1. #1
    firefighter7160
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    Post Understaffed Company's

    What do you do with only nine firefighters. This is what we roll on every first alarm. As was the case last week when a call came in of a house fire in the midtown area of are city. My Engine company was out in there distract at lunch. The call was punched out as a report of a house fire with smoke coming from the second floor of a vacant house. While inroute smoke could be seen from 15 blocks away. First due Engine arrived and found a plug 2 blocks out. They pulled a 3 inch line and layed in. One firefighter stayed at the plug. The Engine arrived and reported a working fire, with fire on the A side and roof. One driver set the truck up to pump. The Lt. on the Engine pulled a attack line and BC arrived and took IC. This is 3 down before water is even on the fire. The next due Engine is now there with a crew of three. The Capt. and FF go to the front door and go in with the line that the Lt. pulled. The man that was at the plug starts venting by placing the fan and placing a ladder on the second floor. Now we have 2 in and 1 at the pump, 1 IC and 1 venting. A second line is pulled by the Lt. and the driver of the second due Engine. There is still heavy fire on the second floor. They go in with the line. Now you have 4 in and only the 2 left from the truck to use. There is no line for them so they go in and get to work with tools in side. This is 6 in and only 3 out. Now I know that this is not the way that most dept's fight fire. But what else can you do. How would you fight this fire with only 9 FF. The same fire. You be the IC and take control. The next Engine Co. is 5 to 10 min out, but this is only after 911 tones them out, and they havent yet.

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    Engines have 3
    Truck (Ladder?) Has 2
    Batallion brings 1...


    First due engine would hit the plug, leave 1 FF and lay in for supply. Establish your water supply and then firefighter continues back up to the pump. Officer on the engine starts flaking out line with assistance from the engineer once the supply hose is connected. Most likely the first in line would be a 1.75. First due officer also needs to be calling for more help right away.

    Second due engine hits a second plug, and lays in a backup supply line to the first engine. Officer and firefighter pull the second line (2.5 preferably), engineer can start throwing ladders and venting windows as/if needed.

    Truck company enters the building to start the search. The second due engineer could also be used at this point for VES if needed.

    Batallion takes command once they have arrived on scene.
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    What do you do with only 9 firefighters............


    Call for mutual aid.
    Your a daisy if you do.

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    9 would be a pretty good turnout for us on a daytime fire....after that, call mutual aid....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    heck, if you are constantly having low turnouts to calls, why not make it auto aid instead of mutual aid. if you know that you are going to be shortstaffed, go ahead and have help on the way. you can always cancel
    Your a daisy if you do.

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    Daytime paid staffing for us in 3 ... (1) 24 hour shift firefighter, (1) 8-5 Daytime firefighter (paid qualified volunteer) and the Assistant Chief plus the two people from the Parish EMS aganecy who are housed at our station and are cross-trained to drive and pump our apparatus. Volunteer daytime initial response is usually 3-4 plus another 2-4 10-15 minutes out. Nightime paid staffing is the one 24 hour shift firefighter plus the medic crew. generally there are at least 2-3 volunteers doing rideouts each night plus a greatly increased volunteer response.

    So 9 initially sounds pretty much where we are at, for a daytime response. Initial nightime response is 10-12 plus another 10-15 in the next 10 minutes. Yes it's tight, but most times we get the job done until mutual aid arrives. We do not use automatic mutual aid, and neither do our neighbors because according to the rating system Louisiana uses, you have certain % of firefighters deducted at rating time based on the number of times they were on automatic mutual aid and unavailable in the district. Requested mutual aid is not deducted. Crazy system, huh???

    In our case, it would be impossible (and just plain wrong given the economic make-up of our district) to justify hiring any more full-time firefighters and raising the tax rate for the 2-3 times a year we are initially shorthanded. Daytime volunteer response is down a little now simply because many of our members who work 24 shift hour fire or EMS jobs elsewhere have gotten second jobs on thier off-days, but it tends to be very cyclical here, and those numbers will pick up again in a few months.

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    9 FF's on the first alarm assignment. I am glad to see that other depts. feel my pain at work. If we have a fire dispatched inside the city limits we are getting 2 engines (each with 3 people on board), 1 tower or rescue truck depending on what kind of building it is (1 maybe 2 people on board, if it is commerical or apt you get the tower if it is a single family dwelling you get the rescue), and 1 District Chief. We are a combo dept, but we only have like 3 or 4 vols that might respond, but more often than not don't. The way we work it is that 1st eng will pull the attack line most often 1 3/4''. If there is a plug in the front yard or a house or two away the LT(our drivers) will catch it himself. If the plug is further away the 2nd in eng will catch the plug. We lay out 5''. The 1st eng crew attacks the fire, the 2nd eng crew will put the fan in the door and vent. The rescue or tower will go in and start to open up. If we pull up and see that it is a fire that will require more than one handline to knock the fire down we will call for a third eng and move 2 other engs into town from neighboring depts to cover. It seems to work for us, it is by far not the smartest thing to do but that decision comes from someone who makes more than I do. This does get a little better each year as we add more and more staffing. Although it is sad to say, this is one reason I am glad that the vols don't show up. It just proves to the chief that we need more paid staffing for the trucks. Although we are a combo dept, we are definitely a paid department supplemented by vollys instead of a volly dept supplemented by paid guys.

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    Default 9 FF's What Do You Do?

    Since you're going in short staffed to begin with, sending the 2nd Alarm, Working Fire Dispatch etc... to get mutual aid companies coming as soon as you realize you have a working fire...

    If you can already see the column... call it before you get there, you can always send'em back.

    1st Due Engine 3 personnel

    Officer & Firefighter start the attack, with short staffing you're going to have to be agressive, otherwise you'll be surrouding and drowning.
    Engineer is pumping, may assist with forcing the door once the line is flaked and charged, and is packed out without mask acting as initial RIT

    1st Due Battallion 1 person

    Assumes Command, and is packed out without mask acting as initial RIT with Engineer from 1st due engine

    2nd Due Engine 3 personnel

    Leave 1 Firefighter at the hydrant
    Engineer makes connection to 1st due Engine, calls for water
    Officer/Hydrant Firefighter take the 2nd Line
    Engineer OVM - RIT / IC becomes IC

    1st Due Truck 2 personnel

    Opening Up

    Get a mutual aid company on scene for designated dedicated RIT/FAST Operations to relieve other personnel on scene from two-hatting

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    Lightbulb

    Your first consideration ought to be the type of stretch you start with. Why understaffed companies don't reverse to the hydrant is beyond be. You get more bang for your buck putting the driver at the hydrant, where he can start tank water then finish the hook up by himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaCreek
    Your first consideration ought to be the type of stretch you start with. Why understaffed companies don't reverse to the hydrant is beyond be. You get more bang for your buck putting the driver at the hydrant, where he can start tank water then finish the hook up by himself.
    Depends on hydrant spacing. Most of our engines would be around the corner and down the block, completely killing any chance the engineer can do anything else.

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    First in engine goes straight in, no laying a line and losing a man. 2 guys bring line in, driver pumps tank water. That gives me, 3 minutes of solid flow. 2nd engine is laying supply line and feeds first engine. 2 guys from 2nd engine stretch a 2nd line. Once the 2nd engine feeds the first (can do so with their tank water as well) notify the 1st line you have water (they should be using it sparingly at first - contain the fire, not extinguish). Truck does truck work.

    PS - this is theoretical as I've never been to a fire with so few guys.
    "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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    Talking

    Quote:
    "Depends on hydrant spacing. Most of our engines would be around the corner and down the block, completely killing any chance the engineer can do anything else."

    That's kind of what I mean. I find that people who don't think about it, or haven't actually done it, don't realize that the driver is actually doing other things, He's doing all those things that the other arriving equipment is going to have to do when THEY get there! Big difference is that when the others do arrive, they get right down to business in a more expedient manner. The time they have to spend hooking up is already well underway, or completed, allowing those people to address the fire, not water.

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    Unless you're a City like Chicago, LA, FDNY, etc. that's about the inital response most departments get.

    I think you guys did a heck of a job as far as getting started goes. Not to go completely off topic, but I think it's situations like these that "firefighter health" is stressed so much.

    For those 5-20 minutes when there are only 9 ff's, you guys are busting humps. None of us are supermen, don't be so hard on yourself.

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    If we had nine on first alarm we would not know what to do with all the people, we would be running around bumping into each other. We get five career FF/Paramedics for inital assignment, plus at least four more from paid on call in an engine on 1st alarm. They are usually about 10 minutes out. So nine initally would be a dream come true.

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