Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

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,

Views: 1656

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I work for Waterford TWP Fire. We protect aprox 75000 res. with 60 Fulltime and aprox 15 Vol.
First Alarm we send 3 ALS Rescues W/3 man Crews. 2 Engines W/1 to 2 man crews. 1 BC and Vol.
The county we are in is in the process of starting a MABAS.
Each unit has some what of a pre-determined assignment that seems to change most of the time.
RIT is set up by command with a rescue or Vol. or M.A.
I am not sure if there is an active F.O.O.L.S chapter around us.
B Nelson

I work for Snohomish County F.D. #7 in Washington State.

Alarm Assignments:

Residential - (1) Battalion Chief, (1) Ladder, (2) Engines, (1) EMS Unit.

Commercial - (2) Battalion Chiefs, (2) Ladders, (3) Engines, (1) EMS Unit

Each unit/company does have predetermined assignments by arrival order, and by individual tool/job assignments to each seat wether you are on an Engine co. or Ladder co. The Ladder co. has tradional truck function assignments and we accomplish this by splitting the compay with an inside team and an outside team. The first due engine is the attacking engine and stretches the initial line to attack the fire, the 2nd due Engine establishes a supply and stretches additional lines or the "back up" line to assist or protect the first.

When it comes to RIT, we have slowed down a little on establishing RIT teams in the initial onset unless it's a commercial response. The view discussed for our department is that if we can quickly "make the building behave" with good agressive truck work, then the chance of a hostile environment diminishes. I'm not saying that "you know what" doesn't happen, we are just prioritizing needs of the fireground and all of this is based off of a good size up by everyone on the scene. It's critical! When we do establish RIT, it's often by the EMS Unit, and yes they are fire based and Firemen first and usually staffed with 3 firefighters. Otherwise it gets handled by adding a company to the response or in the 2nd Alarm arrival.

Am I member of the FOOLS you ask?
I'm a FOOL as much as I am a proud, honored, heritage driven, traditionalist, brother/sister lovin' American Fireman!


Chad Berg
Puget Sound FOOLS
Thanks for the response. It sounds very familiar as our repsonse is somewhat similiar. My schedule won't allow be to be at this years convention, but I will be their in spirit only. Speaking of spirit, please raise one for me brother.
Hi Blake. Thanks for the response. what do you mean by MABAS?
Check out to find a chapter near you.
Thanks again!
Mutual Aid Box Alarm System

- Des Plaines Fire Department. Des Plaines is an inner ring suburb of Chicago, O'Hare airport lies at our southern border. Our "still alarm" assignment is three engines, one truck, two ambulances and a Battalion Chief. We are a fully integrated Fire/EMS department so the ambulances are staffed with Firefighter/Paramedics.

- The still engine is responsible for investigation and fire attack. The second engine is responsible for water supply if the still engine is not on a hydrant. Upon arrival, the still engine gives a size-up and announces their direction of travel. This keys the second engine and truck on how they should approach the scene. The second engine will go around the block and back-in to the still engine if necessary. Our goal is to leave alot of room in front for the truck. They will also let the second engine know if they are on a hydrant. The still engine generally pulls past the building leaving the address for the truck. The truck will position as required and they are responsible for "normal" truck functions (rescue, f.e., venting, etc...). The second engine is responsible to find and supply the sprinkler system if equipped. The third engine will back-up the first line. The still ambulance is responsible for doing a 360 on larger buildings and reporting their findings to command, then they assist the still engine with the lead-out. If the still engine arrives with smoke showing, a second truck is dispatched and they meet-up with the second due ambulance to form the RIT.

- As above, the second truck and second due ambulance are assigned RIT. If the alarm level is elevated to a box alarm, the following companies are added to RIT: 1 engine, 1 truck or squad and a RIT Chief.

- A proud member of the Southside F.O.O.L.S.
Thanks Blake,
Interesting how you seperate the responses between the residential and commercial. We were just talking about that the other day at work, but at the tactics level. On how important it is to take different, additional tools and have another mindset with big box structures.

I can feel your passion about the FOOLS all the way over here.
Thanks Brother!
Hey Brent,
I hope that your doing well.
I understand your dilema. It's not only tough to manage a fire scene when you have a career department with the same people and the same number of companies, but it's really difficult in your area with those numbers being unknown. I would hope that since there is no specific RIT company assigned, that everyone in your department and the m/a departments are at least trained in that RIT and have the appropriate equipment to perform it. I would also suggest training together if your not already doing so to familiarize all departments with your expectation upon arrival.

You and your Chief also have to have strong situational awareness on how you will commit the first companies and how aggresive you allow them to be with others coming from a distance.

I know that your are familiar with these forums. Contact Ellen Brown about starting a chapter. Maybe not having one within a 100 miles is a good thing! Maybe these guys/gals are waiting for someone to start one? You never know.

Let me know what I can do to help.
Stay Safe,
Hi Art,

Sounds like you guys have this all under control. How difficult is it (or not) for each company to understand this concept? Does it usually all work out like this, for the most part?

Stay Safe, going to the convention?

The key players are obviously the officers and equally, the engineers. Apparatus placement is the foundation on which we build the strategic plan and begin tactical deployment. I find that it is very important to treat every call as the real deal and position apparatus as you would for the real deal, this builds predictability into your responses.

Is it easy....not by any means. This is one of those issues that require continuous attention. The members need to know that the IC is committed to practicing as you want to play. Sometimes it is easier to position apparatus so thet you can get back to the firehouse faster........... Maintenance is important, you can't let down because if you start to allow sloppy rig placement, that will be acceptable. As a formen Battalion Chief peer of mine used to say "if you condone it, you own it"

No, I won't be able to make the convention.

Hey Greg it's nice to hear how it's done other places. As for us I am on Cherry Valley Fire we share a border with Rockford, IL about 90 miles west of Chicago. We are a new combo dept so we are still working on staffing. Our inital response is 1 ALS ambo 2 ffs, 1 engine 2 full time ffs and whoever comes in on the poc side, and 2 chiefs. Time of day and day of week really determine the balance of reponse from us. Our chiefs are usually pretty good at recognizing this and pulling a box right away though. Our RIT is est. by a mutual aid co. Although we usually don't get them until we go to a box. As far as our assignments we ahve seat cards and rig assignments on each rig. This helps alot being that most of our responders are pocs so you never know who is sitting where. Not amemeber of FOOLS but very interested if anyone knows of a chapter in our area.

Thanks Stay safe,


Reply to Discussion


Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service