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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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Hank , as perscribed by our SOG's Chief's arrive on scene first , seeing they have vehicles, then the first due Engine , not that it always works like it should , depending on where we Chiefs are,  the Engine may get there before us, My take is that regardless someone will get there and do what is needed . In the Volunteer service we somtimes do have crews in station, so responce will be a bit slower . We have min. Staffing for rigs stated in our SOG's . You could argue that a Chief arriving first doe's no good , but they do , between doing their size up and assigning responding rigs it works, if your crew on the engine comes in first they should be able to do the same as if the Chief arrived first. So in my veiw only it could work either way , and i would be happy to see either one be there first.
Sorry but the chief should head for the station until he is sure the engine is staffed. All the size up in the world won't help the homeowner if the chief is on scene but the engine can't respond because it is short a crew member

As a Fire Commissioner , and I have been reading this post over and over , It would make sense that the Chief be on Scene and not responding to the call on the Engine , a Chief's place is to Command , they serve no purpose if tied up doing Firefighting duties , Not knowing the size of your Fire Department or your structure it would seem that your SOG's state's that the Chief would respond directly to the scene, now I may be wrong but ,Would you want the Chief inside fighting a fire and not outside commanding?

In our department the chief usually goes to the scene the rest of us respond to station to get apparatus on the road, I feel this gives the chief time for a good size-up and a 360 look around and radio assignments to the incoming apparatus . Since we are a small dept we need the a**'t chiefs to run the apparatus , would not look good having 3 or 4 chiefs and no trucks even though auto mutual aid is coming .

I should elaborate.  SOG's relate that command unit will respond to all types of fires, ie grass, trash/dumpster, vehicles.  sorry for the lack of detail in the post. 

Does this change your opinions?

 I did talk with several chiefs of vol depts.  All agreed that an appartatus should be first to arrive first and start putting the fire out. Initial officer can be working command until IC can arrive to delegate to other arriving units.

 

Hank that is true the officer on the engine can be the IC, no arguement there , But a Chief riding no good in my veiw. But if it works then OK

Hank Lewandowski said:

I should elaborate.  SOG's relate that command unit will respond to all types of fires, ie grass, trash/dumpster, vehicles.  sorry for the lack of detail in the post. 

Does this change your opinions?

 I did talk with several chiefs of vol depts.  All agreed that an appartatus should be first to arrive first and start putting the fire out. Initial officer can be working command until IC can arrive to delegate to other arriving units.

 

Who is the chief commanding if the apparatus does not get out. You can put a fire out without a chief, try doing it without fire apparatus

Jack Wesson said:

As a Fire Commissioner , and I have been reading this post over and over , It would make sense that the Chief be on Scene and not responding to the call on the Engine , a Chief's place is to Command , they serve no purpose if tied up doing Firefighting duties , Not knowing the size of your Fire Department or your structure it would seem that your SOG's state's that the Chief would respond directly to the scene, now I may be wrong but ,Would you want the Chief inside fighting a fire and not outside commanding?

In reality, your small volunteer department scenario has a direct correllation to how much manpower is available at said given time of the emergency (daytime response is usually less in the VFD world) If the chief is available for the call, and has knowledge that his available manpower is short during the daytime, than it is probably best to respond back to the station to staff his engine and get it on the road. Incident command rigs, fire chief's cars, or the engine is just a vehicle to get you from point a to point b. Command can be run once he steps out of the vehicle if manpower is sufficent or if fire suppression is needed immediately then combat command can be instituted on arrival.

 

Now as far as evening response (and manpower for an engine company is abundent) then responding directly to the scene is probably the better option. As Mike mentions, there are many things an IC can do prior to the arrival of the first fire unit. Solid windshield size up, interview the occupants meeting the vehicle for details of the call, fire size, location, potential life safety (victims) still inside, as well as a solid 360 to match the 911, verbal witness or bystander report(s). He can even upgrade or downgrade the response if needed. Not too mention that running an incident from start to finish is much easier than picking up the pieces from an engine company officer, or nobody in command and the company is operating in a fast attack mode.

 

Does it really matter what rig arrives first? Not really as both units are on the road, and the first arriving unit completes a solid size up, establishes Incident Command and develops an IAP. The thing is a chief's rig is just as important as a fire engine, but only if the fire engine arrives in a timely manner to actually extinguish the fire. Otherwise said fire chief feels helpless when people are screaming that my babies are still in there!

 

Policies that lock you in, to being non-dynamic in the fire service look great on paper... but usually are terrible for the end user.

Jack- not to burst your bubble, but your dept has 4 chiefs , and your dept responds with a Chief on the first rig for all day calls. Plus a day crew of 13 till 3pm  Monday thur Friday, as where we have a 20 FF's that are day FF's plus a 2 Capts. and 1 Lt . around during the day. How do i know this because your dept and mine are MA dept.'s together.Plus i got was able to convince my Board tonight to allow me to appoint a Day Chief , so that i have a Chief for daytime calls.

Jack Wesson said:

As a Fire Commissioner , and I have been reading this post over and over , It would make sense that the Chief be on Scene and not responding to the call on the Engine , a Chief's place is to Command , they serve no purpose if tied up doing Firefighting duties , Not knowing the size of your Fire Department or your structure it would seem that your SOG's state's that the Chief would respond directly to the scene, now I may be wrong but ,Would you want the Chief inside fighting a fire and not outside commanding?

Chief - Not to spar with you , as you know i am new too this , You are correct , ? Why didn't you take this Job ? You live in the District,

Mike France said:
Jack- not to burst your bubble, but your dept has 4 chiefs , and your dept responds with a Chief on the first rig for all day calls. Plus a day crew of 13 till 3pm  Monday thur Friday, as where we have a 20 FF's that are day FF's plus a 2 Capts. and 1 Lt . around during the day. How do i know this because your dept and mine are MA dept.'s together.Plus i got was able to convince my Board tonight to allow me to appoint a Day Chief , so that i have a Chief for daytime calls.

Jack Wesson said:

As a Fire Commissioner , and I have been reading this post over and over , It would make sense that the Chief be on Scene and not responding to the call on the Engine , a Chief's place is to Command , they serve no purpose if tied up doing Firefighting duties , Not knowing the size of your Fire Department or your structure it would seem that your SOG's state's that the Chief would respond directly to the scene, now I may be wrong but ,Would you want the Chief inside fighting a fire and not outside commanding?

Jack , no issue , I know you are new to this Job ,After thinking about what I stated earlier and reading Bill's response , it's a tough call for each department to make .

 

And Jack , I don't think your Chief and I would see eye to eye on issues.

Let me start by saying this is an excellent question that I plan on using for some Officer Training round tables that we conduct.  Suburban and rural departments need more flexibility in some of their decision making capabilities as their is no guarantee that they will meet the departments minimum crew outlines when the whistle goes off. Not every alarm is the same and Chiefs need to use their best judgment as to whats best for the members and the community. Most Volunteer departments have more than one Chief so the next question is do we need 2 or 3 chiefs on the scene with no engine or would the second or third due Chief be better utilized as a line officer or Engine Chauffeur. If the Chief does arrive first for a confirmed fire with a known life hazard and the engine arrives with minimum manpower with little experience and no line officer can he join the crew to accomplish or ultimate goal of saving lives. There are very few absolutes in firefighting but questions like this are great training tools to get the brothers and sisters thinking.

Stay safe       

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