Collapse Rescue 101: Logistics

"Operations to command, Rescue 1 advises they need 30 additional 6"x6"'s to finish the shoring. Also, we will need additional water."

"Command is direct, logistics did you copy"?

Photo By Fairfax County FD
Set up and maintenance of the facilities needed for the incident fall under Logistics

Operating on a collapse building incident requires planning and logistical support well above the normal fire call. The Incident Commander must build out a functional logistical section that will be the backbone of the operation. Neglecting logistics will ensure one thing, the incident will fail.

Most fire departments are used to operating within the incident command system. Staging is a term familiar to us that is generally used to describe the area that equipment and personnel are located who are not committed to the incident. When the IC or operations officer needs assistance they call the staging officer and request the help. In a collapsed building response, expanding the staging area into a functional logistical section requires planning, training and constant evaluation.

When planning the logistics for a collapse building incident, doing a community risk analysis will help build out the requirements. If your response district has heavy reinforced concrete buildings, you will need to ensure there is enough of the proper type of equipment to support these operations. (That is, if your department can handle these operations!) Generally, you will not need the vehicles, only the equipment from them. A functional Logistics section is far more than just a location for tools and equipment, in fact if you develop this section fully, keep in mind I am talking about a long-term operation; it can look like this on an organization chart:

As you can see, there are many sub-units with a multitude of responsibilities under each branch.




Photo By Fairfax County FD
Transportation, Tools and Equipment are one of the primary duties of the Logistics Section.