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How does your department handle company transhers?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by drparasite View Post
    ...easy solution: don't wreck.
    Tell that to the guy who ran into me as I nosed into an intersection RLAS on a response. I was stopped when he hit the tanker...

    Originally posted by drparasite View Post
    Chief says it's a working fire, get me two engines and a ladder. he shouldn't care from where; the coordinator can look at the big picture, to see what else is happening around the county, and adjust accordingly.
    Agreed. The exchange usually goes "I need more tankers/manpower/whatever." "OK, Podunk, East Podunk and Podunk Hollow are available." "Sounds good..."

    Originally posted by drparasite View Post
    Since you're in NY, do you remember the Pompey Hill fire? Their coordinator got roasted (and rightfully so) because he was giving order ON THE FIRE SCENE. Right, or wrong, he should have gathered resources, and let running the scene to the IC. But does the IC really care who is coming when he asked for resources? he needs an engine, the assumption is they will come staffed and ready to do engine work. ditto a truck, rescue, or any other specialty piece. Their job is resource management, and if you won't let them manage resources, why are they even on the scene?
    I do remember the incident. And that's why our deputy coordinators are under orders NOT to run a scene. Their job is to coordinate - if I'm running a scene as IC and have exhausted the run cards, I'll want them to set up more extra alarms, as well as advise me who needs move-ups.

    As I noted, they can become the planning branch of the IC structure.

    Originally posted by drparasite View Post
    sounds like something dispatch can do for arranging coverage, provided you have preplanned 1st, 2nd and 3rd alarms already preplanned. Then all the IC needs to say is "make this a second alarm," and then dispatch knows exactly who to send to the scene, and who to backfill the houses with.
    I've suggested having departments include the backfills in their extra alarms. The idea was not warmly received. Part of this could be due to the fact that most departments rarely run calls that get extensively into extra alarms and move-ups - some might not see such a call more than every couple of years.

    And - they'd have to actually sit down with their neighbors, and their neighbor's neighbors to determine proper responses.

    Too - if Podunk doesn't turn out as requested, dispatch can't automatically go to the next available department. They must go back to the IC for further guidance. It's a pain, but it is what it is.

    I would love to see a comprehensive plan for all departments - automatics, second, third alarms, move-ups, maybe tanker task forces, and some leeway for dispatch to fill holes. And have all departments follow through - none of this "we'll see what we have..." I'll have more luck herding cats...



    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      Tell that to the guy who ran into me as I nosed into an intersection RLAS on a response. I was stopped when he hit the tanker...
      I know, I know, no more beating the dead horse... but worrying about liability is..... agree to disagree on this one
      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      Agreed. The exchange usually goes "I need more tankers/manpower/whatever." "OK, Podunk, East Podunk and Podunk Hollow are available." "Sounds good..."
      I think we are splitting hairs here.... IC: "I need more tankers/manpower/whatever" Coordinator "I'll get you what you need, you run the scene." IC: "I trust you do to your job, so no need for me to micromanage you; you get me what I ask for, and I'm going to go back to running the scene."
      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      I do remember the incident. And that's why our deputy coordinators are under orders NOT to run a scene. Their job is to coordinate - if I'm running a scene as IC and have exhausted the run cards, I'll want them to set up more extra alarms, as well as advise me who needs move-ups.
      nowhere did I say a coordinator should be running a scene: that's the IC's job. They are resource coordinators, not operational personnel. But does the IC really care about moveups, provided coverage is maintained? As my old chief used to say: "is it handled? good. no I don't care what you did, I trust that you did your job; otherwise I wouldn't have given you the task. and if you didn't do it right, I can always replace you with someone else who can do the job right."
      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      I've suggested having departments include the backfills in their extra alarms. The idea was not warmly received. Part of this could be due to the fact that most departments rarely run calls that get extensively into extra alarms and move-ups - some might not see such a call more than every couple of years.
      yes, why plan for events that rarely happen, because when they do happen, it's always better to make things up on the fly than have a written plan already provided to dispatch, so they can pull it out and know who to call....

      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      And - they'd have to actually sit down with their neighbors, and their neighbor's neighbors to determine proper responses.
      not really.... the chief of that department makes his 1st, 2nd and 3rd alarms. maybe 4th, depending on how involved you want to get. neighboring department does that same. Fire coordinator puts it all in a binder, gives it to all his people and gives a copy to dispatch. not really rocket science here.....
      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      Too - if Podunk doesn't turn out as requested, dispatch can't automatically go to the next available department. They must go back to the IC for further guidance. It's a pain, but it is what it is.
      why???? that's stupid. I've been in dispatch, and reassigned alarm assignments on the fly.... why you ask? because three neighboring towns had three separate working fires, and once that happens, they become unavailable to provide house coverage for each other. So I used some judgement, and did the best I could, and told the chiefs that the have 2&1 covering at each main station. they didn't care who it was, as long as they had the units there. Was it perfect? probably not, but the job got done.

      If you want to follow paperwork, if Podunk doesn't turn out, just go to the next department up on the run card (pull an engine early from the 2nd alarm card). It's not rocket science.
      Originally posted by tree68 View Post
      I would love to see a comprehensive plan for all departments - automatics, second, third alarms, move-ups, maybe tanker task forces, and some leeway for dispatch to fill holes. And have all departments follow through - none of this "we'll see what we have..." I'll have more luck herding cats...
      well, that's because we have never done it that why, so why change?

      NJ is a huge homerule state..... with plenty of little kingdoms. In my particular county, the "city" FD decided they were going to implement alarms, and they submitted up to 3rd or 4th alarm to county OEM.... and then county OEM asked every other department (which were 100% volunteer) to do it. Were there departments that didn't? I'm sure. And are there times when the alarms don't get followed, because the IC directs dispatch to deviate? yep. But it makes things so much easier, because the IC has more important things to worry about than whether or not Podunk FD got out.
      If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

      FF/EMT/DBP

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by drparasite View Post
        not really.... the chief of that department makes his 1st, 2nd and 3rd alarms. maybe 4th, depending on how involved you want to get. neighboring department does that same. Fire coordinator puts it all in a binder, gives it to all his people and gives a copy to dispatch. not really rocket science here.....
        I was referring specifically to the move-ups. I may not know which department would be most suitable to move up to cover that third alarm company from two towns over. I'd rather ask (during the pre-planning) who that chief wants in his station.

        The liability thing is important. We all carry mutual aid insurance, so if Podunk wrecks their $500K engine on the way to our fire, it's covered. If a deputy coordinator initiates the call, it's on the county's dime. If the request is made "on the orders of the IC," it better have been.

        And I completely understand your sarcasm. I feel the same way.

        Curiously, EMS is a completely different animal. Dispatch routinely dispatches other resources as needed for medical calls.

        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by tree68 View Post
          I was referring specifically to the move-ups. I may not know which department would be most suitable to move up to cover that third alarm company from two towns over. I'd rather ask (during the pre-planning) who that chief wants in his station.
          so when the fire goes 6 alarms, and your calling for resources from out of the county, who are you calling? When you have this massive inferno (multiple houses, large commercial structure, etc), still burning, and resources are coming from out of county, do you know who is suitable? Do you really care? If they provide an engine, with proper staffing, than the assumption is they can do the job. Ditto a ladder or rescue. And I know, the chief of the department should plan out his alarms as he sees fit, so if he wants department A B & D, then it's his prerogative to skip C. Homerule, I get it. So preplan ( I know it's a dirty word) who you want to be called, so everyone is on the same page.

          Think of it this way: does the IC trust the coordinator to pick people at the 6th or 7th alarm? or is he still telling him which companies he wants? if he trusts him then, why can't he trust him on the 2nd alarm?
          Originally posted by tree68 View Post
          The liability thing is important. We all carry mutual aid insurance, so if Podunk wrecks their $500K engine on the way to our fire, it's covered. If a deputy coordinator initiates the call, it's on the county's dime. If the request is made "on the orders of the IC," it better have been.
          This has got to be the stupidest thing ever. Did your county attorney or insurance agent actually say that? and submit it to your in writing? If podunk wrecks their 500k engine, than podunk's insurance has to fix it. it doesn't matter if the fire was in podunk's area or the next town over.

          If podunk has a house fire, and called east podunk to the scene, and the build collapses, destroying the east podunk engine, guess what: east podunk's insurance covers it. it doesn't get billed to podunk. This is especially true if you wreck before even making it to the scene.

          Your "mutual aid insurance" is for your department, when you are operating outside your primary area. I've never heard of insurance that you have to cover other responders when they respond to your scenes. That sounds like a logistical nightmare, especially since you have no idea who is coming, what their training level is, and if they do something stupid from the time they leave their station until the time they get back, it falls on you?

          So if joe bob and jim bob area responding on the mutual aid assignment, drunk, and are assigned to vent a roof, and both cut each others legs off, if falls on the requesting department to cover them, not their own department?
          If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

          FF/EMT/DBP

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by drparasite View Post
            Your "mutual aid insurance" is for your department, when you are operating outside your primary area.
            Actually, no. It's to cover incoming units and deals with equipment, not personnel. If Podunk loses an air pack at my fire, my agency's mutual aid insurance covers it. Last I knew, we were carrying $1 Mil.

            I've never encountered a situation involving losing an apparatus - that could also involve the other vehicle's insurance as well, in the event of a collision enroute. The insurance companies will be battling that out. With the limited number of companies providing insurance for fire departments, they might well be battling themselves... If a building falls on it at the scene, it's on our MA insurance.

            Coverage of individuals within our county is via "county self-insured," which actually just bills it back to the home township. This also applies to workman's comp here.

            It is what it is - it may not make any sense to you, but it's how we've been operating for the 40 years I've been active here.

            As for the deputy coordinators - they are there to advise and assist, nothing more. The IC may implicitly trust the coordinator, but it's still the IC's incident. I'm sure if you were running an incident that you'd want to know what was being requested in your name.

            Their coordination, though, may extend beyond fire responses. They might handle calling in Red Cross to assist the family, contacting a contractor for demolition of the fire building, getting the highway folks out to deal with slick roads, even briefing the press. If it's a multi-agency (or multi-county) response they will likely help serve as liaison.

            All of our deputy coordinators (as well as our county fire coordinator) are active members of their local fire departments. They have been known to run a scene as a member of that department (in most cases they are past chiefs). Sometimes their county call sign gets used instead of a home department call.

            On move-ups - the reason I would want the home chief (who's station is being filled) to be involved is because he/she may be aware of who can best handle any unique hazards within their district. If there are none, than anyone will do, of course.

            We'll disregard the petty tiffs that exist between some departments...

            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by tree68 View Post
              Actually, no. It's to cover incoming units and deals with equipment, not personnel. If Podunk loses an air pack at my fire, my agency's mutual aid insurance covers it. Last I knew, we were carrying $1 Mil.
              I'm going to check with our insurance company if we do that, because that's new to me.
              Originally posted by tree68 View Post
              As for the deputy coordinators - they are there to advise and assist, nothing more. The IC may implicitly trust the coordinator, but it's still the IC's incident. I'm sure if you were running an incident that you'd want to know what was being requested in your name.
              If I'm running an incident, and I request a resource (either by standing order or online directions), I'm requesting a resource.... how it gets there I don't really care, as long as it arrives. Using your examples:
              Originally posted by tree68 View Post
              Their coordination, though, may extend beyond fire responses. They might handle calling in Red Cross to assist the family, contacting a contractor for demolition of the fire building, getting the highway folks out to deal with slick roads, even briefing the press. If it's a multi-agency (or multi-county) response they will likely help serve as liaison.
              As the IC, I need a contractor to demolish the building. IC to Coordinator: get me a coordinator. I, the IC, requested a resource, the coordinator's job is to decide which contractor, and as IC, the only thing I care about is can they do the job. IC to coordinator: get someone to deal with these slick roads. as IC, I don't care if they get state DOT, county DOT, local DPW, or bubba with a salt truck, as long as the job gets done, I'm happy. IC to coordinator, this is an extended incident, we will need food and portajohns to the scene. I don't care where we get the food from, nor do I care what company provides the portable toilets, as long as they arrive.

              Same concept applies to fire apparatus. IC to coordinator: I need two engines and a ladder. I don't care where they come from, I gave you a high level order for resources, you get them for me, and TBH, I don't care how you get them, provided you get me what I need. If I need something specific, like a particular department's resources, I will ask, but most of the time, especially for house coverage, this can be preplanned, or someone else can worry about specifics.

              And as we agreed on previously, everything requested is done "at the request of the IC," (which is really just wasted radio usage, no need to say it on the radio) because coordinators have no operational authority.
              Originally posted by tree68 View Post
              On move-ups - the reason I would want the home chief (who's station is being filled) to be involved is because he/she may be aware of who can best handle any unique hazards within their district. If there are none, than anyone will do, of course.
              Sounds like a great reason to preplan who you want on 1st, 2nd and 3rd alarm assignments, as well as house coverages.

              Can you think of a unique hazard for a district that would necessitate a particular resource for house coverage, where another resource wouldn't work? AND think of a reason why you wouldn't want that information written down, so everyone from dispatch to the coordinators knew about it so they were all on the same page?

              BTW, we used to send County OEM fire coordinators to the scene for every 2nd alarm or higher fire. their jobs were to get the IC whatever they needed. but our dispatchers knew who to request for 1st, 2nd and 3rd alarm assignments; the tricky party was when the resources you were requesting were unavailable, because they were on their own assignments, then trying to backfill with an available unit could be rough if you didn't know who was available.

              Oh, and all of our run cards were known to all dispatch centers and departments in the county (and updates were usually distributed, but not always), so this way everyone knew what to expect, and there were fewer unplanned surprises during an incident.
              If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

              FF/EMT/DBP

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by drparasite View Post
                Can you think of a unique hazard for a district that would necessitate a particular resource for house coverage, where another resource wouldn't work? AND think of a reason why you wouldn't want that information written down, so everyone from dispatch to the coordinators knew about it so they were all on the same page?
                Generally, a specialized facility (health, industrial) would fit the bill. We're mostly rural - not everyone has a dairy plant with confined spaces and hazmat, or a nursing home. It might be better to use a neighboring department familiar with them for the backfill and reach beyond for resources to the scene.

                A department that never sees anything beyond a two and a half story frame residential might be a bit overwhelmed when they pull up on a ten story apartment building that they would otherwise never respond to, thus would never train for, as such.

                It would be nice to have that all written down and shared, and the basic extra alarms have been, where they exist. The backfills are another story entirely, and I doubt I'll see them in place as part of the extra alarm cards in my time here.

                As one chief (who didn't want to codify any alarms) said, I'll see what we have when I get there...

                We have 42 fire departments in this county, with the odds of seeing the same 42 chiefs in office two years in a row virtually nil. Some are in office forever, others just a year or two. My department just upped the maximum term from three to five years.



                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                  Generally, a specialized facility (health, industrial) would fit the bill. We're mostly rural - not everyone has a dairy plant with confined spaces and hazmat, or a nursing home. It might be better to use a neighboring department familiar with them for the backfill and reach beyond for resources to the scene.
                  those are special circumstances, and very accurate; but wouldn't you call for a CS rescue team, or hazmat unit? your local engine might be awareness level, but it's not like they are going to relocate their CS or HM equipment on a 2 & 1 cover assignment. So the untrained cover assignment pulls up, and call for specialized resources (which, regardless of who is covering, would need to be done).
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                  A department that never sees anything beyond a two and a half story frame residential might be a bit overwhelmed when they pull up on a ten story apartment building that they would otherwise never respond to, thus would never train for, as such.
                  Lets agree to disagree on this one... you can preplan for a lot, but if you pull up to something new, you will do the best you can while calling for help. even if you don't train on it. Do the best you can until more help arrives.
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                  It would be nice to have that all written down and shared, and the basic extra alarms have been, where they exist. The backfills are another story entirely, and I doubt I'll see them in place as part of the extra alarm cards in my time here.
                  what we have typically done is made a run card for 1st, 2nd and 3rd alarms. when a 1st alarm/working fire is called, 2&1 or 1&1 is automatically sent to the house. should a second alarm be called, that house coverage (2&1 or 1&1) are immediately sent to the scene, and the second alarm backfilling companies (2&1 or 1&1, depending on what your agency uses) respond to the house. if additional units are needed above the alarm assignment (Special call an additional ladder or heavy rescue to the scene), they are added from the run card and "backfilled" on the card as needed.
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                  As one chief (who didn't want to codify any alarms) said, I'll see what we have when I get there...

                  We have 42 fire departments in this county, with the odds of seeing the same 42 chiefs in office two years in a row virtually nil. Some are in office forever, others just a year or two. My department just upped the maximum term from three to five years.
                  So they get changed every year, assuming the chief's actually want to make the change, big deal. the cards get updated Jan 31st every year, and all it costs you is some paper. I know we are old school, and like things on paper, but if you keep it all on a computer, as long as people know where to look to find the most updated stuff, they can change every 2 weeks.

                  But I'll agree with you, getting 42 chiefs to do something that they don't want to do takes a lot of political clout, especially if they have never had to do anything like this before.

                  If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

                  FF/EMT/DBP

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    I don't think we're far apart on any of this - in fact, I'd love to see things pretty much exactly as you describe. Getting there is the challenge.

                    What's lacking here is a central figure with enough personal or political clout to say "this is how it's going to be."
                    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                    Comment

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