1. #1
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool When to Go and When to Wait

    This could be any Volunteer Station Anywhere...Saturday Night Four Guys in the Hall about 1130pm --- Pagers Go Off for reported House Fire...Should these Four guys Man an Engine and Respond or give it a minute or two to allow the rest of the members a chance to at least start heading to the hall to man the other equipment to back this crew up or should they roll {Keep in Mind No Life Hazzard Reported and Police are reporting Fire to POSSIBLY be Out}-- Also of the Four none are Company Officers -- Just Wondering what the Opinions might be on this.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Four guys in a volunteer station, pagers go off for a house fire...Man, my decision is to haul A**! if it's a full volunteer station, four guys may be all you have respond

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'd have to say give the other guys a minute or so to show up. Just because the police say the fire is out doesn't mean the danger is over. Even if the four are on the Truck floor at the time of the call it will take them a minute or so to get there gear on, get on the First out Piece and possibly let air pressure build up on the vehicle. It doesn't hurt to wait the little extra time for a couple more Firefighters or an Officer to show up. I know as an Officer if I was just around the corner coming and they took off without waiting I'd be expecting more than four people on the rig. Especially if its a Saturday night when most people are off. You never know when an extra pair of hands will come in handy and I'd prefer to have my back up already there in case I need them and not be waiting for another piece to show up for back up.
    Just my opinion though.
    It would be a tough call. Department policy would way in heavy on the decision making process.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If this happened in my department, they would roll our pumper ASAP. As a few people have mentioned, just because the Police say it might be safe, doesn't mean anything (we have had the Police and Ambulance tell us to stand down but we roll to scene anyway, and find they are not even there!!).
    Anyway, in my department everyone gets trained in basic officer duties sooner or later, I've even been IC while I still had my probie stickers on!!! It only lasted 15 minutes, but I was able to gets things together and turn over to Captain. Also, who is on the truck? Is it a bunch of new guys, or 15 year vets? That also makes a difference.
    Having the four on scene right away would allow them to size up the scene and relay a situation report so the first officer is able to take over with some info.

    There will always be pros and cons, as long as everything went well, and the 4 guys didn't do anything stupid I think that there shouldn't be any question about it. If they were needed, being there a little sooner could have made the difference. Just let everyone know that running like that is best left to a call by call basis.

  5. #5
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    All I can tell you is the view from our station:

    If at least one of the 4 guys was an engineer and some of the other 3 were interior qualified, they'd be in trouble if they DIDN'T respond immediately. Time is of the essence in such a situation, and the officers can catch up or help out via radio until one gets to the scene. In my opinion, there's no real justification for waiting around...provided that these 4 people constitute an effective firefighting crew (a driver and 3 juniors or a driver and 3 probies, for example, don't constitute effective crews).

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm wondering how you could justify not going? We protect life and property.

    If there are others in route, can they not simply respond POV to the scene? Is that against local protocol?

    In my department as soon as a qualified driver is in the truck it goes. Everyone has a map and can go directly to the call.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    At my department, if we had a call and there were 4 people at the station we'd have two trucks rolling. But our trucks are 2 man cab commercial chassis. I'm a Lt, and I don't want my people sitting around waiting for me just because I'm an officer. I can go POV like everyone else. This is because our station is not usually manned, and when we have qualified people there, the apparatus is going to be put on the road in short order. Again though, we are much smaller operation that most of you have, and we operate in a rural area on minimal funding.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I come from a vollie station too, and feel no reason to wait if you have 4 members at staion at time of alarm, maybe only four you have, I say roll the truck, find out if anyone else coming, and put another dept. on stand-by> I'm also asst.chief this year and would expect the truck NOT wait on be because I'm an officer> I can go POV if truck is manned.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    A wise old Chief once told me it is "easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission." Of course, in my department, some officer should be on-the-air pretty quickly to give us direction. However, if none signed on by the time we got geared up and the engine staffed, we would roll the engine. What is to be gained by waiting for other apparatus to be staffed when this may be an "engine only" call. If no one else shows up and you need more, that is when you call for mutual aid.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This is indeed an interesting question...
    I agree with some of the others, Are the 4 qualified?

    Due to my depts SOPS, They would need a qualified operator, and 4 experienced members, 1 for scene command, 2 attack, 1 hydrant.

    Rural 4 would roll to start, Again same set up as above less hydrant.

    Showing up with a load of probies does nothing for you or your customer. I have found in the past when this has happened due to a surge of testosterone rather than brain power it actually takes longer recoordinate the crews and untangle lines than to wait another minute. Also again braun before brains someone is bound to do something that is going to endanger themselves or others.

    Our Members do not respond POV to a scene. Only an officer is allowed to respond POV.

    I know a number of you are going to disagree with some of this but as a Captain my Job is to make sure every one of my crew members gets home safely. And if 30 seconds will give me a margin of safety I'll take it.

    2 men go in, 2 men come out. Period..

  11. #11
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Thanks for the replies...But I do see some confusion so allow me to re-set the situation

    The Four Guys in Question are all Senior Firefighters with combined service of Over 50 Years --- One is a Driver/Operator and the other three are certified firefighters including one who is an EMT.

    Officers were on the air but could not get word to the responding engine due to the radio channel accidently getting changed --- This particular Fire Company had a severe house fire about 6 years ago in wich the same situation occured and the first engine arrived with no back-up for several minutes because the guys were at the hall hanging out call came in -- they left. The interior crew got caught in some sort of flash and became trapped just as the back-up was arriving and had no idea men were trapped until one of the trapped guys was able to get to his radio and sound the may-day. My personal feeling is WAIT the extra minute or two before you roll to insure the back-up is on the way if the four guys were not at the hall response would have been 3-4 minutes anyway as opposed to the 30 seconds. Also this fire company never has a problem raising members for calls {especially house fire calls} daytime or night time --- usually draw about 10 in the day time and 20-25 at night ---- Does this additional info. make the question any easier ?

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The longer a fire is allowed to burn in a building, the greater the chance the fire will extend beyond area of origin, the building structure will weaken, etc.

    Fire Departments all operate their different ways. My department? Well, if those four where all drivers, at that hour the whole barn might be cleared before anyone else showed up. For calls in district, we don't wait for crews -- pretty much if your car isn't in the parking lot before the piece is past the garage doors, you're not riding it. We have large turnouts, and can get water & scba crews deployed fastest by combining getting the trucks on the road as quick as practical and members going to scene POV.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    personally i would say that the guys should leave. i base this on my department though. most of us know how the pump works so we can at least charge a line and hook up to a hydrant or dump tank if necessary. so most likely one or more of the four guys would know how to run the pump. our operators normally meet us at the scene then. most of the menbers have been on the dept for a number of years one of them would handle I.C. We have automatic mutual aid with a neighboring dept 1 mile away, so we would have backup very soon.

    i know for a fact that four is all we may have. we had a chimeny fire this winter and we only have five people show up from our dept and five from our mutual aid dept.

    So I say that they should go.

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It sounds like the problem is not in response as much as it is tactics. From what you describe, the first engine crew got in over their heads by getting too deep into the fire without back-up.

    We have had discussions on here about the rate of time it takes for fire to double its size. Even with conservative estimates, the difference between 30 seconds and 3 minutes could be critical.

    This is illustrated very well in my area where the lone career department in the county has much better "saves" in general than do the volunteers. It is my belief that the career firefighters are not necessarily better at putting out fire, but they certainly arrive at more fires during the incipient stages than the volunteer departments do.

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The whole point of hanging at the station should be to make the quick response. I agree it sounds more like a tactics issue. A crew of 4 should be able to establish water supply and start their attack safely while waiting for back up.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I say you roll the truck. If it's a Sat. night then the 2nd out piece isn't going to be far behind the 1st out. Especially since, as you stated, all the guys are Veteran Firemen. If it was 2 probies and 2 explorers then they wait for the senior guys before rolling anything.

    The statements above are my own opinions

    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My old depts. SOP said truck rolls at 4 minutes or 4 FFs. Juniors or Probies DON'T count (although the OIC could override). With 4 senior members at the station, the truck would roll w/4 for a residential or commercial building in a hydranted area.

    There's a couple of catches, though. No POV response except Chiefs, so everyone who's coming is coming to the station. 2nd, lots of FF qualled, not many driver qualled. 3rd, lots of unhydranted/rural areas where we'd want the tanker.

    So, the SOP says when you have 4 qualled FF w/at least one qualled to drive the pumper, the pumper goes. Next 2 take the ladder (if in town) or the tanker (if not in town), and the rest take what's left (tanker or ladder, brush rig). Now the catch comes in. The tanker only seats 2, and has an unsynched manual transmission. The pumper seats 5. The ladder seats 6, and is a "quint", so can run as a pumper as well. The brush rig is useless at a fire in town (200gal, 250gpm portable) but might be of some use at a rural fire, but it's on a 6 man cab 1 ton chassis, and it's the first thing everyone learns to drive.

    So here's what would probably REALLY happen. One FF would pull out the pumper, one would pull out the ladder, and by the time everyone else got dressed and belted in, 3 or 4 more people would show up and we'd run both w/a full crew. I've seen times (reported fire in a large barn in a no water area - no life hazard but confirmed fire) where all the guys at the station (doing maint.) were drivers. They all waited. At 4 minutes, they all rolled w/ a crew of 2 (3 more guys had showed up in the 4 minute delay - 6 men total). About 5 minutes LATER (they were almost on scene) the brush rig responded w/6, for manpower.

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    As long as the driver can run the pump I say get the truck on the road. Although there is no life threat and the police are reporting the fire "looks to be out" there has to be some reason for the alarm. Upon arrival do an exterior walk around of the structure while awaiting the arrival of the second truck so you will have back-up for and interior search, with the two-in-two out rule, always keeping in mind of possible back brafts.

  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We've had this exact scenario at our fire hall. There were four of us hangin around the fire hall one weekend nite and the pagers were set off. "Huntsville S.O. to Mid County Fire Department, need to respond to 10-72 at so an so location." We dont get alot of the details about fires that bigger cities get because unless the police call the fire in to dispatch in the first place, we are the first emergency personale to respond.

    So anyways, we took our Hahn and left one man at the station to wait five minutes for extra help. That way we could have our main truck on scene getting water on the fire. Fortunatly more members arrived in thier personal vehicles and in the pumper.

    Jeremy Cross
    Mid County Fire Dept

  20. #20
    J Almon
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The police didn't wait to respond to the fire call, did they? If you've got a good crew, roll on. If the homewoner wanted the fire response slowed by several minutes they would have requested it.
    Our vollies can respond in POVs, too. We do't wait on extra people to save them a drive. Load a crew and go.

  21. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I am of the opinion, that if you have a crew, then go. If one of the 4 is a driver and the other 3 are interior guys, why not.


  22. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Wait! Hell no just go,4 members on an engine shuld be enough to get things started at the scene. By the time you get there another engine should be on the way. Get there do what you can with 4 personnel, give a report to dispatch, co. officers responding. If you have any doubts about what to do when on scene ask the most senior member with you or ask an officer responding.What they want you to do , after giving them a size up first.

  23. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We run out of a combination department, so I'll go with a similar incident. Lets say that our full time are on another call, and aren't free to run that other call.

    So basically, if I'm at the hall with 3 others, and we are all qualified to operate/fight fires, I will jump into the truck and roll. Just because there "no report" of life hazard doesn't actually mean that it's empty 100%.


    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

    **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**

  24. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good topic. My opinion is that these 4 people should know the department policies and procedures dictating how to react in that situation and follow them. If they don't know them then they obviously should not be alone on a piece of apparatus. As long as each member knows their training levels, responsibilities and SOP/SOG's there "should" not be any question as to how to proceed.

    In my department we have between 2 and 4 on duty during the day and 2 at night. In this same scenario at our department those at the station would get on the engine and respond knowing that policy dictates that a Pease ANG FD engine is responding automatically to back us up and more help (off-duty and call people) would either arrive to grab the second engine, the ladder and the bus, mutual aid would be summoned or both.

    Nice to see some good healthy discussion with out anyone running with scissors!

    FF/EMT Jay Ellingson
    Newington,NH FD
    New England Dragway Safety Team (Sundaaayy!)
    *N.E.D. celebrates 35 years a post-NHRA and current IHRA drag racing venue! Come on by and watch the great action at RT27 Epping, NH(Exit 8 off of Rt 101)*
    New England Dragway is the home of the IHRA North American Nationals Sept 7-9 2001

  25. #25
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our Fire Houses have red rotating lights on the wall of the truck bay that turn on for 4 minutes when the tones go off. If there is a full crew (2 Interior Firefighters) the apparatus automatically rolls. If there is not a full crew the apparatus does not leave until the light goes out or an Officer says to respond.

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