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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Ours do routinely.
    What is their task inside? Are they still acting as IC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    When the chief goes inside, what is the chief's role? Is the chief still the IC, or is the chief serving some other function?



    Is this the one acting as IC?
    The Chief, or Chief's that go inside will not be IC. They may take on other roles, like Interior Command, Operations Command, etc. The IC remains outside.
    "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 WVFD705 View Post
    What is their task inside? Are they still acting as IC?
    Our chief bottles up and goes inside every chance she gets. When inside, she will usually have a division or some other assignment. Of course, if an incident commander is what is needed, she will do that job as well. When she goes inside, she can do that because another officer that she trusts (usually an assistant or deputy chief) has command. We usually have at least 1 chief officer on the scene of an incident and any house fire or serious auto accident gets a duty chief dispatched.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    When the chief goes inside, what is the chief's role? Is the chief still the IC, or is the chief serving some other function?
    As we routinely see mutual aid for structure fires, it's entirely possible that a second alarm might have 15 white hats on scene (five departments times a chief and two assistants per department).

    Some go inside, some handle exterior assignments. Sometimes an extra alarm chief might arrive driving a tanker or an engine, too, and won't work the scene at all, as such.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    What is their task inside? Are they still acting as IC?
    First BC is IC.
    2nd BC ("All Hands Chief") generally goes to fire floor and supervises that sector.
    DC is IC upon arrival. May assign original IC (1st BC) to a sector, such as floor(s) above, roof, exposure, etc. Typical all hands structural fire 1st BC stays at command with DC.
    2nd alarm brings multiple white helmets (safety, resource unit leader, rescue chief, additional firefighting chief)

    Chief officers as IC never perform command function from within IDLH area. Prior to arrival of a BC, company officer performing command function can do so while supervising company within IDLH area.
    Last edited by captnjak; 05-22-2014 at 10:21 PM.

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    Our officers are chief, assistant chief, captain, and training/safety. The chief is always the IC when on scene, so the chief position is typically an exterior-only position. Anyone not doing interior work is not required to have on SCBA. Now, that isn't to say our current chief cannot pack up, just that it isn't in the normal range of functions for the chief.

    Our daytime response generally consists of four to five firefighters. One of those may or may not be an officer. If there is an officer, the officer is likely outside acting as the IC. The firefighters operating inside the structure will almost always have to do so without an officer accompanying them, sometimes without an officer on scene.

    That's probably very different from the conditions some of you are used to operating in. For myself and perhaps Mr. Conrad, it's the norm. Building size and construction is obviously different, as my department doesn't have to worry who is on the fire floor, the floor above, the floor below, or the roof. With mostly single-story buildings, every floor is the fire floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    Our officers are chief, assistant chief, captain, and training/safety. The chief is always the IC when on scene, so the chief position is typically an exterior-only position. Anyone not doing interior work is not required to have on SCBA. Now, that isn't to say our current chief cannot pack up, just that it isn't in the normal range of functions for the chief.

    Our daytime response generally consists of four to five firefighters. One of those may or may not be an officer. If there is an officer, the officer is likely outside acting as the IC. The firefighters operating inside the structure will almost always have to do so without an officer accompanying them, sometimes without an officer on scene.

    That's probably very different from the conditions some of you are used to operating in. For myself and perhaps Mr. Conrad, it's the norm. Building size and construction is obviously different, as my department doesn't have to worry who is on the fire floor, the floor above, the floor below, or the roof. With mostly single-story buildings, every floor is the fire floor.
    I understand the staffing challenges faced by some departments (both paid and volunteer). Regardless, I still don't like the idea of there not being someone interior who has functional responsibility for those operating. It obviously follows that I don't like the idea of no one on scene (interior or exterior) who has that same responsibility. If one of the firefighters fills this function by "acting" as officer, why not make some more actual officers and get them the necessary minimum training required to be a fire officer? Same thing for IC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    If one of the firefighters fills this function by "acting" as officer, why not make some more actual officers and get them the necessary minimum training required to be a fire officer? Same thing for IC.
    All of our duly designated officers work "day" jobs. Our daytime response can be slim, but several of our daytime folks are past chiefs - so can easily fill in as the acting IC.

    Oftimes a mutual aid chief will take over command on arrival (and suitable handoff).

    We have a number of past chiefs who are still active - any of them could step in as needed.

    To have enough designated officers to always have one available in a small department would probably require just about everyone with more than a year or two in the department to be an officer...

    I am all for everyone having at least a working concept of incident command (beyond IS100 & 700) so they are capable of stepping up. More important, though, can be their having a working knowledge of the resources available in the surrounding area, and that takes time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    All of our duly designated officers work "day" jobs. Our daytime response can be slim, but several of our daytime folks are past chiefs - so can easily fill in as the acting IC.

    Oftimes a mutual aid chief will take over command on arrival (and suitable handoff).

    We have a number of past chiefs who are still active - any of them could step in as needed.

    To have enough designated officers to always have one available in a small department would probably require just about everyone with more than a year or two in the department to be an officer...

    I am all for everyone having at least a working concept of incident command (beyond IS100 & 700) so they are capable of stepping up. More important, though, can be their having a working knowledge of the resources available in the surrounding area, and that takes time.
    As I stated earlier, I understand there are huge staffing challenges (in all ranks) for many smaller departments. I don't pretend to have all the answers.

    I do believe that over reliance on "acting" officers and chiefs, along with "stepping up" can lead to disaster. A "working concept of incident command" does not a fire officer or chief make. far from it.

    I have to ask:
    In the earlier stages of a structural fire before mutual aid arrives, how does your department handle the fire? Do you make an interior attack and/or perform searches? Who makes that call? Does he/she have the discipline and background to make the right call? Do the firefighters have the discipline to abide by that call? Who is the safety team/RIT? Does that go by riding position or is it assigned? Who assigns it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I do believe that over reliance on "acting" officers and chiefs, along with "stepping up" can lead to disaster. A "working concept of incident command" does not a fire officer or chief make. far from it.
    I agree. They can, however act as an incident commander until someone who can perform the duties necessary arrives either from mutual aid or a host department officer.

    I have to ask:
    In the earlier stages of a structural fire before mutual aid arrives, how does your department handle the fire?
    First arriving person makes a 360 and assesses whether an interior attack is possible. The first arriving apparatus then determines if the manpower available allows for an interior attack.

    Do you make an interior attack and/or perform searches? Who makes that call? Does he/she have the discipline and background to make the right call? Do the firefighters have the discipline to abide by that call?
    Complex question with a complex answer. If an interior attack can be performed, but the interior member who arrive feel that it is too far beyond what they can handle alone (daytime would be lucky to have 1 full crew arrive initially), they will wait for mutual aid to act as second line and set up for tanker shuttle, ladders, etc. while waiting and may use exterior attack until the aid arrives. If it is an officer that orders interior, they are probably one of the ones going in. If not, it is still up to the interior members if they feel it is unsafe. If the officer says no, there will be no interior until the officer says there will be. The interior may ask why the no-go, but there will be no arguing on scene.

    Who is the safety team/RIT? Does that go by riding position or is it assigned? Who assigns it?
    If an initial attack is made by our members, there is no dedicated safety/RIT/RIC. This will be done by mutual aid. That is why the initial interior people and officers need to be comfortable with the decision to go in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    I agree. They can, however act as an incident commander until someone who can perform the duties necessary arrives either from mutual aid or a host department officer.



    First arriving person makes a 360 and assesses whether an interior attack is possible. The first arriving apparatus then determines if the manpower available allows for an interior attack.



    Complex question with a complex answer. If an interior attack can be performed, but the interior member who arrive feel that it is too far beyond what they can handle alone (daytime would be lucky to have 1 full crew arrive initially), they will wait for mutual aid to act as second line and set up for tanker shuttle, ladders, etc. while waiting and may use exterior attack until the aid arrives. If it is an officer that orders interior, they are probably one of the ones going in. If not, it is still up to the interior members if they feel it is unsafe. If the officer says no, there will be no interior until the officer says there will be. The interior may ask why the no-go, but there will be no arguing on scene.



    If an initial attack is made by our members, there is no dedicated safety/RIT/RIC. This will be done by mutual aid. That is why the initial interior people and officers need to be comfortable with the decision to go in.
    I truly believe that many departments need to honestly assess their policies regarding decision-making, supervision and command. There appears to be a lack of quality control in these areas for some of you. Success in the past, which could very well be based on some level of luck, does not guarantee future success. Lack of strong and effective policy can be, and eventually will be, dangerous to firefighters.

    I hope I'm wrong but I fear I'm right.

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    I tried to pass this thread but just couldn't resist the temptation. There are good, valid points from both sides of the floor on this topic, and I can understand the liability and safety involved in both aspects. I'll use my department as an example concerning this debate.

    Our department requires physical exams, especially for new members, as well as Chief Officers. When any of our personnel fail the exam required to maintain their status as a "front-line" or "interior" firefighter, they are simply rotated to another division (i.e. Fire Prevention, Maintenance, Administration, etc..) until they correct the issue. If it is a permanent health consideration (i.e. heart attack, debilitating issue. etc..) we deal with that on a more personal, individual basis.

    Our Chief officers do, and are required, to pack test annually,and do go interior only in the event that they may serve as a division or group leader at larger incidents due to manpower shortages/acting Co. officer, etc,. No, we are not a large volunteer department of 60-100+ members, but a small rural department with 35-50 members. Retaining knowledgeable members of the department, especially in the fire service today, is a must. Recruiting and retention issues are a priority nationwide, as well as safety issues of the firefighters. Ask yourself, "would I be willing to put my Brothers at risk if I could not effectively or competently perform the necessary physical duties at a scene?" I hope you wouldn't place them at further risk. Find what program best suits your needs and allows the members to be involved without compromising the safety of both the firefighters and the public when faced with a health or debilitating issue.
    Last edited by Nick_Miller; 05-28-2014 at 09:16 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    First BC is IC.
    2nd BC ("All Hands Chief") generally goes to fire floor and supervises that sector.
    DC is IC upon arrival. May assign original IC (1st BC) to a sector, such as floor(s) above, roof, exposure, etc. Typical all hands structural fire 1st BC stays at command with DC.
    2nd alarm brings multiple white helmets (safety, resource unit leader, rescue chief, additional firefighting chief)

    Chief officers as IC never perform command function from within IDLH area. Prior to arrival of a BC, company officer performing command function can do so while supervising company within IDLH area.
    I see no need for a Chief officer to be interior on most fires unless it's a high rise or other large commercial structure. That's what company officers are for. Chiefs should be on an exterior division, not plugging things up inside. (I say this as a GENERAL comment, not an absolute)

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I truly believe that many departments need to honestly assess their policies regarding decision-making, supervision and command. There appears to be a lack of quality control in these areas for some of you. Success in the past, which could very well be based on some level of luck, does not guarantee future success. Lack of strong and effective policy can be, and eventually will be, dangerous to firefighters.

    I hope I'm wrong but I fear I'm right.
    What I am speaking of is my department's situation as I cannot comment on others. I do feel that mine is very representative of smaller rural departments.

    First let me clear up what I mean by smaller departments. We have between 15 to 20 members that could show up to a fire. At most, there are 25 with several (5-10) with no other training than in house as they will only show up to something really big. That is what they can offer to the department. Now putting aside recruitment and retention, which we will all agree is a huge issue these days, I will continue on.

    During the day, which is when things are the worst, we expect little turn out. At the last day time fire, I was the officer on the first in line. This was about 20 to 25 minutes after the call came out. At that time there were 3 of us on scene that could wear an SCBA. We all went in and our chief then backed out after seeing the conditions so that he could coordinate incoming units. This was a mutual aid fire and he was in charge of suppression. Approximately 5 minutes later, the next 3 people that could wear SCBA arrived. 1 joined our line and the other 2 grabbed a back up line. Our chief went to do ventilation as it was in the smoke and required SCBA. It took about another 5 minutes to have the fire knocked down. At that time my line was relieved so that we could report on what was going on and what was needed for salvage and overhaul. At 45 minutes after the initial dispatch, there were a total of 9 people on scene that were SCBA qualified. 2 of those got called to work with the homeowner who had smoke inhalation.

    We were lucky on this one as 5 of the SCBA firefighters were officers and all were experienced firefighters. Other fires, that is not the case. That is why we drill into our members that if you do not feel something is safe, or that you cannot do it, say so and we will either find someone else or adjust the operation.

    Writing policies are great and we do try to do as much as we can to eliminate guess work, but with staffing as it is, there has to be common sense being used. There are some base guidelines to follow (never go in alone, never go in with no one outside, make sure the interior crew has communications, and several others), but we do offer latitude for the members so that we are not sitting with 10 people on scene watching a house burn because step 3 of the policy could not be met due to a lack of officers on scene.

    I am all for as many policies and standard to be in place as possible, but that needs to be tempered with real world conditions. My real world right now includes a huge lack of manpower and qualified firefighters. This means that sometimes operations will take place without officers, sometimes there will not be an interior attack due to a lack of experienced interior firefighters, sometimes there will be fires in our township that do not receive a truck from our department for 30 to 45 minutes. Do I like this, no. But it is my current reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I have to ask:
    In the earlier stages of a structural fire before mutual aid arrives, how does your department handle the fire? Do you make an interior attack and/or perform searches? Who makes that call? Does he/she have the discipline and background to make the right call? Do the firefighters have the discipline to abide by that call? Who is the safety team/RIT? Does that go by riding position or is it assigned? Who assigns it?
    Truck company does truck work, engine company does engine work. By default, that will bring a 3 man search team forcing initial entry and search for life and location of fire. 2 guys exterior working on ladders and ventilation. 3 guys stretching a handline, a pump operator and 1 other guy completing the water supply. All that...without need for officer. Its just what we do. If any of those 2 crews feels it's unwarranted to make entry, they make that statement on the radio, and it's adhered to until a further investigation determines otherwise. Even when we have officers on those 2 apparatus, they say very little as the guys all know their positions/tasks and they don't need to be told those tasks. Yes, policy and procedure.
    "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 johnsb View Post
    I see no need for a Chief officer to be interior on most fires unless it's a high rise or other large commercial structure. That's what company officers are for. Chiefs should be on an exterior division, not plugging things up inside. (I say this as a GENERAL comment, not an absolute)
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Last edited by captnjak; 05-29-2014 at 05:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I see no need for a Chief officer to be interior on most fires unless it's a high rise or other large commercial structure. That's what company officers are for. Chiefs should be on an exterior division, not plugging things up inside. (I say this as a GENERAL comment, not an absolute)
    Quite often the interior chief has little role. But that's how we do it. He may act only as a communications relay to IC via radio after exchanging info face to face with company officers. This can actually be useful in reducing HT traffic. Sometimes it is useful to have that experienced pair of eyes who has no tactical obligations to distract from big picture. A good chief will be sure to stay out of the way of members working and will not micro-manage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Truck company does truck work, engine company does engine work. By default, that will bring a 3 man search team forcing initial entry and search for life and location of fire. 2 guys exterior working on ladders and ventilation. 3 guys stretching a handline, a pump operator and 1 other guy completing the water supply. All that...without need for officer. Its just what we do. If any of those 2 crews feels it's unwarranted to make entry, they make that statement on the radio, and it's adhered to until a further investigation determines otherwise. Even when we have officers on those 2 apparatus, they say very little as the guys all know their positions/tasks and they don't need to be told those tasks. Yes, policy and procedure.
    So it sounds like ANYBODY can decide strategy and tactics and ANYONE can change them?

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    Guess it could be. Strategy is pretty simple....go put the fire out. Our structures here are pretty standard, 2 1/2 story residential homes. Is every fire the same? Of course not. Majority of our responses are and the strategy and tactics are the same. Make entry, search, extinguish. I may be the driver of the engine, but I know what my truck company is doing. I know my engine guys are stretching a line and attacking the fire. If we pull up and see flames out every window of the house....we don't need an officer to tell us we aren't going in there. Yes, we train our guys to know what needs to be done. We train them to work as a team and use their heads. We don't train them to depend on someone else giving them orders. We train them so that in the case an officer goes down...they still know what to do.

    PS - please don't assume we operate without officers as a standard practice. We have them more often than we don't. Just pointing out that when we don't, it's far from a show stopping event.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Guess it could be. Strategy is pretty simple....go put the fire out. Our structures here are pretty standard, 2 1/2 story residential homes. Is every fire the same? Of course not. Majority of our responses are and the strategy and tactics are the same. Make entry, search, extinguish. I may be the driver of the engine, but I know what my truck company is doing. I know my engine guys are stretching a line and attacking the fire. If we pull up and see flames out every window of the house....we don't need an officer to tell us we aren't going in there. Yes, we train our guys to know what needs to be done. We train them to work as a team and use their heads. We don't train them to depend on someone else giving them orders. We train them so that in the case an officer goes down...they still know what to do.

    PS - please don't assume we operate without officers as a standard practice. We have them more often than we don't. Just pointing out that when we don't, it's far from a show stopping event.
    Good training is not a substitute for good supervision. You are fooling yourselves when you operate at structural fires under the umbrella of "everyone knows what they're doing". GOOD decision-making on the fire ground is not a group activity.

    Sure, anyone can pretty much figure out that fire out every window precludes initial interior attack. What about when it's not out every window? Quite frankly, it's rare to see that. What about a fire condition that is less obvious, but likely more dangerous? What you are basically saying is that every firefighter you have is qualified to be the IC. I call Bullshyte on that! Besides, it doesn't matter that anyone COULD make the call. There has to be a guy who HAS to make the call.

    I don't want this to appear as a paid vs vollie thing. Or a large department vs small department thing. Or an urban vs rural thing. Coming from a guy with his fair share of time on the fire ground, I believe it is just a matter of time before you guys have a real problem. A high level of training for firefighters won't overcome it. I believe you should seriously consider some policy changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Good training is not a substitute for good supervision. You are fooling yourselves when you operate at structural fires under the umbrella of "everyone knows what they're doing". GOOD decision-making on the fire ground is not a group activity.

    Sure, anyone can pretty much figure out that fire out every window precludes initial interior attack. What about when it's not out every window? Quite frankly, it's rare to see that. What about a fire condition that is less obvious, but likely more dangerous? What you are basically saying is that every firefighter you have is qualified to be the IC. I call Bullshyte on that! Besides, it doesn't matter that anyone COULD make the call. There has to be a guy who HAS to make the call.

    I don't want this to appear as a paid vs vollie thing. Or a large department vs small department thing. Or an urban vs rural thing. Coming from a guy with his fair share of time on the fire ground, I believe it is just a matter of time before you guys have a real problem. A high level of training for firefighters won't overcome it. I believe you should seriously consider some policy changes.
    Here is the condensed version:

    Until we have enough membership and we have officers that can be strictly 100% full time volunteer fire officers, there will be responses where there are no officers.

    So my question to you is, what policies would you recommend. I am not against adding policies and procedures, just that they have to make sense to what we see.
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    What makes an officer an officer?

    Is it not a high level of training?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Good training is not a substitute for good supervision. You are fooling yourselves when you operate at structural fires under the umbrella of "everyone knows what they're doing". GOOD decision-making on the fire ground is not a group activity.

    Sure, anyone can pretty much figure out that fire out every window precludes initial interior attack. What about when it's not out every window? Quite frankly, it's rare to see that. What about a fire condition that is less obvious, but likely more dangerous? What you are basically saying is that every firefighter you have is qualified to be the IC. I call Bullshyte on that! Besides, it doesn't matter that anyone COULD make the call. There has to be a guy who HAS to make the call.

    I don't want this to appear as a paid vs vollie thing. Or a large department vs small department thing. Or an urban vs rural thing. Coming from a guy with his fair share of time on the fire ground, I believe it is just a matter of time before you guys have a real problem. A high level of training for firefighters won't overcome it. I believe you should seriously consider some policy changes.
    captnjak, don't get the impression that its just a bunch of guys running around doing what they want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    What makes an officer an officer?
    Is it not a high level of training?
    In some places, it's the guy who's PO'd the least number of people, and in others, in may well be the guy who's willing to take the job, since no one else wants it.

    Mind you, it should be a high level of training...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    In some places, it's the guy who's PO'd the least number of people, and in others, in may well be the guy who's willing to take the job, since no one else wants it.

    Mind you, it should be a high level of training...
    Sometimes the guys that should be officers are smart enough to know a train wreck when they see one and know things aren't going to change. Sometimes it is just easier to be a troop and fight the good fight than be a progressive, forward thinking, educated, and trained officer, in a department where all you get for it is a concussion from beating your head against the wall.

    After about a 6 year absence from being an officer I am back as a lieutenant on one of my POC FDs. I left being an officer because it was pointless to try and effect change at the time. Things have changed and we have guys that want to learn and care about the fire department and its reputation. So I am back, so far no concussions, though they may re-occur at some point!
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