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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber rmoore's Avatar
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    Dec 1998
    Plano, Texas

    Default Which Goes First: Engine or Rescue? Debate

    An East-coast fire department has brought up a good question; Do you roll the structural engine or the rescue truck first-out for a crash call? Here's some background from those involved. It is a decision that each department needs to make protocol. After reading the situation over, weigh in on how you address this in your department or within your response area if this 'challenge' exists or did exist for you too.

    Information from the department involved....

    1) Debate is response priorities for a confirmed entrapment.

    2) Some say we should respond an engine company first because it is "mandatory" in our department that a hoseline is stretched at an accident with entrapment.

    3) Others say that when entrapment is reported or confirmed, the priority should be swift extrication first and foremost and that our department's dedicated rescue company should roll first-out. (only apparatus in Department equipped with a full compliment of rescue tools)

    4) There does not seem to be any official standard or document that clearly defines this situation.

    5) There does not seem to be a set standard that an engine be on scene with a line stretched prior to extrication taking place, or that portable extinguishers will suffice?

    Your comments........!
    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

  2. #2
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Jun 2001
    Bridgton,Me USA


    No problem for US. One stop shopping, extrication gear and airbags are on primary Engine. Second set on Ladder. NO Rescue and NO ambulance(Hospital based service).

  3. #3
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Oct 1999
    Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas


    Same here. Our gear is on the first out apparatus. A bigger department in our county only has a set amount of rescue trucks but more stations. So engine and rescue get dispatched at the same time and the engine arrives first most of the time. If rescue is not needed, it gets canceled.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member
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    Feb 2005
    Marble Rock, Iowa


    We do not own any hydraulic extrication tools, but all of our hand tools and saws along with a trauma bag (we are an EMT-B non-transport) are on our first out Engine so it goes first. Our Rescue has all of the other medical equipment so it responds as well.

    We are looking at getting hydraulic tools and when/if we do they will go on our Engine, since manpower is a concern for us, so we can have tools and water there on the same rig.

    Our Mutual Aid dept. for Jaws has a light duty rescue that just has tools on it, no EMS stuff at all. They roll that first to all MVA's no matter what. Everyone does it their own way I guess.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    May 2000
    Wheaton IL


    We carry some extrication gear on our engines, but what the rescue (or Ladder in our case) doesn't have is water and a pump. I've been on several vehicle accidents involving fire, I would much rather have an engine on scene and wait for the rescue then have a vehicle fire and wait for water to extinguish it. If the minute or two I have to wait for a rescue will mean the difference between life and death the pt is probably not going to make it, but they have a chance. However if the pt is trapped and the vehicle is burning I know the pt isn't going to make it.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Southern NJ


    For us it depends on where in our district it is. Out of our local, or on the Interstates and the Heavy Rescue goes since at least one of the other stations brings the Engine. In our local it is officer's discretion based on the report.

    Note: All our engines contain rescue tools/cribbing, just not as much as the Rescue. Rescue only has 2.5 gallons of water.
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  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Western, NC


    We roll our rescue engine that has all the tools we need for your run of the mill mvas. Plus We have a County Rescue Squad that runs all mvas and we usual just pull a line and direct traffic anyway.
    Last edited by BULL321; 03-01-2012 at 11:57 AM.
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  8. #8
    Forum Member
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    Nov 2002


    On my rural POC dept. the rescue goes first. We can usually roll both the engine and rescue, but there are times when that may not happen. (We do have pretty good mutual aid if needed) With that in mind, when we spec'd our rescue 3 years ago, we put in a Tri-Max 30 gal. CAFS extinguisher which has a 100' reel with 1" hose. This gives us the ability to a least knockdown a car or small truck fire, or to put a blanket on leaking fuel. If we don't have the manpower for both trucks, 99.9% of the time we should be able to handle the situation wtih the rescue. Our engine is a Rescue engine, so it can function pretty well by itself if the Rescue were to be out of service for any reason.
    On my paid dept., we roll an engine and rescue automatically on any vehicle accident, unless PD or another FD unit advises that a rescue is not needed.

  9. #9
    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Northwest PA


    Unless smoke or fire is reported, we roll the rescue first. If there is smoke or fire, the engine goes first. We can normally muster the people necessary to cover both roles. If the rescue goes first, they are doing size up, initial stabilization, and patient access until more manpower arrives on the engine. The engine crew will normally perform the extrication.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
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    Nov 2010


    We respond a rescue first. Our district is mixed commercial and residential, some of which isn't accessible for a type 1 engine. To mitigate this we have an F550 equipped with 300 gallons of water with CAFS, SCBAs, extrication gear, cribbing and portable extinguishers. This apparatus reponds as either "brush" or "rescue" depending on the call. It is also first out, along with our 2000 gal tender, for structure fires located in our tight-quarters areas. We are located well inside a moutain area. We have 3 type 1 engines and a 95' ladder truck but those are mainly for our commercial responses and mutual aid down valley.

  11. #11
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    The Nice Part of New Jersey


    We have a rescue engine, as others have said.

    EMS rolls a crash truck. This combination performs 99% of the extrications we see. In fact, I would say that 85% of our pins are 1 tool jobs, so the rescue engine (we call it a squad) can do most of the jobs on its own.

    If we had a rescue, I would roll that first. Make sure it has a couple of big dry chems and that should hold you until an engine comes and can stretch a line.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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