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Accountability on the Fireground

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    grecko.1
    Forum Member

  • grecko.1
    replied
    Dept. Plan

    Seems things are a little different for the department I volunteer with. Perhaps thats due to the nuclear power plant in our district, with whom we do allot of our training.

    At every scene, we establish an accountability person. They will have a large white board, with various positions marked on it - each of our vehicles has a section, with a spot for driver, operator, etc depending on the vehicle. We have attack team sections, backup team sections, vent sections, etc. Staging and rehab also have large sections.

    Every member has an accountability tag, which is magnetic, that is given to the accountability person (it may be left on the fridge in the rescue unit, for the first teams in, and picked up by the accountability person when they setup). The tags are stuck onto the board in the appropriate location.

    When leaving staging, the staging officer will report to accountability who is on the team and what their designation is to be. Once the team gets to where its supposed to be, they radio command (this may be in the form of "Command, attack on air", if they are to go on air), and accountability monitors this. Before moving into any structure, after exiting any structure, and while moving between rooms in any structure, the team radio's command to advise of location and conditions. Accountability monitors this, and thus knows at any point where every member is, how long they've been on air (if they are on air), and what they are doing.

    Accountability radio's command when any team hits 20 or 40 minutes on air, to remind command to do a PAR. PAR is only (normally) requested of those teams in the IDLH (those teams on air), and consists of command calling a PAR, and each team radioing back to command with the lowest air pressure on the team and current status.

    In order to keep the radio "free" for fireground operations, command, staging, rehab, and accountability all have a second radio, on a different channel.

    It seems to work quite well for us. At joint training exercises, we do accountability for the fireground, and the system scales well enough to work with 3 responding departments and multiple attack and backup teams.

    Grecko

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  • hwoods
    63 Years & Still Rolling

  • hwoods
    replied
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post

    Used to be that you had to search around the front steps.. bushes... etc to collect the 1st due tags.

    I remember those days here........ I had a Young "Go Get it" guy (who was otherwise a good kid) ask me one time - "Hey Chief, why are these tags made out of Plastic?? That stuff Melts...."

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  • Capt387
    Forum Member

  • Capt387
    replied
    Here is a link to one like we use on my career FD http://www.imsalliance.com/

    It has a tag system that is stored on your helmet. In the volunteer setting when you get to a scene all you would have to do is check in and hand a tag to the accountability person and be assigned. Pretty simple to use.

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  • ChiefKN
    Back In Black

  • ChiefKN
    replied
    Originally posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Go with this, each apparatus should have a ring/velcro board/something to collect passport tags on.

    Since you are volunteers, I suppose the question is who is the accountability officer till the chief arrives? Make the bumper of the first in engine the drop point for the accountability tags. When the chief arrives he knows where to go to look for them, and if something bad happens before his arrival you still have all the tags at a central location. This would eliminate having to take a person out of the fight to collect tags at the door.
    Our first due has a 6" square "board" with a ring. Everyone on the entry team hooks their tag and drops at front door.

    Second due or follow up apparatus have an accountability person assigned who picks up the small board and runs entry area accountablity.

    Used to be that you had to search around the front steps.. bushes... etc to collect the 1st due tags.

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  • FiremanLyman
    Forum Member

  • FiremanLyman
    replied
    Originally posted by hwoods View Post
    Our System is everyone has a Tag on their PPE. Each Apparatus has a Ring. When you climb in, you clip your tag on the ring. On the Fireground, one of the arriving Officers is designated as the Accountability Officer by the IC. He/She will maintain a count of members operating and their assigned location. Each unit officer is responsible for their crew. A timer is running on the Dispatch console any time personnel are operating in a Hazardous area, and the IC is "Prompted" at 15 minute intervals..........

    Note to the OP - Why are you trying to limit Radio Traffic??........
    Go with this, each apparatus should have a ring/velcro board/something to collect passport tags on.

    Since you are volunteers, I suppose the question is who is the accountability officer till the chief arrives? Make the bumper of the first in engine the drop point for the accountability tags. When the chief arrives he knows where to go to look for them, and if something bad happens before his arrival you still have all the tags at a central location. This would eliminate having to take a person out of the fight to collect tags at the door.

    Leave a comment:

  • ChiefKN
    Back In Black

  • ChiefKN
    replied
    Originally posted by hwoods View Post
    Our System is everyone has a Tag on their PPE. Each Apparatus has a Ring. When you climb in, you clip your tag on the ring. On the Fireground, one of the arriving Officers is designated as the Accountability Officer by the IC.
    NJ Requires a 2 tag system as well.

    When command asks for a par when fire is knocked down (also required by NJ), each officer will do a count of all personnel that responded with them.

    We don't have guys respond POV and try to keep the crews together.

    If there is a collapse or mayday all the tags in the apparatus are brought to the command post and a roll is taken. This has never happened, thank god.

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  • THTMAN
    MembersZone Subscriber

  • THTMAN
    replied
    Blu - Appreciate all the help. We were looking to include everyone. For Ladder Co Ops we have an inside & outside team (each a min of 2 members) so we were planning on having command ask for a PAR from the outside team directly and not the officer since he is normally remote from them.

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  • Blulakr
    Forum Member

  • Blulakr
    replied
    Originally posted by THTMAN View Post
    Blu - That is very close to what we have set up. How do you account for members operating remote from the Group Leader (Officer)? Ie; Does the IC call each Driver of an apparatus to check on them or is it the Officers responsibility or are they not contacted at all?
    Really the only ones operating remotely or individually should be the engineers, safety officers, staging officer, rehab etc. These are low-risk duties away from the actual structure and can be performed alone. They are not included in a PAR check. Anyone directly involved in fire suppression, search & rescue, venting etc. has at least one partner and acts as a group. Simply put, the group stays together and no one within that group acts remotely.

    For the most part there aren't that many groups\crews at any one time unless it's a very large building. Typically 5 groups or less. For example, 2 attack crews, vent crew, exposure crew, RIC crew.

    A PAR check can be done quickly with minimum radio traffic. The IC radio's "all units prepare for PAR check in one minute". This gives each group a chance to take inventory of their personel. The IC then asks each group to confirm PAR.

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  • THTMAN
    MembersZone Subscriber

  • THTMAN
    replied
    Chief - To answer (as best as possible) your question on limiting radio traffic, I am basically referring to not tying up the fireground channel with Officers calling members operating remotely from them (Drivers, Vent Team, etc.) in order to account for them. Also the length of time it takes Command to conduct the PAR of all the units. If we were operating with 5 engines, 2 ladders, RIT, 3 Chief Officers and a PAR is called for, you would most likely have 7 Officers calling their Drivers and additionally any member performing outside operations. It could get very busy on the radio very quickly. I was just looking for the best way to keep it to a minimum without adversely affecting radio transmissions between units that need to communicate in regards to the on going operation. Our plan may be to have the Officer include how many members responded on the apparatus and who they actually have accounted for visually or verbally. Command (or member assigned to conduct the PAR) would then call the member or team from that unit that is not accounted for. Ie; "Engine 1 responded w/5, we are operating on the 1st floor and have PAR except the Driver". Command would then call Engine 1 Driver for their status.

    Leave a comment:

  • THTMAN
    MembersZone Subscriber

  • THTMAN
    replied
    Blu - That is very close to what we have set up. How do you account for members operating remote from the Group Leader (Officer)? Ie; Does the IC call each Driver of an apparatus to check on them or is it the Officers responsibility or are they not contacted at all?

    Leave a comment:

  • Blulakr
    Forum Member

  • Blulakr
    replied
    Originally posted by THTMAN View Post
    If Officers give radio reports (pars / whatever) every 15 minutes or so, how do you account for members operating remotely from the Officer? Does the Officer call them or do they only advise command who and how many members they have and command contact the members not accounted for? Trying to develop a plan and trying to limit radio transmissions as much as possible
    This is how we do it...

    Our dispatch (Cal Fire) calls for a PAR check at timed intervals. It is programmed into their dispatch software so a prompt comes up on their screen automatically. They contact the IC and ask for a PAR check.

    At a structure fire we have operating crews or groups. Examples are rescue group, fire attack, RIC, vent group, exposure group etc. Groups are 2 or more firefighters. Each group has at least one radio.

    Crews\groups can also be labled by location, ie; division 2b will be working on the 2nd floor, left side.

    It is the responsibility of the officer\leader of each group to maintain contact with all group members at all times. Either visual, verbal or physical. Except for extreme IDLH situations, anyone acting alone without order from or comunication with their group leader or IC is freelancing and that's a BIG NO-NO.

    We usually use 2 channels, one for command and one tactical for operations. When dispatch calls for a PAR check, all non-emergency radio traffic stops. The IC announces that they will be conducting a PAR check and then waits 1 minute for each group to establish PAR. The IC then contacts each group to verify PAR.

    Example...

    "vent crew, IC, PAR check"
    "IC, vent crew has PAR"

    And so on until each group is accounted for.

    This continues every 15 minutes or so until there is no longer an IDLH condition anywhere on the fireground.
    Blulakr
    Forum Member
    Last edited by Blulakr; 11-19-2010, 02:57 AM.

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  • hwoods
    63 Years & Still Rolling

  • hwoods
    replied
    And..........

    Originally posted by THTMAN View Post
    Capt - That's the least expense / realistic system yet! LOL - Really looking for a structured procedure of radio reports from the crew officers to command during the incident. I have very little faith in the tag system and while it may tell you who is there it does not tell if they are accounted for. If Officers give radio reports (pars / whatever) every 15 minutes or so, how do you account for members operating remotely from the Officer? Does the Officer call them or do they only advise command who and how many members they have and command contact the members not accounted for? Trying to develop a plan and trying to limit radio transmissions as much as possible

    Our System is everyone has a Tag on their PPE. Each Apparatus has a Ring. When you climb in, you clip your tag on the ring. On the Fireground, one of the arriving Officers is designated as the Accountability Officer by the IC. He/She will maintain a count of members operating and their assigned location. Each unit officer is responsible for their crew. A timer is running on the Dispatch console any time personnel are operating in a Hazardous area, and the IC is "Prompted" at 15 minute intervals..........

    Note to the OP - Why are you trying to limit Radio Traffic??........

    Leave a comment:

  • CaptOldTimer
    Forum Member

  • CaptOldTimer
    replied
    Originally posted by THTMAN View Post
    Capt - That's the least expense / realistic system yet! LOL - Really looking for a structured procedure of radio reports from the crew officers to command during the incident. I have very little faith in the tag system and while it may tell you who is there it does not tell if they are accounted for. If Officers give radio reports (pars / whatever) every 15 minutes or so, how do you account for members operating remotely from the Officer? Does the Officer call them or do they only advise command who and how many members they have and command contact the members not accounted for? Trying to develop a plan and trying to limit radio transmissions as much as possible


    As you said every 15 to 30 minutes a roll call should be down. Eveyone works in pairs and the Officr should know where are. Not a real problem with engine guys as they tend to say as a team, but truck guys operates in pairs, a lot of the time in different parts of the floor or building.

    Leave a comment:

  • THTMAN
    MembersZone Subscriber

  • THTMAN
    replied
    Capt - That's the least expense / realistic system yet! LOL - Really looking for a structured procedure of radio reports from the crew officers to command during the incident. I have very little faith in the tag system and while it may tell you who is there it does not tell if they are accounted for. If Officers give radio reports (pars / whatever) every 15 minutes or so, how do you account for members operating remotely from the Officer? Does the Officer call them or do they only advise command who and how many members they have and command contact the members not accounted for? Trying to develop a plan and trying to limit radio transmissions as much as possible

    Leave a comment:

  • CaptOldTimer
    Forum Member

  • CaptOldTimer
    replied
    The old way on volunteer department was to count the pick up trucks on the scene and see if they are all gone after the job!

    Leave a comment:

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