available during the day. 

  Here's another warstory.  Day time structure fire.  2 ff and 3 officers.  2 ffs do their job, while the 3 officers argued who would be command.  did they violate the 2 in 2 out rule?  should 2 of them have done what we're called out to do, that is put out the fire?

As for flexibility in response.  the answer is no, because that's what the SOG's state.

Hank daytime here we run Automatic MA from 7am to 5pm Monday - Friday, this is preset by each chief . Our chief and his 1st asst. are daytime

The 2 in 2 out is covered by MA here, But remember a Guideline can be changed or interpeted that should give you flexibility.

Hank,

 

I am not changing my thoughts on this with your additional clarification. The bottom line is you have a bad SOG for your specific application. Furthermore I believe you are mislead as if it states SOG, then it is only a "guideline" and can be deviated from for flexibility. Now if your department has SOP's (Procedures) then there is no flexibility and the procedure is to be followed as worded. 

 

These type of SOP or SOG's (and how yours is worded) are best in a career department with a set number of responders and specific job descriptions. In the VFD world though, everyone must be more felxible as each and every fire response yields many different levels of manpower.

 

 

My NJ volunteer department has a chief and two assistants; all other members respond to our station.  Our SOG is that the chief and 1st asst chief go directly to the scene (the chief is given 24x7 use of the command vehicle during his term and generally passes it to one of the assistants if he's going to be out of town for a couple days or more; 1st asst drives his POV to the scene.)  So, if the original question was "do you roll a command vehicle from the station to the fire vs. a really useful engine to the fire", its a moot point for us.  All of our operators are qualified as IC's, so we roll the engine regardless of whether chiefs are responding or not.  I agree with Bill and Jack above that flexibility in the VFD aids in effectively managing each unique call as it comes up.

We do utilize a web-based call-in responding tool so either through dispatchers who monitor the system or their own smartphone, the chiefs could alter their response to the station as they see fit.  Lastly, the apparatus rolls at the discretion of the chiefs regardless of crew composition or usual SOG order (engine 1, ladder 1, engine 2, rescue 1).

Hank,

When you put it that way clearly I want the engine showing up first, the primary command decision at every fire is in or out. Basically we can either take our resources in a proactive manner and protect property and search for life and make a difference or we can protect the adjoining properties. Having a command unit show up with nothing to command does not seem to make sense or appear to be in any way connected to any existing command system that I'm aware of.

How the engine is staffed should be with three working firefighters preferably four when possible. The command unit should roll when a chief officer is available and go and assist at the fire as a command unit. But it seems to be odd in my opinion that the command unit would roll first utilizing manpower I could be better used to fight the fire.

thanks to all on this topic. where I was leading to on this topic was, the placement of the command unit in the station and whether or not it should be parked in  front or an engine or not.  Some argue that the sog's state that command rolls first in all fire stiuations; some argue that an apparatus that can start mitigating the fire should be parked in front of the command unit.  I was looking for a sound reasonable decision based on some of the manning situations we face and have an understanding of which would be the priority, command or mitigation.    
Yes, some of us got off the track a little!  Our volunteer department has no command vehicle, nor do any of the 22 departments in our county.  That is a luxury not afforded by any of our budgets.  With that said, the closest thing we have to a command vehicle is a quick attack engine that is the first unit out the doors to all calls.  If it beats the chief responding in his/her own personal vehicle then an initial attack could be started to potentially avoid the examples Hank provided.  We have one or two volunteer departments where the chief's department vehicle is a patrol rig with 125 gallons of water that could be put to use while waiting for an engine to arrive.  Personally I feel a command vehicle is fine for a large department, but it has no business being parked in the front of the station ahead of the working apparatus.

Hank,

 

I went back and read all your posts to include the original thread and your never said you were looking for opinion on apparatus placement within your fire station, (in front or behind the engine) therefore we thought you were talking about the actual response(s) from home verse going to get and man a fire engine.

 

Now that I understand your problem...Can I ask how many calls does your VFD respond to? I know fulltime paid departments that don't have a command unit. What do you call a command unit? Is this a small SUV or a big command motorhome type command unit?

 

If it must be stored at the fire station, I would park it somewhere else,. so when the firefighters arrive before the chief, the engine can roll without delay (moving the command unit is a delay)  Vice versa so the chief doesn't need to move the fire engine to get his command unit out....

 

Have you considered going to an on-call chief system where the chief's take the car home (on a rotation) and are the official "on-call chief" that responds directly to the scene, while the other chief's respond back and get the equipment out? That takes care of the vehicle parking issue. 

 

 

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