- Keep in mind the needs of other apparatus at the incident; keep a lane of traffic open for additional responding apparatus, EMS units, utility companies, etc.
- Allow enough room for the engine company to get close enough to the building to operate (see Photo 3).
- Check for overhead issues (wires, branches, or any other problems with spotting). Many times the truck officer should step out prior to arrival and identify the best spot for the apparatus to operate from (see Photo 4).
- Make sure the area in question can support the apparatus when the aerial is operating.
- Check the angle! The apparatus must be positioned for safe and efficient operation to perform the tasks assigned and to provide maximum scrub (the total area that can be covered or reached by the aerial device) to the face of the building.
- Consider the need to relocate – if things start to go bad, how rapidly can you break down and get out? It is wise to consider this point prior to committing to aerial operations.
- Access to the roof may require the aerial to pick a spot on an adjoining building for crews to access the roof; be sure of where you are operating before your operator sets the jacks.
- The rear of the apparatus should be angled off of the curb line a minimum of 25 degrees. This will allow ladders and other equipment in the rear compartments to be retrieved in the event an arriving company parks too close to the rear of the truck company. A typical standing order for many Truck Companies is to make sure that no one parks within 25 feet of the rear of the apparatus.
Placement for Tasks
Upon arrival, the arriving truck companies should announce their assignment so that next-arriving companies can either cover other sides of the building, stage uncommitted until ordered, or follow the department’s protocol for the arriving apparatus. In the event that truck companies are arriving uncommitted, it is easier to stage them on respective side streets of the actual incident for a few reasons; it can be difficult to re-position an aerial apparatus after it is in position, and being on a cross street can allow the company to cover the rear and sides of the fire building easier.
When positioning, the point of the apparatus to “spot” on-scene is the turntable. In order for the truck to be efficient and effective on-scene, the turntable must be in a position so that the turntable and the bedded device have the best clear shot at the building. While the overhead wires are a hazard, utility poles on narrow streets can hamper the operation of the aerial; narrow streets and close proximity to these poles can limit the aerial to come out of the bed and into operation. Additionally, remember that where the apparatus is positioned has a direct effect on the scrub area. Certain types of apparatus have larger scrub areas than others, but as a rule of thumb, the larger the working height of the device, the more scrub area the device can cover. Officers must consider access, egress, platform operations for rescue and elevated stream operations when positioning (see Photo 5).
Consider street conditions for positioning; a narrow street may put the apparatus too close to the fire building, limiting the useful scrub area because it will limit the swing and boom operations of the apparatus. Being too far away will result in a limited area that the end of the device can cover. Keep in mind the length of the bedded section of the aerial of the telescopic boom; this is usually the longest part of the device, and as long as the apparatus is spotted in a position that allows the bedded length of the apparatus to move freely into position, the placement is suitable for most operations.
Truck company placement for initial operations is of paramount importance to the success of the incident. Being able to position the apparatus to assist in completing the Company’s initial primary tasks adds coordination and safety to the fire attack, and can benefit both the department and the public that they serve in reducing injuries and losses due to fire. Be sure to set up your apparatus in various locations in your response area so everyone knows the capabilities and limitations that the Truck Company may have upon arrival.
Until next time, stay focused and stay safe.
- See Michael Daley Live! Michael P. Daley will be teaching "It's in the Attic" and "First Due? Then It's Up To YOU! The Role Of The Initial Incident Commander" at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, July 17 - 21.
MICHAEL P. DALEY is a lieutenant and training officer with the Monroe Township, NJ, Fire District No. 3, and is an instructor with the Middlesex County Fire Academy, where he is responsible for rescue training curriculum development. Mike has an extensive background in fire service operations and holds degrees in business management and public safety administration. Mike serves as a rescue officer with the New Jersey Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 and is a managing member for Fire Service Performance Concepts, a consultant group that provides assistance and support to fire departments with their training programs and course development. Mike has been guest on several Firehouse.com Podcasts including: Successful Rescue Operations in Today's Fire Service, Preparing for Tomorrow's RIT Deployment Today and Basement Fire Tactics Roundtable podcasts. You can reach Michael by e-mail at: FSEducator@aol.com.