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Thread: Labeling of Outside Compartments

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    Default Labeling of Outside Compartments

    I'm looking for some input on labeling compartments on the outside of our engine. We are part of a combination Career and Volunteer department, the volunteer companies are given apparatus by the city and pretty much can arrange them the way we want to. I've seen it when companies paint on the compartments whats in them(ex. irons compt) and so on I was wondering if we could just label them with a heavy duty waterproof label...and where would I go about getting them?

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    Your leadership should determine what goes in each compartment and everyone should comply.

    If I'm a firefighter from X company and I need a piece of equipment off Y company's rig, I shouldn't have to walk around the truck opening compartment doors trying to find it.

    I corresponded with a Brit firefighter some years ago - all of their apparatus, paid or volunteer ("retained") throughout their entire county was set up exactly the same way.

    That said - It's possible different companies may have slightly different missions, so there will be some variations. But in general, if I need a widget common to all companies, I should be able to walk up to any truck, open the same compartment, and find it, preferably in exactly the same spot.

    It's your department management/leadership that needs to step up on this.

    As for labelling - standardization should lessen the need for this, but whatever floats your boat.
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    Personally I hate labeling. I think firefighters should know their rig well enough that there is no need for that.
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    The only compartment I could even imagine labeling is where the RIT/RIC/FAST equipment is, and only because I'd like anyone from any department to be able to access it right away. Otherwise, the members should have enough pride and training to know what's in the compartments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Personally I hate labeling. I think firefighters should know their rig well enough that there is no need for that.
    Amen!! Know the rig, know the rig, know the rig! Further, labels aren't going to do much (if any) good in the dark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sreu1989 View Post
    I was wondering if we could just label them with a heavy duty waterproof label...and where would I go about getting them?
    Why would you want to? Perhaps you like the thought of taking a step backwards into the 1940's and 1950's when that practice was commonplace? Or perhaps you like the thought of seeing hideous, ugly labels on the outside of the truck, advertising to scores of firefighters everywhere that your members dont know where on the rig vital pieces of equipment is located?

    Here's a better suggestion- save the money and have the members do what they are supposed to- memorize the compartments and where equipment is located.
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    One thing I have seen that I do like is a photo of the compartment, when fully loaded, on the inside of the door. It sure makes it easy to put everything away properly. As well as letting the rookie learning the ri know if everything is there or not.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 01-22-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    One thing I have seen that I do like is a photo of the compartment, when fully loaded, on the inside of the door. It sure makes it easy to put everything away properly. As well as letting the rookie learning the ri know if everything is there or not.
    Similarly, we label the inside of the compartment so that you can quickly see how many of what are in that compartment, or at least should be. When you have two apparatus on scene and took stuff off both, it makes things get back together a lot faster. You also don't end up with 4 nests of 2.5 on one truck and none on the other.

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    I agree that members who expect to ride that apparatus should know what is on it and where. I can still see a benefit for discrete labels for mutual aid or nearby stations to know where stuff is.

    In my case we had a fleet of vehicles arrive at the same time.. since they were from the same manufacturer it was relatively easy to lay them out the same way.. All the engines looked the same, all the Quints and even across species things were as similar as possible. This made it easy in situations where the Tower was out of service and we were riding the Quint for a few days.. you still had to go over everything but you didn't have to relearn much.

    Fast forward.. the days of getting fleets at a time are gone.. we just got a new Engine, from a different manufacturer and while we tried to be consistent with history there were many cases where it was impossible.

    I'm also of the opinion that exterior labels are tacky.. interior ones (or sheets of paper/pictures) can help with truck checks or when restoring a piece of equipment.. though they don't help the guys unfamiliar with the truck since they'd have to open the door anyway.
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    Something I was thinking about doing for our web page (and may still do) was to use an available web program that lets the user point/click at something and get a response. The plan was to have views of our apparatus, and as one clicked on a compartment, a sub-window would open up to an image of all of the tools spread out on a tarp.

    Yep - it would be intended for the kids, but, you know, there might be some value for the "big kids," too...
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    That's a feature of the software we use in our building for tracking runs, training, etc. The Truck inventory part has an option to include a photo of each compartment so you can see what it "should" look like.

    As for compartment labelling...we tend to have a driver stay with each truck so if someone unfamiliar needs something...there is someone to help them locate it. 1 of the benefits of having the older/driver only members.
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    As said above, all our members know each compartment well enough to not need labeling. But our truck's compartment's are numbered. When I first joined I kept a flash card in my radio pocket with basic labeling of each compartment number. That system only held me for about 2 months before I actually learned each and every compartment.
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    I try to standardize ours as much as possible. While it's not possible to make every compartment identical, we try to get them fairly close to having the same stuff in the same area of the truck.

    I also expect our personnel to know the trucks. As part of their probationary period new folks are expected to learn their trucks, starting with the engines. We periodically test them, sending them to a truck for an item and expect them to go to the right compartment. With standardization, it doesn't take much to learn one class of vehicle.

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    We also require our members to memorize the contents of compartments on our apparatus. When new members come in, they are given a book which among other things contains pictures of the compartments on each piece. They utilize this to familiarize themselves with the apparatus, and are also drilled on this during their probationary period. All of the engines are laid out as close as possible to one another, so that makes it somewhat easier for them to learn. As their training is completed to start riding the apparatus, they start riding the last piece out. It is required that they have this knowledge before they are allowed to step up to the next run piece. Plus there is usually an Engineer with the apparatus at all times to answer any questions on scene about where something is located.

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    I just spent 4 hours removing labels off our EMS vehicle because we decided to move things around and make the unit more user friendly. I had several issues with this tactic, and what happens when members don't put the equipment back in the proper lcation lol. I agree with some of the above comments that members should know where the equipment is on the trucks.

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    We have most of our compartments labeled with one or 2 words on a regular label out of a label maker. This is for new members.... the compartment will be labeled with a genre of tools, or type of call..... we have a "ropes" compartment on our heavy rescue and a "chimney fire" compartment on our 2 pumpers. Our rescue tools compartment and fittings compartments are not labeled as the person who is getting in them should know where they are...... these labels we do have are not big and gauwdy and most people do not notice them. And If I catch someone who's been in over 6 months reading labels the next couple training nights are spent going over the trucks.

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    I just love how looks, tradition and fashion still are more important that function. I will first say that yes all firefighters that regularly ride a apparatus should know whats in each compartment. However since the vast majority of us run mutual or automatic aid I see no problem labeling cabinets. Not a long detailed list but general words like "ropes" "rit"adaptors" etc. The advantages of good labeling far out way looks and fashion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    I just love how looks, tradition and fashion still are more important that function...The advantages of good labeling far out way looks and fashion.
    I only saw one member mention appearance in their post...and even he agreed that a small label wasn't all that bad.

    However since the vast majority of us run mutual or automatic aid I see no problem labeling cabinets. Not a long detailed list but general words like "ropes" "rit"adaptors" etc.
    I could be alone on this, but in two decades of mutual and automatic aid responses, I've yet had to get a piece of equipment off another departments rigs, and there wasn't someone standing there that I couldn't ask, "hey, where do you all keep your widgets?"

    Not being argumentative, just relaying my experience...
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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    I just love how looks, tradition and fashion still are more important that function.

    You don't have to like the comment. But your answer is kind of confrontational and a wee bit snotty. I personally think it looks incredibly UNPROFESSIONAL, that is my take on it. Generally, the places that I have seen that label compartments are lacking in training and members.

    I will first say that yes all firefighters that regularly ride a apparatus should know whats in each compartment. However since the vast majority of us run mutual or automatic aid I see no problem labeling cabinets. Not a long detailed list but general words like "ropes" "rit"adaptors" etc. The advantages of good labeling far out way looks and fashion.

    Frankly, I have NEVER, in 36 years, EVER taken a piece of equipment off from a mutual aid fire apparatus without asking a member of that FD first. I would be ****ed if mutual aid firefighters randomly took equipment off my rig at a call without asking. It's called accountability for your equipment. And to me, accountability is quite fashionable!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Have a nice day!
    I agree 100% - With the above post -Use your own equipment if at all possible , if not , ASK and get guidance.
    Last edited by slackjawedyokel; 03-14-2013 at 08:22 PM.
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    And labeling one compartment "rit" --- ok -thats a pretty broad brush.
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