Every department in the United States, or even the world for that matter, operates in its own unique fashion. In Prince George's County, Maryland a box alarm is dispatched for any reported structural fire. This assignment is comprised of four engine companies, two truck companies, a third special service (third closest truck or squad company), two Battalion Chiefs and a BLS transport unit. Through departmental Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), each respective unit has a specific responsibility. This ensures all areas of the structure are covered.
The third due engine company on the alarm is responsible to secure a secondary water supply/source (yes, every time, without fail, even with NOTHING evident), position to cover the rear ("Charlie" side), advance a handline, report (size-up) conditions found, check the lowest level (ie; the basement) and position the attack line (normally) above the fire area.
Although each unit has very specific map books of the areas responded to, it is a must that Wagon Drivers (Technicians/Chauffeurs/Driver Operators) are familiar with their immediate and surrounding response area(s). This photograph shows Engine Company No. 33 of the Kentland VFD, Inc. in the rear alley of a reported "vacant house on fire" (this past week) that ended-up being an outside rubbish fire with slight extension. The Driver and Officer In-Charge had intimate knowledge of the area to include hydrants, accessibility into the alley with the rig, etc. When dispatched as the third due engine company on this alarm, they put their knowledge to the test. Executing a rear position that enabled the crew to be within reach of a 150-foot pre-connected attack line.