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Urban v Rural Size Ups

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  • Urban v Rural Size Ups

    Maybe it's an elementary questions, but do size ups changes between urban and rural fire departments? At this morning's drill on size ups we talked about urban v rural size ups. Is that something we made up, or do they change? Urban is the basics about the structure, exposures, closest hydrant and fire conditions. In the rural setting hydrants are replaced by expected water delivery needs (send me two tankers or send me six tankers), scene issues (wet fields, narrow driveways) and how many personnel are needed? Any input on differences you may have?

  • #2
    My size up is exactly the same. Who, where, what, what, who, what.

    Who: Engine 142
    Where: On location at 123 West Main
    What: Fire showing A/B corner second division
    What: Crew stretching a 1 3/4 inch line, 360 in progress
    Who: Lieutenant 1 is command
    What: Additional resources needed, you may do this step up in the first what depending on what you see
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
      My size up is exactly the same. Who, where, what, what, who, what.

      Who: Engine 142
      Where: On location at 123 West Main
      What: Fire showing A/B corner second division
      What: Crew stretching a 1 3/4 inch line, 360 in progress
      Who: Lieutenant 1 is command
      What: Additional resources needed, you may do this step up in the first what depending on what you see
      This sounds more like a preliminary report than a full size-up, although i could be splitting hairs here.

      To answer the original question I would say they are the same, yet they are different.

      Both will include things such as resources, location and extent of fire along with likely paths of extension within building and to exposures, life hazard, water supply, apparatus placement, construction type, occupancy type, area and height of building, time of day, access and weather conditions.

      Street conditions/restrictions and building systems (sprinklers, standpipes, alarm systems, elevators, extensive HVAC systems) are more likely to be an urban issue.

      Water supply other than a municipal hydrant system would be more of a rural issue.

      Safety concerns are obviously universal.

      The NEED for resources is universal but the ability to actually get them in a timely manner is not.

      Simply put they are more alike than different because a size-up needs to include every possible thing we need to know about fighting the fire we see upon arrival and fighting the fire it could potentially grow in to. It doesn't really matter if the setting is rural or urban.

      It is not necessary to transmit every piece of information but it should all be considered by the IC.

      Comment


      • #4
        Size up around here runs the gamut from a fairly complete description to simply "working fire" (or nothing showing).

        In a rural setting, the variety of the fire load isn't very big - plenty of type 5's in a plethora of sizes ranging from sheds to 2 1/2 story's to modulars to barns.

        Law enforcement actually often provides first eyes on the scene. Decisions have been made by those reports - especially if they report something major.

        For a long time we had a couple of ten codes we were using, but the interpretation varied greatly. Many folks had the "10-10" as a working fire of any type, and usually without much of a description of the burning building. Oftimes we got more via what the caller reported (and dispatch gave to us) than what the first in unit provided.

        Some folks only reported a "10-10" if they were going to need mutual aid. If they were going to handle it themselves, it was the other choice - a "10-9."

        For everyone else, a 10-9 meant no fire, and usually little or no size up. It was occasionally interesting to hear a department call on scene with a "10-9" and still be on scene an hour and more later.

        The fact that there is no central management of the fire departments means any attempt at the county level to standardize things falls on deaf ears.

        The inconsistency of staffing can be a challenge, too. We don't always have an officer in the right front seat.
        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Heck I had a chief on one of my past volly FD's whose idea of a size up was Chief 1 on location.
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by captnjak View Post

            This sounds more like a preliminary report than a full size-up, although i could be splitting hairs here.
            Essentially you are correct, it begins as the preliminary on scene report but transitions to the full size up in the taking command and the last what commentary.

            With us mutual aid is part of a Box Alarm system so we can call a normal structure box, or if we need to we can call for a tender task force box.
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
              Heck I had a chief on one of my past volly FD's whose idea of a size up was Chief 1 on location.
              Not all that helpful is it?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                Size up around here runs the gamut from a fairly complete description to simply "working fire" (or nothing showing).

                In a rural setting, the variety of the fire load isn't very big - plenty of type 5's in a plethora of sizes ranging from sheds to 2 1/2 story's to modulars to barns.

                Law enforcement actually often provides first eyes on the scene. Decisions have been made by those reports - especially if they report something major.

                For a long time we had a couple of ten codes we were using, but the interpretation varied greatly. Many folks had the "10-10" as a working fire of any type, and usually without much of a description of the burning building. Oftimes we got more via what the caller reported (and dispatch gave to us) than what the first in unit provided.

                Some folks only reported a "10-10" if they were going to need mutual aid. If they were going to handle it themselves, it was the other choice - a "10-9."

                For everyone else, a 10-9 meant no fire, and usually little or no size up. It was occasionally interesting to hear a department call on scene with a "10-9" and still be on scene an hour and more later.

                The fact that there is no central management of the fire departments means any attempt at the county level to standardize things falls on deaf ears.

                The inconsistency of staffing can be a challenge, too. We don't always have an officer in the right front seat.
                Plenty of challenges in the rural setting. But I don't see why terminology or ten codes needs to be one of them. The leadership should really get together and come up with a standardized system. Not that hard to do and no one loses their self determination.

                Getting a description of the situation seems to be a universal problem. We still hear all too often "10-75 the box" and nothing else. 10-75 confirms a working structural fire and gets certain units assigned. But it doesn't tell us much about what is going on.

                The initial report is supposed to go something like this:

                Engine X to Manhattan, 10-75 for a fire on the second floor of a five story 25 x 75 Class 3 MD (multiple dwelling). This gives so much more to the incoming units. All unit and individual positions and actions plus hose stretches are based on construction type, occupancy type and location of fire. Not a lot to ask for but still often overlooked.

                Battalion Chief follows up upon arrival with a full report of conditions and actions along with resources being used or needed.
                Last edited by captnjak; 08-10-2017, 07:47 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by captnjak View Post

                  Not all that helpful is it?
                  Yeah and talking to him about it wasn't helpful either.
                  Crazy, but that's how it goes
                  Millions of people living as foes
                  Maybe it's not too late
                  To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by captnjak View Post
                    But I don't see why terminology or ten codes needs to be one of them. The leadership should really get together and come up with a standardized system. Not that hard to do and no one loses their self determination.
                    We've moved beyond the ten codes and into plain language. In a way, the ten codes were a decent transition - at least people reported something.

                    A problem - and this is a problem in most rural departments - is that we don't get to exercise our procedures very often. A department that runs a couple of hundred calls a year usually has that diluted with various and sundry service calls that don't require a structural size-up. Sure, there's a tree down across the road, and there's wires down with it, but that's a far cry from describing the scene of a structure fire. Such a department might be first due on a half dozen workers a year, and many times less than that.

                    I suspect that we'll have a hand in standardization of reports from an unlikely source, although it's still a couple years down the road. That's our new radio system. As with most simplex systems, what's going on in one end of the county is completely unheard in the other. Since the new system will be simulcast county-wide, the good, the bad, and the ugly will be out there for everyone to hear. We can hope that once that happens, people will hear the good stuff and feel like maybe they should follow suit.


                    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Obviously the values at risk are different, and there can be different issues between urban and rural, but the size up process itself doesn't really change. A fire officer pulling up to a working structure in a densely packed urban area will assess the fires potential in the terms of exposure to other structures, one pulling up to an isolated structure in the woods will be thinking in terms of potential wildfire, how many acres it could go, and the proximity to other structures.

                      The old COAL WAS WEALTH can apply equally to urban and rural settings, career and volunteer. These points are also largely applicable to wildland fires with slight adjustment, mostly just a change in interpretation. Construction of the structure in the path of a wildfire matters as much as it does the building of origin, Street conditions can apply to access (drive, hike, air delivery) just as well as room to place ladder companies and pumpers on a structure.


                      Construction
                      Occupancy
                      Area
                      Location
                      Water Supply
                      Apparatus
                      Street conditions
                      Weather
                      Exposures
                      Auxiliary appliances
                      Life
                      Time
                      Height


                      This is the official size up report format used by my agency. While we are primarily wildland fire in mission, there is a lot of overlap with the above.

                      Incident Type
                      Location / Jurisdiction
                      Incident Size
                      Incident Status
                      Establish IC and Fire Name
                      Weather conditions
                      Radio frequencies
                      Best Access
                      Special hazards or concerns
                      Additional resource needs.
                      Last edited by Here and there; 08-11-2017, 11:20 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                        We've moved beyond the ten codes and into plain language. In a way, the ten codes were a decent transition - at least people reported something.

                        A problem - and this is a problem in most rural departments - is that we don't get to exercise our procedures very often. A department that runs a couple of hundred calls a year usually has that diluted with various and sundry service calls that don't require a structural size-up. Sure, there's a tree down across the road, and there's wires down with it, but that's a far cry from describing the scene of a structure fire. Such a department might be first due on a half dozen workers a year, and many times less than that.

                        I suspect that we'll have a hand in standardization of reports from an unlikely source, although it's still a couple years down the road. That's our new radio system. As with most simplex systems, what's going on in one end of the county is completely unheard in the other. Since the new system will be simulcast county-wide, the good, the bad, and the ugly will be out there for everyone to hear. We can hope that once that happens, people will hear the good stuff and feel like maybe they should follow suit.

                        Much like the use of the ICS system, size up is a use it or lose it skill set. I've found the departments that use the same size up and command structure on the minor calls as well as "the real" calls tend to do much better when they need it than those who only do it on the major calls.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Here and there View Post

                          Much like the use of the ICS system, size up is a use it or lose it skill set. I've found the departments that use the same size up and command structure on the minor calls as well as "the real" calls tend to do much better when they need it than those who only do it on the major calls.
                          ^^^This ^^^

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not so sure that we use different methods between "urban" for us and rural.

                            Just different information.

                            From a single family dwelling in town to a trailer house in the hills.

                            MVA to a wildland fire.

                            We fall way short on size ups. No consistency.
                            The fire service is about service to our fellow man.
                            There is a trust that must not be broken and we are the keepers of that trust.
                            Captain Dave LeBlanc

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm all for using short, concise, RELEVANT size ups. If I say "Engine XXX on the scene of a one story ranch, nothing showing, we're investigating", that should tell you all you need to know and not clog up the radio with needless chatter. I don't need to say what the road conditions are, everyone pretty much knows what they are by now. I don't need to say what kind of construction it is, because 99.9% of the time a ranch is going to be ordinary frame construction.
                              I may add for other units to stage if it's a dead end street or something, but they should already know the street layout anyway. If it's a more complicated layout, with immediate rescues needed, etc., I'd add that as necessary.
                              I can't stand Chiefs that can't grasp the obvious. One yelled at an officer for not stating "water on the fire", after he said "We're hitting it with the deck gun"... Do we really have to be THAT redundant??

                              Comment

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