Aggressive or Stupid

While having a conversation at one of the fire services most infamous training rooms the firehouse kitchen, a discussion was started on apparatus response. Now I personally take what I call the Ricky Bobby approach ” If you ain’t first your last ” , but after the conversation I started to examine my thoughts. If everyone is trying to be first are they really focusing on the task that will need to be performed? Is it essential to always be first or should you learn to embrace the other roles that need to be played on the fire ground? My point being is, if your always first or racing to be first how many times have you blown the second due assignment when you weren’t first? Are firefighters getting the benefit of learning the role the second line plays on the fire ground, or the benefit of truly learning what the RIT company is suppose to do? If you are the officer are you really helping or hurting your company? Are firefighters now trying to operate at a pace that they do not have the experience for? The reality is we are not doing ourselves any favors in rushing to the scene, in my opinion. Does that mean I don’t want to arrive first? NO, but it means are we getting there and performing the task we need to perform and performing them correctly? Just some thoughts to ponder.


  • Excellent.

    We can’t all be first. And when we are lucky enough to be in that position, our success is invariably dependent upon how well the teams following us in are integrating their tasks with the overall attack.

    There is no honor in being first in if you forget you are not alone.

  • John Q1 says:

    I am in a rural area and by time we arrive at an incident in town for example we are getting there about the time the first air supplies are running out and consequently are usually second inside, or RIT. First only occurs on incidents that are closer to my station so we all have the oppertunity to learn it is just that most structure incidents are in town and we get most of the wildland and haystacks as IC

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    I LOVE this discussion. I have 1 boss whose only priority is to beat the next company in. Turns out his crew has clipped the most mirrors and gone past the building more than the other crews. Another boss says “we drive smart, get a hydrant and do it right, if those A$$holes want to race they can back out when their line dies” I’m with the second guy; Slow the F@#K down and pay attention to what you are doing. Professionalism, and don’t scream like a little girl over the radio when you get there. I think we are a city wide team, everyone has their job. When crews start thinking only about themselves the whole plan comes unraveled.
    “I’m goin’ fast momma!!” just for you Ricky Bobby.
    Stay safe

  • Firemt#7 says:

    Every now and then I’m surprised by the discussions that I find on FF sites. This is one of those times. For all of the Ricky Bobby types out there, please see Firefighter Close Calls and The Secret List, you do no good if you don’t get there. For all of the Training and Safety Officers, the message isn’t getting through, keep preaching! For all of the Company Officers who condone this, you are endangering your crew and the public by allowing this behavior, knock it off. And finally, for the Chiefs who are condoning this, you are assuming a huge liability in allowing this behavior to continue.

  • Ladder Jack says:

    To all the NASCAR Apparatus drivers, I’m sorry to report, that #3 is no longer with us, bless Mr. Earnhardt’s soul. On a more fire-related note, we really do need to slow the heck down. We have to remember, whether in a paid/ municipal fire department, or a volunteer/ rural fire department, we ALL still need to act like we are professional firefighters. Any idiot can drive really fast from point A to point B, but a good company works together to get to point B, and actually contribute to improving the situation.
    Case in Point: I’m sure a great majority of us can relate when I bring up certain streets that require either the truck or the engine to enter into first, for the best shot at operating at the fire. Last week, we had a reported fire on one of these such streets. I work in a house which houses a ladder and an engine, and for this street, it’s optimal for the truck to lead in. Because of the pig-headedness of the pump driver, the truck couldn’t make the street effectively, and had to throw to the roof.
    The days of company pride and healthy competition are still very much with us, but we also have to remember, we are all still on the same team tasked with the same ultimate goal: Save Lives, and Put the Damn Fire Out!

  • Something else to think about. If you aren’t first, you might be last, but at least you’re in the game. However, if you end up being in an accident during the response, you aren’t last anymore. Worse, now you’re a whole different game for others to play with.

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at

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