I am wondering if there is anyone out there that uses multiple staging areas on large scale incidents such as a "Primary Staging Area" and a "Secondary Staging Area"? If so which is closer to the fire scene. I believe that the original staging area set up by operations which would be the one closest to the scene should be "Primary Staging Area" and once the incident gets going and a second area is set up that would become "Secondary Staging". In my theory all incoming units would report to "Secondary Staging" and be moved into "Primary Staging" as they are needed.
Does anyone use a system like this or have any insight they can offer.
This depends on the amount of room needed for staging versue the amount available.
We call a second staging situation "moving up" or "cover assignment"; like when units cover for deployed assets. We can keep moving them into operations as the situation develops.
The closest units are pulled in while further out units are moved up to cover deployed units original responsibility. This keeps units moving into the theater without leaving gaps on the fringes.
We also do that, backfill stations that have responded to the scene to keep the entire county covered. What I am looking for is staging set ups for crews and equipment onscene at large scale fires such as commercial fires or apartment complexes.
Part of the challenge is to not put so much into a staging area so it becomes congested. You have to keep things moving or limit reserves.
You can use secondary staging locations and move up as needed into the primary if you wish to call it that, but Moving up or back-filling accomplishes the same thing... depending on the size of the scene or event.
But you always want to keep your primary staging on top and only move units to deployment from there. But again, it will depend on the size and scope of your event.
If you are talking about a Katrina Size event, staging was everywhere in the first couple of days, and backed-up and adjusted accordingly.
If you're taling about a large wildfire that covers thousands of acres, you might need to have Sector Staging Areas so units can be moved to cover new ground.
If you are talking about a large structure fire... you just need one staging area. Backfill or move units to fill gaps as I mentioned will still serve a mini-stage areas as things evolve.
Everything is relative... you just have to do what works for you.
Our SOPS's call for:
Level 1 staging for apparatus that are onscene (or nearly) but uncommitted. This is routinely done at larger occupancies where committing to a specific position would hamper laddering or stretching the line. This also has the supply engine preparing to reverse lay but not making the lay. We have numerous hotels, nursing homes and industrial buildings where this is the normal initial assignment as they front four street or cover a very large area. Being limited to what we have in-house this best ensures apparatus placement is based on the specific need of the incident.
Level 2 staging is where we designate a separate staging area with an assigned staging officer. This is generally on a larger nearby street or parking lot that allows free movement without passing through the actual fireground. The use of Level 2 is specifically for off site staging and not station backfill. This rarely is used, in fact I can only remember it being used in large scale exercises.
Station Coverage is also fairly routine assigning fire and EMS units to cover all other calls in our area of responsibility.
just like everyone else said level 1 staging is ususally at the incident scene and it is usually made up of the initial responding companies. In my area when we got to a box alarm there is a staging area for the responding companies set up usually around 1 to 2 blocks away. This is to keep companies from just showing up and overloading the IC, ie if when we need you we'll call you. The staging officer gives the IC updates on how many companies are in staging 2 engines 1 ladder 1 tower etc, and alot of times the equipment is just left there and we're just looking for manpower. The only exceptions to this is R.I.T. units and ambulances if the ambulances are needed. 1 other thing to note is if say this incident requires a large amount of suppression vehicles and ambulances make 2 seperate staging area so the ambulances don't get boxed in.
On 9-11 I worked the staging area at the Westchester County Fire Training Center.....this was during the initial chaos - possibly before even the 2nd Tower fell.......the initial dispatches were for departments north of I287 to respond to the WCFTC, those south 'into NYC'.....
Once operations were further underway, staging was set at the Yonkers Raceway for non-NYC departments, then once they were deployed into NYC I believe there may have been areas set up near Ground Zero - but not sure as I didn't work that part.
Our downtown area has many highrises. For a highrise fire we'll have the primary staging for crews, firefighting equipment, EMS equipment, etc in the lobby or on the sidewalk out front as long as they're not under the fire area (glass breaks and falls). Some lobbies in our older residential buildings are very small so there's only room for the command post. There'll also be a second staging area 2-3 floors below the fire floor. That area will have 2 or 3 relief companies, SCBA bottles, EMS crew for injuries, any equipment that will be needed on the fire floor, Battalion Chief in charge.
For other larger fires, if companies are to stage they just leave the rig at the corner and walk down the block. The crew waits off to the side, the officer reports to the Deputy Chiefs aid, then you wait your turn. It's simple, it works.
We use Level 1 and Level 2 staging.
On a full single alarm, if the first unit arrives on scene and finds nothing showing, they will usually have all other incoming units assume Level 1 staging. This means that the first engine and first truck will go to the actual address. All other units will stage about a block away. This is very important for apartment alarms, where space gets tight if all units come all the way in for food on the stove. The level 1 staging area for apartment and business alarms is the street in front of the complex. For residential, it's typically another street nearby. Usually, the first battalion chief there will go ahead and go to the address as well. If units show up very close together, you might have some slip in before level 1 staging is announced, in which case, the second engine in will stand by at the hydrant.
Level 2 staging is for partial or full alarms after the initial alarm. A staging area is designated for those incoming units, and a staging officer is assigned. The staging area is usually a large parking lot somewhere nearby.
As no two scenes require the exact responses, I would have to say go with what the situation calls for. If you feel you need a second staging area, do it. However, keep in mind that the farther away from the actual scene they are the longer it will take to get things coordinated efficiently. I am from a small town dept. so what we do may vary exponentialy from your SOP/SOG. We tend to have one staging area and rotate out personnel and equipment from there as needed.
Seriously? No two scenes require the exact response? So, you send different numbers of units to each house fire? If you have no standardization in your responses, you're going to show up with way too many or too few personnel on a lot of calls.
You're from a small town department. You may have no idea what a three alarm fire looks like as far as the number of units, personnel, and equipment. If you were to allow all of them to just come directly to the scene without a secondary staging area and staging officer, it would be chaos. By necessity, secondary staging areas have to have some distance from the scene, to keep the personnel in staging from wandering into the scene. But they also have to be close enough to allow quick response if needed. Typically, if you're staging units, you don't need them to be AT the scene, so as long as they're not ten minutes away or something, response time will not be an issue. You don't stage units if you're in a situation where manpower is IMMEDIATELY necessary, or is likely to become so.
And there are not two staging areas as once, which may be some of the confusion. Level one staging is just outside the scene, and used for certain conditions. Level two staging is for working incidents where level one staging would be too close and block scene access and allow people to meander into the scene.