1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    I'm talking about who is in charge of the volunteer company when they respond to incidents. And it actually isn't really a power struggle situation, but power avoidance seems to be more of the issue.
    If you're a combination department, then you're all in the same fire department. Whoever is in charge of the incident is in charge of everybody. If the volunteer companies have company officers, then it would make sense for the immediate span of control to fall to one of those volunteer officers.

    If you have officers who don't want to function as officers, you've got another issue entirely.

    Assuming enough personnel and seats on the apparatus (we still have a commercial pumper that seats two or three, depending on how cozy you want to get), then an engine or truck company should be responding as a cohesive unit and should remain so throughout the incident. The company officer is under the control of, and gets his/her orders from the next step up the chain, and he then directs those under his command to complete the assignment.

    Even if you're assembling functional companies from folks who respond directly to the scene, they should be that same cohesive unit. Anybody else is just freelancing.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    This happens very occasionally in our department, probably at most 4-5 calls a year, and only on BS calls. (ie, auto alarm with back up call reporting burnt toast). In the event of no officer, the driver of the first due is in command. Past officers/chiefs can assume command as well. The first fire of the year we had 5 past chiefs on the first in engine! Of course, that doesn't happen very often either but there is usually a past chief on most trucks and a lt/cpt on the first and second due.

    All of our officers are elected for 1 year terms. You have to meet quite a few requirements to be eligible to run for an officer position. (don't have the list in front of me at the moment) The unwritten rule is you serve 2 terms in each position and then move up. So with 2 LTs, 2 Cpts, 3 Chiefs (2 assistants) it takes some time to get to Chief and by then you've had significant command experience. However, if you don't pull your weight, like not showing up to calls, you will be challenged and likely lose your position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FuturePrimitive View Post
    This happens very occasionally in our department, probably at most 4-5 calls a year, and only on BS calls. (ie, auto alarm with back up call reporting burnt toast). In the event of no officer, the driver of the first due is in command. Past officers/chiefs can assume command as well. The first fire of the year we had 5 past chiefs on the first in engine! Of course, that doesn't happen very often either but there is usually a past chief on most trucks and a lt/cpt on the first and second due.
    Just curious as to why you chose the driver to be in command. In my experience, on a working incident, when command is needed most, the driver is busy securing a water supply and setting up the pump. I know I would be hard pressed to do both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    Just curious as to why you chose the driver to be in command. In my experience, on a working incident, when command is needed most, the driver is busy securing a water supply and setting up the pump. I know I would be hard pressed to do both.
    It guarantees a minimum level of experience and training. To drive in our dept you have to be 21, have 2 years in, take FF1, EVOC, Pump Ops and 20 hours of additional driving and pumping to qualify. But yes, you have a point that at a working incidents this would not be ideal. However, I can't remember any working fire (or even big MVA) that didn't have at least one chief on location plus LTs and Cpts. It just doesn't happen at working incidents. It only happens during those middle of the day CO alarms. And even then it's about only 4-5 times a year. Out of 900 calls/year, that's what ~0.5%? I guess we're fortunate that we have enough dedicated officers to run calls.

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    Most senior person takes command 90% of the time. If it's not a bad call our Chief encourages to let the less experienced people have command so they can learn and it's worked well. I let them have command, then if I'm not dealing with a pt. I keep an eye on them and answer any questions they have. We all were newbies at one time

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