Engine Company Operations

During my 32 years of doing battle with the ?Red Devil,? I have acquired a certain degree of respect for the enemy we fight. Many of the techniques and procedures that I have learn have been past down to me from one firefighter to another.


Remember 90 % of our fires are extinguished within 15 minutes of our arrival and are usually extinguished with the use of one 1 ? " hand line with a second hand line stretched as a backup line for additional protection.

I have presented a basic engine operation that we can all relate to. In order to become proficient and confident in our chosen profession we must train and be trained over and over. I had the good fortune or the misfortune to have worked during the WAR YEARS. The training experiences I acquired are priceless. It has made my transition from a nozzle man to chief that much easier. But now we live in a different time, a time when there is little fire duty but plenty of EMS duty. We have to allocate our time effectively.

Do a survey of your district; see where you are doing most of your fire duty and train in that area. If most of your fires are occurring in Private Dwelling, then set up your apparatus and your firefighting procedures to fit that type of fire. If your department doesn't have a set of procedures then write one or contact a department that has one and then rewrite it to fit your area.

Your area might not have the good fortune of having fire hydrants and must rely solely on tanker water or drafting. If this is the case then procedures should be in place to deal with it. Once you have a written procedure, train on it until it becomes second nature. Get the word out, solicit ideas from your membership; you might be surprised to find out how many experts you have been working with.

Think about contacting your local politicians or community board leaders. Ask them for help in acquiring a specific piece of equipment that could benefit your department. Remember it is so easy to sit at that kitchen table and procrastinate what's wrong with the department, it takes a certain type of individual who will get off his butt and make a change, an individual who will go that extra mile and make a difference.

Remember it is our "Mission Statement" as training officers, to train and prepare our firefighters to the best of their ability "Nothing Less Will Be Accepted."

We must all live with the motto:
"WE ALL GO HOME AFTER OUR TOUR".


John Keenan is a 33 year veteran of the FDNY and currently holds the position of Battalion Chief 15 in the Bronx. Chief Keenan is a frequent lecture and instructor on fire service topics with a specific interest in Engine Company Operations. You may contact Chief Keenan at FDPD@AOL.com