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    Default 2 Person Engine Companies?

    I was wondering who out there runs with 2 guys on an engine? What do you do when you arrive on scene at a working fire? Will the officer go in alone, wait for the pump operator to set the pump and go in with them, or wait for back up? What types of problems have you ran into with only 2 people on an engine?

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter0003 View Post
    I was wondering who out there runs with 2 guys on an engine? What do you do when you arrive on scene at a working fire? Will the officer go in alone, wait for the pump operator to set the pump and go in with them, or wait for back up? What types of problems have you ran into with only 2 people on an engine?

    Totally against the 2 in 2 out rule. There is no way (even as much as some will say it is) 2 people can fight a working fire.

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    we have 3, 2 man engine companies
    generally it is up to the officer but we always have 2 in 2 out when entering a stucture, except for known rescue, such as we know for a fact there are victims inside and we know exactly where the are (such as if we see them), in this case the driver and officer will forget about a hoseline and enter to attempt a rescue
    for all other cases the driver will set up a water supply, and the officer will do the 360 and pull a preconnect. the officer will then attempt to extinguish the fire from the outside, such as through a door or window
    but generally once the officer has completed the 360 a second engine has arrived providing atleast 2 more people. mostly it is treated as a case, by case thing but we have some SOPs on it. if you want me to send you a copy of our SOP for 2 man engine companys let me know

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    You answered your own question, no such thing as a 2 man engine company. You just have 2 guys on an engine.
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    I think that it depends on who you direct this question toward. If it was directed toward a fully staffed paid dept, I would hope that the answer would be "No we don't run a 2 person engine company". I would have to agree with MemphisE34a, it is only 2 guys on a engine not a 2 person engine company, and if you have a paid dept. why would you only put two people on a engine, a tanker maybe but not a engine

    I could see how a combination dept. or a vollie dept. could use this, but only to get the trucks out of the station faster. You would still have wait for the other FFs to respond to the scene in their POV to safely fight the fire.
    Last edited by BULL321; 02-05-2008 at 05:08 PM.

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    I am on a vollie dept. and every once in a while personel turnout requires that we leave with only two guys on a engine. When this happens on anything other that a medical I'm calling for the neighboring dept to send me an engine right away. If time goes by and we get the manpower for another truck to leave the station then I can turn around my mutial aid engine, but I would rather have them on the way and not need them than get there and realize I need them.

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    I thought 2 man engine company's were ambulances!

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    I've heard that the engineer sets the pump to a desired pressure and then backs up the lineman as the second engine should arrive and takeover the pump.

    Now.... its risky
    The Box. You opened it. We Came...

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    I work on a two man line positioning (some call it engine) company. The next station with two 3 man companies is 1.2 miles down the road. I get a size-up, then I can have the line in position at the front door or top of the stairs when those two companies arrive. If delayed by having to do forcible entry, that's great as far as I'm concerned, then the cavalry will definitely be there. I never try to do the lone firefighter thing. When I was younger I might have, but I'm getting too old for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    ........ and if you have a paid dept. why would you only put two people on a engine, .......
    Economics and/or ignorant public officials! It's really that simple for many of us.

    The less than 4 person company is the product of any or all of the following:
    1) Not wanting or having the funding to provide for 4 person companies.
    2) Public officials who control/influance FD funding who think all we do is sit around doing nothing, so why do we need so many people to do that.
    3) Lack of any sort of governmental mandates to meet NFPA 1710 staffing recommendations.


    It's certainly not because we like being understaffed and turned down the extra help.
    Last edited by FireMedic049; 02-05-2008 at 07:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resq1scnd2none View Post
    Totally against the 2 in 2 out rule. There is no way (even as much as some will say it is) 2 people can fight a working fire.
    Actually they can, they are just limited in what they can reasonably and safely do in order to fight that fire before additional help arrives. My department has safely put out several working fires with just 2 people on scene before the arrival of additional units.

    One can certainly direct a hose stream from an exterior doorway leading directly into an involved room and knock it down right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter0003 View Post
    I was wondering who out there runs with 2 guys on an engine? What do you do when you arrive on scene at a working fire? Will the officer go in alone, wait for the pump operator to set the pump and go in with them, or wait for back up? What types of problems have you ran into with only 2 people on an engine?
    In my department it's situational.

    How big's the fire? Is there known entrapment? Is it a derilict property and unsafe to enter? Is there an exposure problem that needs addressed before attacking the main fire building?

    Full staffing puts 3 on each unit, but most of the time at least one is running with only 2, sometimes both. Most of our fires occur in the more central areas, so the unit from both stations often arrive close together. In that case, we have enough to meet 2in/2out and do what we can until additional help arrives.

    If one unit arrives significantly ahead of the other, then they do what they can reasonably safely do while awaiting the other unit's arrival.

    Sometimes it's more safe in the long run to just put the fire out rather than let it grow out of control while awaiting back up.


    As far as problems go.........pretty much the usual problems that come with having "50" tasks that need done at the same time and only a handful of guys to do them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    I think that it depends on who you direct this question toward. If it was directed toward a fully staffed paid dept, I would hope that the answer would be "No we don't run a 2 person engine company". I would have to agree with MemphisE34a, it is only 2 guys on a engine not a 2 person engine company, and if you have a paid dept. why would you only put two people on a engine, a tanker maybe but not a engine

    I could see how a combination dept. or a vollie dept. could use this, but only to get the trucks out of the station faster. You would still have wait for the other FFs to respond to the scene in their POV to safely fight the fire.
    I'm on a Career dept. and we run 3-2 person engines and 1-1 person engine, not because we want to, but because that's what we have to work with.
    Last edited by Golzy12; 02-05-2008 at 07:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter0003 View Post
    I was wondering who out there runs with 2 guys on an engine? What do you do when you arrive on scene at a working fire? Will the officer go in alone, wait for the pump operator to set the pump and go in with them, or wait for back up? What types of problems have you ran into with only 2 people on an engine?
    I'm from the vollie side and where we are at, we roll our apparatus as soon as we have a driver. All members also have 800Mhz radio's so we know when a truck rolls and can go direct. We also mark en-route (direct or to the station) via our talk group so manpower is pretty well known before making scene as well.

    Our station is geographically in the middle of the township so for our members, the decision to go direct or the station depends on your location in the township vs the location of the call.

    Now, if a truck make scene first with a single driver, I'll grant you that there isn't much that can be done to directly fight the fire but a lot of sizeup and situational analysis can be done. Once confirmation of an involved structure come in, immediate mutual aid is almost SOP.

    It may not be the best for everyone but it works well for us given our township.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    I'm on a Career dept. and we run 3-2 person engines and 1-1 person engine, not because we want to, but because that's what we have to work with.
    I understand you may not be in a position to change policy, but I have always been of the opinion that you would be better off operating with one engine with 4 as opposed to 2 engines with 2 - even when it means it will take longer to get there.

    In your example, I would ride one staffed with 4 and another with 3. Utilize the other apparatus for volunteer or callback staff.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    I understand you may not be in a position to change policy, but I have always been of the opinion that you would be better off operating with one engine with 4 as opposed to 2 engines with 2 - even when it means it will take longer to get there.

    In your example, I would ride one staffed with 4 and another with 3. Utilize the other apparatus for volunteer or callback staff.
    Multiple two-man engine companies are a product of an administration that puts appearance above safety or function.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    .... I have always been of the opinion that you would be better off operating with one engine with 4 as opposed to 2 engines with 2 - even when it means it will take longer to get there.
    It may or may not be better to run say 4 - 4 FF engines rather than 8 - 2 FF engines. However, in an even smaller setting, there are operational advantages to operating 2 or 3 - 2 FF engines rather than operating 1 engine with 4-6 FFs.

    At minimum staffing, my department operates 2 - 2 FF engines plus a chief officer. For example, doing so allows us some flexibility in establishing our water supply. We aren't in an all or nothing type situation like we would be with only 1 apparatus responding initially.

    We also have multiple calls working frequently and our set up allows us to handle them without having to call in additional personnel or mutual aid since we can handle pretty much everything other than a full-blown WSF with our on-duty staff.

    We'd love to have 4 person companies and we're working on getting there, in fact we've increased our average daily staffing by 50% in the last couple of years. However, 4 FF companies simply aren't a reality anywhere in the near future. Fighting to protect our jobs as a small career department surrounded by multiple volunteer departments (some of which used to be career departments) is the bigger fish to fry for now.

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    My dept at night only has two guys in the station. In the event of a structure fire they will take the engine. They will drop the line at the hydrant and lay in. The second in engine or some one arriving in a POV will dress the hydrant. The officer will then do what he can untill more fire fighters arrive(I.E. scene size up, pull line to door, knock down as much fire as possible from doorway into building, go back and dress hydrant). The only exception to enter with out more personel is if there is a victim in the fire building. The other fire fighter remains on the pump.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDAIC485 View Post
    Multiple two-man engine companies are a product of an administration that puts appearance above safety or function.
    i have to disagree with this one
    we have 3 2 man engines because of;
    1. the size of our response area, we had a fire alarm a few days ago (which calls all 3 engines) and our most southern engine arrived 2 minutes before they would have been able to hear the sirens on our engine
    2. call volume, we regularly have atleast 2 of those engines on an aid call at a time. we run engines for aid calls so that we can quickly switch roles if need be, and if we need transport we call for a private ambulance company

    if we had 4 man engine companies we would do better on fires, but we would be REALLY stretched if we had more than one aid call

    considering we run 80% aid calls and 60% of our fires are false alarms this system works well for us

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhenrich View Post
    i have to disagree with this one
    we have 3 2 man engines because of;
    1. the size of our response area, we had a fire alarm a few days ago (which calls all 3 engines) and our most southern engine arrived 2 minutes before they would have been able to hear the sirens on our engine
    2. call volume, we regularly have atleast 2 of those engines on an aid call at a time. we run engines for aid calls so that we can quickly switch roles if need be, and if we need transport we call for a private ambulance company

    if we had 4 man engine companies we would do better on fires, but we would be REALLY stretched if we had more than one aid call

    considering we run 80% aid calls and 60% of our fires are false alarms this system works well for us
    Well.. Are you supplemented by volunteers or other manpower such as a PSO? If not than you are going into a structure fire with one man on the line or leaving the pump unattended. Both of which are a huge safety issue.

    Here is some food for thought; a seatbelt is normally needed just one time in a late-model vehicle.
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    2 man engine companies, 2 man truck companies and 2 man squad companies......on a regular basis. But it all depends on the day, time, station, phase of the moon, if its high or low tide, etc. Without getting into how we do our staffing in our county, I will just kind of lay it out.

    Normally, the areas where we are constantly understaffed are areas that have next in companies fairly close to one another. It is common for the second arriving piece to be pulling up just after the OIC is advancing the line through the front door. Most engine companies responding with two will have the OIC pull the line while the driver brings up the FE tools and forces the door. By the time the driver gets back to the panel the OIC is masked up ready to go, and the next piece is arriving. I am here to tell you, it sucks operating with two on a truck crew. Especially on a garden apartment when you have a lot of ladders to throw. Most often the understaffed companies will hook up with each other once inside, so there is some sort of "crew integrity."

    I will close this by saying again, that this is not a situation that happens all over the county. The volunteer stations that have a lot of volunteers will sometimes get 2 or 3 pieces out the door with 4-6 people on each piece. It's just not the case in my battalion.

    We often talk about how lucky we are we haven't had a LODD recently. But due to politics/money, staffing is a big problem here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    However, 4 FF companies simply aren't a reality anywhere in the near future.
    And they never will be as long as you continually get lucky enough to not kill someone while operating with a minimum number of personnel. Hopefully you won't be the one trapped inside by yourself and die. That way you can come back and told them you told them so.

    I can see some logic behind operating with 3 people if you are forced to, but I would not employ multiple one or two person companies just so it appears as if you have better coverage than you really do. Smoke and mirrors.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 02-06-2008 at 10:26 AM.
    RK
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter0003 View Post
    Will the officer go in alone, wait for the pump operator to set the pump and go in with them, or wait for back up? What types of problems have you ran into with only 2 people on an engine?
    I can't believe there are departments that would even roll out the door with only an officer and driver, let alone fight a working fire with no one at the pump? What if while your in the fire with the pump unattended the neighborhood kids decide its a good idea to shut your preconnect off? Around here if a department pulled something like that, you'd have your ***** handed to you on a plate and you sure as hell wouldn't be an "officer" anymore.
    NJ FFII/EMT-B

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    And they never will be as long as you continually get lucky enough to not kill someone while operating with a minimum number of personnel. Hopefully you won't be the one trapped inside by yourself and die. That way you can come back and told them you told them so.

    I can see some logic behind operating with 3 people if you are forced to, but I would not employ multiple one or two person companies just so it appears as if you have better coverage than you really do. Smoke and mirrors.
    I don't disagree entirely with your "smoke and mirrors" opinion. In my area, the ones who really have a "smoke and mirrors" operation is some/many of the volunteer companies. Lots of shiny equipment in the station, but often slow to respond and with not enough adequately trained personnel.

    I agree that as long as no one get seriously injured/killed due to inadequate staffing and we keep doing the fine job we do, then the City Admin won't be in any hurry to change things.

    Like I said, our deployment works fine for all of the rest of the calls we get. We know we are understaffed and for the most part our operations on the fireground reflect that understanding while we await the arrival of reinforcements (the off-duty call backs).

    Are there things we can do to better our situation? Yes, and we're working on some of them. Unfortunately progress can be slow at times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    I'm on a Career dept. and we run 3-2 person engines and 1-1 person engine, not because we want to, but because that's what we have to work with.
    I guess I should clarify, We also have a 5 engines and 2 trucks staffed with 3 firefighters and one quint staffed with 4. The engines that only have 2 people on them cover the outside more suburban areas of the city, most of their runs are medicals. Our 1 person engine covers a peninsula that can be cut off at anytime due to a lift bridge that connects it to the rest of the city. Right now whenever the 1 person engine responds on any call another engine always responds with it.

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