What Are You Thinking?

Most departments have a structured order in which apparatus is dispatched and how it should be positioned according to its duties. At times, when companies are on the air, or on the street, when an alarm is dispatched, the order of response is changed...


  • Think before you speak, and think again once more.
  • Use unit, sector, division, or rank titles. There may be more than one Jimmy or Mike on the scene.
  • If it is at all possible, talk to the other person face to face. Using the radio when you can easily walk up to the other person just creates unnecessary traffic.
  • Remember, your siren and air horn are louder than your voice.
  • Screaming, unless it is a mayday, only delays your message because no one can understand you.
  • Provide only what is asked or what needs to be said.
  • Don't state the obvious when it comes to tactics, especially if you have fireground SOPs. A competent engine company should not have to be told to stretch a line and a competent truck company should not have to be told to ladder the building.
  • It is a radio, not a temporary promotion to officer status.
  • Just because you have a radio does not mean you must talk on it.

The fireground is complex. We often don't think of it like that, but it is. There are many things that can happen, some out of our control and some within our control. However, nothing can have such a degree of impact on the fireground then the little things that are in our mind that might distract us.

Next Month: The Probie's Guide to the Engine Company