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  • Volli FF/EMS Staying Ready Questions

    Hey all.....

    I am a new member of a volunteer fire department and EMS service in a small rural area of Louisiana. Municipal work is new to me, but industrial emergency response is not. I am trying to get ideas on how to get set up for quick response in our small town. At the refinery where I am on the Emergency Response Team (Fire/Hazmat/Rescue) we report to the safety bay for all incidents and then get assigned definite jobs and responsibilities for the start of the incident. I am finding out quickly that in a 28 member volunteer service, your job changes by the minute. As I am one of the few who can operate the apparatus (Engine), I usually respond to the station and take the truck to the scene. However, I find myself stretching hose while the chief or assistant chief has to operate the pump due to a lack of experienced FF's. Keep in mind, I am fairly experienced at fighting hydrocarbon fires, but house fires are still very new to me.

    I can't keep my gear at the station because of the issues it will cause from all the other members wishing to keep their gear there as well, so I am having issues with keeping the gear in a ready state.

    I have a nice step in bag from my other department, so I have the gear packed and ready, but it sure takes a lot of room in the back seat of my truck. No that I am EMT certified, I have the trauma bag as well.

    So here are my questions, and I am open to any and all opinions!

    1. Should I buy a tool box for the back of the truck to put the gear in, or just grab the gear out of the closet as I am running out the door of my house? The tool box creates other small isues, namely during hunting season when I tend to keep an ATV in the bed of my truck.

    2. I tend to wear my bunker gear even on vehicle collision calls while working EMS/Extrication, due to the bloodborne pathogen layer it has. Is this overkill? Should I invest in some lighter EMS gear instead?

    3. Instead of hauling this turnout gear bag on each call, would it be easier to bunker out in my garage, and then throw the dirty gear in the back of the truck for the ride home?

    4. Do any other vollies sleep in a shirt and shorts so they will be a little more prepared for the page?

    This all may sound silly, but it is so much easier responding to a station first, and out here in the sticks a few minutes could mean death or brain damage for a victim/patient. Therefore, I really want to streamline how do things.

    Like I said, all comments welcome.

    Dave

  • #2
    Originally posted by SWLAFireDawg
    Hey all.....

    I am a new member of a volunteer fire department and EMS service in a small rural area of Louisiana. Municipal work is new to me, but industrial emergency response is not. I am trying to get ideas on how to get set up for quick response in our small town. At the refinery where I am on the Emergency Response Team (Fire/Hazmat/Rescue) we report to the safety bay for all incidents and then get assigned definite jobs and responsibilities for the start of the incident. I am finding out quickly that in a 28 member volunteer service, your job changes by the minute. As I am one of the few who can operate the apparatus (Engine), I usually respond to the station and take the truck to the scene. However, I find myself stretching hose while the chief or assistant chief has to operate the pump due to a lack of experienced FF's. Keep in mind, I am fairly experienced at fighting hydrocarbon fires, but house fires are still very new to me.

    I can't keep my gear at the station because of the issues it will cause from all the other members wishing to keep their gear there as well, so I am having issues with keeping the gear in a ready state.

    I have a nice step in bag from my other department, so I have the gear packed and ready, but it sure takes a lot of room in the back seat of my truck. No that I am EMT certified, I have the trauma bag as well.

    So here are my questions, and I am open to any and all opinions!

    1. Should I buy a tool box for the back of the truck to put the gear in, or just grab the gear out of the closet as I am running out the door of my house? The tool box creates other small isues, namely during hunting season when I tend to keep an ATV in the bed of my truck.

    2. I tend to wear my bunker gear even on vehicle collision calls while working EMS/Extrication, due to the bloodborne pathogen layer it has. Is this overkill? Should I invest in some lighter EMS gear instead?

    3. Instead of hauling this turnout gear bag on each call, would it be easier to bunker out in my garage, and then throw the dirty gear in the back of the truck for the ride home?

    4. Do any other vollies sleep in a shirt and shorts so they will be a little more prepared for the page?

    This all may sound silly, but it is so much easier responding to a station first, and out here in the sticks a few minutes could mean death or brain damage for a victim/patient. Therefore, I really want to streamline how do things.

    Like I said, all comments welcome.

    Dave
    1) A fire gear bag, near the door.....
    2) Wear all your bunker gear during cut jobs..or a extrication suit....
    3) See # 1, and hanging it up after a call is a good idea.
    4) I sleep in whatever ...and have clothes in a pile on the floor (much to the chagrin of my wife).

    As for your other parts...get everyone trained on the pumps, make it one of your training nights. And as for keeping gear at station, I feel that is a better idea to keep it there. That way before the trucks leave the station, you have an idea as to who is there. And you don't have XX number of personal vehicles at the scene. Perhaps the dept. could invest in a transport vehicle to get firefighters to the scene? Hope this helps....
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
    ********

    IACOJ

    ********

    "Criticism is prejudice made plausible."
    - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

    Comment


    • #3
      1. We keep all of our gear at the station, and discourage POV responses to the scene. It is important for us to ensure all necessary trucks get rolled, and I hate a cluttered scene with 10 POV's. We have a small response area though, so it works for us. It may not for you.

      As Chief I carry mine in my truck and dress on scene, and in my absence my duty officer can do the same if so inclined, but most don't bother under normal circumstances.

      2. Our SOG is either an approved extrication suit/coveralls or full PPE on an MVC or Rescue call. Jeans and shirts don't cut it, and I want to portray a professional "Uniformed" appearance.

      3. I strongly discourage driving in turnouts, especially in smaller cars and trucks. The gear is too bulky and limits your movement, reaction times, and visibility. If you have a fullsize truck with gobs of room, pants and boots only may not be a problem.

      We also encourage our apparatus operators to wear boots and pants only, and sling the jacket backwards over the seat. Helmets are a no-no too. This not only allows them to get in and start the truck a few seconds before the rest, but more importantly keeps them agile and ready to respond to a road hazard.

      For dirty jobs, gear goes in the back of the engine for cleaning at the hall. Don't expose your kids to those carcinogens by throwing dirty gear in a truck they may ride or play in.

      4. Sleep in whatever is comfortable, and keep appropriate clothes by the bed. Before I was Chief, I used to keep a clean pair of coveralls folded on a nightstand at the foot of my bed. That allowed me to get out fast, and be ready for medicals and such without suiting up any further.

      Also, don't forget to put your keys in the SAME spot every night, and keep a backup set in a safe location. All volleys will experience undue stress from that mistake at one time or another.
      Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

      IACOJ

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks guys!

        Our area is quite large and spread out, especially considering the small number of people we have. And to make it worse, we have more than one station. For me to respond to the main station takes 14 minutes at 15mph over the posted speed limit. I am at my station in less than 3 minutes, but still have to take the Engine from there.

        I do drive the Engine in boots/bunker pants, but as mentioned, the coat and hat go on the seat next to me (I have never had a passenger....) for quick grap when I arrive on scene.

        OK, I got my civies in a pile on the top shelf of my bedroom closet for easy grab-n-go.

        The gear bags will go in the laundry room for a quick grab on the way out.....trauma bag goes with me on every call I have been told. As one of only 5 EMT's in the department I may find myself on EMS detail as opposed to FF detail......sucks for me I guess, but I am here to help. I have to admit, I'd usually rather be on the hydraulic cutters instead of holding C-spine and holding the airway open.......but it HAS to be done. I never thought I would literally be holding someone's life in my hands one day.....

        It is amazing ow much different the municipal department is from the industrial brigade, but at the same time I am combining the two disciplines and bringing great ideas and practices from both sides to the benefit of both.

        As for the cleaning of the gear, I have a great deal worked out with my employer where they will clean the gear for me at no charge along with brigade gear, and supply me a back up set for use during cleaning.....oil companies aren't all bad!


        Keep the ideas coming!!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          When I first started at my first volunteer department (fairly rural with a large response area), I would respond POV in bunkers. I found this to be a bad idea and chalk it up to my "siren chasing" days. You get a lot of crap on your bunkers that you don't necessarily want in your personal vehicle (especially if you drive your kids around in the same vehicle). Even cleaning your gear after every fire, I still wouldn't want my bunkers in the same compartment that I throw my groceries in. Not to mention anything you might get on you on a good trauma call. That said, a gear bag helps a lot containing that junk to one place. Once I got over that phase and started operating the apparatus, I ended up putting my bunkers in the bag to have with me while away from the house or away from the station. With 5 stations, I liked having the flexibility to pick up a rig at the closest station (also was good to have with me the several times that I witnessed an MVA with injuries). It shouldn't take you that much longer to dress on scene from a gear bag and it will keep your truck a lot cleaner.
          Last edited by chuckbrooks; 12-08-2006, 06:19 PM. Reason: can't spell

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, I guess I never thought about dirty gear much, since it was always sent off and cleaned after training or an emergency at the plant. The gear bag is a definite.

            I can get in my gear in under the prescribed 2 minutes......so I guess I should quit worrying about gear. It just gets in my head when I am first on scene and I am taking the extra minute or two to put on gear....

            But I have to remember....my personal safety is the most important thing on an emergency sene!

            Comment


            • #7
              Where abouts in SWLA

              I too am in SWLA
              We have it set up that Officers carry there gear with them. All Officers are to make there way to the station assumeing that they may have to pick up a truck. Upon hearing a truck is in route they will then proceed to the scene. All FF must respond to the station unless they have to pass an MVA.
              Upon the trucks arrival they will get a reflective FD vest and help with trafic and staging.

              I too use a gear bag. I have found that a tool box is the best option. Not only can you keep your gear out of the weather but it also helps with the trama bag(kids like to dig). I aso have put tools and jumper cables.(just tie the 4 atv in the back of the truck let the rear wheels sit on the tail gate)

              Full turnout gear for us too (SOG) Those that do not actively pretisipate in the extracation or stand by with charged line will have FD reflective vest.

              I also to my wife's dismay leave my clothes in a pile by the foot of the bed.

              Leave keys in one spot every night. HAVE EXTRA set of truck keys, tool box key and FD key tywraped (somwhere on your truck) I have locked my keys in my truck on accident at a scene. It is not fun when you have to wake up your wife at 03:00 to bring your spare set.

              The one thing that you have to remember you did not cause the wreck or the fire. You must get the Safety equipment there to do the job properly.
              This means you must protect your self that may mean the use of a truck.

              Get the truck rolling you may get to a scene and need tools off of it. Or the vhicle may start on fire after the page. Unless they repage or you have a scaner/raido you would not know and get there with turnout gear and a trama bag to fight a fire. How would you help then?


              What happens if you are the only one that can drive the truck at that time of day and you respond strait to the scene. I say the Dept. needs ot train all of the personell at the least how to pump the truck. The guys that are capable of driving needs to step up and take the responability. As you said it's ruff on a small Dept. We have 25 members run out of two stations and cover the most area SQ mi in LAF Parish. All but 3 members are cirtified operators.

              Remember if you are running code L/S you don't have the right of way, you are requesting it. Going 15mph over the limit is not a good idea,I too live in SWLA and can just imagin the road conditions you face. If you don't get to the scene safe we all loose. Vic, your family and the New Brouthers you have just met.

              Any Qusetions email me [email protected]
              sigpic
              K Dugas
              Duson Vol.Fire Dept.
              FF1 Haz Mat OP's

              Comment


              • #8
                Those that do not actively pretisipate in the extracation or stand by with charged line will have FD reflective vest.
                Emphasis mine...so you're telling me you're putting people on a line, ostensibly with the mission of performing fire suppression duties if needed, and without turnouts??????? Please say it ain't so...

                As for lack of training for FFs...even the rawest newbie should be able to at least pull a preconnected line from the bed and advance it towards the fire.
                Here's a step-by-step of a suggested evolution you have all of your FFs learn:
                1. Airbrake set, put pump in gear, initiate accountability system, ensure appropriate hazard/warning lights are on.
                2. Chock wheels, pull preconnect and flake or lay out so as to avoid kinks, twists or tangles.
                3. Soft-charge hoseline, then throttle-up to department standard discharge pressure for the length and type of hoseline pulled. Set relief valve.
                4. Pack up, ensuring complete and proper PPE wear, and go on air.
                5. Move to nozzle, spray water.
                This's a good evolution because it teaches and exercises the most fundamental firefighter skills--proper PPE wear, packing up quickly but correctly, pulling hoselines, and additionally gets a bit into engineer stuff (setting pump in gear, opening/closing discharge valves, correct throttle setting for appropriate pressures, using relief valve).
                My recommendation would be to teach each skill separately...ensure good PPE and air-pack practices...move on to preconnects, get that down...go into engineer stuff, then bring it all together when each individual skill is mastered.
                With some practice you should be able to get this evolution down to under 3 mins beginning when you set the airbrake and ending when you flow water from the nozzle.
                You can introduce a level of "competition" by publicly posting times for the evolution, see who can get and keep the fastest time, and whoever does gets ... something. Take a collection for a Starbucks gift card or something. You get the idea.
                My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                IACOJ--West Coast PITA

                Comment


                • #9
                  Read it again 1141

                  [QUOTE=the1141man]Emphasis mine...so you're telling me you're putting people on a line, ostensibly with the mission of performing fire suppression duties if needed, and without turnouts??????? Please say it ain't so...

                  QUOTE]

                  Read it one more time.

                  Originally posted by kldugas412
                  Full turnout gear for us too (SOG) Those that DO NOT actively pretisipate in the extracation or stand by with charged line will have FD reflective vest.
                  Just to clear the air all personell that respons to a MVA or fire with in 50' shall have full turnout gear including the comand officer. At a fire this shall include SCBA wherher or not you are on the line.At an MVA the FF's on the line must have SCBA. (The possability of having to preform supression is possable.)

                  If at call's you will not preform supression/extrication and are greater than 50'.(pumping the truck/trafic/staging) You must have at least the reflective FD vest.

                  We belive the price of safety out ways Time to possaibly refill SCBA bottels at the end of any call.

                  Stay safe.

                  This was in no way writen to demeen or put down any one on this tread.
                  It was just to clarify the Question asked.

                  Thanks, Stay safe Hit it hard and fast. Let the rookies overhal.
                  Last edited by kldugas412; 12-09-2006, 11:52 AM.
                  sigpic
                  K Dugas
                  Duson Vol.Fire Dept.
                  FF1 Haz Mat OP's

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think most understood you the first time Dugas. 1141 just mis-interpreted it. No worries.

                    The joys of communicating on the webernet.
                    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

                    IACOJ

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, I don't set training standards or outlines. I'll bring up the ideas though.

                      As for the 15 mph over posted speed limit, these are all rural roads. Also, the local state trooper troop has agreed that 15 is a safe speed with appropriate warning lights and good weather conditions.....for POV, not the engine. Definitely not the tanker.....I don't use lights on my vehicle due to insurance reasons. If they don't move....I just have to wait.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mcaldwell
                        I think most understood you the first time Dugas. 1141 just mis-interpreted it. No worries.

                        The joys of communicating on the webernet.
                        Yeah, I tend to get stupid when tired. *shrug*

                        Then again, I'm sure someone somewhere was sitting and wondering what's wrong with standing by with a charged jump line wearing a t-shirt, jean shorts, a boonie hat, and a reflective vest. I mean, the reflective stuff is almost as good as proximity gear, right?
                        My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                        IACOJ--West Coast PITA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Confused

                          [QUOTE=SWLAFireDawg]Thanks guys!

                          Our area is quite large and spread out, especially considering the small number of people we have. And to make it worse, we have more than one station. For me to respond to the main station takes 14 minutes at 15mph over the posted speed limit .


                          As for the 15 mph over posted speed limit, these are all rural roads. Also, the local state trooper troop has agreed that 15 is a safe speed with appropriate warning lights and good weather conditions.....for POV, not the engine. Definitely not the tanker.....I don't use lights on my vehicle due to insurance reasons. If they don't move....I just have to wait.
                          So do you go 15 over in your POV with out warning lights?

                          I too travel the rural roads in SWLA. They are some of the worst kept roads in the nation. I have been to 48 of the 50 states and have been on gravel roads that are in better shape than some state HWY's. The only 2 that I can't coment on is N Dakota and Hawaii.

                          Think of the contributing factors of MVA's, Excluding alcohol.
                          What would be one of the most likely? My guess would be SPEED or inattentiveness. If they crashed what would make it any different for you. I'm not sayin go 15mph under. The law states that you can go over, so you should'nt get a ticket if it is safe. I don't think that is a wise choice any way you look at it. If you get into a wreck you can be held liable because of the safety to the public issue.
                          Remember you did not cause the wreck, get there safe so you can help.
                          Don't become another vic.

                          If the PD wants to go 100 mph thats them. They are in GOV. issued Vehicles and are/should be properly set up and mantained. The LEO shoud have the proper training for the incressed speeds at witch they operate.

                          Where are you located(Parish/Town)?
                          If the roads are that mutch better I may consider moving. HA HA

                          We are in the process of hpopefully geting (2) turnarounds in our District on I-10.

                          Check this out These are the Law's for Volie's to follow
                          http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88016
                          http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88206
                          http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88033
                          http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88221
                          http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88222
                          http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=88259
                          sigpic
                          K Dugas
                          Duson Vol.Fire Dept.
                          FF1 Haz Mat OP's

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1. When you're at home have your bunker pants in place for you to step into them right away. This means having the boots in already. Have your turnout coat, helmet, and EMT bag in the vehicle. Follow your department's SOP regarding what gear to wear to each call.

                            2. At night have everything you need in a certain order before going to bed. I have your shirt, pant, hat, etc all set in your bedroom so when a call comes in you can simply get up and put everything on quickly without fumbling around. Have your keys in a place that's easy to get at. I used to have them RIGHT next to the door next to my bunker pants.
                            Eh?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The tool box approach has always worked for me. I have a tool box on my truck and on the one I had previously...gear is always accessible and out of the weather, but not cluttering up the cab. If hauling your ATV is a problem, you might want to just go with one of those more portable "packer" type boxes...not the Rubbermaid kind, but the black ones with the latching lid. If you get one just big enough to hold your gear, you can easily take it out if you need to haul your bike. A couple of our guys went with this option and it works out OK for them.

                              Something like this...




                              Also, Gall's sells a waterproof gear bag, big enough for a set of turnouts. You could keep that in the back of your truck and your gear would stay dry. I haven't actually tried one, but it seems like a possible solution
                              Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
                              Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
                              Paincourtville, LA

                              "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
                              — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

                              Comment

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