Truck Company Operations: Basic and Effective SOP’S

The Truck Company has one basic function at any working fire and that is to support the Engine Company’s advance and extinguishment of the fire.Also See: Truck Company SOP's Slideshow


The Truck Company has one basic function at any working fire and that is to support the Engine Company’s advance and extinguishment of the fire.Also See: Truck Company SOP's Slideshow

The Truck Company has one basic function at any working fire and that is to support the Engine Company's advance and extinguishment of the fire. These functions are carried out through an assortment of diverse tactics and Standard Operating Procedures. (SOP's) These tactics can vary greatly from department to department or within companies in the same department. These tasks can be reduced to the basic traditional truck company operations consisting of Ventilation, Entry and Search.(VES) Performing these tasks are mandatory at every fire where firefighters will be conducting an interior attack.

Standard Operating Procedures: "Who's doing what??"


Photo By Michael Dugan
Members drilling on roof (Vertical) ventilation of a flat roof. One firefighter immediately gets to the roof and vents the roof to vent the interior stairways and halls. Giving occupants trapped above the fire a better chance of survival.

With the recent Thanksgiving Holiday now behind us, I'm sure many of you sat around watching the second most important Thanksgiving tradition besides the turkey: Football. Now take a moment to imagine the following analogy. The offensive team takes the field, but never huddles up to call a specific play. Can you imagine the chaos that would follow after the ball is snapped? How would any member of the team know what is expected of them? Of course they all know that the objective is to get the ball into the opposing team's end zone, but how will they accomplish this?

The same holds true for a Truck Company at the scene of a fire. Every member knows that they are there to ultimately extinguish the fire, but do they know how they will accomplish this?

The analogy epitomizes why SOP's are necessary for a Truck Company to effectively function at a fire. It allows for better coordination and effectiveness of the truck on the fire ground. If your department SOP's fail to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all members on the truck company, then you should strive to have this issue addressed.

Riding Assignments: "The Game Plan"


Photo By Michael Dugan
Pressurized water can and a six-foot hook. A member of the interior search team brings these tools. The "Can" allows for the fire to be kept in check while the Engine Company advances the line. The "Hook" allows for the ceiling to be opened and windows vented.

Assigned positions and duties allow for a more controlled and coordinated fire attack with the added benefit of better accountability. Firefighters should be performing the task assigned to them and accomplishing them from a specific location.

The SOP's must be based upon the type of buildings your department responds to and the minimum manning on the truck company. To function properly the Truck Company must have defined positions, responsibilities, tools, knowledge and training to accomplish their assigned tasks. These SOP's will vary as the construction and size of the buildings change, but the same basic functions will need to be accomplished at every fire namely VES. The size and construction of the building will dictate whether these functions are carried out using portable ladders, fire escapes, tower ladders, or from the fire floor and floors above.

Ventilation


Photo By Michael Dugan
A properly placed roof ventilation hole cut over the fire and allowing ventilation of the top floor fire area.

Ventilation is a necessity at every fire where firefighters will be entering conducting an interior fight. Proper ventilation requires the firefighter to be properly trained and have a defined plan of action. The firefighter needs to know where to go and how to properly vent the building to help the firefighters and officers inside. This operation must be controlled and coordinated by someone in charge. Different departments have different standards for the control of ventilation, some make the Incident Commander in charge of all ventilation while others have no one controlling or coordinating the ventilation.

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