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  1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Officer on responding apparatus?

    There is a debate going on within our dept. right now. We are a volunteer dept. with about 37 members. The debate is whether or not, whenever possible, it should be required that a officer responds on every apparatus that leaves station on a alert. Example....three senior firemen (all with proper training, one with 5 yrs service, one with one year and one is probationary) are at fire station when our dept is alerted for a structure fire. One or more officers mark up on their portables that they are in route to station. Should the three members at station wait for officer or go ahead and respond in an apparatus just to "get a truck on the road"? Give me your opinions and reasons why. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I Would say if you know an officer is enroute to the station then give him/her the chance to get there .... At least you have the ability to know an officer is E/R to station...My company is hit or miss Our Officers have Portable Radios but don't sign on the air comming to the station...We will give it until the dispatcher comes on the air asking if any of our company apparatus is responding during the day....At night we are usually always going to get an officer on at least 2 out of the four trucks we have plus a chief, asst.chief, or a deputy responding directly to the scene from home...
    My advice would be wait for the officer as long as possible --- Unless of course you have confirmed work or persons trapped then hit the street at the drop of the tones and worry about the red tape bull s*** later

  3. #3
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In our volunteer company, there is no question...the answer is "get the truck on the road". Any of our senior people should be able to competently get operations going at the scene without an officer being right there on the rig with them. If the call is mutual aid, the home company's officers will be in charge anyway. If it's in our area, it's close enough that there should be very little time between when that truck gets there and when the first officer gets there (on the next rig or in POV). If there really is a problem or question as to what to do, that's what the radio is for.

    A bit off the subject, but I am an officer, and I don't "get" the concept of officers geting on the radio to say that they're going to the station. A lot of companies in other parts of our county do this, and all it seems to do is cause radio congestion. Shouldn't everybody be heading for the station anyway?? At least, shouldn't they be headed there as long as there are apparatus that are due but not yet on the road?? If so, why do you need to tie up radio time to tell anybody that you're going to the station?? That's pretty much the way we operate, and it seems to work well...at least we never end up with a bunch of officers standing around the fire trying to talk it out with their portables.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My Dept. is also volunteer.It is in our Sop's that we respond with a minimum of 4 men if no officer shows then like Bob Snyder said a senior man should be able to get the scene under control.We have a program that a company Capt. takes a car (spare Chief's car)for a month and he gets to respond directly to the scene. When it is my Capt. turn with the car I sign on the air and let the Capt. know that I am going to the station this way he know's that an officer is on the way to man the truck if no other officer signs on the air then the Capt. responds to the station to man the truck . This program works well for everybody the Chief's get the extra help and the Capt.gets the expreience to get him ready to become aChief one day.

    2nd Lt Co.1
    Ridge Fire Dept.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    in our small Volly Department, the first driver/operator responds with the apparatus along with the first arriving firefighters. Driver/operators are trained to handle fireground operations. The arriving officer has to option to take command but if operations are progressing smoothly, leaves command with the driver/operator. This has worked well for us for years and helps train future officers.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I belong to a Vol. dept. in Windsor CT. We have 4 districts which divide up the town. Only the district in which the fire have the officers sign on the air and tell where they are going. As a LT I generally sign on responding to the station. This lets the members know that atleast a officer to coming. The members know that if the engine is fully manned, they are to respond. I will get the ladder on the air as either a driver or officer.

  7. #7
    Jay Sonnenfeld
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In the situation you describe I would definately wait for a Officer, because I dont consider a firefighter with one year experience and a firefighter on probation to be senior members. The firefighter with the 5 yrs is going to be the driver/operator. I agree time is of the essence but if He/She is enroute you can have the gear on the truck waiting for the officers arrival. In my company we try for having an officer respond on every truck if possible. Due to day calls
    and peoples jobs this is'nt always possible but we try to man the apparatus with at least
    4 people.
    Good Luck and stay safe.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In our volunteer department, if there is no officer present or on the way, then the senior man will be in charge. Just get the truck on the road. For daylight calls, this is the norm. Like in other posts, if it is a mutual aid call, then it's the other company's fire officer is in charge. Another thing, a driver/pump operator may also be a fire officer. Since our man power is down, 10 members, we have had to re-work our responsibilities.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just depends on the experience of the truck crew and where the officer lives... if hes across the street wait... The purpose of the officer/driver advising of a response is very simply... It allows dispatch to give the additional info on the call and have a point of contact should more info come in!

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If there is qualified people to run the engine (driver, FF) then the engine rolls.
    Probie members dont count as working members unless interior qualified. My company covers a large area, and we have our officers sign on the air when they are responding so that we know who is available and going where. Due to our response area, usually there is an officer on scene prior to any engines, so waiting for an officer just to place one on the engine dosent make sense. On top of this we only have two seats in the cab! For any type of manpower needs you have to depend on members responding in thier POV's. From who signs on the air we can usually tell who is passing the station and who is heading to the call. For me for example, I live almost eight miles from the station. I respond to the station if I pass it on the way to a call. Other wise I will go to the scene to do a size up.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ok are dept has a 3 paid at the station 24/7 to drive the appratus, depending on the time of day and type of call they will wait a minnute or two and give volls a chance to catch the truck. But all of are officers have radios and will go directly to the scene unless they were already in the house at the time of alarm. We will not send a truck out the door unless it has at least two FF's on board but even then we would rather 4 but at 11:30am on a weekday most guys are at work.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our department is volunteer and we do not require an officer on every piece out the door. We run approximately 600 runs a year and it would be practically impossible to have an officer on every piece. If there is a crew in the station the apparatus responds with the senior firefighter as the officer. It works well and in this business every second saved could make the difference.
    I have been an officer for the past 12 years and I just can't see holding up apparatus because there is no officer onboard. We have enough staff vehicles in our department that if an officer wants to go to the scene they can!!
    Not all of our officers have portable radios and they don't use them unless they are on the scene or the station has been challenged and they call to say they are enroute and the apparatus will be responding once they arrive.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    On my dept it is not a requirement that an officer be on the truck except for a mutual aid call.
    The driver makes the decision on whether to wait or roll based on personnel at the station and officers responding to the scene, and the driver assumes the role of officer of that truck until it arrives on scene.

  14. #14
    Philip C
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Type of call, call volume and size of first due should dictate if an officer needs to respond.

    EMS, vehicle fires or accidents with no initial report of entrapment might not need an officer on the piece. If you run a lot of calls there may not be enough officers available to cover each one, especially if they come out back to back. Lastly, if you have a large response area, depending on where the call is and where your officers live or happen to be, they may be better off going to the scene.

    My station is staffed around the clock (usually) so we don't respond from home. I would guess that 90% of the time an officer is on each piece, but if none are in the station a ff will ride the seat. With this in mind, our rookies are required to ride the seat on a few locals (ems, mva, auto fires) with an officer present in order to be turned over as a regular ff. This has worked well for us as well as most stations in my county.

    Hope this helps. Take care and be safe.

    Phil Clinard
    Laurel VFD
    Prince George's Co Sta 10
    Laurel, MD

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This is a toughie. You want to protect the community effectively, yet you want to do it safely, and professionally. Personally I think that the question is to vague for a right/wrong answer at this point. There are some variables that have to be accounted for such as: type of structure, who is responding, time of day, entrapment, distance that these officers are driving to the station, etc. I guess that it depends upon the conditions and the situation.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    My companny's SOG requires at least 3 SCBA personnel on the piece to respond prior to 2nd dispatch (3 min after 1st). If an officer is in station - super. If not, the senior FF takes it.

    We also have the luxury of a "private" radio system. We have a repeater freq that only members of our company hear - unless someone wants to listen to it (ie: it is not a County Fire channel). It is for our communication. All members have a radio and a "high-band" number and this facillitates communication on crews. For example, I am a lieutenant - if we get a job between my house and the station, I can communicate to the crew to respond the piece and that I will meet them on location, or to wait for me, or to go, or etc. And best of all, it does not create unneccessary comm on County Fire channels.

    Lima, PA

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our dept. tries to have an officer in the officer seat whenever the apparatus leaves the station. Most of our officers live close enough to the station to make it out on the 1st responding unit. If a officer hasn't responded the most senior FF takes the officer seat and will be command if needed. All of our officers call "responding" on all runs other than medicals, unless EMT, which may be directed to scene. And during the day, well if you get 3 people then you're doing good-mutual aid it!

    "Stay Safe, Stay Low and lets Rock-n-Roll"

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have our first due engine wait only if the officer is in the parking lot.

    Also, you have to be a certified firefighter 1 or higher to ride the first due apparatus.

    With 2/2out we need that first due engine to be interior firefighters only.

    Usually an officer makes the first due apparatus, and if two officers make the first due, one hangs back for the second engine. If the second officer decides to ride the first due, then he/she does it as a "black hat".


  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The fact of requiring an officer to respond to the station to staff an apparatus when a sufficient crew is at the station at tone time is insulting to the mission of the fire service. An officer is a manager of personnel. Radio communication can relieve this issuse. I work with a combination department that has had its up and downs of issuses, but the mission of the department: Save Lives and Protect Property must be kept in mind. At this we are in a transition in adding personnel and re-aligning duites. To allow the sop's to be flexible the use of radio communication with officer's making sound judgements is crucial. To those department who question combination departments about officers are paid and vol.. Our officers regardless of pay status work well together, but that has come from respect of each other and direct orders from the Chief and myself. We currently employ seven firfighters and 23 reserve (vol.) memebers.My question does your policy allow felixability?

  20. #20
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My company has the policy that you take what you can get. It is prefered to have an officer on the first out apparatus, but daytime calls that is not always possible. Additionally, the type of call has to be taken into account. Like several others have said our primary responsibility is to protect life and property while remaining safe ourselves. For our company mutual aid calls we make the extra effort to put an officer on the apparatus as a liason between the requesting company and our own personell. This also allows our people tohave one point of contact to report to who report back to IC.
    In my company the officers don't have radios, all personell ( with the exception of the chiefs) respond to the station. So the conflict of having officers respond to the scene is a mute point.

    Shawn M. Cecula
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

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