On your last response what was the most important role on the fire scene? It might just be the role of a support person. We all fight to be the person grabbing the hose and rushing to the door, but have you stopped to think that this role isn't as important as the firefighter in the front yard changing bottles and throwing ladders?
Once the first arriving companies have gone to work inside a structure the next arriving have an important set of tasks to accomplish. Saving our own comes to mind when the first tasks are completed. As you approach the scene, the secondary means of egress should be established immediately and communicated to the interior crews. Ladders placed just below window seals provide a great means for escape if things are to go bad.
Once the ladders are thrown, another important job is to establish a rehab area and grabbing some SCBA cylinders to replace empties when the crews come out. An area that is not directly in the path of the fire fight is best location, but close enough to keep communications with everyone. Having cold drinking water and EMS supplies are important as well.
Some of the scenes that I have personally worked the hardest on have been the ones that I was in the role of support person. Unlike being inside you don't need to change air cylinders and can function longer. While this type of work doesn't have the prestige or glory associated with it the tasks may just be more important to the overall operations of the incident. Helping make our own firefighters safe may prove to be the best job on the fire scene.
"We need your support" should be a routine that we all make on every response !
Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat!