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Did deficient crew size affect your actions?

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  • Did deficient crew size affect your actions?

    I support NFPA 1710's requirements for minimum crew size. If you know of an incident where the lack of four firefighters on the first-due rig restricted the first action taken, I would appreciate hearing about it.

    Best regards,
    PaddyC

  • #2
    Our full staffing is typically 3; driver, officer, and firefighter. that's pretty standard, with minimum staffing sometimes dropping to 2. Would I love to have 5 all around, so we can honestly do the whole 2 in 2 out? remember, it requires 2 outside to be geared up ready to go, and the driver rarely is, nor in the chief/IC. But financial limitations sometimes prevent that from happening..

    What do you mean restricted action taken? as in, were we not able to do everything we wanted to when we first pulled up? My engine was first due to a structure fire. When we arrived, the house' front half was fully involved, so I stretched one line, and my captain stretched another. Were we able to make an interior attack? nope. Were we able to establish a water supply? nope. did we secure utilities? nope. were we able to do a search? nope. None of those things were able to be accomplished until additional resources arrived (at which point, they all were).

    Just think of all the things that should be be done by the first arriving engine. how many things are going to be skipped because you only have two firefighters not tied to the pump?
    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


    • #3
      Sorry I did not reply sooner. I had a login problem but got it fixed.

      Regarding the fire you described, would you have done an interior attack if you had enough firefighters on your rig? That's the type of incident I am looking for.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would like to learn more about the specifics of this incident. Please email me at pcoughlin@kc.rr.com, and I'll explain what I want to do with the information.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by paddyc View Post
          Regarding the fire you described, would you have done an interior attack if you had enough firefighters on your rig? That's the type of incident I am looking for.
          after additional units arrived, we attempted to do a quick search, but the captain had us back out because of the amount of fie and the partial collapse of the structure.

          Interior attacks are great when you have an isolated fired (one room, two room, maybe an attic). I always advocate going i and putting the fire out. When you pull up to a house, with an out the door response time of 15 seconds, and the front half of the second floor has already collapsed into the garage below it, with heavy fire showing, is an interior attack beneficial? Especially when you have limited water, limited manpower, and limited access.

          I've been doing this long enough to realize that there are times when it's not safe for firefighters to mount an interior attack, at least not until some heavy fire has been knocked down (especially when a partial collapse has already occurred).

          send me a private message and I will send you some more details about this particular fire.​​​​​ I'm not big on email.
          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


          • #6
            There are very few departments across the country that aren't dealing with limited staffing and limited resources. So much so that we have often come to look at this as the norm. NFPA 1710 is a good standard that in reality has absolutely no teeth at all unless your state or local authority have adopted it.

            My former career department shrank from 4 engines, 3 trucks, and 4 ambulances when I started there to 3 engines, 2 trucks and 3 ambulances by the time I retired. No we didn't load those extra people on the remaining rigs. We lost roughly 20 firefighters, mostly through retirements that weren't replaced.
            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
              All this is happening when house fires are a greater risk than ever. I want to write about the problem for a civilian audience, and I want to open the article with a crew leader describing how deficient crew size resulted in more property loss because the crew could not take a more effective action.

              Comment


              • #8
                The problem is deficient crew size has been the norm for so long it is hard to find many people that remember the 4 or 5 man engine or the 5, 6, or 7 man truck outside of major metropolitan areas.
                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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by paddyc View Post
                  All this is happening when house fires are a greater risk than ever. I want to write about the problem for a civilian audience, and I want to open the article with a crew leader describing how deficient crew size resulted in more property loss because the crew could not take a more effective action.
                  Search out "legacy fires versus modern fires" on Google. Real powerful information presented there. The only possible conclusion is that staffing and resources should be increased as opposed to decreased.

                  IMO, you don't need anecdotes about reduced staffing causing problems with effective control of structural fires. Anyone here will pretty much guarantee that is the case.

                  Upholstered furniture can double it's heat release rate within a minute according to the NFPA. Who doesn't have this in their home?
                  Last edited by captnjak; 05-14-2018, 04:00 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I want an opening that motivates readers to continue reading. A description of a fire incident through the eyes of the crew is an effective way to do that.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FyredUp View Post
                      The problem is deficient crew size has been the norm for so long it is hard to find many people that remember the 4 or 5 man engine or the 5, 6, or 7 man truck outside of major metropolitan areas.
                      What people do not realize is that house fires have become more lethal and destructive, and we need to get enough firefighters to the scene quickly enough to stop the loss. The article will describe in laymen's terms why manual suppression is manpower-intensive and make the case for minimum manning.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Look I am in my 41st year as a firefighter and let me enlighten you on a few things. 1) Most people don't give a single thought to the fire department, ems or police until they need them personally, or their neighbor does. 2) Bean counters will always defer to cost savings and playing the odds.

                        That may sound pessimistic, but it has been my personal experience.

                        Good luck with your article.
                        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


                        • #13
                          True. Most people assume that when they call 911 to report a fire, help will quickly arrive. They have no idea of what resources are needed, or if their fire department can supply those resources. My aim is to make people aware of what is at stake if a fire starts in their home, and motivate them to support adequate fire company staffing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by paddyc View Post
                            True. Most people assume that when they call 911 to report a fire, help will quickly arrive. They have no idea of what resources are needed, or if their fire department can supply those resources. My aim is to make people aware of what is at stake if a fire starts in their home, and motivate them to support adequate fire company staffing.
                            The first question they will ask is how much will their taxes go up.

                            Look I would love to increase staffing, add stations, and equipment. I wish you good luck and success in your area.
                            Last edited by FyredUp; 05-14-2018, 08:27 PM.
                            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


                            • #15
                              I think people know what is at stake. I think they just don't believe it will happen to them.

                              If you really get through to them you will probably be the first to do so.

                              Comment

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