Thread: Scene Size-ups

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    Default Scene Size-ups

    To start off, I'm a Lt. in a local volunteer fire department in NY.
    After meeting with the Chiefs' office at a recent meeting, I am told to ignore SOP and the use of scene size ups.
    Even though I am a new Lt. in the fire service, I am a firm believer in the basics of firefighting and most importantly, the safety of my men, when going to work.
    I am currently ignoring the Chief's order/recommendation, and continue to do my scene size-ups, and looking forward to my suspension/vacation.
    I am making up a packet of info, on the importance of scene size-ups in my defense (and for the safety of the members of my dept.)
    If there's anyone out there that can give me some published facts and info on the importance of scene size up, your help is greatly appreciated. The more info the better my case.
    Thanks for your help!

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    Ummm, why wouldnt they want you to give a size up? That make absolutly no sense to me
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

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    Arrow HUH ?

    why would they want you to ignore an SOP ? and what do they want to use instead ? this makes no sense to me.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    Question

    You need to give more facts about why your Chief has dictated that no size up be given. This makes no sense.

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    Thanks for replying so quickly.
    I have not been given a reason why. The only suggestion that I have for the time being, is that the Chief is on a power trip, and that he wants TOTAL control of every situation. Although you and I all know that it's not possible, that's the impression that I have.
    There's no other substitute for the size up. I am told, only do your job, and that's that. My question is to the Chief, "How is that possible if you won't let me do the job I'm suppose to do?"

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    You need to think about whether or not the issue of you giving a scene size-up on the radio is big enough to lose your position over. The only benefit of giving a scene size-up is if the other people in route are actually going to listen to what you are saying. Is it better for your people for you to be in command of your company? if it is I wouldn't push your Chief's buttons too much even though he is dead wrong. Try to get a united front with the other officers about the importance of giving a size-up otherwise it might be better to lay low a little while on the issue so you can stay in your position and do some good on your dept.

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    emrgncy5 - tick to your SOP's - confer with your other officers and confront the chief with facts to back up your reasons - ie- you have SOP and lawyers just love when you dont follow them!! Dont circumvent the chief - this will only make matters worse, if he is on a power trip he might think you are revolting......oh wait you are....in a sense
    On an unrelated topic can you reply to my post on turnout gear in the scene safety thread.
    Thanks
    Dave
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    ok i'm from a volenteer dept. and that just doesn't seem right. now grantid i'm just a jr. firefighter i was on our sop commitee and itt was changed to goggles which are general operating guidlines and we are always told that the size ups are the most important. but that is just my thoughts.
    billy

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    Default There has to be more to the story

    What were the events leading up to this order?
    Was he critiquing a recent job?
    How did you and the Chief get on this subject?
    Answer these and it would help me give a reply.
    IACOJ

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    I guess the chief was one of those that was next in line instead of the most qualified for the job. Scene size-up is a basic ICS-100 skill I would think the liability alone warrants the use of a scene size-up. In fact, I have been in EMS for 20 years and used scene size-up on almost all calls. Knowledge about your surroundings is paramount to the safety of everyone involved in an operation. My philosophy is itís easier to get forgiveness than permission. Or tell him to shove his White hat up hisa%%.
    Look before you cut.
    Rich (but poor)

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    Angry

    I agree with Dave404. Stick to your guns. This guy is going to get you into trouble. There are reasons for SOP's (SOG,GOG) whatever.
    Here is some ammo to help you with convincing him.
    "Fireground Size-UP" by Mike Terpak
    "Command and Control of Fires and Emergencies" by Vincent Dunn
    "Fire Officer Handbook of Tactics" by John Norman
    "Fireground Strategies" by James Smith
    and numerous other articles by various authors in many periodicals

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    I can not undrestand how a chief officer could give such an order, I hope you just misunderstood the guy. I will back you up and so will about 30, 000 other chiefs, that giving a clear and concise size-up is always a first arriving officers responsibility. I have given dozen and dozen of training sessions in FDIC, EXPO and everywhere in between that focus on the size-up as the first tool in decision making. The size-up begins the officers recognition of critical cues and important firegound factors. What cues and factors you identify will dictate your tactics and safety.

    Hopefully the chief is just being sarcastic or maybe he is crazy, but keep doing size-ups, if you get suspended we have bunk space here in our department you can vacation with us.

    Good luck, God Bless, Stay low
    Bobby
    May the Good Lord hold you all safe in the palm of His loving hand till next we meet.

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    Default a scary cheif

    I am a fairly young firefighter and am currently enlisted in the Marine Corps. On the topic of size ups, using LODD's as a pretty sad but true reminder, that if better more accurate fireground size ups took place on the fireground, death and serious injury could have been avoided. NIOSH recomendations constantly hit on the point of size up, and so should your cheif if he wants to avoid tragedy.

    - PFC Silva

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    We have all heard this one C.H.A.O.S Chief has arrived on scene.

    Was the chief serious? maybe testing your ability as an officer? Im not sure, remember, you as an officer have the responsibility on that first due piece, regardless of what has or has not come from the chief in his climate controled command post, you make the size up call. Print off a copy of IC- 100 or NIMS IS-700.

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    Here's how I see this one, from a Volunteer FD perspective anyway:

    If you're the first arriving Officer, that fire is YOURS. You can run that fire however you wish (hopefully to the guidelines of the IMS) and your FD's established SOG's/GOG's. If and when the Chief arrives, you can transfer command to him, and then he can run it however he wants. If he wants to fly by the seat of his pants, that's fine, so long as no one gets hurt.

    I don't believe any officer has any right to issue orders regarding fireground tactics until they are on-scene. The IMS specifically states (Essentials 4th Edition, Chapter 1, I believe) that Command can not be transferred to anyone who is not on-scene.

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    Default Scene Size-up

    Emergncy 5 it has been a few months now. Are you still a Lt. in your department? I have been trying to analyze your problem, because on the face value, this is one of the more ridiculous things I have ever hear of from a Chief, and believe me, I have heard some doozies. If you are still around, could you answer a few questions.

    What does the chief want you to communicate if you are the first arriving officer? Any good 5 or 6 part verbal size-up begins with some acknowledgement that the unit is on the scene. Are you saying that he does not want to know what you see when you arrive? Unbelievable!

    If I were you I would of course, do my own mental size-up and then make a decision based on safety. If it is a nothing call, then do as the man says. But if there are any conditions such as smoke or fire showing, then I would at least say so, give the type of structure, type of occupancy, and take Command. Your defense is that good safety practices dictate that you give the other responding units a good "snapshot" of the conditions, so that they can begin their own mental evaluation; aka size-up.

    If the Chief comes down on you, and you cannot convince the other members that it is time for a new vote, then get out of that organization.

    But I suspect there is more going on here than meets the eye. Did you and the Chief get along before the new edict? What is his background? Is he the person that promoted you? If so, what kind of promotion evaluation tools did he use? What are the other officers of your department saying about this? Do they perform verbal size-ups when they arrive first? I apologize for asking so many questions, but consider that you are the first arriving officer on a two story wood frame residential at 2 am with fire rolling out of two second story windows. In addition, there are two cars in the driveway. Would you please write completely what you would communicate via the radio?

    I would really like to try to determine what planet your resides upon. Thanks

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    Try reading Fire Command 2nd edition, it explains the Functions of Command by Brunacini

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    It's my understanding that he understands Command functions that include an initial report. But he is under orders not to do such.

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    Default sop

    I work for a small part time dept, and I have gone to court on a few occasions, as long as you stick with your SOP's, protocols, etc, you will be safe. The minute you deviate from standard practice you are liable.

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    I'm also a bit confused here. I don't see that a chief would want to you to ignore any SOP's. You may want clarification on his orders. The scene size up is the most basic and important part of any first due officers job. It contains information that paints a picture and dictates what other arriving company's may do.
    I would go back to your chief for clarification on this issue. If your chief still insist that you not follow SOP's and not give sizeups then I would begin to question other decisions that he might have made or will continue to make.


    Captain Nick Agorastos
    East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts
    Minden, Nevada

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