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  1. #61
    unrepentant fool ranahan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dave1983
    The Co's do not call the IC and ask for assignments. This is prohibited for the exact reason you mentioned.

    Sorry, but "set in stone" gets people in trouble. No two fire scenes are the same, so how can you have it that way? We have SOGs that describe unit responsibilities but they are just that, GUIDLINES. You need flexability.

    I'll give you an example of why we dont want units just showing up and doing things. First due engine arrives and starts the attack. There is a hydrant right in front so they have a water supply. Second in is a squad (heavy rescue). Since the truck is still enrout, the squad is assingned forced entry and horizontal ventilation. Truck arrives third due. Now in this situation, per our SOGs, RIG (RIT) needs to be established, so this is given to the truck by the IC.

    Its all about flexability and not "tying the hands" of the IC.
    So, if your crews aren't using guidelines to determine what they do when they initially arrive, AND they aren't contacting or being contacted by the IC for assignment, what do your people do when they show up on scene? I know you said in an earlier post that the first unit with a pump pulls a line; after that, what do the other arriving units do?

    You're right in that no two fire scenes are exactly the same. But I'd bet in your district, as in others that have been studied, that it roughly breaks down to the 90/10 ratio: ninety percent of your calls are run-of-the-mill incidents, and the other ten are WAY out there.
    So where I am -- and in most other places I've seen -- procedures/guidelines are written to cover initial actions for those ninety percent. The IC and the IC alone has the ability to determine if crews need to deviate from those procedures. And there's your flexibility: the IC, with his years of experience and responsibility, gives the GO to do something out-of-the-ordinary if it's needed.

    In my area, rescues operate as truck companies for working fires by procedure anyway. And an additional company is requested for RIT by the initial arriving unit upon finding an IDLH atmosphere. Again, it's all in our books. So we accomplish the same thing you do, almost the same way, and we do it because we know our initial assignments before we even show up.

    "Set in stone" can certainly get people in trouble. Usually that trouble arises when folks don't follow those rules set in stone.

    As for "tying the hands" of the IC, we look at it in a completely different way than you. Companies following procedures keep the IC from micromanaging, and the IC is then allowed to focus on the bigger picture rather than the individual actions of one crew. If atypical tactics are required, the IC can still utilize those at his discretion. The IC doesn't become a SuperCaptain -- he controls the incident, and the company officers keep the individual companies going by following procedural guidance unless directed otherwise by the IC.


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    Ranahan, your saying that you know your fireground responsibilities before you get to the scene based upon the type of company your assigned and tried and true operating procedures? What a concept.

    Your saying that the IC manages the scene and NOT specific companies actions and how they achieve their tactical objectives? I don't believe it, another far out concept.

    Ranahan, seriously, I agree with you. Why is it so hard for some to understand this?
    Last edited by STATION2; 04-16-2005 at 04:25 PM.
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  3. #63
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    OK, time out. From reading the posts here Im either not explaining myself very well or some are not understanding what Im saying.

    We HAVE SOG's for company assignments and responsabilities that we follow. The point Im trying to get accross is that while our companys know company responsibilities ahead of time, we dont want them showing up and doing things whithout going through the IC, even if its just to confirm the assignment. That is except for givens like first due engine pulling a line, second due providing water supple.

    Its not as complicated as it sounds, and I certainly dont see it as "micro-managing" by the IC. As an example, here is what our radio traffic might sound like...

    -E41 on scene, smoke showing side so & so. E41 will be makeing an (interior/exterior) attack.

    -E32 at the hydrant, will be laying in.

    -D35 on scene in command.

    -T48 on scene side so & so. (at this point, T48 has many options, assist with forced entry, go interior for a search, start PPV, ladder the roof, pull another line and so on, that all fit under first due truck. BUT, they wait for an order from the IC.)

    -Command T48, we have a report of a child inside.

    -T48 understood, interior search.

    -E27 on scene, will be setting up RIG (RIT) side so & so.

    -S18 on scene staged 1st street & 5th ave. (Here again, the squad has many options)

    -Command S18, into the scene and set up PPV side so & so

    -S18 understood.


    WOW, that sure was complicated...

    Now, if thats what you call micro-managing, so be it. We call it flexability. And you will also notice, not much radio traffic. The IC doesnt even need to respond to several of the units (laying a line, setting up RIG). It really is that simple. All units followed the SOGs as written.

    Now HERE IS MY POINT. We dont want the truck arriving, and deciding on there own to ladder the roof, or the squad to set up down the street to fill bottles. We would call that freelancing, and thats what I meant when I said it in an earlier post. I am aware thats how many departments do it. If yours does fine, glad it works for you. We choose not too, and it works for us.
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  4. #64
    unrepentant fool ranahan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dave1983
    OK, time out. From reading the posts here Im either not explaining myself very well or some are not understanding what Im saying.

    further explanation follows...
    Dave, we do roughly the same activities mentioned in your explanation, but we do so under the guidance of our procedures. We inform the IC by radio of major tasks we're undertaking and significant findings, but there's no waiting for the IC to provide instruction UNLESS you're assigned to report to staging.

    For instance, in your explanation T48 pulls up and waits for assignment. In this area, the truck wouldn't do that. Assuming that this is an SFD, under our procedures truck crew would split up. Inside team would force entry (not necessary if engine had already done so) and begin search procedures. Outside team would ladder for rescue/egress as appropriate and perform horizontal ventilation. We don't have to wait on the IC, who may already have plenty on his plate...or who might not even be on scene yet, to tell us where to go.
    (And truck would NEVER pull an attack line from the engine on an SFD here, 'cept in the most grave of circumstances.)

    Now HERE IS MY POINT. We dont want the truck arriving, and deciding on there own to ladder the roof, or the squad to set up down the street to fill bottles. We would call that freelancing, and thats what I meant when I said it in an earlier post. I am aware thats how many departments do it. If yours does fine, glad it works for you. We choose not too, and it works for us.
    We don't want units deciding what they should do on their own either. So we have it spelled out in black and white. When there is cause to deviate from the procedure, the decision is made by the IC to do so...and if he's not on scene, company officers make those decisions -- which rarely happens because our procedures work pretty damn well.

    Here, freelancing is what members or companies do when they don't perform the tasks that the procedures call for them to do. If a truck crew or someone from the truck ends up performing attack without being specifically assigned there by IC for some reason, then that's freelancing. And we don't tolerate that.
    But at arrival, we already know the mission ahead, and we go at it unless we receive specific direction otherwise. That's not freelancing in my book, and I don't think you'll find it called such by many others either.

    Like I said earlier, and in deference to what you said as well, if you guys can make a good effort by using the "call for orders" scheme, then that's good. But what works for us with more dependability and efficiency is knowing our assignments BEFORE we arrive, and that approach seems to be far more prevalent among strong-performing departments than the one you're mentioning. The procedures and guidelines may not cover every possibility, but I haven't seen many that they don't work for.

  5. #65
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    I understand how you do things, but the reason we dont is like I said earlier. No two fires are the same, so having "black & white" assignments just dont fly here. The world is not "black & white', but a million shades of grey Thats why our SOG's are limited to apparatus positioning and basic operations, like procedures/equipment for roof ventilation.

    Besides, the way it sounds, our areas operate in very different ways. We would only split a crew in an extreem case. Certainly not to for routine operations. If the truck is going to vent, then the whole truck crew vents. If its a search, the whole crew searches.

    Also, we have an IC in place before any operations are started. Most times, this is the officer of the first due rig, untill another company or the DC arrives. So there is always someone to direct operations.

    Keep in mind, Im not talking about the IC giving explinations on how they want things done. Its as simple as when the truck reports on scene, the IC says which type of vent he wants or some other task.

    -T48 on scene side "B"
    -Command T48, top vent.
    -(T48) Understood.

    Thats it. Takes all of 5 seconds. Truck goes to work on the roof per SOGs. The IC doesnt tell them HOW to vent. And again, we dont "call" for orders, thats a no-no. They are given by the IC at the proper time, based on the his/her assesment of the overall situation. Thats why we pay them the big bucks
    Last edited by Dave1983; 04-17-2005 at 03:15 PM.
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  6. #66
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    To save Larry's co-payment for his headache medicine and doctor's visits from banging his head so much, no more debate on who does what from me, just agreement with the whatever works in your area statements.

    Just a few pics of a pretty stacked quint, complete with 188' of ground ladders, 2000gpm pump, 500 gallon tank. Since the ground ladder question came up and some said you can't get that much on one.

    http://www.penndelfire.com/apparatus.asp?aid=l8

  7. #67
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BC79er
    To save Larry's co-payment for his headache medicine and doctor's visits from banging his head so much, no more debate on who does what from me, just agreement with the whatever works in your area statements.

    Just a few pics of a pretty stacked quint, complete with 188' of ground ladders, 2000gpm pump, 500 gallon tank. Since the ground ladder question came up and some said you can't get that much on one.

    http://www.penndelfire.com/apparatus.asp?aid=l8
    Sounds good. I was looking for the Motrin myself

    Nice rig, but laundry soap and trash cans? Thats a first for me.
    And did you check out that rescue? Talk about 10 lbs of sh** in a 5lb bag
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    Funny, that's the same line as used as the subject email when I sent the rescue pics out. That's not the department I ran with but same county, pretty much the same mentality. Our trucks up there were the same way, couldn't see the back wall of the compartment. They run wreck on some major roads, lots of 18 wheeler traffic, have to be loaded for bear. All departments in Bucks are still fully volunteer, nearly everyone sends a decent amount of their guys for all of the rescue stuff: heavy vehicle, trench, confined, etc, etc. No sense in having the stuff and not being able to use it, and no sense in not being able to handle all of the types of calls that could come in.

    The real laundry soap reason escapes me, but we used to carry some too. Small spills, maybe? Cheaper than Petro-clean or any of those type of spill control/cleanup items.

    The trash cans are for overhaul. Shovel the stuff into the can, take it outside and dump it in the wetdown pile. Thought that was a widely used practice. We had trash cans and buckets on our truck for that.

    The buckets came in handy for the occasional party at someone's house, fit a keg with plenty of room for ice.

  9. #69
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    Is it really laundry soap? We use old kitty litter bins for oil dry, I would assume the very large detergent bottles could be used for the same thing.

    We use old washtub type things for overhaul, but I can see the merit of the larger metal garbage cans.

    I will give them one thing - the compartments appear to be well laid out and the well labelled.

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    The soap is for the crew of the quint so when they get back they can wash which ever shirt they were wearing. If they were the Engine Co. on the run, they can wash it and make it clean for the next run and vice versa if they were the Truck Co. That way when they get their orders via radio, they can be wearing the right shirt for the assignment. LOL.

    Just kidding guys.

    As for the ground ladder compliment, I never said it couldn't be that much. I just said that often times it is not.

    Other than that, its a damn nice rig. Even if it is a Pierce Lance with a steel aerial but thats for another thread. Who would buy a Pierce Lance by choice? Oh, uh sorry Brian. LOL. Or even a Pierce Dash? Oh darn it, I did it again. Sorry again Brian. LOL.

    Be safe guys, I really enjoyed the point and counterpoint of this thread. Feel free to keep it going. I learn a little everytime, no matter if its different.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  11. #71
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Shhhh....they'll take your children if you talk bad about Pierce.

    Shhhhhh....

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    Why would they need to wash the engine shirt? Everyone knows only truck guys get dirty on a fireground while doing the real work.

    Depending on your kids, maybe you want them taken. Beats having to call 911 because your kids out of control...

    Now that Pierce has the 75' aluminum, and probably the 105' not far behind, not too much reason to stay with E-One now is there? I mean after all, why get told what cab you have to buy with a certain aerial device when you can pick any one in the line? Oh yeah, wouldn't want to do that, no sense in having choices or being comfortable in one of those large Lance or Quantum cabs....

    Whoops! Tripped over the dead horse while waving my flag. Sorry.

    One question: why isn't there this debate about rescue-pumpers? I mean after all, it's a two-hatted truck isn't it? FDNY has those in the form of Squads, other cities do the same. Squads/Rescue companies act like truck companies when needed, why no argument about only staffing those with a crew of 4 when they might have to drag hose and perform truck/rescue work on a fire? Don't they change jobs depending on when they arrive too? Aren't they being asked to perform the jobs of two companies? Enquiring minds want to know. Well, I do anyway.

  13. #73
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    Originally posted by BC79er
    One question: why isn't there this debate about rescue-pumpers? I mean after all, it's a two-hatted truck isn't it? FDNY has those in the form of Squads, other cities do the same. Squads/Rescue companies act like truck companies when needed, why no argument about only staffing those with a crew of 4 when they might have to drag hose and perform truck/rescue work on a fire? Don't they change jobs depending on when they arrive too? Aren't they being asked to perform the jobs of two companies? Enquiring minds want to know. Well, I do anyway.
    No big ladder on the top for the Hose Draggers to envy?
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    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Ah yes, Aerial Envy. I remember Freud did publish some works on that subject.

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    I actually ran with that company for a few months and found that quint to be by far the best set up so far. Throughout the lower part of our county quints and rescue pumpers are alot more common then the central and upper ends. If you look at the website that house has a pump on everything which is something I found intersting when I came to realize why. Like BC79 said down here we run the PA turnpike, I95, Route 1 and all sorts of accident prone roads where a rescue pumper is best.

    I bet as much as I'm into having an engine to supply your ladder and a non-quint company when they had a two alarm apartment fire it sure came in handly for that quint to have its pump not to mention most of the engines were caught up laying 3000 ft of 5in.
    Bucks County, PA.

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    phillyfirenews.com
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    Bucks County, PA.

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    and the rescue beached into the courtyard to deck gun the other side of the apartment
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    Bucks County, PA.

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    BC79, if we all bought Pierce, then who would we have to talk bad about? They are the only people who will actually submit a bid for a 100' LT quint with a price-tag of $900,000.00 and expect you to pay that for it. And thats after they tell you "We don't do this, we only do this, can't do that either, that is gonna be an SPQ, etc." LOL. And then back to the Lance cabs. I mean, if your gonna pull with 8 people every run then I understand. But if you don't, why add the wheelbase? Or, why not use the space savings from a shorter length cab (That seats 6) and increase storage capability in the way of compartments in a longer wheelbase isn't an issue?

    As for the whole Rescue Pumper/Squad thing, I'm not biting. My head is still sore. I have to give it some time before I jump into another tit-for-tat. But for the record, FDNY staffs their Squad Co.'s with a total of 6 members so staffing is somewhat of a mute point.

    Oh well, I think I am going to go throw darts at the latest Pierce new deliveries on the wall. LOL.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Post Slightly random yet related thoughts....

    Sorry I was away on a short vacation and missed quite a bit...

    I've noticed bad or good that although this thread has taken some different directions I think there is much learning on all sides, at least I've although baffled, have learned about certain operations in other depts. much different and some similar to where I have worked.

    Also I want to reiterate that I have worked under a system of Engines and Quints where an "IC" decided how to re-write the book on firefighting every time we had one. We had no positions and no pre-designations and when looking at it from a empirical perspective...it wasn't satisfactory in terms of performance, safety or consistency. It has nothing to do with FDNY, Boston, or any other large city FD, it has to do with systems that to me seem to be developed by chiefs who never spent any appreciable amount of time operating at actual fires. JMO

    By "freelancing" I meant we donít have situations where the truck would arrive and they would start doing truck work on their own. Doing that here would be considered "freelancing". I understand this is how some places operate and if it works for them, great. Keep up the good work! I take it from your post that "freelancing" means something else to you. Cool! What you call a Rescue we call a Squad. Different area, different terms.
    Dave, I see where the misunderstanding comes from. Freelancing I thought was a universal term that meant that companies would show up and do whatever the hell they wanted to do. As opposed to doing what is outlined and specified in their training and operational procedures which is far from freelancing.

    I understand how you do things, but the reason we donít is like I said earlier. No two fires are the same, so having "black & white" assignments just donít fly here. The world is not "black & white', but a million shades of grey Thats why our SOG's are limited to apparatus positioning and basic operations, like procedures/equipment for roof ventilation.
    None of my fires are the same either...yet they work smoothly I know many medium and even small depts. that use standard procedures that aren't black and white, but define roles and relationships allowing for flexibility in operations in general types of buildings. Just the same as the Miami Dolphins or LA Raiders have a playbook for most circumstances that define what each member is to do...and for any variables they have the audible. Seems like the smart thing to do.

    Every fire I've been to (speaking of interior attack) has needed search, hoselines, usually some form of FE, Overhaul, ventilation of some sort...etc. No real surprises or gray area there. I just can't imagine how anyone wouldn't see this as an improvement.)

    I attended some classes at FDIC some years ago and there were instructors from all over the country including Florida and they all discussed how critical it was for a dept to have standard procedures and designations to avoid confusion on a fire ground. (ie-eliminate as much confusion before hand) For example these Florida guys I think teamed their woefully manned Truck up with the first ambulance to create a two-team/4-man Truck Company; This is obviously more critical to Depts. who don't run fires regularly as they don't get to practice the routine as much.

    Its not as complicated as it sounds, and I certainly donít see it as "micro-managing" by the IC. As an example, here is what our radio traffic might sound like...
    -E41 on scene, smoke showing side so & so. E41 will be making an (interior/exterior) attack.
    -E32 at the hydrant will be laying in.
    -D35 on scene in command.
    -T48 on scene side so & so. (at this point, T48 has many options, assist with forced entry, go interior for a search, start PPV, ladder the roof, pull another line and so on, that all fit under first due truck. BUT, they wait for an order from the IC.)
    -Command T48, we have a report of a child inside.
    -T48 understood, interior search.

    -E27 on scene, will be setting up RIG (RIT) side so & so.
    -S18 on scene staged 1st street & 5th ave. (Here again, the squad has many options)
    -Command S18, into the scene and set up PPV side so & so
    -S18 understood.
    WOW, that sure was complicated...
    Now, if thats what you call micro-managing, so be it. We call it flexability. And you will also notice, not much radio traffic. The IC doesnt even need to respond to several of the units (laying a line, setting up RIG). It really is that simple. All units followed the SOGs as written.
    Dave, Your example, and yes I understand it is just that however it is what you would describe as typical ops for you...states that search wouldn't be started until someone was reported to be inside! and that ventilation needs to be dictated to a company as if that company officer or even firefighter was unable or incapable of knowing how to coordinate ventilation with the inside team. To me it appears as a total lack of trust and forethought into preparing your firefighters to act independently yet in conjunction with the company.

    In fact your example mirrors my experience where search was often overlooked until someone was mentioned to be missing or even worse until the "IC" felt it was necessary to assign someone to that task. I have volumes of texts from many different authors and none of them nor any legal advice would advocate leaving such a task to the whim and pleasure of whomever shows up first or happens to be chief for a night.

    That is the biggest difference I see is outlined procedures eliminate poor fire strategy, and incompetent bosses while the "pick-up football game method allows for mistakes and forgetfulness.

    Ranahan I agree with your assessment...
    As for "tying the hands" of the IC, we look at it in a completely different way than you. Companies following procedures keep the IC from micromanaging, and the IC is then allowed to focus on the bigger picture rather than the individual actions of one crew. If atypical tactics are required, the IC can still utilize those at his discretion. The IC doesn't become a SuperCaptain -- he controls the incident, and the company officers keep the individual companies going by following procedural guidance unless directed otherwise by the IC.
    This has been my experience and a few others who came from the system I originally worked under (which sounds similar to Daveís) and moved on to depts. that assigned as much as possible before hand. Keep in mind a number of my friends are in Depts. much much smaller than mine so I don't think anyone can pigeon hole this as being only for large depts. I and others have seen where there is little outgoing radio traffic from the Chief who doesn't need to give superfluous commands over the radio and instead listens from updates from the officers, Roof, and OVM...etc. This greatly simplifies things in my view.

    Also as an administrative side...by defining roles and responsibilities...the next time some cheap bureaucrat wants to slash staffing on the FD side...you can show him what each member is used for and why it is critical for them to be on that apparatus.

    Besides, the way it sounds, our areas operate in very different ways. We would only split a crew in an extreme case. Certainly not to for routine operations. If the truck is going to vent, then the whole truck crew vents. If its a search, the whole crew searches.
    Dave, I know we've had many discussions before regarding staffing in suburban/urban areas and that of our respective areas...however in light of the fact of almost everyoneís abysmal staffing situations why wouldn't you take members and team them up to form 2 man teams...wouldn't this increase you efficiency use of personnel available? Also are firemen in your dept or local depts. incapable of routinely working without the "direct" supervision of a company officer? (This would be as opposed to "functional supervision.)

    I imagine this is how we get photos of 4 firemen on the peaked roof of those private dwellings out west/south...meanwhile these depts. still clamor for better staffing...their staffing issues are partially their own fault.

    In the end you will operate as you always have...however having worked under similar circumstances I can't imagine how anyone wouldn't see the many weaknesses of such a system.

    Stay safe to everyone.

    FTM-PTB

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    BC79er,

    One question: why isn't there this debate about rescue-pumpers? I mean after all, it's a two-hatted truck isn't it? FDNY has those in the form of Squads, other cities do the same. Squads/Rescue companies act like truck companies when needed, why no argument about only staffing those with a crew of 4 when they might have to drag hose and perform truck/rescue work on a fire? Don't they change jobs depending on when they arrive too? Aren't they being asked to perform the jobs of two companies? Enquiring minds want to know. Well, I do anyway.
    1st I don't see many cities using Rescue Pumpers in lieu of fully equipped Rescue Companies as I am familiar with many more who replaced Engines with Quints just to avoid opening Ladder Companies.

    Also Squads in the example doesn't apply as the FDNY squads are only Engines in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd Due areas. They are citywide and augment Rescue and Haz-Mat ops. They and the Rescues train more than ALMOST ANYONE ELSE I KNOW. They have many responsiblities and tasks. Although they all have their own routines more or less they drill Multiple times a day and also review operations and tactics at jobs and on routine runs. They do a Fire Drill, Haz-Mat Drill and Rescue Drill in the SAME DAY or TOUR if time allows. In most cases these aren't table top drills either. They are hands-on. Although I might give them a good natured ribbing from time to time...I have a number of friends who wear the yellow patch and they are extreemly highly motivated individuals.

    They are NOT USED to replace two fully staffed companies as quints are in many communities. They either operate as an Engine or as a Squad and operate as such to augment the operating companies and as a tool for the Chief.

    2nd as a fireman who spend many painful and confusing years as a Quint guy (I felt like a pre-Op transvestite with the hormonal treatment but right before the chop!) I tried and tried (much more than many of my brothers) to maintain my Engine and Truck Skills...and truthfully it is hard if not impossible even for a moderately busy company which we were. It takes a special person to be committed to that level of training...yet it would seem most depts. feel they can get away with just purchasing a quint and only occasional training.

    Don't be fooled by the argument that anyone can be a good Engineman and Truckie at the same time. I'm much better at stretching the handlines, where to flake it out, how to move it better, how to back up the nozzleman...etc. than my brothers in the truck who are much better than me at forcing doors, search, operating the bucket, getting to the roof and the routine that must be followed. It takes much more practice than one thinks to get to the point where one is that good at it.

    If you think getting a Quint will give your company and Chiefs "another tool" don't forget that "tool" needs to be sharpened, honed, used and cleaned often to be of any use...otherwise it falls into disuse and becomes rusty and a burdon to the user.

    FTM-PTB

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