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    Default Definition of "Working Fire"

    What is the true definition of a "working fire"?

    Any fire academy students out there have this definition in your text books?
    Chris Shields
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    Just venturing a guess here without looking it up yet, I would say probably a fire well into atleast its incipient stage, where atleast 1 hoseline must be stretched and operated. But then again, Ive seen and heard chiefs give a "working fire" for a car burning, which I really dont think is necessary. Good question. I'm Gonna have to go look it up somewhere.

    Edited to add:In John Norman's book, "Fire Officers Handbook of Tactics", he states that most "working fires" are found during the free burning stage. Not really a definition, but a start.
    Last edited by nyckftbl; 04-21-2006 at 10:53 AM.
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    For us, a "working fire" is all hands from the initial dispatch working .
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    Talking Definition

    Working Fire - that which occurs during the following times: (1) sitting down to a hot meal on a holiday; (2) as soon as you sit on the throne; (3) the night that the new chief begins his new post; (4) the spouse is not home and neither are any babysitters; and (5) the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter of the Superbowl...

    Kidding aside, I think Rum's response is accurate. However, it's application in the field varies. Most chiefs who arrive on the scene first will declare a working fire (visible smoke & flame) before the companies arrive - the anticipation being that all companies will work when they get there.
    Last edited by Shoreman22; 04-21-2006 at 01:29 PM.
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    In my dept, "Working Fire" is a designation made by either the initial arriving company officer, or the Batt Chief. It denotes a fire in a structure requiring the use of at least one hoseline, and the holding of all companies on the initial alarm assignment. An incipient fire that can be extinguished with the can is not a working fire, no matter how much smoke it generates. Working Fire is also a signal to Dispatch requiring certain notifications be made-add'l engine co. to scene for RIT, ambulance for standby, Safety Officer, Chiefs.

    Occasionally, you will hear the term working car fire used, which is taken to mean more involved than just the engine compartment. Since a car fire assignment here is one Engine/one Rescue, it will be a heads up to the Rescue that they'll have work to do (cutting the hood, helping the engineer get on a hydrant, assisting with the line).

    If someone says "Working" dumpster or trash, it's meant as a joke.

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    In "Essentials of Firefighting and Emergency Response - Firefighter's Handbook", there is no mention of the term working fire. Furthermore, the term really wasn't mentioned at all during my time at fireschool.

    In my volunteer company, however, is basically exactly what gunny described.

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    Exclamation

    What is the true definition of a "working fire"?

    When the house is on fire!

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    Here, the first in-truck may delare any incident a "working" incident if upon arrival, the officer or senior firefighter sees an incident which will in all liklihood, use all manpower and apparatus currently responding. This can be any type of fire, search/technical/wildland rescue, MVA/extrication incident or any other multi-patient incident.

    It is used as a signal to the companies that they will be engaged and also gives a heads-up to volunteer members that may be monitering and would not respond unless the incident in fairly significant due to some type of current commitment. Also, volunteer drivers know to get the other appartus up and request orders (go to scene, standby, move-up, etc).

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    My interpretation ( keep in mind I am still new to most of this) is: a fire that is an actual fire, not an automatic alarm, false alarm, dryer steam, barbeque smoke, barbeque fire( for cooking not out of control). Further, (in the KC Metro) it indicates that more resources may be needed, like the Air wagon, utilities, investigator, Red Cross, etc.
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    between my man Gunny V and pvfire they are about the closest. Toledo has an actual definition but I dont recall waht it is when they change it in CAD, I will find out when I go back to work and let you all know.

    Toledo Fire defines a working fire as a 2 and 1 (2 engines and 1 truck co) in service for 20 mins or greater on the scene.
    Last edited by Weruj1; 04-26-2006 at 10:55 PM. Reason: got more info
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    When the nozzle team starts stretching before you have to ask them to.

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    I would define a working fire as one which all responding companies will be needed on scene. However, "working fire" is a term we rarely use. Occasionally, the first arriving officer will use this term, but as a rule, we will give a size up consisting of one of the following:

    Nothing showing.
    Light smoke showing.
    Heavy smoke showing.
    Fire showing.
    Heavy fire showing.
    Fully involved.

    Normally, given a good size-up report from the first arrivivg company, all other responding companies will have a pretty good idea what to expect upon arrival.




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    Talking

    tried to edit this but accidentally made a new message..............anyway read the message below this one......stupid newbie (reffering to me)
    Last edited by jrengine70; 04-21-2006 at 05:53 PM.

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    when you pull up and say "oooooo look at the pretty colors"

    when our chief (or whatever officer) arrives and there is fire and smoke visible he says 'working fire' to signal that there is a fire and to let the companies arriving to gear up and get a line down.

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    I personally like a "tight" definition for "worker" --

    A fire that it is anticipated will take at least 2 handlines to control.

    (With the caveat that your 1st Alarm assignment to any given situation should normally be capable of placing two handlines in service, along with supporting truck work and water supply...thus putting 2 lines in service...requires all hands working.)

    The difference between a description of the fire (smoke showing, fire showing, heavily involved, etc) and declaring something a "worker" is a ________ (I can't think of the right term) issue.

    A heavy fire showing from the window 1st floor, Side Bravo on a wood-frame structure isn't a worker...when it's a 12x10 shed in the backyard

    By classifying a fire as a Working Fire, it gives other responding Chief Officers and/or the Dispatcher a heads up that you will likely be asking for more help soon...and in some places it is the magic word that adds another unit or two onto an incident, or formally initiates a FAST response...not quite a 2nd Alarm, but since we're anticipating using everyone we already have responding, go ahead and send us somebody to put in reserve.
    Last edited by Dalmatian190; 04-21-2006 at 06:13 PM.

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    Around this area we use the terms "Working Fire" and "Major Working Fire". A working fire here is any fire where at least 1 hose line will be stretched into the structure and a 5" line is laid to the hydrants by most often the second in engine company. Along with that the public utility companies are notified to send a representitive and in some departments the Air Truck, Division Chief, and the on duty FD Safety Officer. On a major working fire, multiple lines are stretched and a second alarm assignment is dispatched. Along with this move ups start happening, notifications are made and the city water plant is notified incase they need to boost the amount of water in the hydrant system.

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    Thumbs up That's it.............

    Gunny pretty well summed up our situation too. However, Shoreman stands out with his answers, all of which have happened to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    I personally like a "tight" definition for "worker" --

    A fire that it is anticipated will take at least 2 handlines to control.

    (With the caveat that your 1st Alarm assignment to any given situation should normally be capable of placing two handlines in service, along with supporting truck work and water supply...thus putting 2 lines in service...requires all hands working.)

    The difference between a description of the fire (smoke showing, fire showing, heavily involved, etc) and declaring something a "worker" is a ________ (I can't think of the right term) issue.

    A heavy fire showing from the window 1st floor, Side Bravo on a wood-frame structure isn't a worker...when it's a 12x10 shed in the backyard

    By classifying a fire as a Working Fire, it gives other responding Chief Officers and/or the Dispatcher a heads up that you will likely be asking for more help soon...and in some places it is the magic word that adds another unit or two onto an incident, or formally initiates a FAST response...not quite a 2nd Alarm, but since we're anticipating using everyone we already have responding, go ahead and send us somebody to put in reserve.
    I think you clearly missed the point I made regarding a good size-up report...Fire showing from a 10x12 shed is just that...A small fire. Incoming units will know that there won't be much, if anything for them to do when they arrive.
    Fire showing from the gables and top floor windows of a two story SFD on the other hand, is a "heavy fire showing" condition and gives incoming units a good sense of what to expect.
    For us, size-up reports are scene and structure specific. For the most part though, anything from "heavy smoke showing" and up can be classified as a worker.




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    For us a "working fire" is any fire that is in the free burning stage, usually given only durning size up. Basically if you see flames, it's "working" but now that I think of it, we don't say "working fire" for brush or grass fires. Hmmm!

    I do like what Fireman4949 uses.

    Maybe gotta change some things here. Never thought of it before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949
    I would define a working fire as one which all responding companies will be needed on scene. However, "working fire" is a term we rarely use. Occasionally, the first arriving officer will use this term, but as a rule, we will give a size up consisting of one of the following:

    Nothing showing.
    Light smoke showing.
    Heavy smoke showing.
    Fire showing.
    Heavy fire showing.
    Fully involved.

    Normally, given a good size-up report from the first arrivivg company, all other responding companies will have a pretty good idea what to expect upon arrival.




    Kevin
    We do the same here. Alot of FD's find it hard to think that we run as many working fire's as we do.

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    This answer is the same as for the definition of Truck, Squad, Rescue, Medic, Wagon, Engine, Pumper, Buggy, etc.

    It all depends on whose territory your in.
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    Here its a fire large enough to require outside agencies like PD, power, gas, Red Cross etc. These outside agencies are notified by dispatch as soon as "working fire" is declared. Most departments also tag extra units like an extra engine company, an ambulance, safety officer and inspector.

    So basicly its a term used to activate additional resources, not a discription of the actual fire. Makes things a lot easier for the IC then haveing to ask for each individual resource.
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    I have come to know a "working fire" as any fire in a structure involving one or more compartments and the size of the fire is to large to be suppresed by a fire extinguisher.

    Also, for those of you who may confuse a structure fire with a compartment fire, here you go.

    Compartment fire- A fire in a building involving one or more compartments and does NOT involve the structural members of the building.

    Structure Fire- A fire in a building that has involved the structural members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949
    I would define a working fire as one which all responding companies will be needed on scene. However, "working fire" is a term we rarely use. Occasionally, the first arriving officer will use this term, but as a rule, we will give a size up consisting of one of the following:

    Nothing showing.
    Light smoke showing.
    Heavy smoke showing.
    Fire showing.
    Heavy fire showing.
    Fully involved.

    Normally, given a good size-up report from the first arrivivg company, all other responding companies will have a pretty good idea what to expect upon arrival.




    Kevin
    I like those detailed size ups. It really paints a good picture for the second/third arriving engines/trucks/ladders.

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    Isn't it funny....it is also a well worn term on this side of the pond without any official meaning but one that conjures up an image of a job where the crews are actively engaged Firefighting,

    I'd say it sits comfortably between "A pile of sh1t" and a "Good Job" two other regulary used terms that do not find use in official journals.

    For a structire fire I guess at the minimum at least one hoseline needs to be in operation and the crew engaged in firefighting prompting...
    "What did you have?"
    "Oh, a working fire...couple of rooms in a house"

    Wheras...
    "What did you have?"
    "Oh, a real good working job, fire on both floors of a large house and into the attic, made it up to 6 pumps and got an aerial in..."

    But looking beyond a structure fire, the term can apply equally to 50 tons of stinking burning garbage, a good sized brush fire or a pile of tyres in the dead end back streets of a ghetto. It's a nice 'warm' phrase that rolls easily off the tongue when you are sitting back at the Station sipping a coffee and breaking balls with the oncoming shift. And obviously a phrase that means around an about the same thing...without being confined to set boundaries of activity across the World of Firefighting.

    Here's wishing you all a (safe and enjoyable) 'Working fire' on your next shift!!!!
    Last edited by SteveDude; 04-25-2006 at 04:29 PM.
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