Fireground Staffing...Yes! But What About Command Staffing?

Part 1 - Leading, Tracking and Supporting Your Firefighters This column, in two parts with the second to appear in March, covers one of the most critical aspects of avoiding close calls: appropriate staffing on the first alarm. In this case, however...


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Is Staffing Adequate?

While you may disagree and contend that the above number is too many firefighters, we respectfully disagree with you. Why? Because the above tasks are not optional if our goals are to get water on the fire and search for and rescue victims in a timeline that gives our personnel the best chance to survive. Of course, your initial size-up may determine that you have food on the stove. No problem; send the balance of the alarm assignment home. But if you arrive and do have a working fire, wouldn't it be nice to actually perform the above needed tasks with a chance to succeed? Maybe even more than nice.

Hopefully, you noticed that the incident commander is missing from the above discussion. That's correct, along with related command roles. Next month, we will pass along some important ideas on how we have locally developed an automatic mutual aid program that includes additional command-level officers responding on the first alarm and the clear roles they are expected to perform in supporting our firefighters.

WILLIAM GOLDFEDER, EFO, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 33-year veteran of the fire service. He is a deputy chief with the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Ohio, an ISO Class 2 and CAAS-accredited department. Goldfeder has served on numerous IAFC and NFPA committees and is a past commissioner with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy. Goldfeder and Gordon Graham host the free and noncommercial firefighter safety and survival website www.FirefighterCloseCalls.com. Goldfeder may be contacted at BillyG@FirefighterCloseCalls.com. OTTO HUBER, a 30-year veteran of the fire service, has been the chief of department at Loveland-Symmes since 2003. Previously, he was chief of operations for 18 years. Huber is a member of Ohio Fire Executive Program Class 7 and the board of directors of the Clermont County Fire Chiefs.