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Ray started an excellent topic on the duties of the second due engine. What are your expectations of the first due engine? There seems to be a wide variety of opinions and SOPs out there regarding this critical assignment and they vary with staffing, water supply, hosebeds, and etc. So let's hear about both your opinions and your SOPs.

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Since I posted this discussion, I guess I'll ask you guys some questions about first due engine work. Do you take a hydrant or not? How do you dress the hydrant? Are you just relying on the second due engine to supply? Is your engine staffed with 2,3,4, or more? What about the two in/two out thing? Does the crew stand fast at the engine while the Officer sizes it up or does the crew just "go to work"? Ever heard of this 'Transitional Attack' from the outside? What is it? Are pre-connects a good thing or a crutch? What about investigations? Does a truck run with you and stage or do they do the investigation while the engine prepares? So many questions that I hope to hear from you guys on them? I certainly have my opinions on these matters but I would really enjoy hearing what you do. Thanks.
FIrst off our engine is staffed with 3 (Driver,Officer,Firefighter). Our first in engine typically will give pre arrival in structions to the in coming units (announce which hydrant we are laying from, assign duties to incoming units such as RIT etc.) Since we are staffing challened this eliminates radio traffic once you get there since the officer becomes the second firefighter. Our primary response to s single family dwelling is 2 engines 2 special services (truck or squad/rescue) 1 battalion chief. Once a working fire is transmitted you get another Battalion chief, another engine, fire medic unit, EMS supervisor (doubles as safety officer), and air utility unit.

If we are first in we always lay a line then have the second engine hook us up (in line) or pump to us dictated by conditions and structure. We then provide a scene size up and the engine officer assumes a foward or interior command until relived by a command officer or another company officer. While the officer is doing his 360 we are pulling lines and probably cresting the door as he comes around the corner. Our Truck companies immedietly deploy upon there arrival and base what they do on our size up, command direction, or there company officer direction.

Pre connects are good and bad. They are good cause they are easy. They are bad becuase we preconnect fires to death. We pull one if that doesnt get it then we pull another and another and another until we burn it down or put it out. If we would have just pulled a big line or deck gunned it in the first place we wouldn't need all those lines. Its kinda like drinking from a dixie cup when you are thirsty. You have to refill that cup alot to quench your thirst but if you had a jug of water you could just drink until you were no longer thirsty.

I also think preconnects lead to stretching short (not alot of people practice how to fix this) and poor engine positioning i.e. not leaving room for the Truck Company.
Do you take a hydrant or not? The situation will dictate if the 1st due takes a hydrant or not. The way we operate here is that the 1st due, when positioning on the fire ground gives all consideration to the 1st due truck getting the best spot at or near the front of the building. If the engine can do this and a hydrant presents itself they will use it. The 1st due engine getting a hydrant is not a priority as it is the 2nd due engine's responsibility to get a water supply for them. Of course this does preclude the officer of the 1st due engine from getting their own water if fire conditions mandate upon arrival; a fully involved building, exposure problems, delay in the response of the 2nd due engine.
How do you dress the hydrant? The best option for the 1st due engine will be the front bumper mounted 6" soft suction, which all of our engine companies are designed with. This allows the MPO to "nose" into a hydrant as he/she completes his/her positioning of the apparatus, once the truck has the spot they want, and a hydrant is within a reasonable distance of the spot initially chosen to position the engine.
Are you just relying on the second due engine to supply? It is the 2nd due engine's responsibility to supply the 1st due engine in our department. However, many times the situation dictates. I have seen the third due engine, who always approaches the fire scene from an opposite direction of the anticipated route of the first 2 engine co.s, be the company who supplies the 1st due. When this occurs the 2nd engine would simply alter the plan and supply themselves with the water they were getting for the 1st due.
Is your engine staffed with 2,3,4, or more? There is an officer and 3 assigned to each of our engine companies. However, we will operate with an officer and two, never below this.
What about the two in/two out thing? We receive a minimum of 16 personnel and a maximum of 20 on the first alarm of a struck box. So for the 1st due engine it usually works out to 2 or 3 in and 13 to 17 on the way. My city is only 5.3 square miles, so response time is usually good.
Does the crew stand fast at the engine while the Officer sizes it up or does the crew just "go to work"? If there is smoke or fire showing the 1st due engine goes to work.
Ever heard of this 'Transitional Attack' from the outside? What is it? I am sorry I am unfamiliar with this mode of attack.
Are pre-connects a good thing or a crutch? I believe pre-connects have their place and can be time saving. Like anything else we use, they are a tool. Companies must be trained in their benefits and limitations. All engine companies in my department have the same standardized hose bed. The most commonly used pre-connect is the 200' of 1 3/4" with a pistol grip combination low pressure nozzle (75 psi operating pressure). In some areas of the city the front door of a building may be right out on the sidewalk. For a 1st floor fire many times 200' is going to be too much. We train our MPO's to work with the officers in determining the actual amount needed and breaking the line if necessary and running it off a pump panel discharge. You must be sure the pump discharges are equipped with 2 1/2" to 1 1/2" threaded caps. We also carry 200' of pre-connected 2 1/2" and 500' of additional 2 1/2" line with a nozzle to add to the officers arsenal.
What about investigations?
Does a truck run with you and stage or do they do the investigation while the engine prepares?
Ideally we would like the truck to do the initial investigation. The engine company should be staged and ready to run a line if necessary.
So many questions that I hope to hear from you guys on them? Great questions, all. I hope my responses have been helpful. I have a lot more to add if my responses have produced more questions or concerns.
As with all things, it starts with staffing. If I have my full crew with me (5) we get our own hydrant. If I got 4, and it's a short lay, we get the hydrant, at 3 second due gets the hydrant. There are always exceptions. But this works for us. Training and drilling on this before hand makes it all work.
In Wichita (KS), we operate with what is essentially a two-piece engine company staffed with a minimum of five personnel. The company consists of an engine (or quint) staffed with minimum of three personnel and a two person mini-pumper. The original purpose of the mini-pumper was to take the EMS burden off of the engine, unfortunately the department has gotten so dependent on them that they are being run alone to calls which should require the entire company (I'll save the rest for a different topic as I have strong feelings about this). 18 of the 19 engine companies in the city operate this way. Three new stations will be completed later this year and will be staffed with single piece, 4 man engines or quints.

That being said, the vast majority of the time a first due company arrives with five personnel. Most companies opt to attack the fire using tank water (all engines have 600 gallon booster tanks) as the second and third due engines are not far behind. All engines are equipped with four 200 foot preconnected crosslays. Three are 1 3/4" and one is 2 1/2". One 1 3/4" crosslay and the 2 1/2 are equipped with smooth bore nozzles (15/16" and 1 1/8" 1 1/4" stack). The choice of weapon is left up to the officer. We have a tendency to rely to heavily on the preconnected 1 3/4" lines and most companies have forgotten how to estimate the stretch.

If fire is evident on arrival the first due engine goes to work. Department policy dictates that a minimum of one officer and two firefighters stretch and advance each line. With the arrival of a five person company that leaves two members (The MPO and one firefighter) to act as the initial RIC. They act in this capacity for a very limited time. Most of the time the IRIC firefighter will take the glass in front of the advancing line. Once a dedicated RIC is established this firefighter marries back up with his crew. The stretch is made to the front door on PD's the majority of the time. If nothing is showing on arrival, the entire company investigates with the nozzleman taking a can in for the investigation.
Thats interesting do you have good hydrant spacing?
In-city hydrant spacing is good. Rural operations is a different story. Our city is supplies by 2 seperate water systems, a municipal system and a rural water district. City hydrants flow great. Rural water districts are only required to provide flow for domestic use.
Thanks for all of the input and answers. I realize I threw quite a few questions/discussions into this thread and the reason for that was to generate some discussion. While I would like to keep hearing about all of this, how about we try and discuss more about first due water supply. Do we get a hydrant or not? Should we? As for the other topics I asked about perhaps we can generate some new threads about those items just to streamline each of these postings. Really good info out there and I really appreciate each of you taking the time to share with myself and everyone else. Keep it up!
Our company commander and our sog's state that if you are first in lay in. If you deviate from this you have to have a pretty good reason and document it in your report and state over the radio that you are not laying in and asign it to another company.

I think that if are first due then you should lay in for a couple reasons.
1. it keeps the front of the occupancy open. If you let the 2nd due lay to you then you add another peice of apparatus out front competing for a spot against the truck company.

2. It gives you the option to either be placed in line or have the engine pump to you from the hydrant.

3. I think it is proactive. If you lay it out and don't need it then you pick it up. But if you don't lay out and need it then sometimes its to late. If you prepare for the worst then you will never be suprised.

Well thats my theory
You make a good point about adding additional equipment to the front of the building. There are neighborhoods in many communities where it can get congested very quickly, which could delay getting a supply line and will likely delay or prevent the truck from taking its position.

I also personally agree with you that as firefighters we shouldn't be allergic to hose. If you know you have work, then lay it out, if you don't need it, then we'll pick it up.
Good stuff. Do you guys lay in a dry line or do you charge it? How are you dressing the hydrant? LDH, Hydrant Assist Valves, or double 3 "lines? Also what is the average pressure at your hydrants? Thanks for the info.
If we lay in we'll lay in dry and have the second due engine pick up the line. Most of the time it's 5", however on a commercial building we may drop a 5" and two 3" lines from the plug. Water is good here, probably averaging 60-80psi or better.

Like I said before, its fairly rare for the first due engine to lay in. We rely heavily (too heavily IMO) on tank water.

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