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I appreciate everyone who takes the time to answer this discussion as well as all the others. I think that FE hit a Home Run with this idea and I am so glad to see the growth. I have some easy questions and look forward to everyones input.

1- What department are you in and what units go on the first alarm to a fire?

2- Does each unit have pre-determined assignments, or is the the responsibility of the IC, or first arriving unit?

3- Is there a specific unit who is responsible for RIT, RIC, FAST or whatever you are calling it?

4- Are you a member of the F.O.O.L.S.? If not, why?

Thanks again,

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Sounds to me like your doing everything you can do. I know it's difficult balancing work, training and everything else that goes with your position.
I enjoy reading your posts on these forums. Keep up the good work!
Hey Brandon,
Thanks for taking the time to post. I sure do not have the intention to turn this into a RIT discussion by any means, but after reading some of these on this site and talking to others, I hope that the Chiefs have something in place to "get us" if we get into trouble. To many time we enter with an aggresive mindset, without a backup plan. It's one thing to approach this in a career department, where there would be multiple units relativley close by, and another thing with volunteer units miles away, if that.

Please be prudent and careful when deciding what tactics should be applied at each structure fire. If there are only 4 firefighters on the scene, is is wise to commit them to the intereior without anyone watching the building and prepared to enter as RIT? Just something to think about Brother!

Go to and you can search for a chapter near you. Be Safe
Hey Bro,
Nampa Fire Department, Nampa, Idaho. Pop served 100k, 5 engines, 1 truck, 4 people on every unit.
1st Eng:attack or exposure (depending on priority)
2nd Eng: Water and back-up line or attack (depending on what 1st Eng did) All engines are 1000 gallon tanks
3rd Eng: RIT
4th Eng: staging 1 block out
Truck: Search (fire and victims) and vent (either horiz or vert)
Battalion Chief: IC
The truck has pre assignments as well. Entry and search (Captain and FF on that side) ladders, ventilation, utilities (driver and FF on that side)
Hope it helps.
Most of us are FOOLS (treasure valley chapter, Idaho)
I am on Gloucester Fire and we are a paid department protecting 28 square miles of land and 22 miles of coastline with 31,000 full time resident; 50,000 in the summer and respond to 4,000 to 5,000 runs a year average. When we aren't slashed with budget cuts, we respond on a first alarm 2 engines 1 with 4 FF 1 with 2 FF 1 ladder with 3 FF 1 Ambulance/Rescue with 2 FF and a Deputy Chief for a total of 12. We sometimes special call a third engine if we have it @ the IC discretion. As far as assignments, they are basically first in is attack pump, 2nd in is the water supply, the ladder is outside vent and ladders, Ambulance is inside search and rescue and the deputy is IC. As far as RIT capability??? we have none and has been a source of contention for years. They are working on a county wide mutual aid running card that will commit a mutual aid company to RIT on a working fire but it hasn't been tested yet.

I was a FOOL but need to check my status
Hi Keith,

Thanks for answering. 4 on each piece, that's great. Very rare in todays fire service. 3'rd engine as RIT, sounds like a good plan. I imagine that they get there pretty close to when the stretch is being made? Sounds like you guys have a good thing going and I hope maybe others here take note. Thats the whole point of this thing, isen't it?

How often are you practicing RIT operations, ropes and knots, rescues from an idlh, ladder rescues and/or bailouts, how about "undressing the structure from the outside", and situational awareness?

Keep up the good work my friend!

Thanks for responding and being a part of this community!
Stay safe as well!
Hey Barry,

Thanks for taking the time. It also sounds like your part of a department that has a system and is working it. The lack of RIT worries me a little, but probably not half as much as you! I hope that you don't need them in the near future. What's the holdup. Not that RIT is an end all/be all but it sure is better than no one outside with a plan!

Anyway, thanks for responding. Contact Ellen Brown on here for your FOOLS status, she can me found under "members and search"

Good luck brother, keep fighting for the RIT concept, I imagine you will win!

Let me know if I can ever help.
I belong to the Evans Center Vol. Fire Co., a small all volunteer department in a third ring suburb of Buffalo NY. My department is on of five departments in our town which is approximately 44 sq.miles in land area with a population of approximately 18,000 persons. Our residential and commercial ''first alarm assignment'' dictates that two departments be dispatched. Thats a full assignment from both departments,which,depending on manpower, could bring 4-5 engines, a couple rescue trucks and each departments ambulance. Recently, our fire chiefs council okayed the 24 hr/day response of two tankers from a neighboring town- thats 8,000 gallons of water coming also. During the daytime hours (0600-1800) seven days a week, the assisgnment is enhanced with an additional engine which is dispatched from what would be the normal third due department. My fire dept.'s run cards also indicate that upon a confirmed fire, a truck and a FAST be dispatched. The FAST would come from a department in another neighboring town. There are only 3-4 departments in our general area that provide FAST services,my department being one of them. We are currently assigned as a FAST on two other departments run cards.(Not everyone believes in the FAST concept!!!). No one in our area really utilizes pre determined duties basically, you never know who/what is gonna be first due. Manpower is at times,so unpredictable,that the third due depts. engine in the daytime might be first due! Lastly, I am not a member of FOOLS..there is a chapter in this area..I just never joined. Maybe I will someday.
I belong and work part time for the Town of Mansfield Fire Department in Storrs, CT. (Just outside of UConn). We are a combination department and occupy three firehouses 24 hours a day with 4 on duty paid personel. We run the EMS for the town out of one station and the other 2 paid personel work by themselves covering the rest of the town from the other 2 firehouses. We respond to all reported structure fires on the initial response with 3 Engine Tanks (1 from each firehouse unless the Ambulance is out). We also receive a mutual aid Engine from one of the 2 career departments that surround us depending which end of the town the fire is in. In addition to the next in Engine, the other career department acts as our RIT team and are only started when there is a confirmed fire (don't ask me why they are not on the initial response). We will also add another mutual aid Engine Tank if the Ambulance is out of / or returning to quarters.

No units on the initial response have a specific assignment until the first unit or an officer arrives on scene and starts initiates the ICS.

As I stated above our RIT is a specific call for service and is only called when there is a confirmed fire. Again I have tried many times being a past volunteer officer myself to get this assignment on the initial response. Myself and many others have fought for this since we respond with very limited manpower. The opposition we get from the old-war-horses is "why start them if 90% of the time we won't need them". We can't seem to get it across that it is a safety issue and it needs to be done.

Finally no I am not a member of the F.O.O.L.S and I don't know of them.
Hi Bruce,

One thing that strikes me funny, as how some people in our line of work don't believe in some things. Are they simply against change in general? Makes you wonder sometimes. IF, we are providing trained firefighters outside of a structure fire to watch out for the guys inside and be on standby, why is that such a bad concept.

There are still people who are afraid to change and won't admit it because they perceive it as weakness.
Push the issue.
It's better to be standing around in the front waiting for something to happen, than not and be standing in line at the funeral home.

I'll be passing through Buffalo in two weeks going back to Syracuse, whre I am from.

Give the FOOLS a try and see what you think. Maybe it just might be a life changer!

KTF (See for what that means)

It seems like you have done and are doing all you can do. Sometimes, maybe always, change it rather dificult for some including our leaders. Sometimes we can only keep trying and maybe, just maybe they will come around. The next time your horses say that 90% of the time we won't need them, why not agree and say then ask them to confirm there point by asking them, "so what your saying is that 10% of the time we will need them". Maybe that will help.

Check out the FOOLS site Brother. I think that you will like what you find.
Stay Safe,
Nice to hear from you,Greg. Back to the RIT or FAST concept....I dont have a reason why some departments dont believe in or utilize them. Back to the department which I belong to...we started providing FAST services to two of our neighbors about seven years ago. We are a small department(only approx.45 on our ''active roster''- we only see about 25 of them on a quasi regular basis). When we originally started FAST services,we wanted to limit it to only the ''experienced '' guys. Well...that only left us about a dozen guys to choose from if we were lucky. We had kinda shot ourselves in the foot before we began.While we still struggle with that,one thing I like that we have incorporated FAST into our training and drills. We train,as a dept., on a regular basis on FAST. We still have our ''go-to'' guys but everyone is exposed to it. We respond on our Rescue-Engine to FAST calls-a 10 man cab, 1500 gpm ,rescue pumper. We dictate that we have to have at least 6 "go-to'' guys aboard,but we'll take newer,less experienced members with us. They haul equipment ,among other things,but they get a little experience on not only FAST practices but fireground operations as well. We dont get many fires especially structure fires, but our guys have seen their fair share of jobs responding as a FAST.'re not right in there fighting it..but you're exposed to some fire conditions and we act as another set of eyes and ears for Safety,Operations and Command. We recon the exterior of the building and recommend anything we might see that needs doing..such as portable ladder placement to windows for ff egress or lighting up a poorly lit area. Hey,if you think you'll have time when passing through and if you are the Thruway, get ahold of me before hand,my department covers a stretch of the T-WAY around Exit 57A. Stop in..I'll give you the 50 cent tour.
Thanks for the words of advice. Here is just a little bit more information about my department. As I stated we are a combination department, however I neglected to mention is that just 2 years ago we were 2 seperate agencies. A forced consilidation by our town fathers came rather hard to most of us. We were very different however worked very well together. The town decided to hire a paid Fire Chief instead of letting the two volunteer Chiefs run the show. Some of our opinions at this point in time reflect the still unsettled nature of the adventure. We are all working towards the same goal now but still have some issues to resolve. The barriers between the career staff and the volunteers continues to be one of the issues that needs addressing. Any recommendations from anyone would help greatly. Found a local F.O.O.L.S. chapter about an huor from where I am, I think I'll look into it.


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