The Probie's Guide to the Engine Company: What Am I Getting Into?

"Hey rookie!" he hears and he moves toward the sound. As his eyes adjust to the light and his newly realized surroundings, he can see his lieutenant and nozzleman looking at him through the spaces in between the studs of the just opened wall. "The fire...


"Hey rookie!" he hears and he moves toward the sound. As his eyes adjust to the light and his newly realized surroundings, he can see his lieutenant and nozzleman looking at him through the spaces in between the studs of the just opened wall. "The fire was over here" says the lieutenant.

"This article series is dedicated to the remembrance of FDNY Lieutenant Howie Carpluk of Engine Company 42, who died while operating at Bronx Box 3-3-2797 on 27 August 2006."

It's a little after midnight, and Engine 7 and Ladder 3 are responding to a reported house fire. As the engine briefly stops at the hydrant, and the truck pulls around, the probie can hear the Ladder 3 Officer transmit the working fire over his handie-talkie. The engine pulls up and our probie runs to the rear, waits a moment while the nozzleman grabs his folds of hoseline and then steps up and grabs his. It's a short distance up onto the yard and to the front door. While the interior team of the truck is forcing the door, the nozzleman and officer are donning their facepieces. "Start flaking that out" his officer tells him, and the probie works furiously to make wide bends and get rid of kinks. No sooner is he done, and then he looks at the front door and sees his crew and the crew of Ladder 3 entering.

Hectically he drops to his knees, and fumbles with his facepiece. He has cinched it down tight on his face and after a short inhale, realizes he hasn't turned his bottle on. Once this is corrected, he pulls up his hood, puts his helmet on, and makes his way inside, crouched down.

He shuffles his way forward, completely unsure of where he is going and what is ahead of him. In a moment, he remembers to follow the line and he drops to his hands and knees and feels around for it. Instantly he feels something hitting him from behind, and then a cursing directed to him to get out of the way. A foot steps on the back of his leg. He finds the line again and follows it further into the house. He moves headfirst into a piece of furniture, a chair, and moves it out of the way. He can hear glass breaking up ahead and the sounds of muffled voices and things being torn apart. The line gets pulled away from him and he is stepped on again by a pair of feet moving quickly past. Frustrated, he stands up and reaches out blindly. He can feel the heat at this level and he starts shuffling forward. With his outstretched arms he feels what might be a door frame. Another figure brushes past him as he enters. Off to the side he can see a dim square of light and make his way towards it, as if it were the end of a tunnel. He trips and falls right onto the floor. As he rights himself, he finds his light is a vented window and he can make out some lights and feels a cool breeze.

"Hey rookie!" he hears and he moves toward the sound. As he gets closer, a quickie light is turned on making the room as bright as daylight. As his eyes adjust to the light and his newly realized surroundings, he can see his lieutenant and nozzleman looking at him through the spaces in between the studs of the just opened wall. "The fire was over here" says the lieutenant.

First Line Generalities

Typically, the first due engine company will advance their line, of correct size and length, to the seat of the fire. This is done in a fast, but deliberate manner, taking a few seconds to watch for kinks, pinch points and other obstructions. The areas the line moves through, from the engine to the fire, are your areas of responsibility. As the line moves forward, members from other companies are making their way in to do a primary search or provide staffing on your line, depending on your department's situation. In this second part of The Probie's Guide to the Engine Company, we'll look at what exactly is going on while your feeding the line and the brothers are moving overtop of you.

The Fire Building

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