1. #1
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    Question Chiefs responding

    I am curious as to how chiefs from other depts that routinely respond mutual aid on first alarm assignments respond. Do all the chiefs from each dept that is alerted go on the air and advise responding? Does only one chief from each dept go on the air and advise responding? Or, if it is not your municipality do you not advise anything & go to the scene/station(which ever is closer)? This question has been brought up in a couple of local level forums. Reasoning behind this is that on some of the local FD box's there could be 9 chiefs responding, 4 engines, 2 trucks, 1 tanker, and 1 rescue. Makes a person wonder why there needs to be 9 chiefs going responding, but hey this is where I live and nobody wants to give up their air time. Never mind the fact that w/the 9 chiefs going responding the first out apparatus can be halfway to the calls before they are able to go responding.

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    WOW..........I will try and explain how our department runs .....we have a FT Chief who also responds after hours as well. I also respond being the Asst Chief who is essentailly POC (on a salary monthly) When we get a mutul aid call it really depends on the time of day. From 8-4 the Chief rides the engine 99% of the time. If we get a medical call mutual aid we may or may not have a medic on so I also go on those. If we get a call mst of the time a chief is responding. It kinda throws off the southern neighbors some but works for us. Oh ya .....we only got 2 chiefs. When we call for MA very rarely do we get another department chief coming into the city.
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    Default Re: Chiefs responding

    Originally posted by enginerider50
    [B]Reasoning behind this is that on some of the local FD box's there could be 9 chiefs responding, 4 engines, 2 trucks, 1 tanker, and 1 rescue. Makes a person wonder why there needs to be 9 chiefs going responding, but hey this is where I live and nobody wants to give up their air time. /B]
    why have 9 chief's responding? I can understand having a chief officer from every department responding. but you rarely need more. after all, when you go MA, if you get another call in town, then you don't have any chief's available.

    but remember, some departments have a chief, 2 asst chiefs, 2 deputy chiefs, and 3 battalion chiefs. that's not counting the safety officers who respond in their own dept issued cars. so instead of responding on the engine, you get 9 people on scene in command vehicles, and the engine rolling with 2 guys.
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    I think thats what he is getting at Dan ..............
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    In my county we have many cities, each city/dept that has units responding sends a BC, I dont know if the big Chiefs are required to go.
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    Only one usually goes responding from my dept. If 11 goes on the air then there is no need for anybody under him (12 or 13) to even get on the air unless they are giving something important to dispatch that is related to the call. With us if 11, 12 or 13 goes on the air, the only one who should call in over them is 10 (the bossman). We try to exercise the same thing whether we are going in our first due or on mutual aid to try to keep the radio traffic to a minimum.

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    Around here, if a department's toned out on a mutual or automatic aid for another department, the BC will also be toned, but dispatch will say at the end "Battalion 5, notification only" which lets them know they don't need to respond but are just being kept in the loop as to their units.

    If its a large incident where additional chief officers are needed, dispatch will make the determination as to which resources are needed and tone out the appropriate BCs. That is, of course, unless the on-scene IC requests specific resources rather than general, such as "Send me Battalion 4 and Battalion 10." instead of "Send me two additional BCs."

    A BC won't generally respond from each department that's dispatched due to the number of departments that get involved. There was a house fire in December in our neighboring town, and there were engines from at least 4 or 5 cities and trucks from 2 others. I think they only had 3 BCs on-scene though.

    In answer to the other part of your question, we have limited radio traffic due to the use of MCTs. When a unit is dispatched, they can hit a button on the computer to show them responding and never have to make a voice transmission.
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    For my department it really depends on the time of day. When we run auto aid for a structure fire or injury accident (any multiple apparatus response), one of our Chiefs usually goes in the "Super Incident Command-mobile" Ford Excursion. If it's a request for one engine only, an EMS call or a station fill-in, they do not.

    We have a Chief and 3 Assistant Chiefs and our neighboring department also has the same so on middle of the night structure fires we'll have a nice white picket fence out front.
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    If an incident is large enough for additional alarms and mutual aid, most likely (around here anyway) a full-scale incident command system would be activated. The various chiefs/senior officers would then assume ICS duties (ie, Information Officer, Staging Officer, Safety Officer, etc...) as assigned by the Incidnet Commander.
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    Up in my parts an average MA assignment will net you an Asst or District Chief plus a Safety Chief.If the MA dept requests,more can be assigned and soon a "Safety unit"will be available.The unit will consist of centrally trained local Safety officers that the requesting dept can use for extra eyes,rehab co-ordination,logistics or other safety related functions as they deem necessary without stripping manpower from the working line.We have a total of 8 Chief officers among our four stations.There have been instances of several MA incidents requiring our response happening at the same time,and the current staffing level allows us to maintain flexibility in meeting these and anticipated needs.T.C.

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    Do all the chiefs from each dept that is alerted go on the air and advise responding?

    Yep. Actually Chiefs give a "53" which the dispatcher acknowledges, other officers give a "Responding" which the dispatcher doesn't acknowledge unless you're the first officer they've heard.

    1st Alarm handled as a "dump the barn" and all go; 2nd Alarm & higher assignments are usually 1/2/3 specific units and a crew is left back in town with remaining apparatus on coverage.
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    We run the whole county (and surrounding areas, to a degree) as one big department. That means that the station closest to the location of the Emergency will be 1st Due, 2nd closest is 2nd due, and so on thru 500th due. Vast majority of the stations are Single Station VFDs. Most operate with a Chief, Assistant Chief, And Deputy Chief. Additionally, the area is broken into Battalions, about 8 stations to a Battalion, and there is a Chief Officer from one of the stations that covers as the Battalion Chief on a rotating Duty Schedule. We routinely get 3 - 4 Chief Officers on a Structure Alarm, and that allows for staffing the Command functions pretty well. There are places that the First Alarm assignment COULD bring 15 - 16 Chiefs, if everyone wanted to go, but this has never happened. There have been Multiple Alarm incidents that have brought so many Chiefs that I wanted to appoint a Valet Parking Sector, but, thankfully, they are rare. I guess I should say that you have to see this system in operation to get a full understanding on how it works. But, we like it.
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    Tanker only - No chief responds

    EMS only - No chief responds

    Engine and/or Ladder company - Nearest chief responds.

    Sometimes, requesting department will request a chief to respond.

    I see two issues here. One is the problem of having too many chiefs on the scene. Some serve a valuable role in the ICS. Others are there as spectators.

    The other problem is having too few chiefs available for a call in the local jurisdiction. If a department can afford to send all of its chiefs out of jurisdiction, it must not put much value on its chief officers.

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    In my area a Chief doesn't respond unless it in his 1st alarm area or if special called. Thats what we have company officers for.
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    So, is the issue that chiefs are responding, too many chiefs are responding or that they are saying that they are responding on the radio?
    What?
    It is my experience that you can never have too many chiefs on scene.
    If 9 would show up at the same incident, they would do "rock-scissors-paper" to see who gets to be Incident Commander and the rest would get to hump hose, get doughnuts and coffee, crowd control and the TV interviews; all stuff that is pertinent to a successful outcome!
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    CHAOS. - Chiefs have arrived on scene.
    "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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    Originally posted by ChiefReason
    It is my experience that you can never have too many chiefs on scene.
    and what happens when you have too many chief's and not enough indians?

    remember, this thread isn't about chief's in your own town, but rather the use of a chief officer on mutual aid calls.

    and just as a wild thought, why not just have the chief ride in the officer seat of the engine?
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    Well Doc,In my case two reasons come to mind.On a MA call the "red helmet"better be occupying the RF seat.Secondly,in my case,EVERYTHING I need to do my job is in my truck.Better than 90% of the calls I respond to I will be assigned a sector command generally it will be overall Scene Safety.I basically have a two person Bronco.Everything else is gear,from chilled water to spare safety glasses,accountability board,glow sticks,flagging tape,GPS,Mask,etc.As currently our Engines have either a two man or three man cab,I want the "Bulls"in the wagon,and we'll make arrangements for the other two.The new piece,due in next Sunday, will make that a LOT better,but my truck still goes.I agree with CR,I can't remember a job where we've been overstaffed.Around here most Chiefs are assigned on MA jobs by specfic talents,some are good WSO's,some are Truckies,some are excellent Logistics folk,And most are damn good firefighters.Across the board we all know each others strengths and are assigned to maximize the effort in those areas.Advantages of local small towns,I guess. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 07-19-2004 at 01:21 PM.

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    and what happens when you have too many chief's and not enough indians?

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    It is SOP for ALL county radio communication that if there is an officer on board a truck, you announce that. Sounds something like "Mount Horeb Engine Four en route, five firefighters, Fire 4, Fire 5, Fire 6, Fire 8." It doesn't matter if it is in our district, or mutual aid, if there is an officer on the rig, Chief, Asst. Chief, Dpty. Chief, Captain, or Lt., they are announced. So on a good day, we could send 11 officers at one time to any incident.
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    and what happens when you have too many chief's and not enough indians?

    White coats get dirty.
    Absolutely. Calffbou would probably cringe at the sight of my coat. When I get to a job, I check in at the Command Post, if I'm not needed for a IMS function, I join my crew and get wet, dirty, tired, and everything else, same as they do. Almost all Chiefs around here pretty much do the same. I DO enjoy getting to do something inside from time to time.
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    we could send 11 officers at one time to any incident
    but should you? Of our 4 Chiefs, only 1 is supposed to repond to mutual aid requests. This leaves at least 1 back in town to take care of any calls in our own area, which is what our residents expect. Do we ever get more than the 1 responding out of town? Yes, but they do so more as observers and are ready to respond back to town should a call arise. We are usually requested to send 1 truck from each of our two stations. If we get a request for a full response, then all 4 will go and another town is called in to cover our station.
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    and what happens when you have too many chief's and not enough indians?

    White coats get dirty.
    I was on a medical call last week during the day where it was myself, another FF, a Captain, the Fire Marshal, two BCs and the Chief. Since everyone's an EMT, they jumped in and helped with the patient care. And the FM and one of the BCs handled the transport.
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    Post Same goes here...

    we've been working the same as Chief Woods...example: Just last week we were called out on mutual aid for a large warehouse fire. Our Chief ended up with the southern sector command..the rest of our crew was-

    Boro Chief
    Deputy Chief
    Captain
    Chief Engineer
    Engineer
    Chief Chauffer (ex)
    2FFs (including me)

    We had a crew at the station with the standby company who eventually came out to relieve us. If you look at the numbers...6 officers, 2ff..everyone got wet (it was a surround and drown). Many different M/A companies..all worked out OK in then. ICS worked nicely, thank you very much!!
    Once again....the above views are my own and not that of my department. (And probably should not be construed as having any real meaning, whatsoever!)

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    We have 6 Chiefs.

    City Chief
    EMS Chief
    2 District Chiefs
    2 Asst. District Chiefs

    Usually for MA requests the City Chief will respond if he is available. All others USUALLY will respond to the station and come out on the apparatus.

    Our District Chiefs like to go enroute to scenes without advising dispatch on the radio, but that is usually just to our own incidents........

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