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    Default Question about Rescue Squad fireground operations

    As a newbie to the fire service, I have a question about Rescue Squad operations in larger metro fire departments such as FDNY, DC, Cleveland, etc. Besides rescuing downed firefighters and occasionally rescuing civilians, do Rescue Squads engage in any of the basic operations on the fireground (e.g., search, ventilation, fire suppression)?

    I just the read the book "The Last Men Out" by Tom Downey, which chronicles the events of FDNY's Rescue 2. In this book, Rescue 2 is portrayed as the supermen of firefighters, capable of carrying out every duty on the fireground. Is this representative of Rescue Squads in general, or is this unique to FDNY? Thanks!

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    Hi 808...Welcome to the greatest brotherhood, next to the millitary.

    That can vary greatly from city to city. Generally the Rescues will do mostly truck work since they carry hand tools and saws. Although you can also find them on a handline. The IC can use them however he wants.

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    Your question depends on where you are talking about. Some places have what they call a Rescue Squad....but they just throw hydraulic tools and then throw random equipment on it and use it to transport people. Other places, mostly your larger cities and suburbs actually run real Rescue Squads with specialized equipment and the requirement for special training in order to ride it.

    I can't speak from experience about FDNY or Cleveland, but I know a little about how rescue squads in suburban DC work and they can do almost anything. Depending on where they are on the box assignment, they might be assigned to search or if they are placed on the Rapid Intervention Dispatch, will obviously be RIT. I've seen squad crews pull lines off an engine and go up an aerial to help the truck crew vent. The squad driver might help secure utilities, throw ladders, set up lights, then go in if needed.

    And as far as "occasionally rescuing civilians" like you mentioned, alot of the Rescue Squads I know of are the ones pulling out civilians on a regular basis. And you mentioned the Squad crew being able to do almost any job on the fireground, this is also depending on your location. Some places will let you ride their rescue squad as long as you have a fire 1 card. Others require you to be a Fire 2, HAZMAT Tech, Rope Rescue Tech, Con. Space Rescue Tech, etc, etc. So yeah, in most of the larger departments, the Squad crew can and may do almost anything on a fire scene. They carry saws, fans, hooks, some carry high rise packs and even portable monitors for setting up defensive operations. Some larger departments require you to have so many years of experience on an engine and truck before you are eligible to be detailed to the Squad Co. others do not.

    Hopefully this helps, send me an email if you have more questions or want more details on the departments I was mentioning above...... backsteprescue@yahoo.com
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    So Explorer, are you knocking rural rescue squads? Sure sounds like it. I know plenty of certified rescue squad guys that are also firefighters. Does this qualify as your city squad? They bring a squad to standby at a structure but they do nothing but assist in ff rehab if needed. We have plenty of manpower and RIT standing by with the primary and mutual aid depts, those guys when serving in that function only serve as medical, not firefighters.

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    Whoa, relax farmerfire. I was not knocking rural rescue squads in any way. As a matter of fact, my original post made no mention of rural departments at all (which apparently bothers you). My question regarding rescue squad operations was focused on larger urban departments simply because I live in a larger urban area.
    So, if ever I have a question related to water supply, I'll be sure to appease you with a question about drafting too - lest I offend you for excluding rural departments. Again, relax.

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    We are not exactly a big city, not even close, but we run rescue squads to fires. When operating on a fire, the squads operate as a truck company performing truck duties. Of course, since we are volunteer, they may also end up pulling a hose and operating as an engine company depending on what resources are needed.

    Farmerfire: I don't think that RFRD was trying to put down squad work in rural areas, just pointing out that it's more likely that those riding the squad won't have all of the specialized training that those in the city might. Also, I think there is a mis-understanding in terminology. We are talking about an apparatus designed to carry rescue equipment (extrication tools, saws, collapse and trench rescue equipment etc), not designed to carry patients (an ambulance).

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    Ahhh...terminology. A rescue squad can be a fire company, an ambulance, or an entire agency. A rescue can be one thing and a squad another (as in FDNY, where a rescue is a rolling toolbox with a crew and a squad is a pumper with some additional rescue stuff).

    So the answer to the OP is...rescue squads can be anything and can do anything.
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    Don't believe everything you read young man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zarack808 View Post
    Whoa, relax farmerfire. I was not knocking rural rescue squads in any way. As a matter of fact, my original post made no mention of rural departments at all (which apparently bothers you). My question regarding rescue squad operations was focused on larger urban departments simply because I live in a larger urban area.
    So, if ever I have a question related to water supply, I'll be sure to appease you with a question about drafting too - lest I offend you for excluding rural departments. Again, relax.
    Post wasnt directed to you. If I had it would have began as zarach, 808, not explorer. You did not offend me, I was stating a point. May have misunderstood the exact terminology of rescue and squad or rescue squad. Whats drafting? ha ha

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    In DC, the Squads are staffed by five guys. They break off into teams and do search and rescue at every fire. One of the three Squads in the city get dispatched on every box alarm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfire1156 View Post
    So Explorer, are you knocking rural rescue squads? Sure sounds like it. I know plenty of certified rescue squad guys that are also firefighters. Does this qualify as your city squad? They bring a squad to standby at a structure but they do nothing but assist in ff rehab if needed. We have plenty of manpower and RIT standing by with the primary and mutual aid depts, those guys when serving in that function only serve as medical, not firefighters.
    Farmerfire,

    I am in no way knocking rural rescue squads. I do not work for a big city, out first due is actually about 60/40 non hydranted to hydranted so even though most of our 15k people live in the hydranted areas we do have a large rural area. And as Eng34FF said, I think we might have just had a misunderstanding over terminology. The fire departments I have grown up around and have worked at refer to apparatus such as these as Rescue Squads:






    Farmerfire: I don't think that RFRD was trying to put down squad work in rural areas, just pointing out that it's more likely that those riding the squad won't have all of the specialized training that those in the city might. Also, I think there is a mis-understanding in terminology. We are talking about an apparatus designed to carry rescue equipment (extrication tools, saws, collapse and trench rescue equipment etc), not designed to carry patients (an ambulance).
    Thanks for the interpretation!
    Sorry for any confusion!
    Last edited by backsteprescue; 02-15-2010 at 05:31 PM.
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    Yeah, I think a misunderstanding of terminology, sorry as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfire1156 View Post
    Yeah, I think a misunderstanding of terminology, sorry as well.
    No problem brother! We occasionally run with some rural rescue squads (your terminology) and the guys are great.

    Have a good night!
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    Default Rescue Squad ops

    First of all, welcome to the Fire Service. You chose a great profession.
    An old timer once told me that a Rescue guy is just a Truckie whose afraid of heights, but realistically, at least in my area they are usually assigned to search and rescue and/or RIT because of the specialized tools that they carry. Every department is different, but for the most part they are trained in both Truck and Engine work and are capable of doing both if so tasked to do so by the Incident Commander.

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    How do the Chicago squads work? It looks like a 2 piece company because I've seen rescue bodies with snorkels on them marked as 2A or 5A. Then there are the straight rescue body vehicles. Anyone know how they are staffed and respond?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    How do the Chicago squads work? It looks like a 2 piece company because I've seen rescue bodies with snorkels on them marked as 2A or 5A. Then there are the straight rescue body vehicles. Anyone know how they are staffed and respond?

    Yes, they are a two piece company and ALWAYS run together. They are staffed with 6 firefighters. Everyone is in the box (the rescue) except for the one person who drives the snorkel. At non-fire emergencies, and fires where the snorkel is not needed, all the company operates together. The snorkel is used quite frequently as a master stream and has prooved quite useful over the years.

    There are 3 of these squad companies in the city. One in downtown (1 & 1A), one on the west side (2 & 2A), and on the south side (5 & 5A).

    There is also a Squad 7 and Squad 7A. They are based out of O'Hare Airport. The rescue is a bigger rescue than the others, and 7A is not a snorkel. It is a light duty rescue with a pump. They have this/ use it for parking garage fires at O'Hare. As with the others, they always run together. Squad 7 does a lot of mutual aid to the suburbs in that area as well.

    Here's a photo of 7A at one of it's mutual aid fires.

    http://ksc711.smugmug.com/Modern-Fir...089_9ELZq-L-LB
    Last edited by ATFDFF; 02-22-2010 at 01:32 AM. Reason: Needed to add a piece of info.

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    Squad 18 is a 2008 Pierce, Walk in Box, seats for 8. Front Winch 20,000# Sides and Rear have Reese Hitch Mounts and can hold a 12,000# Winch. Hurst Extracation System w/ 6 Reels, 2 Trimo Pumps, Complete Set of Tools X 2, Jacks, Air Bags, etc have a Combined lifting Capacity of over 1 million pounds, Electricity from a 30K Harrison Generator, 26 Floodlights, 1,200 ft of Electric cord, 1,400 ft of Rope, 4 Ice/Cold Water Suits, Line Gun, TIC, Multiple Gas Meters, 8 SCBA, 11 Power Saws, 24,14,10 ft. ladders, AED, Extensive EMS Stuff, LOTS of Hand Tools, Etc.......

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    Thats a pretty school bus you all have chief!!!!!


    sorry couldn't let it pass by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    Thats a pretty school bus you all have chief!!!!!


    sorry couldn't let it pass by.
    I'm sure of that.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    Thats a pretty school bus you all have chief!!!!!


    sorry couldn't let it pass by.
    Great.

    Now you've done it....gone and ticked the old man off!!
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    Dont be hating on the pretty yellow trucks (see avatar)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATFDFF View Post
    Yes, they are a two piece company and ALWAYS run together. They are staffed with 6 firefighters. Everyone is in the box (the rescue) except for the one person who drives the snorkel. At non-fire emergencies, and fires where the snorkel is not needed, all the company operates together. The snorkel is used quite frequently as a master stream and has prooved quite useful over the years.

    There are 3 of these squad companies in the city. One in downtown (1 & 1A), one on the west side (2 & 2A), and on the south side (5 & 5A).

    There is also a Squad 7 and Squad 7A. They are based out of O'Hare Airport. The rescue is a bigger rescue than the others, and 7A is not a snorkel. It is a light duty rescue with a pump. They have this/ use it for parking garage fires at O'Hare. As with the others, they always run together. Squad 7 does a lot of mutual aid to the suburbs in that area as well.

    Here's a photo of 7A at one of it's mutual aid fires.

    http://ksc711.smugmug.com/Modern-Fir...089_9ELZq-L-LB
    Interesting, do you know about how the snorkels came to be? It seems to be something unique to chicago, I'm interested how/when they came up with the idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Interesting, do you know about how the snorkels came to be? It seems to be something unique to chicago, I'm interested how/when they came up with the idea.
    I do believe I am correct when I say Chicago originated the Snorkel concept for the fire service. They've had them for a very, very long time. The snorkels became somewhat "popular" in the 70's and 80's, but began to die out due to their lack of versatility for rescues (no ladders, so have to bring the bucket all the way down to the ground).

    The greatest advantage to the snorkel is the fact you can go around things so easily with it. If there are wires in the way, that would not allow a normal tower ladder to operate, the snorkel can just go up and over them. Also, they can be used in much tighter areas as opposed to the tower ladder. Chicago will commonly have the snorkel back down an alley, if they need a master stream in the rear. The tower ladders simply can't get up and operating in such a tight area.

    Sure they didn't work for many...but Chicago still swears by them and is in the process of spec'ing three more to replace the current ones.

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    Yes, Chicago Fire Dept. came up with the concept of the snorkel truck.

    From the CFD History page....

    "In 1957, following Robert Quinn's appointment to Fire Commissioner, radio units were added to all fire apparatus. A year later, the snorkel was brought into service. Resembling a piece of construction equipment known as a cherry picker, the snorkel unit featured a truck body with a two-part arm on top. At the end of the arm was a bucket from which firemen could enter the upper levels of burning structures or direct water downwards or into upper windows. The snorkel units were eventually paired with rescue trucks, creating the snorkel squad unit, which still exists today. Other developments in the late 1950s included the purchase of trucks with booster tanks holding 500 gallons, and deluge units dubbed "Big Mo" and "Big John," which took several hose inputs and directed them into one large output."
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