1. #1
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    Default First Piece Out - Truck or Engine??

    Anytown, USA Fire Department is alerted for a possible building fire at 1330 hrs. A deputy chief, and two paid fire fighters are on duty in a combination type fire department. The usual light daytime staffing problem exists and the first piece will roll with those three men and maybe, but not always, one volunteer. What goes first, truck or engine? The engine has a 1500 gpm pump with 750 gallons of water. The truck is a 100' mm platform with a 1500 gpm pump and 300 gallons of water.

    I'd like to see different views and opinions for each. I have my opinion of what I think should respond first and will reply soon. What do you think?

    Some background: This is a primarily volunteer fire department with a total of 3 paid staff firefighters (Dep. Chief, two FF's) steady daylight. Currently we run two engines (one of them equipped with rescue tools), a tanker, a brush unit, and a quasi QRS unit. The Truck (quint) is going to be purchased sometime late 2007. SOG's are in the works for apparatus response.

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    Depends on what the "building" is.

    Is it a mall/multi-story commercial? Or is it a single story McDonalds?

    What sort of Mutual Aid package do you have? Do you have engines coming from neighboring towns, or do they roll the Truck first?

    Also, what is the typical turnout after the first piece rolls during the day?
    Last edited by Nine3Probie; 08-03-2007 at 11:22 AM.

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    I would say the truck. How many times have you been to a fire and it is a CF moving stuff to get the ladder in place. Plus I feel the truck should throw the ladder or platform up even if you're not planning on using it. Put it somewhere incase someone needs to get out. You would have to get water flowing ASAP though beings you only have a 300 gal tank on it.

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    There are two 5 story hotels, both new and "non-combustible" construction, near the new slots casino. A few of 2 story office buildings, several one story strip malls, with most of the township single family dwellings (2-story).

    Mutual aid consists of volunteer fire departments, three of four immediate surrounding communities have aerial apparatus, not necessarily truck companies. All have engine companies.

    Our turnout: We should have enough people show up to lightly staff a second rig within 10 minutes of dispatch.

    Let's pose two scenario's:
    1. An a.f.a. in a commercial 3000 sq. foot store in a one story strip mall.
    2. Reported house fire across from 123 easy street.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    I would say the truck. How many times have you been to a fire and it is a CF moving stuff to get the ladder in place. Plus I feel the truck should throw the ladder or platform up even if you're not planning on using it. Put it somewhere incase someone needs to get out. You would have to get water flowing ASAP though beings you only have a 300 gal tank on it.
    Reflecting on your situation, I'm going to go with dday here, as the quint is probably the most flexible piece with "guaranteed" staffing. Worst situation, you would need to do your own water supply/hook-up unless you had an engine on your tail into the fireground. Sounds like you would need to do that if you ran the engine first out, anyway...so it's a wash.
    Last edited by Nine3Probie; 08-03-2007 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Stupid spelling mistake

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    The first piece in has the initial jobs of search & fire suppression. These jobs can be done from a truck or an engine (no special tools needed). The truck only has 300 gallons of water and the engine has 750. With a crew of 3, there is not a man to hit the hydrant. I want 750 gallons of water behind me. I know and understand that it takes much less water than one would think to put out a typical room and contents fire, but with proper training on apparatus placement (LRFTT) there will be ample room for the truck to set up. That way the engine company (first on scene) does engine work and the truck company (second on scene) does truck work. By the time the truck responds, a mutual aid engine should be on the road or on the road soon. The truck will be equipped with 1000-1200 feet of LDH and will be able to lay into the engine, establishing a water source (I know not a truck co. job, but in the world of the quint you do the best with what you have.)

    I'm not 100% sold on either piece responding first and it will not be up to me when the time comes, as I'm not the Chief, but rational discussion is good. There may not be a right or wrong way, I’m just trying to introduce some discussion on which responds first. Thanks for responses so far…. Keep them coming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsimpson145 View Post
    The truck only has 300 gallons of water and the engine has 750. With a crew of 3, there is not a man to hit the hydrant. I want 750 gallons of water behind me.
    Not really a matter of how much water, but more along the lines of fireground jobs...does the Chauffer deadman the pump and go interior? If not, can he locate the water source, and stretch the supply line? What is your distance between hydrants, typically? I am assuming hydrants and not "tenders," based on the brief description of your local.

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    Most of our local is hydranted; however, 9 times out of 10 the hydrant is not within hand-jack distance to hook up for the average d/o. If there are guys inside on a handline, the chauffer should be relatively close to the pump panel, especially with the initial hand line and limited staffing inside. He may be throwing ladders to the building for second floor/roof access or egress. There are a few ladders carried on the engine. More tank water will allow more time for interior hose work by the pipe crew and exterior ladder throwing by the chauffer. Don't forget, with the initial crew of 3, two guys are on the pipe, and one of these members is running the IC, pumping, giving commands to next in apparatus, and trying to throw ladders. He may not have time to safely hand stretch to the hydrant. Minimal staffing is what's throwing a wrench into the plan. With a crew of 5+ on station at the time of the alarm, the truck (quint) may be the better piece to go.

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    Have 1 person on the 4th floor at a window needing rescue. You'll wish that Quint was there then.

    Other reason I like having a truck first and doing truck work....where is the fire? Would it be better to have the engine run around the back where the fire is?
    "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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    Here it is a bit different, but here go's. Here from 0800-1600 we have 2 guys staffing a Medic Unit. Everyday of the year. They respond first to any call in the city. The Chief is the only FT guy and he is usually in town so he will respond to the call and set up IC usually. The Asst Chief works afternoons at his job and is usually in the city, so depending on the nature of the call, where the chief and medic are responding from, and who is on duty, he will either go on scene or respond to the station. He usually ends up being officer on the first truck out the door. We also usually have 4-8 guys around during the day (college students and guys that work off hours) so we can usually get another 2 trucks out the door. We also have a midi pumper coming automatic mutual aid from a neighboring dept with 2 FF's (same concept as our dept, they just respond on the mini pumper and other FF's bring the medic. Their Chief(FT) or EMS/Asst Chief (works odd hours) are usually in town and again the chief will respond to the call and EMS chief usually runs down to the station. SO this way on a bad day we are absolutely guaranteed 1 medic unit w/air packs and 1 minipumper with 4 FF's total, in less than 5 min. They have the same situation as us and can usually get manpower during the day for calls. Then we also are bordered by a Combination FT/POC dept, who staffs a medic unit and engine all day everyday. If it goes out as smoke or flame showing, mult. calls, etc. the chief or IC will usually call for them even before he gets on scene. They have another 4-5 guys or more who will show up during the day to bring another engine or a rescue or a ladder. Then there is another city not far away that also is FT/POC and staffs an engine and a medic at all times. They are only a phone call away and can often times get alot of people during the day so I could see the POC guys bringing another engine and/or truckand/or a rescue and maybe even a medic. Then to the north of us is a city of 250000+ and while I do not know of us ever calling them, we do standby for them for large fires or incidents running all their normal calls and even respond to the scene in some instances. If needed I'm sure that we could use the resources of there 16? Engines, 4 Trucks, 5 Squads (Heavy), 5 Rescues (suburbans for medical response, being replaces by BLS ambulances any time now), boats, Confined Space Rescue team, HAZMAT team, Water Rescue/Dive Team, or even the regionwide USAR Team.


    But anyways, back to the original topic. This is our running order (I don't think that it is 100% after the second engine, we switched some trucks around not too long ago) for a structure fire during the day:

    Medic
    Engine
    Truck
    Engine
    Safety Officer
    Medic
    And a chief or two somewhere in there.

    Also our Medical Director is a vollie at another dept and has lights in his POV and has a compnay vehicle called UNIT 51 with lightbar and ALS equip. Sometimes, usually accidents, he shows up to help.

    But in addition to that we are getting the following on a good day for an avg fire:

    Midi Pumper
    Chief
    Engine
    Medic
    Engine
    Medic
    Rescue

    If we need it like I said we could get

    4 more engines
    2-3 trucks
    1 Rescue
    3 Medics

    Thats without the big city.
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    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
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    Taking the quint out of the picture....... with true engine or true truck?

    take the engine. once you put the fire out, 90% of your problems go away

    and if you get a big fire, wrap the hydrant, go to the fire, let the 2nd due or police officer hook up to the hydrant.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Posted by bsimpson145
    There are two 5 story hotels, both new and "non-combustible" construction, near the new slots casino. A few of 2 story office buildings, several one story strip malls, with most of the township single family dwellings (2-story).

    Mutual aid consists of volunteer fire departments, three of four immediate surrounding communities have aerial apparatus, not necessarily truck companies. All have engine companies.

    Our turnout: We should have enough people show up to lightly staff a second rig within 10 minutes of dispatch.

    Let's pose two scenario's:
    1. An a.f.a. in a commercial 3000 sq. foot store in a one story strip mall.
    2. Reported house fire across from 123 easy street.
    Are the hotels, casino and office building equipped with sprinkler systems?

    That makes a big difference in what you roll to either
    scenario.

    PS: I think it's time for the Chief and town fathers to approach the casino and hotels and see if they would be willing to pay for a few additional personnel to protect their property and guests

    The cost of 2 additional personnel is probably covered in an hour of two of people playing the slots.

    If they seek to expand the operation, go after mitigation funding to lessen the impact they have on the community's infrastructure.

    The added benefit is additional personnel to respond to the normal day to day runs.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 08-03-2007 at 07:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Posted by bsimpson145


    Are the hotels, casino and office building equipped with sprinkler systems?

    That makes a big difference in what you roll to either scenario.

    Pretty much what I was thinking. If they do, I would roll the engine. If not, the quint. For 1 & 2 story buildings Id roll the engine as it has more water and with your staffing it would be hard to catch your own plug.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Posted by bsimpson145


    Are the hotels, casino and office building equipped with sprinkler systems?

    That makes a big difference in what you roll to either scenario.

    Pretty much what I was thinking. If they do, I would roll the engine. If not, the quint. For 1 & 2 story buildings Id roll the engine as it has more water and with your staffing it would be hard to catch your own plug.

    Kinda like the situation we had back in the early 80s, before full staffing and auto-aid. Our #2 station had an engine and a tiller ladder. The paid staff could only take one or the other, so 3 or more storys they would take the truck and leave the engine for the vollies. Less then three was the other way around.

    Thats a tough way to have to operate, glad we are past that...
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    Always the engine.

    Put out the fire and your problems go away.

    I would strongly suspect that the casionos have a sprinkler system and a standpipe system.

    The truck will get there.

    Instead of seeing if the casinos could pay for additional staff, try bumping up your volunteer recruitment efforts, as it's much more cost effective even if you have dole out a few bucks for advertising and volunteer incentives. Aggressivly train the casino staff on how to extingusih inceipient fires and try to bump up thier in-house prevention programs.

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    I go with Truck rolling first due. Truck company has to locate the fire before the engine company can go to work anyway. Also, I would rather get the people out of danger and let the place burn down to the ground than limit the damage to 1 room, but have someone die. Lives > property. Property can be replaced, a life cannot.




    My town has 2 companies that are dispatched together for everything. Whatever piece is first due will be truck, the 2nd engine, and the rest will be dependent on what's needed.

    The truck gets there, forces entry (if needed), and starts searching for victims and the fire. Then the engine shows up, and gets ready to go while the truck company searches. Even if both pieces arrive at the same time, the engine company has to hook up to the hydrant, and start stretching and flaking out the line(s) before they can go to work. So by the time they're ready, the truck co. has usually located the fire.

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    Wink Not exactly...

    Quote Originally Posted by st42stephenAFT View Post
    I go with Truck rolling first due. Truck company has to locate the fire before the engine company can go to work anyway.
    Believe it or not, I know of a couple hundred engine company firefighters that are quite good at locating fires all on their own.
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    I guess this "truck locating the fire concept" befuddles me.

    Truck work, in my experience, is primarily ventilation and utility management, which is roof or outside work. They also are tasked with overhaul, which is post-extingushment or working in conjuction with the engine crew(s). They may perform search operations, but in my experience, where we generally only had a single truck (often we had no truck companies or 1-2 man crews)to work with, they performed ventilation and later arriving engine crews were tasked with search as part of interior exposure management.

    Engine companies go inside, locate the fire, contain it and extinuish it. They may also perform overhaul, and perform search operations as they go.

    The idea that engine crews need help in locating the fire makes no sense to me. That's thier job.

    My reasoning for the engine is simple. It has more water. It can carry high-rise packs and work off the standpipes. It likely carries more hose, allowing for longer stretches if need be. It can carry a PPV fan and a chainsaw or K-12to vent if it needs to.

    A truck is a very valauable resource, especially if you are surrounded by primarily engines. Setting it up in a spot where you need it for first-due engine work rather than truck work is a waste of that resource.

    A truck is a nice luxury, but the engine can be set up to perform most of it's functions in a pinch.

    Most of the engine guys I have worked with have no problem figuri ng out where the fire is. Maybe we're just special.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-03-2007 at 10:33 PM.

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    Yes, All hotels and the casino are sprinklered. The truck would roll first on these calls. All have at least one hydrant within 100 feet of the FDC. Sorry for delay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    Believe it or not, I know of a couple hundred engine company firefighters that are quite good at locating fires all on their own.
    Yea, my whole company can too. :-P But the way we train is the Truck co. locates the fire and tells the engine co. where it is. But around here, there aren't many places where we'd go for a fire and not be able to find it. We don't have many big buildings, our tallest is 3 stories, and biggest being probably the antique stores in town. But all the fire's I've been to in the last 3 years on the dept., we've been able to see the fire upon arrival. So the truck didn't need to find it for us.

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    As far as the truck finding the fire for the engine - yes, in an ideal world the truck would respond and the engine would be right behind. With the truck on scene and the engine sitting at the station until staffed adequately by the next crew coming in from home/work, the truck crew won't really be able to "hold the fire with the can" most of the time. They will have to begin the suppression efforts.

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    The engine is the most vital thing to have on the inital alarm as the first due. Many engines I've worked from are set up with hosebeds that are flexible and useful for the given fire scenarios in the districts they work in. This should be the case in most of everyones districts out there.
    In the situations given in this post, the engine will protect more lives and accomplish the scenarios with better efficiency by protecting the potencial victims with properly placed hose streams than by any other means (to steal a Norman quote).
    I work in similar set ups in my vollie town, engine first, and we staff the engine with 4-5 ff's and hopefully (2/3rds of the time) the CO is not the IC. That is what chiefs are for. The idea and philosphy is "Put the fire out!"... then it'll get better. Then the rest of the responders bring the truck. (oh, did I mention that is when I take and vent the roof)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I guess this "truck locating the fire concept" befuddles me.

    Same around here. I had never heard of this truck finds the fire thing till I joined these forums. Trucks here assist with forced entry if needed, vent, salvage & overhaul, in that order. The can also be used to assist interior search & fire attack if needed.
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    I can offer you what we do here. Our first due is a mix on high rise condos, industrial buildings, SFDs, and restarunts.
    For SFDs, Car Fires, and non commercial structures, it is Engine first out. For multi family dwellings, condos, commercial structures, the Truck (75 ft E-WONT Quint) is first due. The Quint can be an Engine, OR Truck. Having a man hit the plug on the way in SHOULD be a priority. Having a tank run dry is not an experience anyone should have to face.
    If you have more questions, would like more info, or just wanna shoot the breeze, feel free to PM me.

    Also, what Dep. Chief Gonzo said, about getting the establishments to fund career FFs, run with that!
    It would not cost much to have them fork over some cash. Draw up a cost-benefit analysis for them, and present it.
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    Truck Ops:

    1st Due Truck:
    • Force entry
    • Locate and contain fire, communicate location to Engine Company
    • Search for life from fire area out
    • Provide horizontal ventilation to support fire suppression
    • Search floor above fire (VES)
    • Initiate vertical ventilation on commercial structures, as needed on residential

    2nd Due Truck:
    • Search on floor above fire for life
    • Assists with horizontal ventilation
    • Vertical ventilation
    • Raise additional ground ladders (exterior crew to bring with them)
    • Check for fire extension
    • Secure utilities



    Salvage and Overhaul? Your talking inital attack/response here guys. If salvage and overhaul are part of your consideration, you may want to re-prioritize your tactics.

    Trucks for us run with 5 or 6 guys. 3 guys interior, performing the forcible entry/search. 2 guys for vent and/or roof. 1 guy left to start laddering.
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