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ROLL CALL, is it important?

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  • ROLL CALL, is it important?

    A few years ago I read an article in either Firehouse or Fire Engineering on the importance of roll-call. I'd like to hear from anybody who remembers it or anybody who has a thought one way or the other on the subject.


    PS I'm talking about roll-call at the beginning of your shift, not at the scene on an incident.

    DKK - Capt.
    Truck 1 Tour 2

  • #2
    I don't remember the article but I do feel a formal roll call at the beginning of the shift is very important.

    First it allows the officer to physically see who he/she is working with. This means anyone found not fit for duty for any reason can be dealt with immediately. It is the time to get everyone together as a group and go over the apparatus assignments as well as the plans for the day, including work details, inspections, training, etc. This way there is no confusion as to who's doing what or what needs to be done and everyone can plan their day accordingly. It is also the time to pass along any pertinent information as to the presence and condition of equipment or to inform members of missing or damaged equipment, street closings, dangerous conditions or any other special department communications important to the membership.

    In my department, roll call has fallen by the wayside in many stations and on different shifts. I still have a roll call every tour with my crew and will continue to do so. Like everything else, if you do it all the time, it's expected. When you stop doing it, it's difficult to bring it back.

    Roll call takes about 2 or 3 minutes but that short time sets the tone for the full 24 hour shift and can be the most important 2 minutes of the day.

    Mike Gentili, Capt.
    New Bedford Fire Dept.


    • #3
      My department has never done a formal "roll call", but ours is rather informal. We have an daily roster that is filled out by the previous duty officer listing who is in, who's out, the reasons why, the apparatus riding lists and any pertinent information that has to be passed onto the oncoming group. In the morning, after the radio tests, we get together in the kitchen and do the same thing that Captain Mike Gentili posted in his answer. The same thing happens on the night tours of duty, with the exception of the radio tests (we work 10's and 14's).

      Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
      Captain Gonzo


      • #4
        Absolutely it's important!!! For all the reasons listed above, and more!! Apparatus operators can exchange info about the rig and equipment, detail guys can be introduced....and the list goes on!! Another time that is important-

        The MEAL!!! If you work 24's, the evening meal is an important time....everyone sits down together, and generally "debriefs" each other....a family time. If you work 10's and 14's, lunch time on the days (maybe not a cooked meal, but eat together) and nights....COOK!!!!

        "Loyalty above all else, except honor."


        • #5
          I have worked at houses where the roll call is formal and some informal. I prefer the formal, for all the reasons stated.

          In addition, You might have a fill in man that you might not know, or a new man, it would be nice to know who they are, what is expected of them etc. You could accomplish this informaly, but doing it formal sets a standard of expected behavior that I like.

          Be Safe


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