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Thread: What are the fireground responsibilities of a Non-FF1/exterior in your department?

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    Default What are the fireground responsibilities of a Non-FF1/exterior in your department?

    I opted not to post this under the other thread simply because it is sort of a topic unto itself:

    My question is: What generally are the responsibilities of an exterior firefighter prior to their completion of FF1 training?

    As I mentioned previously, I imagine that go-fering is a big part, but what else can they potentially do. I specifically emphasise the potentially part because I realise that not everybody does everything, not every department has the same operating procedures, and there are obviously many state-dependent/federal/NFPA restrictions.

    I ask this because through all my research, I seemingly cannot find anything that specifically addresses my inquiry: I recognise that exterior relates to everything outside of the building, however does that mean only in IDHL areas? I have read articles where exterior firefighters can essentially be anything from hydrant-hookup to ventilation; however without that FF1 it would make sense that one wouldn't be doing things which risk inadvertent entry into said structure (ie: ventilation-> roof collapses suddenly you are inside said structure w/o training on how to survive.) One would assume that things such as defensive hose-work would fall under the responsibilities of an exterior FF, but from my understanding one must be FF1 in-order to go on-air; if the wind shifts it would make sense that the idea would be for the hose-line team to go on-air as opposed to having to abandon-ship due to toxic smoke... Similarly after the fire is out would the exterior FF help with overhaul? I can see both arguements: The fire is out, but there is still a risk no matter how remote, of it flaring back up or even a collapse...

    So my question is: What are the fireground responsibilities for Non-FF1/Exterior Firefighters in your department?
    Last edited by Highschoolvolunteer; 12-30-2012 at 03:56 AM.

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    Fire conditions will dictate what you end up doing, but here are some examples of what you might find yourself doing in no particular order:

    Help procure water supply
    Drag flammable items away from structure, cars out of driveway etc
    Help pull new lines, or move the ones already laid
    Start saws, fans if necessary
    Help aid communication between interior and guy running the truck
    Help guys swap out air tanks as necessary
    Communicate hazards like down wires, gas tanks etc to others
    Watch structure for the fire's potential
    Provide general support of whatever is needed for interior (usually fetching this or that)
    Disconnect lines and walk em dry
    Help restack the crosslays, put away supply lines
    Retrieve gear and get it back on truck

    This is not all inclusive. Hope it helps.
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    Thank you!

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    I'll second what Andy said.

    Also, depending on training and experience, they could be driving a tanker or other support vehicle. Not everyone joining a volunteer fire department is 18 - we do get older members (who might already be well-qualified to drive large trucks) who only need an orientation to provide support like driving a tanker.

    New York offers a 39 hour class that provides some really basic training on FD ops. It's intended for members who will not be doing any interior work. It can also be a bridge to get a member somewhat up to speed until they are able to get in FF1.

    A lot depends on what a department is willing to do in terms of training. Some offer little, some make FF1 very nearly redundant.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Most of things mentioned above including exterior fire attack/exposure protection, forcible entry, and in some cases, roof work.

    In addition, we have some exterior personnel that perform EMS response, command support, brush fire attack, vehicle extrication, technical rescue and may even throw on an SCBA for a vehicle fire.

    It simply depends, on tree said, on their background, experience and what they feel comfortable doing. My current combo department, volunteer department and previous VFD are/were fairly accommodating and it has/does work well.

    By the way, neither my current combo department or VFD requires FFI for interior personnel. We have our own training program and requirements, and it is not required by the state. It was the same with my previous VFD,
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-30-2012 at 08:32 PM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Thanks you, tree and La.

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    In my county if you're not a FF2 or an EMT-B you'll be spending some quality time with the Engine Driver,helping hand jack supply line and helping with clean up of line.

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    In Ohio, you only have to have a 36 hour card to be a volunteer firefighter. Nobody I know has "exterior" firefighters as such, other than the older guys that primarily drive and let the younger people go in. Our FF's that don't have FF1 are allowed to fight fire, but then again we have an aggressive training schedule, and we have most of our people qualified at FF2 and a few at FF1. We don't have enough people that we can afford to have people just standing outside, but our people without FF1 are competent.

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    All our active members that don't have FF1 are required to have "Scene Support" training. Everything covered in the class basically breaks down non interior responsibilities. Each dept handles things different, this is just how we manage. We feel by everyone having at least 1 of the 2 training classes (FF1 and Scene Support) we are all on the same page.

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    Non-FF1 member stays with the driver of the truck. When hitting a hydrant...it's their job. They will be a gopher and may change out SCBA bottles as needed. Depending on conditions, who the senior guys are, and the behavior of the non-ff1 person....the senior FF's may show them around during overhaul when conditions permit.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Our Exterior FF's can perform any tasks or duties so long as they're not within an IDLH environment. They can wear SCBA once they pass the SCBA check off and show they're proficient in it. There are times where it's appropriate to wear SCBA outside of an IDLH environment. Overhaul is a dangerous environment, but by definition isn't generally IDLH (overhaul phase doesn't begin until the IDLH conditions are controlled). So Exterior members can perform overhaul.

    Exterior members can "potentially" do anything (outside of IDLH conditions). I was a more proficient engineer as an exterior than most of our interior guys were. That's what I was more interested in and spent all my free time training on, and our dept was fine with that. We've got "Exterior" members who aren't even interested in fire, but are great EMT's and only do medical and patient care.

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