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Street Smart Fire Officer


Street Smart Fire Officer

Becoming an officer is a daunting task. Becoming a good officer on the fireground is even harder. This group will concentrate on Fireground operations and the decisions that fire officers of all ranks make. I will post scenarios and ask question.

Members: 217
Latest Activity: Sep 21, 2018

Second Edition out now

Second Edition out now

In the future, I will be discussing aspects of the Second Edition of "Incident Management for the Street Smart Fire officer".

Discussion Forum

Who is your Safety Officer 6 Replies

Started by Skip Coleman. Last reply by Shareef Abdu Nur Jun 4, 2011.

Too Many Chiefs Spoil the Fire 5 Replies

Started by Skip Coleman. Last reply by Mike France Mar 27, 2011.

Is it safe to say that the Incident Managemet System (IMS) is used the same way in your department. 13 Replies

Started by Skip Coleman. Last reply by Shareef Abdu Nur Nov 24, 2009.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Skip Coleman on September 26, 2012 at 10:14am


Please let me know how your new system is working.

Comment by John Morrison on September 21, 2012 at 3:07pm

Scott, Regarding accountability.

We have been trying a new system that is called ICx. It is a digital command board which tracks firefighters throughout assignments. It is used with (a free scheduling and rostering program) which updates persons riding positions to the tactical command board of ICx. There is a youtube video on this product and it can be trial downloaded at

This product does not take the place of feedback from personnel in assignments, or does it take the responsibility away from everyone on the fireground to have a heads up approach to accountability and safety.

It's merely a tool for an incident commander to use to assist with accountability.  

Comment by Skip Coleman on April 4, 2010 at 4:10pm
I believe the best accountability system utilizes a radio, good officers and a heads-up Incident commander.
When I was in Toledo, we eliminated all tags and rings and went to a two tier system. At first alarm fires, officers arerequired to tell the Incident Commander of where he will be operating before he goes in. If he changes that location, then he must inform Command.
NFPA 1500 and 1561 have sections on Accountability systems. Both use two words throughout that section. "Location and Function". They say the IC must bew aware of every crews Location and Function. They go on to say that each officer must constantly keep Command aware of his Location and Function. Not only that they are in the building but where they are in the building.
All it takes is discipline and radios. No rings, tags, boards or anything.
At second alarms, Command has someone that writes the Location and Function of all crews on paper or a dry-erase board but the same words apply.
If your system doesn't have the ability to track those little words "Location and Function", then you are not meeting the demands of the system and have to potential of big problems.
Comment by Brandon Krause on March 26, 2010 at 1:50pm
scott, our sops will be overhauled and out in oct, they will feature a 2 level accountability system. The first level will be tags on passports for each apparatus. The second level will be a t card system much like what is used in the wildland scene out west.
Comment by Scott S Bolduc on February 27, 2010 at 10:58am
Good Morning Brother's and sister's I am looking for some imput on different department accountability on emergency scenes.
My department has no accountability system. We are a career department of approx 88 fire fighters. Our current if you want to call it an accountability is a role call list that the Assistent fire chief carries in his car. We have no written policy on accountability. To me this is a safety issue. Any information, suggestions would be apprieciated
Comment by Ben Fleagle on January 19, 2009 at 11:52pm
Hey Bobby,

I can't add much more than what our good Brother Gallagher has already said, but I might add that for me, the step up came because I new I could do better than some of the people applying, and I firmly believe in leadership from the bottom up. In some departments, the only way to achieve what you believe in is to become an officer and begin to live it for the people below you. In such places, the promotion isn't always the easiest life.

Some departments are suffering from extreme shortages of leadership and as nice as it is to just enjoy the jumpseat or driving the red rig, someone has to step up.
Comment by Dave Gallagher on January 16, 2009 at 11:26am
Bobby, different for everyone. And then, there's different motivations. Some do it for ego, money, or seeing a bigger picture. Some have done it just to get a different assignment such as getting off a medic. Those types are the ones I never wanted to follow in any capacity.
Some have done it, and I presume you're asking in a noble way, in order to fill a need for themselves to give back, and perhaps achieve in their lives. Others have realized that they had a particular level of talent and knowledge, and wished to offer to expand that beyond themselves in order to better the crew, the department, and the community.
What many fail to realize is that when you become a front-seater, you are the responsible one for all that ride that particular piece on that call, and, you are responsible for the well-being of the occupants or victims of the call you are responding to. I have heard comments of "Oh, I'LL BE IN CHARGE TONIGHT!" and I tell them "yep, you go to it" for anyone who REALLY knows what that seat entails may be a bit reluctant to take that on. Think about it, one of 'those' jumps up front and rolls up first arriving on a 2 story SFD with Mrs. Smith and the little Smith hanging out the upstairs window. Whatever happens, good, or bad, now rests directly on that person's shoulders. No excuses, no 'do-overs'.
When you wish to be the person that intervenes on that call, that's when it's time to step up and take that test, or put your name in for promotion.
If it's something you think you want to do, go to your academy and take a Fire Officer 1 class before you throw your hat into the ring. It will give you some things to think about.
Oh, and by the way, my experience: I took the test just to be taking it and to get a feel for how it went. I figured I'd probably be better ready for the next one a few years later... well, I passed the written and assessment center... and wound up 3rd... they were promoting 3... It took a case of beer with a long talk with my Dad about what I should do... his sage advice "You'll make a lot of mistakes, but remember, those Firefighters on your watch come first. You are the first in, and last out. You just remember to get them home, and you'll do fine."
Be Safe Bobby
Comment by Bobby Noel on January 11, 2009 at 12:34am
How do you know when it is time to step up and become a officer?

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