1. #1
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    Default Officer location ...

    Where are you (officer) or your officer located on the attack crew at dwelling fires? Going in with the nozzleman? Conducting a 360 of the structure while 2 firefighters go in to attack the fire? Hump hose at the door?
    For us, it is going in with the nozzleman and leaving our 3rd to hump hose, if needed or help with the search.
    Just curious!!!

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    He goes in with the nozzleman and a volunteer will hump hose at the door. We lack manpower. 6 people a shift
    Last edited by ACfire1; 11-18-2006 at 07:41 PM.

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    I will do a 360 as the FFs deploy the line(s), then I go in with the nozzleman on the attack line.




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    I go in with my crew. If a FF gets hurt(hole in floor, flashover,etc) while the officer's doing a walk around I feel he didn't do the most important part of his job..getting his crew in and out intact. He'll still be held accountable. In my stations area a 360 isn't practical. In addition to several highrises, there are many row houses that go from corner to corner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582
    I go in with my crew. If a FF gets hurt(hole in floor, flashover,etc) while the officer's doing a walk around I feel he didn't do the most important part of his job..getting his crew in and out intact. He'll still be held accountable. In my stations area a 360 isn't practical. In addition to several highrises, there are many row houses that go from corner to corner.
    Len,

    Although I think you were feferring to one of the options Oldrookie611 had proposed, please don't misinterpret what I posted.

    On a SFD, I will do a 360, or as much of one as possible, as lines are being pulled. There are many situations where seeing more than one, or two sides of the fire building is just not possible. I will not waste a lot of time trying see all sides if access is restricted by obstructions, or distance.

    I also will not allow my crew to advance into the structure, either for fire attack, or rescue, if I am not right there with them.




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    OK...I'm with you 49

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    The officer belongs with the crew...if not, why even have an officer? His primary, sacred responsibility is to see that the men make it back out in one piece. On the engine he belongs with the nozzle team. On the truck he belongs with the FE/inside team; while other positions may operate more or less "independently", they must still communicate and he is still responsible for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackstepFF
    The officer belongs with the crew
    I can understand this with an officer on a second or third truck in, but if he is first officer on scene, IMO, he should stay outside, take command and coordinate incoming units, until he can pass command to a higher ranking officer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonetrexler
    IMO, he should stay outside, take command and coordinate incoming units, until he can pass command to a higher ranking officer.
    This is normal tactic in Germany to stay outside as officer and make a 360 and see all sides of a building.
    If you go inside and on the backside of a buildung a person needs help at a window (and you did not your 360!), you get in trouble...?

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    Sounds like someone read the “NIMS” manual.

    There is a saying, as the first engine goes so goes the fire, meaning that the first few minutes at a fire are critical. What happens in those first minutes will determine if the fire is a “good stop” or a “parking lot” and whether lives are saved or lost.

    A “360” is all fine and good on a private dwelling or similar sized structure, but how fast can you do a lap around a strip of taxpayer stores, a row of garden apartment buildings, an H-type tenement, high-rise apartment project, or a building that takes up an entire city block? It is not always possible, that’s why we assign companies to take Side 3.

    Taking a command position outside is the function of a chief officer, not a company officer. A battalion chief (or equivalent) should be expected to arrive within a few minutes after the first in units and there should be established procedures so that they know what to do until his arrival. Again, the company officer is the vital link for firefighter survival, which is what we should be concerned with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonetrexler
    I can understand this with an officer on a second or third truck in, but if he is first officer on scene, IMO, he should stay outside, take command and coordinate incoming units, until he can pass command to a higher ranking officer.
    Who is supervising his men? As not only are they now searching for the fire and people...but there is no officer to provide safe supervision or assement of the inside or coordination with the Engine Company.

    How safe of an operation is this when the officer is as far from safety as possible? This aint the cops...our officers are litterally first in and last out for a reason and that is so we all go home at the end of the tour.

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    I knew this question sounded familiar. Look over here http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=55708 there are some very sound and logical responses.
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    Cool Where they should be.....

    I think where the first onscene Officer should be depends on the manpower available.
    On a 4 man Engine, there is no reason why the C.O. should be inside with the Fire Attack. That would pass the Command to the Engineer (my position) and I have too many things to be doing to assume Command. To me, it's prettty simple..... the C.O. has full turnouts and BA on (acts as the Initial Standby Crew) the C.O. gets out and performs their 360 check (if capable of doing, sometimes buildings are too large), securing utilitties as they go, then gets back in the cab, rolls up the window, turns of the A.C. if the Engineer didn't and gives assignments on the radio until relieved by the Chief.
    On a 2 or 3 man Engine, the C.O. goes in with the Fire Attack and guides the personnel, once the "Standby Crew" is established.
    Just how it works in "my world." Pretty simple......
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    A lot depends on where you are as to how you answer this question.

    In my book, the first arriving officer should (and in our department is required to) stay outside and assume command, even if he arrives on the first due engine. If there is an experienced crew inside, why do they need an officer? Our experienced firefighters are as capable about making decisions about what the fire is doing and what is the best way to approach the situation as most of our officers. The officer, if there is no other officers on-scene needs to be outside where he can read what the fire is doing to the complete structure, not just a limited view of the fire area. He needs to be in a position to make decisons about what type of water supply will be established (which in our area may be choice between ahydrant and a water shuttle, and what type of shuttle), where and how ventilation will be accomplished and if additional resources via mutual aid is needed. He cannot supervise overall safety from inside, and yes while the first 5 minutes may be critical to extingushing the fire, it can also be critical as to the safety outcome of the event.

    I understand this may be a different approach than city departments where a chief officer is a garanteed with only a 1-2 minute lapse between the first due and the arrival of the chief. We are not garanteed a chief, except on a day call where the full-time Asst. Chief is in the district, and at times we may not even get a second officer (captain or above) to take command if the initial arriving officer is inside. Most of our senior firefighters (semi-equivilent to a Lt. on many other departments) have as much firefighting time and training as our captains, and quite honestly, are in better shape to operate inside for extended periods. Any experienced firefighter worth his salt should be able to make a reasonably intelligent fire attack, communicate his results to command, co-ordinate the crew, and follow any follow-up instructions given to him.

    I guess I just don't understand why an experienced engine company in the busiest fire department in the world needs a "boss". This is not a slam, or meant as one. I guess I just am wondering why a seasoned firefighter, equipped with radio communication to command, needs a supervisor telling him how to do his job, especially if he has done it hundreds of times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonetrexler
    I can understand this with an officer on a second or third truck in, but if he is first officer on scene, IMO, he should stay outside, take command and coordinate incoming units, until he can pass command to a higher ranking officer.
    this is how it usually works here.......
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    A lot depends on where you are as to how you answer this question.

    In my book, the first arriving officer should (and in our department is required to) stay outside and assume command, even if he arrives on the first due engine. If there is an experienced crew inside, why do they need an officer? Our experienced firefighters are as capable about making decisions about what the fire is doing and what is the best way to approach the situation as most of our officers. The officer, if there is no other officers on-scene needs to be outside where he can read what the fire is doing to the complete structure, not just a limited view of the fire area. He needs to be in a position to make decisons about what type of water supply will be established (which in our area may be choice between ahydrant and a water shuttle, and what type of shuttle), where and how ventilation will be accomplished and if additional resources via mutual aid is needed. He cannot supervise overall safety from inside, and yes while the first 5 minutes may be critical to extingushing the fire, it can also be critical as to the safety outcome of the event.
    They don't call them "company officers" for nothing. His job is inside with his company. To use your own argument, if your crews are experienced why does the truck need some engine officer telling him his job, how and where to vent??? Your first and second engines and trucks should know their job well enough to not need any command right when they arrive.
    I understand this may be a different approach than city departments where a chief officer is a garanteed with only a 1-2 minute lapse between the first due and the arrival of the chief. We are not garanteed a chief, except on a day call where the full-time Asst. Chief is in the district, and at times we may not even get a second officer (captain or above) to take command if the initial arriving officer is inside. Most of our senior firefighters (semi-equivilent to a Lt. on many other departments) have as much firefighting time and training as our captains, and quite honestly, are in better shape to operate inside for extended periods. Any experienced firefighter worth his salt should be able to make a reasonably intelligent fire attack, communicate his results to command, co-ordinate the crew, and follow any follow-up instructions given to him.
    Your senior officers not being in the best shape is no justification for them to stay outside. If they are no good to you inside, leave them out by all means, but don't use it as an example for others to follow.

    I guess I just don't understand why an experienced engine company in the busiest fire department in the world needs a "boss". This is not a slam, or meant as one. I guess I just am wondering why a seasoned firefighter, equipped with radio communication to command, needs a supervisor telling him how to do his job, especially if he has done it hundreds of times.
    First off, what are you suggesting? That all officers be eliminated??? Secondly, here only the officer and hydrant man have a radio and obviously the hydrant man will be arriving late. The line is the firefighters job, communication, command, and oversight are the officers. And as for your semi sarcastic point about certain departments not needing officers if they are so good - our officers are not there to hold our hands and micromanage ventilation, extinguishment, and water as they apparently they are in your part of the world. They are there to ensure crew safety. I would have thought you would understand that.
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    Chicago ..

    I understand the role of officers in ensuring firefighter safety. My question was simply an inquiry as to why the concept of the "boss" was so strong in some departments. My world is different from yours in a lot of ways. Here, if our first due officer is needed to assume command, or assume any other role, the most experienced member on the engine has been trained to assume the role of supervisor. If the engine is heavy (5 men, which is rare, and generally only staffed that way for mutual aid calls), this training also gives the truck a second boss who can supervise a split crew.

    I understand the role of the officer to form and focus his crew, but to me the overall scheme of the operation needs to be able to adjust to the officer being pulled from his/her company and having the next senior crew member being able to assume the supervisory role. In our case, our captains are often used for outside management tasks upon arrival such as water shuttle officer, safety officer, staging officer and division officer. Yes, they are older and don't have the physical stamina of the younger senior firefighters, but this is not why they are generally kept outside. It is rare that an officer will go inside with a crew. That, in our operation is the role of the senior firefighters, who are not officers per se but represent our most experienced fireman.

    Our chief sees captains as managers to supervise overall operations or floors, not specific crews. He sees the role of captians as handling personnel management issues at the station, and supervising training. He sees them as setting the overall expectaions for the department as a whole. I never suggested that officers are not needed. They are essential in the running and management on the operational level of a fire department. I guess my experience is that they are not critical as immediatte crew supervisors on the fireground. To me they are more valauable at the next level up. In my experience, experienced senior members can do as competent a job in managing a fire crew as an officer, especially if they have been prepared for that role, if the officers are needed at the next level of supervision, which was the original premace of this post and what my response was based on.

    In addition, we have no problem assigning personnel from one officer to another if that task needs more people. I know, that based on what has been said in other posts, that some departments have problems with the concept of crews being split and working under the command of other company bossesy competent. Why, in some agencies is this such as issue? Again, this is curouisity .. not a slam.

    if your crews are experienced why does the truck need some engine officer telling him his job, how and where to vent???
    Because the vent crew does not know specifically what the IC's plan is. While most experienced firefighters could probably select an adequate vent spot on thier own, that spot may not be specifically where the IC wants the hole in his plan. That is called teamwork .. each IC will likely have his own tactical vision, so the vent crew needs to get specific instructions that will allow his plan to be carried out.

    Secondly, here only the officer and hydrant man have a radio and obviously the hydrant man will be arriving late.
    I was assuming that in most large cities, each FF had a radio. Here, all the personnel, paid and vollie are issued portables. In my last vollie department, each engine and truck carried 4 radios (plus the officer or a medically certiefied firefighter, if on board, had an issued radio), so each member having a radio was rarely an issue.

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    In our organization, the officer is in with the attack line. If we roll up on a working structure fire, the officer radios an arrival report and goes in "quick attack mode" meaning the next arriving unit will take command. The first due officer conducts a 360 shutting off utilities as they go. Works for us but every organization is different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    Chicago ..

    I understand the role of officers in ensuring firefighter safety. My question was simply an inquiry as to why the concept of the "boss" was so strong in some departments. My world is different from yours in a lot of ways. Here, if our first due officer is needed to assume command, or assume any other role, the most experienced member on the engine has been trained to assume the role of supervisor. If the engine is heavy (5 men, which is rare, and generally only staffed that way for mutual aid calls), this training also gives the truck a second boss who can supervise a split crew.
    Of course all our firemen can assume command of their company at any time, but this only occurs if the officers goes down hurt, or there is a man power problem, in which case the most senior man is asked to act up as an officer. If he refuses it goes to the next most senior on down until the most junior guy is reached. He can't refuse. Or they can hire back an officer from his day off for overtime. But under normal circumstances he always goes in.

    I understand the role of the officer to form and focus his crew, but to me the overall scheme of the operation needs to be able to adjust to the officer being pulled from his/her company and having the next senior crew member being able to assume the supervisory role. In our case, our captains are often used for outside management tasks upon arrival such as water shuttle officer, safety officer, staging officer and division officer. Yes, they are older and don't have the physical stamina of the younger senior firefighters, but this is not why they are generally kept outside. It is rare that an officer will go inside with a crew. That, in our operation is the role of the senior firefighters, who are not officers per se but represent our most experienced fireman.

    Our chief sees captains as managers to supervise overall operations or floors, not specific crews. He sees the role of captians as handling personnel management issues at the station, and supervising training. He sees them as setting the overall expectaions for the department as a whole. I never suggested that officers are not needed. They are essential in the running and management on the operational level of a fire department. I guess my experience is that they are not critical as immediatte crew supervisors on the fireground. To me they are more valauable at the next level up. In my experience, experienced senior members can do as competent a job in managing a fire crew as an officer, especially if they have been prepared for that role, if the officers are needed at the next level of supervision, which was the original premace of this post and what my response was based on.
    We do it differently. Our leuitenants are paid to be responsible for their companies each shift and the captain is responsible for the house, the company on his shift and all the others as well. Thats what they get paid for. One Captain here was given a suspension for his company "misbehaving" while he was out of state on vacation. They get paid to be in charge and responsible for the safety and actions of their guys. Why would the Battalion Chiefs get six figures if they were going to let company officers do their work? Everyone has their place here and the company officers is with his company.


    if your crews are experienced why does the truck need some engine officer telling him his job, how and where to vent???Because the vent crew does not know specifically what the IC's plan is. While most experienced firefighters could probably select an adequate vent spot on thier own, that spot may not be specifically where the IC wants the hole in his plan. That is called teamwork .. each IC will likely have his own tactical vision, so the vent crew needs to get specific instructions that will allow his plan to be carried out.
    Not here. If the roof needs to be opened the roof guys open it.

    Secondly, here only the officer and hydrant man have a radio and obviously the hydrant man will be arriving late.
    I was assuming that in most large cities, each FF had a radio. Here, all the personnel, paid and vollie are issued portables. In my last vollie department, each engine and truck carried 4 radios (plus the officer or a medically certiefied firefighter, if on board, had an issued radio), so each member having a radio was rarely an issue.
    On the truck officer, roof and rear have radios. On the engine officer and hydrant have them. The hydrant radios just came out two or three years ago. I don't know why the pipeman or second up would need them, or the second roofman or the truckman with the officer.

    I guess technically the first arriving engine officer is "in charge" until the chief gets there, but everyone has a job to do and they all do it without direction from anyone. I'd love to see the engine officer standing outside while his crew was inside and start barking orders at the truck officer. It wouldn't go over well but it would be fun to watch!
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    Engine company, officer will be inside with the hose team. Not on the nozzle, not on the line, but up in front scanning with a TIC and relaying information via radio.

    Truck company, officer will be inside with search team. Scanning with TIC and directing the search while observing conditions and relaying information via radio.

    IF (and it has happened) no Chief officers have signed on the radio, the officer of the engine will stay outside as Command and the backup man on the hose will become the "radio" inside to relay information.

    We can't guarantee that a Chief officer will always be on scene.
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    Here the company officer goes in with the line. When Im the officer for the shift, Im always the last one on the line, with the nozzleman and back-up in front of me. Last in, last out. I do it that way so I can keep track of my crew, as well as be able to watch fire conditions and talk on the radio.

    As for portables, every firefighter who goes interior takes a portable. This is nothing more than a safety issue as our portables are equiped with "emergency" buttons which are one of the ways we have to signal if there is a problem. However, unless its an emergency, only the officer actually talks on the portable.
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    Normally our officer on the first due engine will remain outside, do a 360, watch smoke conditions, and when second engine or more man power arrives then an officer or veteran firefighter will check on inside operations. If you don't have confidence with your firefighters on the line then why have them inside at all. Just my opion

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949
    I also will not allow my crew to advance into the structure, either for fire attack, or rescue, if I am not right there with them.
    Kevin
    Amen, brother....

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    I think you do need to take it on a case-by-case basis, especially if you're in a small/medium sized volunteer department. If the first due apparatus has six guys on it (including driver/officer), then I feel the officer should be outside until relieved by a higher ranking officer. If you have three guys on the truck, go in and command from the inside until the cavalry gets there. But, every situation is unique and no two fires are exactly alike, so use COMMON SENSE!
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    Quote Originally Posted by djgilbert32
    If you don't have confidence with your firefighters on the line then why have them inside at all. Just my opion
    It has nothing to do with confidence. It has to do with having a set of eyes inside keeping an eye out for the safety and welfare of the crew. Who else is going to do it, the nozzleman who is bee-lining it to the fire? Or the backup guy who is humping hose?
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