Two and Three-Man Crews Entry No.1:Gastonia, North Carolina

North Carolina engine company is staffed with four but routinely runs with three.

The first entry in our Two and Three-Man Crew research and contest comes from Captain Joesph Kelly of Gastonia's Engine 8.

We are a 4 man engine company in an all career dept( 6 engines, 3 ladder/quints, 1 rescue and 2 BC’s), that routinely sends a member out every day on a company transfer or “timeout” as we call it. So we are always responding with 3. That’s a Captain, Engineer and 1 firefighter. (That’s us in the photo on the left after a small kitchen job in our second due area. The first due quint was on a medical and we were first due engine). The next due companies in our first due are a BC, a Ladder/quint company(4), and Rescue Company(4)(no water or hose), and another three man engine that will have at least a 15 minute response time. The rescue company brings no water or hose and the ladder/quint runs a lot of medical calls in their local so they may not be available.

Our first due area is suburban/rural with about 50% hydrant coverage for the subdivisions. We have light commercial development, mobile home parks with older run down trailers, new subdivisions with lightweight construction built very close together, and a lot of wildland urban interface.

Our engine is a 1500/1000 pumper tanker. We have the normal bumper trash line, 4 cross lay’s (200’)with 1 ¾ and 2 ½ hose. One crosslay is a preconnected foam line. The rear of the apparatus is set up with two long lines (second photo). One is a preconnected 500’ 2” line with a 1” tip. It is loaded minute man style. 3 stacks of hose ( 2 stacks of hose 150’ each) with the last stack (dump load)flat loaded with a loop at the 100’mark. We can break this line and connect up to another discharge if all 500’ is not needed. The other line is 500’ of 2 ½” hose flat loaded connected to a gated wye finished out with 200’ of 2” hose with a 1” smooth bore nozzle loaded minute man style. We use 2” hose for these loads because (1) it allows the longer lines to achieve higher flows with less friction loss, and (2) it was what was available. We can stretch either load with the engine in a static position on a hydrant or like Detroit, drop the 200” bundle and wye and reverse out to a hydrant with the other load. This is our plan due to the other quint or engine may be delayed. It gives us our own water supply and leaves the front of the structure open for the ladder/quint. It also allows for the whole crew(3) of the next arriving engine to go to work and not waste a man at the hydrant laying in to us.

On any working fire with just three, I the officer, will complete the 360 and then force the door (residential) with a TNT tool. By then the nozzle firefighter should have flaked the line, bled the nozzle, and be on air ready to go in. I will serve as the back-up firefighter/ door firefighter and officer when the twoin / two out allows entry prior to other companies arriving.

Captain Joseph Kelly

Gastonia Fire Dept. Engine 8B Gastonia, NC

Thanks Captain Kelly

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  • Jason says:

    Great stuff from Mel "Big Water" Kelly, a guy that taught me in the infancy of my career.  He's a great dude!

  • Smith says:

    Good write up guys. We're up here at a county department just outside of Raleigh. We run 3 on the engine from 8-5 then just 2 during nights a weekends, still getting it done though. You all got a good looking setup there.

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