No announcement yet.

Is 2in/2out a great idea?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is 2in/2out a great idea?

    I'm not out of the dark ages nor am I against change but 2in/2out is not the greatest thing since running water. The concept is O.K. but it does more to hinder good firefighting tactics than anything else. 2in/2out is more of a manning issue and could not make it through the hall of congress where most everyone could see it for what it is.
    If we want to do something about safety than lets start where we can make the most difference such as manditory phyical fitness, wear safety belt when you are going down the road and and don't kill firefighter on vacant structures.
    We have now taken away the ability for the scene command to use personnel the most efficant way that they see fit. I rather have 2 crews in fighting the fire and knock it out in 5 to 10 minutes than have to use one crew inside and one out. It does not make good tactical sense.
    I know that I am not in the majority on the issue but if it was such a great idea, why did it have to come through the back door like an uncle that nobody wants to talk about. This really handycapps smaller departments. The real issue is that we, as a fire service should risk a lot for saving lives and risk a little for property and risk nothing for our pride!

  • #2
    Hello jest129!

    I think I'll 'risk' my two cents on this one:

    A 2 in - 2 out fire ground assignment some time ago allowed my partner and I to quickly pull a couple of firefighters from under the rubble and entanglements of a fallen suspended ceiling. They had to return the favor a few days later. These incidents made me a supporter of the 2 in - 2 out rules; which in my state is now law.

    That said: I can't help but notice that you used the word 'risk' three times in your closing sentence. I'm VERY glad that you did, because it's become my belief that while the job of the fire department is 'to put the wet stuff on the red stuff' we are actually .... risk managers.

    Risk managers?

    Yes. Hear me out, and take a minute to think about it:

    When you respond to a vehicle fire don't you position your apparatus to reduce the 'risk' of oncoming traffic running down a firefighter? Don't you do preplans and talk about how one fire attack may or may not be less 'risky' than another? At a structure fire, don't you lay lines from, or to, a hydrant to reduce the 'risk' of firefighters inside from running out of water? Don't you always carefully position your engine and truck to reduce the 'risk' that ambulances and other equipment won't be able to get by your rig and set up?

    Before you attack a brush fire, don't you first always look for downed wires to reduce the 'risk' of an electrocution? Before you enter a burning smoke filled building don't you always wear your full turnout gear, tag-in, turn on your PASS, hook up your SCBA; and then check your partner while he checks you? Hasn't that reduced your, and your partner's 'risks' of getting lost and overcome? Why are you always carrying a tool with you into those structure fires? You can't 'risk' not having something in your hands in case you have to help another firefighter.

    The fire service manages risks at EVERY alarm. It even shows up in the routes we choose to get to the alarm. "Let's go down Oak Street instead of Willow Street so we don't 'risk' finding a long freight train at the crossing."

    Everyone from the incident commander to the guy on the doughnut truck has got to properly manage some level and degree of risk.

    I've been a 'risk manager' for several years, and I've commanded numerous fires and other events; but I don't have a problem instituting 2 in - 2 out because my primary concern was, is, and always will be, the SAFETY of my firefighters.

    I must reduce their risks of injury; not just AT the alarm, but BEFORE it evens sounds. Isn't the 'bottom line' of your weekly training session actually a lesson on how to do an evolution right to reduce the 'risks' of getting hurt?

    Now, think back to the last ten or twelve structure fires you had. Now how many were preventable?

    Did the resident or business owner heed your prevention policies? Was the smoke alarm working? Did they have one? Was the cooking attended to? Was an adult watching the kids? Did they do any of the common sense things we've begged them over and over to do? No! They only call us when it's too late.

    What are YOU prepared to 'risk' for property owned by someome like that?

    As firefighters our job is to put out fires ... but our DUTY is to each other.


    Firefighter SAFETY is job 1; and if that means you do 2 in - 2 out ... well, then do it.

    Alan ten-Hoeve
    [email protected]


    • #3
      A flat NO! Its a shame the fire service has let the gov't decide what we can and can't do in the first few minutes of a fire. What happened to a well trained & experienced fire officer making the decisions. The only way to know if someone is trapped in a building (occupied or not)is to go in and search when and where appropreiate. Our job was once to protect life & property. If you know the history of the regulation 2-in 2-out was meant for outside industry in a non-emergency setting. Govt' bureaucrats and their decision making process belong in the office not on the fire ground.


      • #4
        Thank you for your response.  We agree on many things and especially that firefighter safety is job one.  We are risk managers and I believe that the people on the scene are the ones best able to decide where and what personnel should be doing.  I work at a mid-size department that runs both fire and EMS.  Our engines can go out the door with 6 firefighters or 1 firefighter.  This makes it hard when you arrive on the scene to say we will wait for more manpower when you are confident that you could handle the fire with what you have on scene.  It would be great to have manpower to be your back up team but in our situation and others it is not financially possible.  As an officer you have the responsability for the safety of your crew, you know what they can do, so you should decide wheather they should go in or stay out.

        I will follow 2in/2out because it is the law but as I watched us loose a two story structure because we could not fight the fire quickly and aggresively when we first arrived I will try to find ways to make this law less rigid. We spent 2 hours on a fire that might have been put out in 30 minutes.

        [This message has been edited by jest129 (edited November 24, 1999).]

        [This message has been edited by jest129 (edited November 24, 1999).]


        • #5
          Don't misunderstand this: There's absolutley no, repeat "NO" 2 in - 2 out considerations or requirements when or if a building is occupied.

          The NJ 'law' allows firefighters to use common sense and act accordingly when or if there's someone inside, but from my experiences as both a paid and volunteer firefighter I am firmly convinced that 2 in - 2 out MUST be used at all other times.

          You're right Robert Cobb (are you the same Robert Cobb on the job in Jersey City?) about the government, ALL levels of government, sticking their noses where it don't belong .... but we (volunteer AND paid) let them. Where's the unity and political clout we firefighters should be exercising?


          • #6
            EPFD-AL: You are right. We are risk managers all the time. When we do this, we size-up the situation so we can mitigate the risk, or minimize it to a managable level. I can contrast this to the 10/18 in wildland firefighting; although they are thrown in our face as the "law", they really only describe good safe behavior. 2 in/2 out provides us the same options. When sized-up, and firfighters are there it makes good sense to institute these measures. What do we do when the size-up indicates something else? Again we have to mitigate the risk as we see it. All these forum subjects tie together; the leadership/experience/etc into making those good decisions. Since you cannot legislate morality, having 2 people outside for the sake of the law is not good management, but it does make sense when they are needed. That's what "leaders" get paid the big bucks for. Using all of a small initial attack force to contain a fire is good management if it reduces the exposure to risk; again that becomes a managers decision. How wishy washy can I get, I think the points are good on both sides of this issue. But I do feel it is a fire ground decision based on real data; "situational awareness" of the environment and people; and the tactics need to represent safe/effective behaviors for that specific condition.

            [This message has been edited by monte (edited November 23, 1999).]


            • #7
              It used to be a person was garbage man now they are a "sanitation engineer" - once they were housewives now they are "domestic engineeers" - This was from a George Carlin schtick about words.

              I am imagine many of your depts were like ours & practiced 2 in 2 out before there was such a fancy term. We did not use it all the time but when personnel was available they were assigned to the backup line. Some of the rules brought down are things many of our depts. have been using in the past, except the government hotshots take a look at it, attach a fancy name or phrase to it and woo hoo you can be fined for it now.

              ED C.
              [email protected]
              "Doin' it for lives and property !"
              Pittsfield Twp. Fire Dept.

              [This message has been edited by PTFD21 (edited November 23, 1999).]


              • #8
                2 in, 2 out is a good rule to follow. BUT, there are times when the situation will arise that this isnt possible, and a order has to be given by the on scene commander. It is a good practice to get used to, but today, the RIT, FAST, or GO teams are right behind you on the responce. Before this, you didnt hear to much about the 2 in, 2 out. Some companies I do understand do not have the initial manpower on the scene and rely on mutual aid. So, you respond to a working fire, ill say....driver and 2 firefighters on the first engine. You get on scene and there is confirmed entrapment. I think all firefighters, and/or officers will make the right decision if the need did arise. My decision is...if there is entrapment, ur safety is first, and go from there. But, I am not saying I would not enter the structure. Sizeup, water supply, and the current fire conditions will let me judge if I enter or not.

                John Williams
                Clairton Fire Dept (swPA)


                • #9
                  Ok here is where I stand, my opinion 2 in 2 out is a good idea in the ideal situation (who has those) BUT.... I think that leaving the Officers to make those decisions will allow for smoother operations and more efficient use of man power. As scene 25 said "most" companies that is "most" are having RIT or GO Teams reponding on the first Alarms.


                  • #10
                    From your e-mails; and from every post on 2 in - 2 out that I've read, and from the excellent, thought provoking fire scenarios in these forums, it's clear to me that everyone is capable AND willing to make quick assessments of their fire situations and act accordingly.

                    But another reason I am all for initiating 2 in - 2 out after, repeat AFTER, a structure is confirmed to have been vacated is the unexpected that rises all too often at our 'routine, bread and butter' fire alarms.

                    Here are examples that quickly come to mind;

                    Not too many years ago we were operating at a basement fire. Nothing special. All of a sudden there were a series of loud sounds: CRACK - POP - CRACK - POP - CRACK - POP -CRACK! When the smoke cleared we found that the homeowner had, quite proudly all by himself, installed a second bathroom and hacked through almost every floor joist to accommodate his new pipes. The weight of the crews above checking extension and doing salvage cracked the joists! The ONLY thing still holding everything up was his girder, which was made up of three 2 X 10s. He had hacked that up too, but I guess the paint somehow held it together. Who aboard the engine ever expected to encounter something like that?

                    Another time at an attic fire we laddered a roof that felt like a trampoline, AND it moved back and forth laterally with each swing of the axe. Turns out the ownwer had removed all the roof's collar ties and purlins to enlarge his attic. Who would expect anything like that?

                    A friend of mine is a plumber. He gets a call for a clogged drain. When he goes into the basement he finds that the resident, who is worried about the Y2K problem, has stored enough water to fill Lake Erie; he has box after box after box of canned food, and he has about twenty hi-lo sized propane tanks stored and ready for heating and cooking when the world as he knows it ends at midnight December 31st. Now imagine rolling in on your engine or truck for a 'routine' basement fire in that structure.

                    You roll up on a 70-75 year old two and a half story balloon frame construction house to investigate a smell of smoke. All the residents are out, all accounted for, and all you see are whispers of smoke from the attic vent under one of the gables. The house has new energy efficent windows, new roof shingles, and new vinyl siding. O.K. ... where's the fire?

                    I'm sure you have had your own close calls, and discovered some very serious situations
                    AFTER the fire is out. So why risk anything?

                    It's the unexpected, or in the cases like the old balloon frame - the unknown, that always rises and bites us on the butt, so we have to be prepared for it. Step one: SAFETY.

                    The FINEST people in the world are you; my brother and sister firefighters. Your safety is all I care about. If the structure is empty - why take ANY risks?

                    Pick one of the above true life examples and decide where do you really, REALLY want YOUR emergency backup:
                    a) hanging around the rescue truck,
                    b) sitting on the tailboard of the engine,
                    c) at the door doing 2 in - 2 out.


                    • #11
                      "2 in 2 out" is the law and we can live with it. As for extinguishing interior fires in residential properties or small taxpayers I have a few questions for everone. Has anyone heard of Lloyd Layman? The navy all- purpose nozzle? Fog applicators? Straight tips? If you have your in luck. You can significantly darken a fire if not extinguish it from the exterior using these tools. I know it isn't much fun, but it beats watching a structure destroyed prior to our being able to mount an interior attack. ...just some food for thought.



                      • #12
                        We began using the 2 out team concept in our Dept. about two years ago and to my knowledge no has deployed it yet. However I strongly support it and think that the Illinois Fire schools Saving Our Own program is the best way to get an understanding of how valuable a tool it can be. The incidents described in the posting befor this one sure where clear how 2 out made a difference. A guy alot smarter than me put it best "2 out makes sense because firefighters are worth it, you don't see lawyers with 2 out teams!" Chief B. Phoenix



                        • #13
                          Is it a good idea...I guess so, but there can be some issues which make it diffcult and unproductive. Low staffed companies will sure feel the hit on this one. The concept of having members standing fast outside the structure is dandy, but how many places have members who would really be able to function is such a capacity if needed? I still don't have a concrete opinion as to how I feel about it, but from a safety concern I think it is a good idea.

                          The opinions and views expressed herin are solely mine and not on the behalf of any department or organization I belong to.


                          • #14
                            hey bud i hear ya! IF STAFFING WAS THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE , WE WOULD NOT NEED 2/2.


                            • #15
                              2in/2out is necessary. Why is it that the firefighter assumes all risk to do a job that administrators, politicians, and taxpayers refuse to equip and staff him/her for properly?
                              Yes, some departments are troubled financially by the staffing required. But doesn't that mean that the community is choosing not to fund adequately? This legislation and regulation is needed because we have not used the strength of our numbers to demand better conditions. If your community chooses to fund at a level that precludes aggressive interior structural firefighting, then they should not receive that service at the risk of our well-being.
                              Yes, we are risk managers. But the acceptable risk is dictated by the tools we are given to manage it with.
                              2in/2out addresses the life-safety issue. If you feel that there is a chance to save a life you are given the lattitude to make that push without the required members assembled. But if you lose a building you feel could have been saved due to inadequate staffing, then illustrate that to the community! Let them know that there is no free lunch. Show them what they are getting and just how little a cost it may be to improve their protection. Often you will find that the taxpayers are more than willing to up the ante if they know why. Sometimes it may even result in a net gain for them in reduced insurance rates. More often the budget is trimmed, sliced, and static because the Pols need to get by another term, and they bank on skating again, all the while playing with our lives.
                              It is less than a week since I stood with tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters in Worcerster to mourn and honor the memory of six brave and good men who lost their lives in an attempt to locate victims who unfortunately were not there. The lesson to remember is that no matter how confident you are that the risk is acceptable, the conditions can and do change drastically and possibly more rapidly than imaginable. Unless you are reasonably certain, as they were in Worcester, that there is a rescue possible, then why should you risk your life, (and those who would come after and attempt to get you out)with no minimal means (2 members!) to retrieve you in the event of your entrapment?
                              I recognize and identify with the frustration on the part of the fire community
                              to be held back when facing the job, but it is our motivated action that those who chose not to staff and equip us properly count on. It is also the reason we continue to lose firefighters the 'same old fashioned' ways.
                              I will risk a lot to save a lot, but will only risk a little to save a little.
                              Be safe and be careful.


                              300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)


                              Upper 300x250