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?
I agree. We have a saying in our Fd that we don't want to have any "side walk commanders" The company officer needs to lead his crew into battle not send them into battle. Command can easly be run for the first couple minutes from inside until the arrival of another unit or battalion.....In my/our opinion.
Todd I don't agree with the last portion of your statement. Who is the officer in charge of when he leaves the hoseline? The two firefighter on the line? It seems short staffed departments do this all the time. The hoseline should be supervised by an officer. The officer should not be outside waiting to direct the next three firefighters to arrive.
During their six month probation, the probie is the nozzleperson--the theory is, I believe, that they 1) need to get the experience and 2) they are directly supervised by the Captain throughout their probation and should be with him/her at all times anyway. After they complete probation, they will typically rotate from nozzle to hydrant between the other backseat firefighter. If we are riding three (which is happening more often, unfortunately), they will almost always get the nozzle if first due.
Mr McCormick: I do agree sir, but there are several days that we do not have an officer on duty. Our unit has suggested that an officer be on duty at all times. Staffing is a huge problem with us, at times we have 2 firefighters on duty and other times we have 5 on duty. We have no minimum staffing requirements and do the best with what we have to work with. We have tried to get minimum staffing but have been unsuccessful so far. We have been told not to try to change the department but to adapt. Thanks
It seems like in St Louis we do everything different! :-) But seriously, we have no formal policy either, but the "tradition" of the STLFD is that the probie or "new pr**k" rides the "plug' position, and the more senior man (or woman) rides "lead-off" and take the "tip" in on a fire. However, since we have no formal driver position, it's not unusual to find the probie being the first driver if no one else wants to do it and either the captain doesn't care, or the company runs for an extended period of time with no captain. And of course with our "quint concept", the duties of "plug or tip" firefighter change if the company is booked in as the Truck Co. I have to agree with the majority of the responses on this site though. I think the new probie needs experience on the "tip" in the first year; and to make any firefighter with less than one year the "first driver" ought to be a crime!
Nick - I can only speak for what we do and even house policies vary within my job. Probies are not trained to drive or pump any apparatus. I once met a guy from a busy engine who had about seven years on the job but very little nozzle time because their policy was the senior firefighter got the nob. We don't wish to place our probies in situations that are beyond their seasoning and I believe pumping is one of those things that should come with seniority.
Ray- It's the officer's choice since we have no formal SOP. If the probie is on the first due engine he'll probably be at the plug. If he/she is on a fire attack or back up line then they are generally put on the nozzle with the officer directly behind them guiding them along. Our newbies can't even get behind the wheel of a rig until 3 years on the job and then only after a formal driver's training. What better time for them to get some nozzle time than during the first couple of years? Officer's have to be sure to lay the ground work long before "new" gets the nozzle for the first time and make sure they are practicing good techniques when the alarm come in. It all hinges on training for us. Those that don't have poor performance and sometimes make costly mistakes. One of things I hated about making promotion was giving the nozzle up, but my role in the crew has changed and I get plenty of time on the "nob" during LFT days.
In my company the probie is assigned as the nozzleman. He usually retains this position until the end of his probationary period (12 months). This gives him the opportunity to gain alot of experience working next to the officer. After that the seat assignments (nozzleman, backup, door) rotate amongst the other firefighters.
It's all up to his officer. Because of the way we operate (two-piece engine), he pretty much owns that position since he cannot drive. There may be on occasion some "gentleman's agreement" between the firefighters about their positions on the line. If this is the case then it is decided before the fire, and everyone is clear about what their new job is.
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