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If you played organized sports, you were assigned a position, and, a task with that position. If you didn't do it, you sat and the coach found someone that would. Why are more departments not creating riding assignments? It can be done from the largest to the smallest department. It creates accountibility, reduces duplication of effort, and gets the job done.

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Comment by Dave Gallagher on February 21, 2009 at 5:40pm
It's guys like you I don't worry about..... know what I mean Vern?
Comment by Adam Bean on February 10, 2009 at 3:47pm
Thanks for the insight Dave, I do agree that riding assignments are beneficial. Its just semantics and how you set it up, it takes some time and input to do it correctly. I think though even done correctly that there needs to be a little leeway for a firefighter thats thinking on his feet. I was recently talking with a Firefighter from a good sized city near where I live and he was telling me thier SOP for the truck company is for the FF to carry a Flat Head axe and for the Officer to carry a Haligan. So that being the SOP he says thats often all that they carry. To me thats a policy that obviosuly needs to be revised and worked on. I'm sure you know as well as I whatever you write in the policy is what the guys are going to carry (bare minimum) so you need to definatly put some time into the writing of your policy, because they are damn near impossible to change after their written. Again thanks for the insite OG.

Comment by Dave Gallagher on February 10, 2009 at 3:30pm
Walter, you're making me well up from the 3/4 boots, and red ball gloves... not to mention riding the back step... Thanks for the comments. I'm glad to see another one who doesn't buy into "Cause we've always done it that way". I know that many, too many, NIOSH LODD reports site 'freelancing' in direct or indirect causes. I do believe this is one way to help eliminate that as a factor. I think Adam is referring to some tool selection issues, and I do believe he agrees with the idea of taking the tools that the structure is telling you to take. just for me, this is like a seatbelt issue... I've never heard a compelling argument against it...
Be safe
Comment by Dave Gallagher on February 10, 2009 at 2:43pm
well, you agree with me.... the whole concept is to make assignment based upon exactly what you are saying regarding structure, tools, tasks. In my presentation "Big Truck; small crew" a riding tag is shown with different assignments...residential with tasks and tools, and commercial with tasks and tools. I want to impress upon the crew that a residential is a residential, and a commercial is a commercial and the mind needs to switch to the 'big' mode. The other things the tags/assignment cards do is to avoid duplication of effort in subsequent arriving FFs in the short-staffed setting. FFs walking in to a commercial with a12' ceiling are pretty undergunned with a pick-head axe and a 6' hook....
Comment by Adam Bean on February 4, 2009 at 4:45pm
I am truly torn with the whole riding assignments mantra. I agree in an ideal world, where we are all properly staffed and arriving with enough guys to get every job accomplished in a timley manner, that riding assignments are a no brainer. However coming from a small city department I'm taking different tools/doing different job functions on every fire that I go to.

Let me explain... we run 3 man companies for everything unless the entire shift comes to work (which rarely happens) and send 3 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 RIT Ladder, 1 Medcu (ambulance) and the Deputy on a reported building fire. Normal operation is that the first engine initiates fire attack, primary water supply is tasked to the second due engine and secondary water supply to the third. Back up lines then ensue, when the firefighters on those respective apparatus get done being the hydrant man. As far as truck work is concerned the first due truck tries to make a set and unless there is a report of people trapped the chauffer stays with the rig, the officer and backstep man normally are responsible for forcible entry for the engine and a primary search. The second due ladder is supposed to get a set in the rear of the building (if possible) and are charged with ventilation, which mostly occurs off of the first due ladder's truck. The whole RIT thing is still a work in progress with us, we've done some of the standard training (Denver Drill, Packaging the down FF etc..) and have fairly good RIT equipment, however the RIT's role on the fireground is still dependent on the aggressiveness of the Officer on the truck that day and how much the Deputy will allow them to do.

So I may have strayed a little from the point of this rant, but to summise no matter what seat I'm sitting in my job function changes depending on the building type, extent of fire and when my company is due on the box. From an Engine perspective its fairly straight forward, Alarm Soundings the Pipeman is carrying a can and maybe a handtool, Building Fires thier on the pipe or hydrant and maybe the boss is carrying a handtool, or maybe not. But for the truck its not so straight forward, if your first due your carrying the Irons (hopefully) or one of the officers I work for often carries the flat head and I take the Haligan and a 6' Hook. If your second due the game plan changes and your on one of the saws depending on the roof type, or throwing hand ladders to vent some windows. Then if we're first due without the engine I'm taking the can and the irons, if its a commercial job or OMD the Rabbit Tool and maybe upgrading to the sledge and Haligan.

So in brief, I am truly torn, I think the riding assignments would be great to create some consistency on the companies but to make them locked in stone doesnt make sense for us to some degree, due to the short staffing and array of possibilities that you'll find when you arrive on the scene. But who knows maybe I'm off base and need some guidance. Any thoughts OG?

Comment by Rob Cannon on January 16, 2009 at 10:13pm
I prefer a mixture of both. I like sitting the seat behind the officer knowing I am on pipe, but I also would like the officer to tell me... "hey rob you're pipe, but I also want you to grab me a halligan". I have one excellant officer that knows I will grab him his halligan and I will grab a flat head as well. I

believe communication is key player to effective 3 man engine company operations (but not limited to). Since I am my officers partner (3 man company) predicting each others next move and knowing that he/she prefers a certain tool and of course not being a afraid to communicate a certain smoke condition or building condition, is the first step to an effective "first line in" outcome.

One of my favorite lines that was taught to me in the very beginning of my service career was... "what you/we do in the first five minutes of an incident dictates the next five hours"

It just all depends on who is my officer is... any insight?

Comment by Dave Gallagher on January 16, 2009 at 8:17pm
Great points Rob, and you're right. It was up to whoever was in the seat to holler back and give the game plan on the fly... but even then, you had the idea on the engine who was on the pipe, hydrant, etc; and on the ladder, the driver's side was outside work, the officer's was inside.
And I agree with you again... let's keep it rolling....
Be Safe
Comment by Rob Cannon on January 16, 2009 at 7:04pm
I thinkt he challenge is the older officers accepting that his guys in the back are going to what thier assigned seat requires. I'm sure you know, but before this became widely used you yourself was use to telling your guys what to do.

I'd be interested in keeping this topic rolling!

Stay Safe

Comment by Dave Gallagher on January 16, 2009 at 2:55pm
I've heard that and wonder if you could shed some light on the 'don't want to be told what to do" part. I think the amzing part of that is that if you have riding assignements, you WON'T be told what to do. You'll already have your assignment and all you have to do is accomplish it.
However, someone has to lead, someone has to do. It's no different from an infantry squad or a team effort. I think you'll find that the seat assignment concept will greatly appeal to you. I like the assignments you listed; just the names change ...
Comment by Rob Cannon on January 16, 2009 at 2:44pm
I believe that others my age don't want to be told what to do. I am guilty of that myself. Here's why I think seat assignments don't work.It's the seasoned firefighters/officers who are used to telling the crew/partner what to do. Change is hard for many and this is still a new concept.

Where I am moving to they have seat assignments and I am excited....

Here is some of the assignments
Rescue Tool(s)

Policy Page


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