Well, since this is a site about basics, let’s have a quick discussion about responding to alarms. I’m not talking about confirmed fires or medical, or car collisions. Just responding to the “alarms sounding in a building” or central station, hooked boxes type responses. Just a quick primer for Engine and Truck ops, make sure to follow your SOP/SOG’s and drive like a professional.
For both company types, responding to alarms should not be at the same speed or urgency as a “confirmed fire” or “working arrest”, or other confirmed emergency. Yes, the condition at the scene is unknown and there could be something horrible going on there, but, alarm calls are high frequency and low rate of true emergency. One of the greatest hazards on these calls is the streets en route to the call. Distracted drivers, more sound deadening in cars, kids and TV’s people are going to have a hard time hearing you no matter how loud you think you’re being. With that in mind drive with extreme caution, like usual, and think about how it’s going to look in the paper if you get into an accident en route to kids fighting with dry Chem extinguishers. It doesn’t matter how fast you go if you end up in an accident, any little scratch or ding and you’re out of the game.
For hooked box or a call for alarms in the area, start looking for the building in question a block or 2 away. Remember, people are just concerned enough to call from their cell phone, not concerned enough to waste their time and stop, so they may see the intersection a block away and use that in the call. Also look down the side streets before passing them. You don’t want to have to back up to make a turn, reversing is dangerous, and if you drive past it and the company behind you sees the call they are going to jump on it. Rightfully so.
So, congratulations. You drove like a professional and made it to the scene with the apparatus and crew in one piece. Now park like you would if it was a fire, gear up like it’s a fire, and for god sakes act like you’ve seen whatever it is before.