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Share the best engine lesson you learned from a fire you went to. It does not have to be from your biggest or toughest job. In fact most of us will probally cite a routine fire where we learned something new or reinforced a lesson.

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I have one I would like to share which applies to both apparatus chauffeurs, and officers alike, but is often overlooked.

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE RESPONDING TO. We have all had nights when we have been run ragged or maybe just have been on auto-pilot; maybe it's a night where the usual crew isn't together, and a different officer is detailed into the front seat. Take the time to make sure you know EXACTLY where we are responding to, and if even if you're 95% sure, what's the harm in breaking out the map book to "check hydrant locations," and make certain.

Many of us have sound alike street names in our first due/second due districts which at 0400 can add to our confusion, not to mention the fact that some communities (my own for instance) have street breaks from which only certain occupancies may ba accessed.

This familiarity with our district played a role in a recent incident where we were responding to a report of a house fire from which our fire alarm was updating us enroute that they were "...receiving calls (second source)...." Although our running card showed us to be second due, we ended up being first due because we drill on our streets and their breaks where appropriate.

I don't post this to ridicule or gloat, but rather to make the point that getting there safely always matters, and a big part of that involves knowing where we are responding to and how we are going to get there.

Assuring the response destination and the route allows us all to respond confidently, and will limit surprises should you be second-due on the running card, but arrive first-due at the incident.

Thanks, Be Safe,

Take enough hose with you! Lay it out properly! Dont be affraid to pull the big gun when needed (2 1/2). I have done the opposite of all three of those and it will never happen again!
Hi Brian If you don't mind my asking do you bow to some sort of pressure you were feeling or did you just mis judge the call?
A little of both, for years we just seemed to be a 1 3/4 attack line dept. we never really trained on the big line, it was automatic. Then a few years ago we got some different leadership and training and fixed that problem. As far as not enough hose, I was just young and gungho didnt pay attention to things like I do now. Like I said, these things happend to me years ago, but we are better trained and better lead these datys.
As a matter of fact you trained us on engine co. ops a couple years ago with Jim McCormack.
I remember. Will you be at FDIC? I will be posting a lesson later that I find very helpfull for new officers. Training with 2 1/2 is critical so the crew and boss will use it when needed. There are probally a few extra foundations out there do to avoiding the big line.
No wont be at FDIC, some of our folks will be though. I like all the training video and articles you have on here, its great stuff.
Thanks for all your hard work.
Thanks Brian I appriciate your kind words.
The lesson I will offer is one of giving an order and seeing it through. I had an outside mattress fire against a building. I called for a line but it never came. The truck company dragged it back to the engine and it was extinguished using a side discharge. Granted the fire was minor , but a large breach had occured. When the officer requests a line it MUST be stretched. It is not up for discussion. Well the line was stretched and used to "washdown" the side of the building and the troops were told in no uncertain terms to never do that again. And they didn't.
You hit a chord with me when you replied in this discussion.

Following severe personnel cuts several years ago, we experienced a reduction in manpower like many other communities. What we failed to recognize was that there was a complete lack of preparation in planning for how we would handle major incidents within the context of our new fiscal realities that dictated our lower shift strength. Closely related to this failure was the subtle paradigm shift that occured within our tactics leading to the 2 1/2 being only stretched and utilized when specifically ordered. It seemed we allowed ourselves to be defeated even before the alarm had come in.

This completely informally formed and misguided mindset allowed an attitude to develop that there was no way we could ever stretch, let alone operate a 2 1/2 line-even when common sense and sound tactics dictated that it should be done. This groupthink is very hard to un-do once it takes hold, and can lead to some very unfortunate outcomes.

We are working hard to address these issues, and change people's minds through education, but it is a slow process. Bad habits are hard to break, and we have identified several that need attention. Another one of which is our habit of not backing up handlines with handlines of a larger calibre. But I digress....

Be Safe,

My FD has become complacent with the use of back up line we recently almost lost a building becuase of the lack of a back up that was needed to handle severe extension to the upper floor.

My Engine Company has now begun bringing our own back up line with us instead of relying on the first due engine.
I have one that involved a lesson on cellulose insulation and a rekindle!

We arrived on a single story ranch style house, approximately 2600 square feet. Heavy smoke and flames from the delta side of the building. The owner told us the fire was in the utility room on that side. We pulled a 150' section of 1 3/4" and knocked the fire down. We spent the next half hour pulling all the ceiling in the utility room, we pulled till we saw clean trusses and we even used the Thermal imager to check for any other issues in the area. We removed the washer and dryer that was in there and all other debris. Shortly thereafter a passer-by came running over to us and said there was "a lot of smoke coming from the roof" I walked out and saw heavy smoke pouring out of the soffets, we were the only ones left at the scene! We began pulling ceiling throughout the structure, we found the fire located in the attic on the other side of the house, it took quite some time to get this one under control due to having to get the assignment back. After the fire we found that the attack had cellulose insulation (it is recycled newspaper) and that an ember had traveled across the attic space and lit it off, now when I find that type of insulation we do not clear anyone till the entire attic is inspected by more than 1 company!

Rekindles are not fun !!
No They are not. Some places just change what they call em - the second fire of the day in that building. lol
I believe it is up to the engine officer to decide when the overhaul is completed. Any Thoughts?


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