Speak Up: Fireground Setup Time

Thanks to Firehouse® Magazine and Chief Vincent Dunn for his March 2013 Safety & Survival column “Fireground Setup Time, Measured Scientifically: Research Fills a Gap in Knowledge of Firefighting Tasks.” In the column, Chief Dunn completely quantifies each and every step of an effective fire attack and how long the completion of each task will take, with the times varying on the number of firefighters assigned to each company.

In this day of fire departments being expected to do more with less, we must have all of our facts and figures straight when we ask our governing bodies for more firefighters or we’re expected to justify the firefighters we’re trying to keep. Too often, we present our needs with “This is what our neighboring departments are doing” or “What’s a life worth?” to our governing bodies without these facts and evidence.

I have read about timed task accomplishment from studies in the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department and Jacksonville Fire Department, but Chief Dunn’s column clearly highlights the benefits of a four-member company versus a three-member company, which will strengthen our manpower budget request.

Patrick T. Grace


Escambia County Fire Rescue

Pensacola, FL


I enjoyed Chief Dunn’s column in the March issue of Firehouse® regarding setup time. Without knowing there was not a specific standard for this, we have been practicing similar procedures for many years.

Our department will do some walk-through drills to make sure everyone is on the same page and to work out any bugs that might have developed since the last time the procedure had been used. After we have done the walk-through, we will do it as close to real time as possible. This is a very good way to put different people in different roles and see how much they know and what they can do while learning and building confidence in all the members. Occasionally, we will switch roles and put all of the officers on the line and have members assign the task to be performed for the drill. This is usually a good morale booster for the department.

Our department is a 45-member, all-volunteer/paid-per-call department that responds to about 70-80 calls per year. We serve about 3,800 people in town and another 2,000 in the rural area. I appreciate the articles that are published in Firehouse® each month. Much can be learned from contributing editors like Chief Dunn who experience many more calls than those of us in small rural departments. I can almost always relate something to fit our needs and help us all work safely. Thank you again.

John Hauth

Assistant Chief

Lancaster Vol. Fire Dept.

Lancaster WI