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Seat and Tool Assignments/Fire Ground Efficiency

I have been looking at ways to increase fire ground efficiency. I want to get some info on the different ways fire companies deploy resources on a structure fire.
The Following questions are based on a first alarm assignment. I want to isolate those initially assigned companies because they have the greatest impact on overall incident outcome. I am looking for honest real world answers not ideal situation answers.
What is the minimum total personnel assigned to a structure fire for a first alarm assignment in your department?
Do your companies have predetermined assignments based on 1st, 2nd, 3rd due arrival or are assignments given by command as units arrive?
Do your personnel have predetermined assignments based on position or seat or does the company officer give assignments upon arrival?
Does your company have a tool assignment that each position or seat is responsible for?
Does your department use tactical check lists?
Does your department have a truck or ladder company with adequate staffing? If so what are the roles and responsibilities? If not who does the truck work? Is truck work still a priority or an after thought?
When is ventilation addressed before, during, or after fire attack or not at all? Is it a priority?
Is there a designated RIT or RIC company in your first alarm assignment?

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Comment by Dave Stacy on March 3, 2009 at 11:48pm
Hey Erron. For a reported structure fire our department follows the Fireground Standard Operating Procedure for Structural Fires established by our county. This calls for the following:
1st Engine:
-Establish our announce need for water supply
-position on side A (leave room for the truck)
-OIC should give full size up
-stretch line to fire
-make obvious rescues and search immediate fire area

2nd Engine:
-insure 1st in engine has adequate water supply
-stretch line of equal size or larger to back up 1st engine if needed/floor above/other place requested
-search immediate area assigned to

3rd Engine
-establish secondary water supply
-OIC should give size up of side C
-stretch a line to backup 1st line/stop vertical fire spread/wherever needed
-search immediate area of assignment

4th Engine
-insure 3rd engine has adequate water supply
-standby for other instructions while looking for obvious rescues

1st Truck
-Position Side A
-Ladders to Side A & B
-ensure primary search of entire structure (1st truck starts with fire floor)
-Forcible entry to support searches and hose line placement, coordinated ventiallions, control of utilities, check for extension, salvage and overhaul on fire floor

2nd Truck

-position side C
-ladders side C & D
-primary search floor above
-same truck tasks at 1st truck but on floor above fire

3rd Truck/Squad
-assume RIC responsibilities
-Report to IC, Complete size-up, assemble tools
-develop possible rescue plans, monitor radio channels

I'm not too sure about your department's status but obviously more the most part we do not have staffing issues. On a typical box alarm, anywhere from around 25 to 50 firefighters are showing up. My company does assign seat positions but not riding positions; the difference being we don't assign who is riding he line or irons, but there are seats dedicated as such. Based on where you sit down on the piece determines what you're doing. On the engine we have 1 man assigned on the nozzle, who will start the stretch of the line assigned by the officer. Another guy grabs the irons and either helps with the stretch or continues with the officer to the front door. Another seat is dedicated just as a lay out man and another as a utility man who will help with the stretch or whatever needs to be done. Our truck has 2 search and rescue positions, 1 takes a hook and can, 1 takes haligan, sledge, hydra-ram. 2 vent guys, 1 takes hook and can, 1 takes set of irons. If we have 8 guys on the truck, the last 2 in back are dedicated to throwing ladders, which the driver also assists with. The officer typically takes his officer's tool and TIC.

Like I said I'm not sure of your available staffing but I definetly agree that if you are able to put together some type of operating procedure, fireground tactics with your department will be a lot smoother
Hope this helps.
Comment by Erron Kinney on March 2, 2009 at 4:35pm
Hey thanks Chris its been puzzling me at all of our post incident analysis the same issues pop up. Some critical task is either forgotten or an after thought and completed 45 minutes to an hour into the event thank goodness no one has been hurt and no significant damage or loss has happened as a result! I think its an issue with too many tasks and not enough people, moth to the flame syndrome, and also poor deployment and use of available resources! I want to try and develop something to help with our fire ground efficiency! I have not had many hits you are only the second one, but I found a blog from a fire captain in my area that covered similar issues hopefully this is why. I will try and contact Mr. Gallagher.

Thanks again,

Erron Kinney
Comment by Brandon Erbe on March 1, 2009 at 10:00pm
My email is I am still looking for that powerpoint, Just can't remember where I saved it right now. If nothing else I will copy the cards and send them to you.
Comment by Erron Kinney on March 1, 2009 at 4:13pm
Hey Brandon thanks a lot for the response the tactical checklist can be a great tool to ensure critical task are completed in a timely manner. They are also good for development of an incident action plan. Get me your email and I can send you a couple different versions that I developed for my department. I am excited about checking out your power point.


Erron Kinney
Comment by Brandon Erbe on February 27, 2009 at 2:29pm
I can help you with a few of these issues and I will post late the power point I used for the seat and rig assignments that we practice in our dept. Staffiing is a different issue for us because we are a combo dept, but we have to get the same job done. Ventilation is a priority and is usually addressed during the fire attack. we do not get a RIT until we go to a 2nd alarm and we do not use a tactical check list which sounds like a good idea. I will get back to you later.

Stay safe,


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