The On Scene Report

It has been said for years that a picture is worth a thousand words. If this is true, the on scene report should paint a picture for all units responding to the incident without using a thousand words.It has been said for years that a picture is worth a...


Location and extent of fire should be given in this report. Try to include in this report what floor the fire is located, amount of smoke, and flame showing, and the involvement or anticipated involvement. This could be as simple as "heavy smoke and fire showing from the second floor rear window" or "this is a small kitchen fire on the first floor."

There may be times that the size of the fire will dictate defensive attacks. A structure that is fully involved may require a blitz attack before firefighters can make any attempt at an interior attack.

Broadcast all exposure hazards. This will give the second due engine an idea of actions that will have to be taken upon its arrival.

You may want to include in this report other information that may add to the success of the operation. Examples may be that reporting a water supply has been established, or a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) has been set up.

What Am I Doing?

The next item on this list is What Am I Doing? It is during this phase of the report that the first in company officer will give a brief synopsis of actions being conducted by his crew. This is yet another piece of the picture that is being painted to help responding units get a better understanding of what is taking place on the fire ground before they arrive on location.

One of the most important functions undertaken at any incident is establishing command. This is the foundation upon which all activities will be built on. It is also the starting point for accountability. If you are not focusing on accountability I would urge you to rethink your strategy.

With command in place, other radio reports might be that a hose line is being stretched to the seat of the fire. You have just put more color into the picture for that second due Engine Company. By giving your report they will now work at getting that all important backup hose line deployed.

It may have been reported upon arrival to the first in company that occupants are still in the building in need of assistance. A transmission over the radio stating, ?Engine 1 will be performing search and rescue? brings the incident to a new level. Additional units responding now have to start thinking about performing the roles of that first in Engine Company?s job. Had this report not been transmitted chaos and confusion would be running this fire incident.

Another function that may draw attention is ventilation. Backdraft conditions dictate that ventilation be performed at the highest possible point to prevent an explosion from occurring. If, upon arrival, a Backdraft condition exists, the first in company officer has to inform units (not on location) of this condition. Before an interior attack can be started ventilation will have to be conducted by the next in company. Once again, we find communications playing a key role in the success of the operations. The next due-in company has just received vital information concerning actions they are going to have to perform upon arrival.

The respiratory protection laws OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 requires a rescue team (2-in 2-out) be in place before interior fire attack takes place. The terminology used for this team varies from fire department to fire department. Some refer to it as an F.A.S.T. Team, R.I.T. Team, or R.I.C. Crew. The name given is not important. What is important, however, is the establishment of this team. The first in officer assuming command of the fire should announce who will perform these functions. In making this announcement the team can start the all-important job of assembling tools and performing a size-up of the structure.

What Do I Need?

This is where you report any additional needs that may have to be handled by the next in unit.

It could be that as you turned down the street nothing was showing until your company had committed itself. Now you are in need of a water supply. This should be addressed in the report for the next in engine to bring a water supply conditions may be such that ventilation is going to be needed as soon as possible. Once again this information has to be reported to the truck company informing them of a situation in need of their attention upon arrival. The truck or rescue company responding may find it helpful if a report was given over the air waves that a search & rescue operation has to be conducted or that forcible entry is needed. All this information received by units not on location aids them in gearing-up for a specific task.