I am in the need of finding solutions and different viewpoints on a Rescue or Truck company splitting its crew to handle fire ground tasks.
I am a Captain on a rescue company and our staffing varies from 3 to 4 personnel. We, by policy, assume or support truck company operations depending on when we arrive on scene. In the event we have 4 personnel and arrive first or second due we split into a 2 man inside team and a 2 man outside team this is common practice in my area and not really the reason for this blog. However when we ride with 3 personnel for consistency and continuities sake we still split when we are first due with the officer and firefighter operating as a 2 person inside team and the driver still operates on the exterior this has caused some controversy and intense discussion because the driver is alone. While I realize operating alone is not optimum at times its justified to perform task like securing utilities, throwing ladders to secure secondary means of egress, and preparing tools and equipment for ventilation. Take note all of these are task that keep the driver out of the IDLH environment and have a very short operational time frame. By no means am I advocating personnel operating alone in an IDLH environment. When the next due truck or rescue company arrives the driver teams up with their outside team. Is operating this way endangering my personnel or is it effective use of resources ensuring task that address life safety and incident stabilization are conducted in a timely manner?