Video of Rural/Metro engine company shows that two men can properly accomplish some of the immediate basics.
I am fortunate to have in my range of experience a wide spectrum of firefighting response. With many years in Prince George’s County I have had the luxury of leaving the station with five others in the engine with me, and the truck bringing up the rear. On the other side I also know what it is to be at the station, the house siren blowing, waiting for another one or two members to show up or deciding if I should just grab my gear and go directly to the scene.
Despite all the training subjects that nearly overwhelm us with assignments, accountability and crew management, a large number of you simply do not respond with a full compliment of personnel. For some of you, three on the engine or truck is a luxury. Others at times wish they had three. This highlights a point in our education that I hear and read of many times from suburban and rural firefighters:
‘I understand the material, but it just doesn’t realistically apply to my area and my staffing.’
That appears to be the biggest hurdle for many when trying to transition from the Firehouse Expo, FDIC, FireRescue International experience to the reality of home response and varied, quality staffing. The middle America firefighter can understand the guiding factors and required efforts behind stretching the 400′ line and the rack, or performing VES from the porch roof while the interior truck team makes their way up the stairs. The speed bump on the path to practical application is that the middle America firefighter has to fight fire with two other firefighters until the mutual aid company arrives. The supporting complaint, or excuse rather, to this is that due to this reality the few firefighters on the scene only have to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get things done. The discipline of adhering to some type of riding assignment, some form of initial SOP, some sense of organization is given up for reaction to what lies in front. You pull up, see fire, don the blinders and gravitate to what your mind fixates on. The big picture becomes the eye of the needle
I disagree with that excuse.
The actions in the videos below may seem like common sense to some of us, but they reinforce the argument that regardless your lack of staffing you can still safely and effectively fight fire – offensively or defensively – and be disciplined.
Take a look for yourself:
Properly Dressed, SCBA Donned
Good Hoseline Stretch (although I personally would have stretched up the dirt lane)
Line Properly Bled, Pattern Checked
Attack Started Using Reach of Stream (Lineman wasn’t trying to get “salty”)
Second Line Stretched After First Line is Filled
Good Communication (notice not a lot of yelling and scurrying back and forth)
Is is a perfect fire? No, there is not such thing. Yes, it’s not much of a fire, a camper that was long gone before the first engine arrived. However, how many of you have noticed fully staffed fire companies showing up and doing the exact opposite?
I thought so.