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Thread: To grab a hydrant or not

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    Originally Posted by conrad427
    We have firefighters that should sit in the hydrant seat but will not because they would have to stay there until the engineer calls for water.

    They will not go interior but wont grab the hydrant either, preferring to put on a scba and stay in the yard.

    So one of our four interior guys has to grab a hydrant, wait for the engineer, and then run back to join the interior crew, which may be just him and another person.
    This is precisely the reason why a firefighter should be capable of doing every task required of the job, not exterior only/driver only/whatever position and title some people and FD's give to those who can't go inside.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Originally Posted by conrad427


    This is precisely the reason why a firefighter should be capable of doing every task required of the job, not exterior only/driver only/whatever position and title some people and FD's give to those who can't go inside.
    EXACTLY! Then there is no pain in the azz who is, or who can, do this job at an incident.
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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    The main issue for us seems to be training. We have firefighters that should sit in the hydrant seat but will not because they would have to stay there until the engineer calls for water. They will not go interior but wont grab the hydrant either, preferring to put on a scba and stay in the yard.
    Sounds more like discipline issue than a training issue. If you have people who aren't capable or wont' go in, someone needs to tell them what their tasks are. Make the person in the right front seat assign the hydrant man duty rather than a seating assignment that's first come first self-serve.

    We do exactly what you're asking about: on most PD's we stretch of the tank unless conditions indicate otherwise. For commercial jobs the "rule" is to lay in. These rules are made to be broken when the officer has a good reason, and followed in the absence of such factors. This is all predicated on our poor hydrant spacing, limited first due crew size and carrying 750 gallons of water. It works well when your officers understand the rules and understand their job. With regularly spaced hydrants and only 500 gallons I'd personally be erring toward laying the line and almost surely if the next due crew was more than 5 minutes out.

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    Sounds like there is a much bigger problem within your department. I'm not familiar with the very small departments that some of you work for (vollie or paid). I realize there are times where it is a challenge to get enough people with enough training. What I don't understand is treating the fire service like a game of musical chairs or a free for all. You NEED uniform operational policies that address these types of things. You NEED a ranking officer on scene ASAP whose orders WILL be followed. I believe members should either be in or out; complete all of the required training to become FIREFIGHTERS or find a different "club" to join. A small amount of support personnel is fine but they should not outnumber the firefighters on scene. Driving a pumper and being unable to operate pumps is not a good scenario, to say the least. As for members who are "unwilling" to perform a certain task, they should be cordially invited to hit the bricks.
    I think you and some like minded members need to start making a push within your department for some positive change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Sounds like there is a much bigger problem within your department. I'm not familiar with the very small departments that some of you work for (vollie or paid). I realize there are times where it is a challenge to get enough people with enough training. What I don't understand is treating the fire service like a game of musical chairs or a free for all. You NEED uniform operational policies that address these types of things. You NEED a ranking officer on scene ASAP whose orders WILL be followed. I believe members should either be in or out; complete all of the required training to become FIREFIGHTERS or find a different "club" to join. A small amount of support personnel is fine but they should not outnumber the firefighters on scene. Driving a pumper and being unable to operate pumps is not a good scenario, to say the least. As for members who are "unwilling" to perform a certain task, they should be cordially invited to hit the bricks.
    I think you and some like minded members need to start making a push within your department for some positive change.
    agreed ------------
    ?

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    While I agree with most of the comments, I am not sure the Chief needs to be kicked in the nuts!
    I am starting to get a lot of support from some of the firefighters, including the Chief. One HUGE problem is that the Captains are elected, not appointed. So, as horrible as it sounds, popularity is a factor. Discipline is a problem when the inmates run the asylum. Things are starting to get better now that the new Chief got his position changed to an appointed one, not elected. I hate all the democracy that we have and I think it is no good for the community.
    Anyway, I appreciate all of the discussion. I am trying to make changes but it is a slow process. I can appreciate the way most of you do business, in my paid gig we do things the right way so I am trying to implement those practices in my VFD.
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    the first thing you need to do is set standards for officers -written/hands on test -and factor in attendance and training
    ?

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    One pet peeve of mine is that I HATE the idea that officers are elected in ANY department. They should be appointed by chief(s) or board or who or whatever actually runs the department. It should be based on proven knowledge, leadership ability and experience. The most senior or most popular firefighter should not automatically be elected or appointed to officer role. Officers sometimes have to make difficult and/or unpopular decisions. They should not have to worry about how that decision will affect the next election.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    One pet peeve of mine is that I HATE the idea that officers are elected in ANY department. They should be appointed by chief(s) or board or who or whatever actually runs the department. It should be based on proven knowledge, leadership ability and experience. The most senior or most popular firefighter should not automatically be elected or appointed to officer role. Officers sometimes have to make difficult and/or unpopular decisions. They should not have to worry about how that decision will affect the next election.
    Kinda hard to do when the 23 year old chief is put there the same way.
    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    One pet peeve of mine is that I HATE the idea that officers are elected in ANY department. They should be appointed by chief(s) or board or who or whatever actually runs the department. It should be based on proven knowledge, leadership ability and experience. The most senior or most popular firefighter should not automatically be elected or appointed to officer role. Officers sometimes have to make difficult and/or unpopular decisions. They should not have to worry about how that decision will affect the next election.
    So you believe the Chief should be allowed to appoint all the officers? So he can pick his friends and those that agree only with him? or those that suck up to a Board?

    Simple thing....whether elected/appointed/whatever.....set standards and duties for the positions and then follow those standards/duties. Won't matter if elected/appointed/whatever.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    So you believe the Chief should be allowed to appoint all the officers? So he can pick his friends and those that agree only with him? or those that suck up to a Board?

    Simple thing....whether elected/appointed/whatever.....set standards and duties for the positions and then follow those standards/duties. Won't matter if elected/appointed/whatever.
    I think you should re-read my post. You've missed pretty much every point I made. But let me make it easy for you:

    1) Yes, I believe a REAL chief should be allowed to promote/appoint officers. Who better than a chief and his staff to do that? I say a REAL chief because only a pretender would base promotion on suck-ups or friendships.

    2) Yes, standards and duties should be set and followed.

    3) If you are electing officers you are saying that every member of the department has the training, background, technical expertise and judgement to make the decision as to who should be officers. This is just not the case.

    4) Big department or small, paid or vollie, it doesn't matter; performing the role of fire officer is an important and difficult thing to do and should not be taken lightly or turned into a popularity contest.

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    Default Water????

    I thought the discussion was on hitting a hydrant on the way in????? NEVER pass up water when heading to a fire...especially if your not sure of another Engine will respond.....NEVER
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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I think you should re-read my post. You've missed pretty much every point I made. But let me make it easy for you:

    1) Yes, I believe a REAL chief should be allowed to promote/appoint officers. Who better than a chief and his staff to do that? I say a REAL chief because only a pretender would base promotion on suck-ups or friendships.

    2) Yes, standards and duties should be set and followed.

    3) If you are electing officers you are saying that every member of the department has the training, background, technical expertise and judgement to make the decision as to who should be officers. This is just not the case.

    4) Big department or small, paid or vollie, it doesn't matter; performing the role of fire officer is an important and difficult thing to do and should not be taken lightly or turned into a popularity contest.
    Where does this REAL chief and staff come from that are going to promote/appoint officers?

    Again, in a small volunteer department...how is this REAL chief appointed? By a Mayor and Council who know nothing of firefighting? or would it make more sense that the firefighters that the Chief is going to lead have a say in who leads them?

    Not missing your points at all. Just seeing them from the very small department side.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    I thought the discussion was on hitting a hydrant on the way in????? NEVER pass up water when heading to a fire...especially if your not sure of another Engine will respond.....NEVER
    The only time "never" should be used is to say "the words never and always should NEVER be spoken when discussing the fd".

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    Never pass a hydrant in the block the fire is in. Our policy was to get the hydrant going in, to the address.

    I have taken drivers off because of not knowing the district, hydrants and not being able to operate the pump.
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    In both my combo and VFD the Chief is appointed by the board.

    And the officers are appointed by the Chief.

    I have also worked in volunteer departments run by the town where the Chief was appointed by the Town manager or Town Board, and then the officers were appointed, again, by the Chief.

    In my previous VFD the Chief officers were elected and they appointed the Captains and Lueiutenants. I have no issues with that type of system either.

    The fact is that in many VFD there are no boards, so there would be nobody to appoint the Chief. They may have a group of trustees, but generally speaking they are members who are no longer heavily involved in the day to day operations, and rally would not understand the current needs of the department.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    I thought the discussion was on hitting a hydrant on the way in????? NEVER pass up water when heading to a fire...especially if your not sure of another Engine will respond.....NEVER
    NEVER say NEVER....

    There ARE scenario's where hitting a hydrant is NOT the choice to make. It all depends on the situation. GENERALLY it will not be a bad choice, but you CANNOT make this an absolute rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    Our problem is that it is kind of a free for all as to who gets to sit where. We have a designated hydrant seat and it is always the last to get filled. Another problem was the driver/pump operator. Any old volunteer could learn to drive the engine, but would not learn how to engineer the engine. So there was always a Chinese fire drill at the scene. The Chief got ****ed and said who ever drives the truck sure as hell better be able to run the pump. I always sit in the hydrant seat because I am usually the last to the station. It is frustrating because someone who wont go interior usually wont sit in the hydrant seat, forcing me to do it.
    Should I suggest to the officers that they make a rule that less capable FFs sit in the hydrant seat? I like the idea.
    If I am understanding the problem correctly, the issue is more about who should hit the hydrant than whether or not it should be.

    With the limited information you've provided, I'm at least 99% sure that grabbing the hydrant on the way in should be the standard course of action since the arrival of the 2nd due is so unpredictable.

    As for the other part, if you have interior personnel making the hydrant connection with non-interior personnel (other than the driver) on the engine, then you have two serious issues in your department. 1) You have members who aren't very good team players and 2) you have officers that are not effectively managing their crews.

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    I'd go for erring on the side of caution, and dropping a line. However, in your situation- limited initial manpower, widely spaced and sometimes unreliable hydrants, I really think you need to be carrying more than 500 gal of water to the scene. ESPECIALLY if you plan on hitting a fire off tank water.

    500 gal works fine for urban depts with back up on the way, and lots of hydrants. Or for dealing with the small and med size fires. If you are considering attacking a fire with tank water, and no certainty of a rapid connection to a steady supply, you need to think bigger. 1000 is typical for most depts around here. Those who have water or backup issues often go larger.

    500 gal goes fast at a worker!
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    How about this anytime you have 5 or more guys respond take both rigs, even if it means only a driver in the second rig. He can drop the line at the attack engine and go to the hydrant.

    If hydrant reliability is a problem get your firefighters to go out on a drill night and test them. Send in repair requests and mark the ones that don't work to eliminate the issue of hooking to a bad hydrant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    How about this anytime you have 5 or more guys respond take both rigs, even if it means only a driver in the second rig. He can drop the line at the attack engine and go to the hydrant.

    If hydrant reliability is a problem get your firefighters to go out on a drill night and test them. Send in repair requests and mark the ones that don't work to eliminate the issue of hooking to a bad hydrant.
    That's a pretty good idea. Manage the resources at the firehouse.
    As for the hydrants, the city has known about them for a couple of years. Nothing happened until we got the homeowners riled up about the issue. They did not like the idea of having pretty red ornaments on the corners instead of functioning hydrants.
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    What are these "hydrant" things you speak of?

    Out here in the sticks, with the nearest pressurized hydrant seven miles away, we don't worry about whether to hit the hydrant or not.

    On the other hand, we have a number of places where the houses, etc, are a fair distance off the road, usually down a narrow driveway with little room to turn around. For a known worker we had a few years ago the first due engine dumped all 1000' of LDH on the way in.

    The question, therefore, is the same - do we lay in so we've got a ready supply line for the next due engine to hit? If we get our tanker out the door in short order, they can sometimes have a drop tank on the ground and full before the next engine arrives.

    I'll second the larger tank on the engine. I wouldn't dream of spec'ing anything under 1000 gallons for us.
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    Both of my POC FDs have 1000 gallon tanks on first due engine companies. We serve both hydranted and non-hydranted areas.
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    My combo department has a hydrant system in the suburban core of our district. however, the spacing is irregular and some of the areas flow less than 500gpm. Typical flow is 700-900 gpm with a few plugs over 1000 up to 1400gpm in the "commercial core".

    Outside of the core we have a couple of areas with a very limited, weak hydrant system, but it's primarily rural water operations.

    4 of our engines have 1000g tanks, and 2 have 3000g tanks. Our reserve carries 1250g.

    My VFD has hydrants only in the village, which is roughly .75 square miles of our 100 mile district.

    Our 3 newest engine carries 1500g. The two older engines and the reserve engine carries 500g.

    The engine we are planning on buying later this year has been spec'd out at 1000g (in will be stationed in the hydranted area) with one of the older engines being converted to a 5" carrier.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    What are these "hydrant" things you speak of?

    Out here in the sticks, with the nearest pressurized hydrant seven miles away, we don't worry about whether to hit the hydrant or not.

    On the other hand, we have a number of places where the houses, etc, are a fair distance off the road, usually down a narrow driveway with little room to turn around. For a known worker we had a few years ago the first due engine dumped all 1000' of LDH on the way in.

    The question, therefore, is the same - do we lay in so we've got a ready supply line for the next due engine to hit? If we get our tanker out the door in short order, they can sometimes have a drop tank on the ground and full before the next engine arrives.

    I'll second the larger tank on the engine. I wouldn't dream of spec'ing anything under 1000 gallons for us.
    Tree I would ask what is this hard suction you talk of. All our ponds are 500' apart and pressurized. We have to get those big black hoses out of storage when we do pump tests. In my 44 years we have drafted 5 times at fire scenes and none of them were in our fire district. We drop the LDH at the hydrant automatically if something is showing. In the old days most pump operators could easily get water flowing from the tank and then get the supply line connected before the hydrant was ready to be charged.
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