Trics Of The Trade: The Rescue/Pumper and the FDNY Squad Concept - Part 1

In this first part of the squad company, we will talk about the mission as an engine company, a truck company, and as a rescue company for a structure fires.What exactly is a rescue/pumper? The answer to a question like that is dependent upon where you...

Our equipment is inspected twice a day, at the start of each tour. The member assigned the nozzle position inspects all of the nozzles on the apparatus. This assures that they are in proper working order and in their proper places. We use smooth bore, solid stream nozzles (1 1/2-inch nozzle with a 15/16-inch tip for longer reach, superior penetration and reduced nozzle reactions.

On a 2 1/2-inch line we use the smooth bore for all of the same reasons in addition to its capability to perform well even at lower pressures, like standpipe operations. We do use a fog tip nozzle for trash fires and vehicle fires. We also carry a second fog tip in case it is needed when we would be stretching from another apparatus for a fire near electrical equipment or to disperse vapor and ventilate. The hose beds are checked to assure that the hose is still packed properly and the rolled or folded hose is still in working order.

The "chauffeur" is charged with apparatus cleanliness and functionality. The chauffeur will check the apparatus every tour to assure that it is in top response condition and ready to roll. He is responsible for apparatus positioning and making sure there is an available hydrant so he can get water to the nozzle team. And, because positioning on a city street can be difficult, he has to not only make sure he has a hydrant, he also needs to make sure that the other apparatus can attain their positioning too. You have the truck companies coming in and they would like to take position in front of the building, but, unfortunately that's not always possible. Between double parked cars encroaching into the hydrant area, an engine can only pull aside so far. Fortunately, if that happens sometimes we can radio ahead and the truck can come in from the other side of the block.

The "backup" is the position right behind the nozzle, moving in and providing physical as well as moral support. One of the major functions of this position is to make sure the line is flaked out before it is charged and ready to advance. Once the advance starts, the backup man is to try and adsorb as much of the nozzle reaction as possible, applying a forward thrust on the hoseline to counter the reaction of the nozzle. Maintaining a firm grip on the line and moving in conjunction with the nozzle man, yet at the same time knowing when to move in the opposite direction to assist directional change of the stream, requires a good solid firefighter.

The next position on the hoseline is the "door man." This position requires the member to remove the required amount of hose and drop it at a pre-determined spot. The pre-determined spot varies at each fire. This knowledge comes with time, experience and drilling. It is dependent upon the type of dwelling, size of the dwelling, the fire area, etc. Once he drops his lengths of hose, he follows the hoseline forward, removing any kinks, and going up to the door of the occupancy to feed the hoseline slowly into the advancing nozzle team, while keeping a little slack in the line so they can advance easily. He is also there to assist the nozzle team if they need relief or are injured. From this position he can easily move forward and assist an injured member or continue the attack. He can also alert the nozzle team if there is fire wrapping around, extending or cutting off their egress. Leaving a flashlight at the door on the ground could also give the inside team a reference point for the members leaving the fire area.

The last position on the line is the "control man." This is an extremely important position. The position assures that the correct amount of hose is stretched so the nozzle can reach the seat of the fire. This requires a member that is experienced enough and knowledgeable enough to correctly estimate the number of lengths required for the type of stretch being executed. The objective is to minimize the number of lengths of hose stretched to reduce friction loss and avoid kinks. Excessive hose will increase the chance for both while a short stretch will be embarrassing and require a whole additional evolution to resolve the problem.