Our department constantly "splits" the engine company up to the point of 1 person left (the driver). Example..firefighter A has to go do some admin work, so he takes a pickup and goes there. Firefighter B is assigned to pick up supplies, so he takes another vehicle to do his task. The captain has a meeting, so he takes his private vehicle. In the event of an emergency, "we'll all just meet at the scene and go from there". This has bit us in the a** twice. But appearantly, no lessons were learned. Does anyone else think this is nuts? I would feel horrible as the driver, pulling up on scene of a working fire, maybe even an entrapment, and I'm alone...
Situation 2 - When the weather is nasty, certain officers don't want to respond the quint because it will get dirty. We have numerous fire alarm activations, and we're to the point of sending a 2 person company with a mini pumper. And again, this has bit us before, but.....
Has anyone dealt with this type of staffing?
What was done to change it?
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Thread: Splitting up the company
04-05-2000, 01:36 PM #1FedfireFirehouse.com Guest
Splitting up the company
04-06-2000, 02:30 PM #2benson911Firehouse.com Guest
Your administration lets you break up on-duty companies??? That's crazy. A firefighting unit is exactly that - ONE UNIT. Four firefighters responding on a properly equipped and maintained fire apparatus constitute a company. Remove any one of those elements and you do not have a company. (Even though most of us respond with a lot less than 4 FF per apparatus.)
If our manpower permits, single persons can run FD errands or minor, quick personal errands, but AT NO TIME do we reduce our staffing below minimum.
If your guys must run errands - take the truck and all of you go. If the Captain has a meeting - the rest of the company can wait outside with the truck or in the hall with a radio.
YOUR safety is the most important thing. What happens if you arrive by yourself and find someone hanging out of a window you could reach if you could only get that 35' ground ladder up to her? Do you try your best, hurt your back, or get crushed by the ladder trying to set that ladder alone? Do you enter the house ALONE to try to rescue her from the interior? Who mans the pump, who charges the line, how can you carry a line in around two corners and up the stairs, how can you do ANYTHING on the fireground alone except set the pump and pull the line to the door?
I would consider breaking up a crew as a violation of safety standards and the practice should be stopped immediately. If you need to run errands - you have lots of days off to do them.
As far as getting the ladder dirty - so what? What's more important life safety or having to hose off the truck? This is ridiculous - the only problem is I can relate. I have an officer who doesn't want to respond our Ladder (quint) because it has to last many years and we don't want to wear it out - RIDICULOUS! If the call requires a ladder - you send it - that's why it's there.
As far as advice - approach these problems as SAFETY issues. Safety for the FF and safety for the citizens. Good Luck.
04-08-2000, 12:08 AM #3FedfireFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the good luck wish. I'll (we'll) need it. I'm not alone with my frustrations, but we have brought it up...numerous times.....which is probably part of the reason I've been passed over for promotion. We've got some good talent here, but there are some higher up that do things I don't understand. It's been in the back of my mind for about a year that maybe it's time to look for greener pastures.
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