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  1. #1
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    Default Accountability on the fire ground

    My department has recently decided to reevaluate out accountability on the fireground, because like every department we want everyone to go home. I was just looking for some ideas to forward.

    Right now we're using a dry erase board with velcro slots for our IDT tags. The dilemma we encounter is whose responsibility is it to manage that, and effective ways for firefighters to remember to remove and place them on the board. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because we all know, firefighter safety is our first priority!


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    We use the 2 tag system. You use the first tag when you arrive on scene, you tag in at the command post. You give the second tag to someone standing at the point of entry when you go interior. You get the tag back when you exit. Typically someone on scene is assigned as the safety officer to handle accountability.

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    We handle it the same. Red tags on board say you are on scene, yellow tags shows you are interior. Stagging has a white board with rings that it uses to track FF. We have been doing it this way for a long time but still run into issues on smaller jobs getting people to put their tags on. Hate to say it but you just have to keep reminding them. Good Luck

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    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    We use a two tag system as well. First tag just has your accountability number on it. This tag stays on the rig your with and in each rig there is a binder with the names of each member and the corresponding tag number. The second tag has your name and dept initials. This is given to the accountability officer at the entrace to the structure. Each dept in our area uses this system, some having your name on both tags. Never had a problem.

    Our accountability board has a spot to place all the tags for each person in the house, section of the house, time in and out etc etc etc.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

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    We have a single tag on a clip with our name, department on it. We have 3 levels of accountability

    Level 1: when we get on the apparatus, we give the tag to the officer who puts it on a ring.
    Level 2: Officer takes the ring with the tags to the command post. Command can either keep track of them himself or appoint an accountability officer.
    Level 3: provide the tags to an assigned officer when entering the hot zone and get them back when you come out.

    For us, the simpler the better.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber dadman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LovellA1 View Post
    Right now we're using a dry erase board with velcro slots for our IDT tags. The dilemma we encounter is whose responsibility is it to manage that, and effective ways for firefighters to remember to remove and place them on the board. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, because we all know, firefighter safety is our first priority!
    We have two velcroed red tags on the bottom side of our helmet rim. Placard on the dash of apparatus. Velcro and markers on a dry-erase board and additional tags for the board that show assignments: interior; vent; rehab, etc.

    The dry-erase seemed like a good idea until a recent large brush fire. The markers worked ok until a leaking/misting coupling at the pump panel caused the markers to write like crap on the wet board. Board was placed by the left front tire.
    Might want to consider permanent fine-point "Sharpies". Line through or use a rag with solvent to change or erase.

    The accountability system, board and actually using it needs to hammered into every dept. members head.
    The system and it's parts, whatever method used, is useless until using it is encouraged, practiced and the board actually removed from the apparatus when on-scene.
    It needs to be stressed before incidents to calm down, slow down, think and start keeping track of people.
    We had a fire officer from a suburban FD give a presentation about accountabilty use. His dept and area uses it from little incidents, MVA's and large incidents.
    Accountability gets forgotten about if officers and everyone else starts spazzing, cussing and panicking en-route. Jumping out of the truck with the panic button pressed causes a unit to forget small yet important details, accountability being one.

    We've been trying to use it at training and are going to use it at meetings.
    I, and others, have been recently guilty of not putting our tags on the apparatus dashboard for emergency and non-emergency calls and catch ourselves enroute.

    I've given an accountability tag to the IC when giving mutual aid and had the IC give me a "what is this for" look and place the tag on top of a cooler.
    Also been at incidents where mutual aid dept's had no tags to give nor were none asked for.

    Whatever system you plan on using, USE IT!
    Keep track of people and times. Stick or clip tags and write times and notes.

    Panic spreads.
    Maybe there should be an NFPA regulation to have elevator music played in apparaatus cabs.

  7. #7
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    thanks for all the ideas, and a lt of them have been helpful. Being a small department, we usually roll the engine with the 2 we keep on station, and then the rest come on callbacks. Seldom do people make it down for the first truck. We also have automatic aid from our neighboring department, and together we are trying to join systems. What's hard is, the first engine on scene could only have two people, and by the time others get there it seems as if tasks are first priority. It's hard to believe the way people look past safety

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    Default I couldn't agree more

    Quote Originally Posted by dadman View Post
    Whatever system you plan on using, USE IT!
    Keep track of people and times.

    We use the two tag method of accountability, one left on the rig, and one when you enter the structure. The biggest drawback is simply people not using this system. The majority of the calls we go on (Our dept is volunteer and we run between 1200 and 1500 calls a year) are alarm malfunctions, and people get in the habit of treating calls as if there were no hazard. They don't pack up, and they don't tag in.

    I push the crew to use their PPE and tag in, but they have gotten into the habit, and don't want to change their ways for someone who is not an officer. The best method I can use is training, and leading by example. I take all the new members aside when they join, and tell them that regardless of what others may do, that's not how it works. I also will tag in properly for all calls. Even if nobody is posted at the door, I will drop a tag on the ground, or clip it to the door.

    Hope this helps!

  9. #9

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    We use the two tag system as well. Everyone has one tag that stays on the rig. If your tag is upside down it means you are not going into the fire (aka probies/driver). Secondly, the officer has a velcro strip that he has on his coat. Everyone arranges their tags in the same order as on the rig, and if the fire is big enough, the officer will turn that velcro strip into the incident commander.

  10. #10
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    www.competentcommand.com

    Mark Emery He has a system that is awsome for tieing in all the mandated components. His system is great for the first in and it all works well when command is passed on. Look it up he is well worth every penny.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    We have a county wide system with two "unit" tags on each rig (a yellow and a red) which have the unit number on them. These have a space for "crew" (personal) tags, and are kept on the center console of each rig.

    Each rig also has a large white board with places for up to 8 unit tags, which is kept on the drivers door. The yellow unit tag stays with the rig, the red is taken by the company officer and given to whom ever is accountability.

    Each member has 5 personal tags with their last name and the initials of the department they work for. These are attached with velcro to the underside of your helmet.. These tags are either orange for FF/EMT, blue for FF/Medic and white for officers.

    When you report for duty, you place one of your personal tags on each unit tag in the rig. This goes for everyone but the engineer, who only puts 1 personal tag on the yellow unit tag as they usually stay with the rig. If for some reason they are required to go with their crew, the engineer puts another of their personal tags on the red unit tag at time of assignment.

    When your rig arrives on a scene, the company officer takes the red unit tag and places it on the white board of either the first unit on scene ,who by SOG is the accountability point until such time an accountability officer is in place, or to the accountability officer if he/she is in place when you arrive.

    I work in a somewhat complex system of automatic mutual aid with 17 different departments operating out of 65 houses and with over 900 firefighters. Accountability here isn't easy when you consider a first alarm assignment may have units from 4 or 5 different departments depending on the situation, but this system works VERY well.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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  12. #12
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    we use the 2 tag system. ours have a clip that hook on the ring on the back of our helmet. one tag stays in the truck and the other one you leave on your helmet til put in a team to go interior/vent/ ect. and then you give it to the IC officer who puts it on a dry erase clip board. He then has the tags of each team and anyone else that is not on a team is in staging.

  13. #13
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    We run 9 stations 30 + guys working per ****.

    Each company officer is responsible for carrying a paper roster with unit's and assigned members at all times.

    There is also a velcro tag in each apparatus with an apparatus ID on it. Below the ID is a space for guys to put their individual name tags.

    The Chiefs Driver picks them up from all of the first alarm apparatus, anything over that the company officer delivers it to the incident commander.

    Works okay.

  14. #14
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    Compared to the majority who responded to this thread our system is easy. Each member has a Personal Accountability Tag. When assigned to a rig we clip our PAT to the officers PAT which is clipped to the unit identifier.(They are just a key ring with a tag with the unit.)

    We are supposed to either drop off our tags at the first in engine company or command post. But alot of times they get left on the rig, and the medic unit, or 1 of the 20 chiefs that always self dispatch to anything sounding good, go around and collect them.

    Another form of accountability is the assignment board at the firehouse. This has the names of the personell assigned to which apparattus in terms of OIC, Tech, and bucket firemen. Depending upon who the officer is these positions will be further broken down.(Bar, hook, roof, lineman, layout etc.)

    Not very complicated but it works well for us.
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    TPASS

    Will the forum goons please allow short posts? Ain't you heard brevity is the soul of wit?

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    I applaud all the departments have have good accountability implemented and used. It's a hard thing to do. We're trying to get at least some kind of accountability right now. I guess where I think it will fail is they're not going into it full force. If it's not defined and strict, it will only half way be used and eventually be back to square one.

    A big hurtle for us is POV use. Here in the boonies, generally there's only 1 man on apparatus. The rest come in POV. It can be difficult to wrangler and mandate 3 different departments when they don't all start from a common point.

  17. #17
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    We have 2 tags on our gear. One we leave on the truck we come in, and another we put on an accountability board that's in the truck that we give to command/accountability officer. The board has the positions for truck/engine and you clip in for what position you are.

  18. #18
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    At least your departments try something the department I am currently working for does nothing. There is no accountability, no command structure, no prioritizing of tasks on the scene. It is basically a free for all. If i didn't need the job I wolud be out of there right now. I came from a department which was structured to the nth degree. The way the Volunteeres run this combonation department is a joke.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LADDER2EKU View Post
    Compared to the majority who responded to this thread our system is easy. Each member has a Personal Accountability Tag. When assigned to a rig we clip our PAT to the officers PAT which is clipped to the unit identifier.(They are just a key ring with a tag with the unit.)

    We are supposed to either drop off our tags at the first in engine company or command post. But alot of times they get left on the rig, and the medic unit, or 1 of the 20 chiefs that always self dispatch to anything sounding good, go around and collect them.

    Another form of accountability is the assignment board at the firehouse. This has the names of the personell assigned to which apparattus in terms of OIC, Tech, and bucket firemen. Depending upon who the officer is these positions will be further broken down.(Bar, hook, roof, lineman, layout etc.)

    Not very complicated but it works well for us.
    How do you track who is inside the hot/red zone or the structure involved?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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  20. #20
    Forum Member LADDER2EKU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    How do you track who is inside the hot/red zone or the structure involved?
    By knowing the operations of each person on the rig essentially. What I mean is, if there were 3 people on Engine 2 then the command officer knows that there are 2 people on the line and 1 at the panel. Or if the Ladder Truck had 4 then command should know that the Officer and Bar man are going straight in to search, and the driver and hook are going to be throwing ladders outside initially.

    Also, we do Personal Accountability Report checks at 20 minute intervals. Command will ask for the location of all members of the apparatus. So, if im Truck 2's officer and my Bar and Hook man are operating on the inside I will tell him "Truck 2's PAR, 3 inside, 1 outside."

    We don't get very much, if any POV response.

    It's a simple non complicated accountability system that works for us.
    Wade Munday

    www.Stafford2fire.com
    -and-
    www.fairfaxfire.org

    RIP DET. VICKY ARMEL
    Fairfax County PD
    LODD
    End Of Watch 5-8-2006

    RIP DEPUTY/FF JASON MOONEY
    Stafford Sheriffs/Stafford VFD
    LODD
    End Of Watch 10-19-2007

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