Thread: the single man engine company
05-06-1999, 09:52 PM #1lucky 116Firehouse.com Guest
the single man engine company
Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and want ti intoduce myself. I curently hold the rank of lieutenant in the Immokalee fire department in immokalee fla. we are a very small department, but stay pretty active we man to fulltime firehouses and respond to appro 3500 calls a year with an average of 3 to 5 structure fires a month. Here's the kicker. OUT of our main station an engine company brings a driver and a boss, out of our outlying station, an engine company brings a single man, as you can see this poses a slight problem to a department that has prided itself on aggresive interior attacks. as a newly appointed boss(lieutentant) i am finding that i have new concerns, that i never relized before such as manning issues and tactical concerns. i would greatly apprecate hearing from other brother or sisters with whom i can sound some of these concern to. stay safe and stay low. lucky 116
05-07-1999, 01:31 PM #2LedbellyFirehouse.com Guest
Hey lucky...welcome to the forum. I think you'll find lots of help to any questions you have; I know I have. (been here since Feb?) We just recently went from 2 man engine co's to 3 man so I can relate to your problem. Even so, we still occassionally run w/2. Not a lot you can do sometimes....
Anyway, stay safe and see ya around.
05-08-1999, 12:12 PM #3firefighter60Firehouse.com Guest
Hi lucky. The department I belong to runs somewhat the same way you do. We are a volunteer department that covers 35 square miles out of two stations with approx. 30 men. When we do get a call we start to head to our stations and listen to our pagers. Once we know that all of our trucks are enroute everyone else heads straight to the scene in their personnal vehicles. I know this sounds like it could creat quiet a mess, and it does sometimes, but we have been able to save even trailers using this system. It works for us but not for everyone.
05-09-1999, 08:17 PM #4Tom LafleurFirehouse.com Guest
Our Dept. runs about the same.We have 4 Carrier FF and 35 paid on call FF.The first peice out has 1 man,who prays there will be someone at the scene when he gets there.It gets hairy some times but we get the job done.I live close enough to the station to pick up the second peice,everybody else goes to the scene.
05-11-1999, 11:40 PM #5D.KazeckFirehouse.com Guest
If you call your department small, then I would have to call mine minute. We only have 5 people on a regular bases that we can count on even showing up to a call. Out of one station we cover approx. 200 sq miles with 1 class A pumper, brush truck and a 1200 gal water tender (army surplus). So, trucks leaving the station with only 1 person happens. But we to are either praying that someone else will be there or we know that due to radio communications. I have been with this department for 5 of its 6 year life and have never known of only 1 person showing up. Maybe our department is LUCKY.
05-21-1999, 05:51 PM #6BURNSEMSFirehouse.com Guest
Howdy Lucky 116 I too have just recently inhereted a small nightmare, Howevere you need to talk to you people, inside lies many answers, I am trying to overcome several years of bad tactics and training as well as the mentality of one fire one engine one firefighter,I practicly had to stand in front of our Engine one day to keep the driver from leaving without two more persons, I believe just because we are small about 15 members does not mean we have to be unsafe, A one man engine is a gamble and I personaly feel it is just not safe, howevere there are exceptions to every Rule and it is a personal call based on your individual Needs assesment.What ever your decision remember who we work for THE PUBLIC
05-22-1999, 01:21 AM #7fireball61Firehouse.com Guest
Hi everyone, I am also from a small dept. We only have 18 paid on call and we run about 40-50 calls a year. I am a 7 year veteren and have been a lieutenant/Training officer for the last 4 years. Sometimes it seem to take alot of persuading to convince the older member of my dept of the new changes, and ideas. But I am sure this is not something new and thing are starting to come around. As for a single man engine company, we require at least two people for a truck to leave to station. One is the driver(most important) and the other operates lights, siren, and radio. This seems to work pretty well since all firefighters are required to go to the station first (we only cover about 4 sq miles and about 4,000 people). Talk to all of you soon as I will have quite a few questions. "BE SAFE & STAY LOW"
05-22-1999, 11:28 AM #8mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
I don't know how you guys do it with these short crew companies. I'm in a department with a minimum of 4 and sometimes 5 per company and even that doesn't seem like enough manpower for all the jobs that need doing. Our manning is part of our contract and is always one of the main proposals of the city (eliminate of lower the minimum) during negotiatins. The union is adament about maintaining this 4 man minimum and rightly so for safety and efficiency as far as I'm concerned. Our strong position on this issue has resulted in the decommissioning of 4 engines and 1 ladder truck leaving us 7 and 3 respectively. Don't ever stop trying to increase your manpower. It can definitely improve your efficiency but more important your safety on the fireground. Good luck to all and bye for now.
05-22-1999, 03:59 PM #9TRUCK 110Firehouse.com Guest
I am a Friend of Chief Kazeck, Live in NY..and I will be the First to say that yes there are Things that Single FF Engine Co. can do..Like Exposure Protection on Both Sides of a structure..Master Stream on one side..Handline on other..Grassfire Suppression..Again. w/o Endangering ones self.. I have a Friend in Florida, that does it with 3 FF's and uses 2 attack lines..No one on the Pump and they lay in..We all bend the rules..Overall, I think it is what you put yourself into, more than just one FF Engine Companies..It doesnot Take more than 1 FF to set up a Water Supply Operation, be it Static or pressurized..It just takes alittle more Time, and Training to accomplish the Task..and Patience for ALL involved..Why you could even attack a Structure Fire..provided you do not enter the Building...You Don't have to Be a Brain Surgeon..Just know your Limitations..and Be safe.. and Hope for the Cavalry to Show up..
[This message has been edited by TRUCK 110 (edited May 22, 1999).]
05-23-1999, 02:14 PM #10FyrtrksFirehouse.com Guest
I work for a combo department we have 4 paid people and 20 vols. 1 person takes the first out piece and then we split the district with the vol response. I have gone on several calls my self. I would like to know how others are justifing more personell we need at least two on all the time. I am sure it is overkill with 250 calls a year but it will be over when someone gets killed!!!!
West Elmira Fire Dept.
05-25-1999, 12:32 AM #11ccc530Firehouse.com Guest
98% of our calls could be handled by the b/c (we always have at least one respond). Our paid EMS are also certified FF's and are used however needed when it's serious. It's always nice when you can roll up with dozens of highly trained career FF's. But someone must pay for it. Volunteer Departments usually can put more manpower to the scene than paid but there are exceptions. When that happens, you do your best. Secure power, a water supply, deploy exposure lines, make exterior attacks, etc. The public, though, should be advised so that they can make a choice of volunteering themselves, or paying ever increasing taxes for an abundant amount of paid coverage.
Lucky 116- Is your department paid, combo or volunteer? Keep it safe and remember- you didn't start it!
05-25-1999, 04:30 AM #12ltfd115Firehouse.com Guest
hi lucky, i wonder if nfpa reads any of theis letters. to see if there rule of two in and two out is working from what i can see its not working. in rulal area we can't do it in day time not when you have 4to 5 man. and you need a water slipply . you one to slipply, one in the tender, add it up you can't do it with 2 or3 man with out killing them trying to save a house. you just do your best with what you brought and hope it works out for the best. if you need more help call for it.
i will be on way. just stay safe don't hurt your self and don't hurt any one elas
06-01-1999, 04:15 PM #13Vinny Del GiudiceFirehouse.com Guest
Hello sir. Many years ago I visited a career department in Illinois that operated in the same manner, a firefighter and officer on the main pumper and a single firefighter on the other two or three pumpers and the ladder. They did, however, all operate from a central station.
06-01-1999, 05:49 PM #14FFtazUFC3Firehouse.com Guest
Im new here but have some advice for you. Have your district enact a manning policy. Our County adopted a policy that requires units to give their manning when responding. The terms used are (Eng 31 used as an example) Eng31 Responding = manning is Driver and atleast 2 FF's, Eng 31 Responding Undermanned = Driver and 1 FF, Eng31 responding Driver only = Driver Only.
Most of the stations in our area are combined stations where the drivers are paid and the remaining crew is volunteer. This policy lets the OIC know what manpower is available and lets the Voly's know if they need to get up for that 4 am automatic alarm call.
06-03-1999, 12:05 AM #15SCFD6Firehouse.com Guest
In my area it would be unheard of to run with one person in an engine. We sometimes have a hard time getting the first engine full, but we would not run without four firefighters.
We are a mostly rural department with a large distict to cover so we use mutual aid from other departments alot if we run short.
It is all about your personal safety.
06-13-1999, 09:33 AM #16BobaffFirehouse.com Guest
I was just wondering. If you are running a one man company, how are you complying with the new NFPA 2 in 2 out rule? Obviously you don't. Is you department NFPA compliant. If not I understand you don't want the headache and I don't blame you. Just wanted to know how you guys are doing it... One last thing, if you are running 3500 calls a year how are you still volunteer? I just can't see how your community justifies that.
Take care everyone, stay low and stay away from all that glows!!!!
06-14-1999, 03:14 AM #17SCFF2304Firehouse.com Guest
Man Lucky, you sure you aren't from SC? You described my dept to a "T", with the exception of the run volume. I am in the same situation as you, single man at a substation, 2 men at the main station, and a paid chief, that is IF nobody is out on annual/sick/holiday leave, etc. We rely heavily upon mutual aid, and have a wonderful working relationship with our neighboring depts, but the fact remains that for the first few chaotic minutes there is one person on the fire scene alone. Luckily for us, we serve a bedroom community, therefore in the daytime, when the volunteers are few and far between, we have not had any structural fires where rescue was needed, but we are living on borrowed time and we know it. The only advice i can give you is this, fight for more staffing every chance you get, but at the same time train, train, train..so that when the alarm comes in you can do your very best to remedy the situation as safely as possible. The key thing to remember is one of the main points that is taught to us in any class we take, your #1 priority is yours, and your fellow firefighter's safety.NEVER take shortcuts that jeapordize that. As tough as it is to swallow, it's not our emergency. Good luck to you, and remember, your not alone in this!
06-15-1999, 01:14 PM #18KNOBMANFirehouse.com Guest
I agree running a wagon driver only is pretty scary! There are alot of small career and volley departments that this occurs on an everyday basis. All I have to say is be vary very careful and continue to fight for min. staffing.
06-16-1999, 08:51 AM #19NathanFirehouse.com Guest
I know where you're coming from.
The career dept I work for has a minimum manning of Station Officer (Capt.) and 3 and sometimes that doesn't seem enough.
The volunteer dept. I was in (I was 2IC (lieut.) had only 5 or 6 regulars who were available MOST of the time. Being on shift work (career firefighter) I was available most days and had the problem of turning out with only an off sider (often a junior member). Fortunately that brigade is backed up by neighbouring volunteer and career brigades, but it is still pretty daunting to show up by yourself.
My tip is...remember to consider your own safety above all else. I know it may seem cowardly to stand back, but if you go in by yourself and go down, you're of no use to anyone at all, AND no one knows where you are. Do all the outside work - water supply, exposures etc. and wait for your back up. Only go in if you are 110% sure you can get out - eg foodstuffs alight.
06-23-1999, 03:04 AM #20CHARLESTONFirehouse.com Guest
I guess I consider myself lucky that our department assigns 4 personnel to each company. We have 15 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Rescue, and 2 HazMat available.
There are several County FDs around us that run 2 man Engines. I don't know exactly how they operate, so I guess I am not at liberty to comment.
I will say that I think SAFETY is a key thing and I would prefer to pull up with the extra manpower and be able to actually go inside without having to wait on another truck to get there.
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