Legacy Tactics Part II by Training 38

So what does it take, to effectively manage a scene and not be labeled as a “Legacy” department?

First, you must understand your response area, resource availability and the ability of your personnel.

Secondly, once you arrive on scene, paint the picture gives a “Windshield size-up”. Then you must exit the vehicle and conduct a 360 degree walk-around. If the Incident Commander does not complete the initial walk around, a seasoned firefighter or officer must complete the walk-around. They will know what they are looking for and be able to relay the critical information to the incident commander via radio or face to face. During the walk-around, scene observations are made, roof line, initial smoke and fire conditions. Reading smoke is critical.

Next, the incident commander must quickly develop a plan. One that weighs Risk vs. Benefits. Once the plan has been established, ACCOUNTABILITY has to be established and utilized. ACCOUNTABILITY has been a façade for many departments that acted as a security blanket for years.  Tactics have to be given, in order of priority based on the fire ground priorities/strategies. Once these tactics have been thought of and handed down to the company level will then employ functional assignments/tasks.

Communication from the crews to the Incident Commander or Operations sector and communications from the Incident Commander or Operations sector to the crews has to be a priority. This is the only way to achieve better accountability.  Benchmarks have to be utilized by using a checklist (Tactical Priorities). These bench marks will drive the overall tactics, which in turn will cause the incident commander to reevaluate their strategies.

This will not be foreign material to “Modern” departments, however “Legacy” departments will be at a loss with the information and the mind set of what has to be accomplished.

I commend those that are a “Modern” department and I pray for those that are still a “Legacy” department. There is more at stake than an ego and hiding behind the “It’s always been done that way” attitude. Families, communities and organizations are at stake. If you are an officer and want to gamble, go to Vegas or Atlantic City. Don’t gamble within your own department.  If you don’t want to stand up for your safety, your family’s safety and change within the department. Then do the fire service a favor and change professions and allow someone else who is willing to affect change to take your place. Start early with young firefighters, introduce them to the NFPA standards, professional journals, well grounded web sites. Learning never stops and more than ever, we as a fire service cannot sit idle by as hydrocarbon based materials become more and more volitile and building construction becomes more lightweight/deadly.


  • Anchorpoint1 says:

    OK, you lost me here. In my “Legacy” department we do the things you listed. Where is this broad Us Vs Them theme coming from? Don’t think I’m mad, I’m not. I just feel like you are judging from the “Modern” side as you would label it. Without actually knowing the Legacy side. I have seen my share of Modern depatments save many a foundation.
    We obviously work in different populations. I am from a VERY small town and now live and working in one of the oldest 600,000+ population cities. If a White Coat tries to do a 360 he would have to bring a bottle of water or the fire will be out before he returns. Our row houses circle the block. We have small,walk in only alley ways with 15-20 different apartment buildings on them. If we waited for someone else to tell us what to do we would quickly have 3-4 buildings rolling. Everyone has a job, everyone knows their job. You better do your job.
    I’m sorry we don’t give Official benchmarks over the radio. But when I say “E8 Pump, Charge the line” EVERYBODY in the city knows what’s going on. When I, as the company officer, say “Send another line to the 3rd floor” EVERYBODY knows there is more fire than 1 line can handle, and if someone hears that on the radio and dosen’t know what it means they need to shag a few more hydrants.
    We do accountability. The company officer keeps his little ducklings in a row. If someone calls for a PAR or a Mayday goes out we vocalize/formalize our accountabilty.
    Back to the IC. If he does not like the way things are going when he gets on scene he can change it. He can call for more help and/or redirect assets. He is the big brother who’s job it is to look out for us.
    Sorry about all that. But when I read your post, now 2 posts, all I am imagining is you watching videos and Monday Morning QB’ing the trends you think you see. If I’m wrong I apologize. Better yet, come on up and visit. I’ll show you our Tome of SOP’s our chain of command beats us with and we can walk a few nieghborhoods.

  • Training38 says:

    Dear Anchorpoint1,
    I guess you missed the whole point of the article. I was not talking about “Legacy” departments referencing deep rooted tradition or the old cranky guy who doesn’t want to change.
    Obviously, you are a “Modern” department, you establish accountability, have assignments based on crew/arrival, you understand your area and understand the hazards associated with those said buildings. And you have an IC who can change his/her strategies/tactics based on what the fire is doing to the building. You have common “tactical” communication and functional tasks/assignments that everyone is aware of.
    As far as all of your other observations about me in particular……way off course.
    If you would like to talk more, you know who can give you my phone number.
    But, again I am sorry that you missed the POINT of the article.
    I look forward to reading your articles and looking at the point and not reading way to deep into something that isn’t there. Take care, be safe!

  • Anchorpoint1 says:

    I do know how to contact you. Don’t take it personally but I think it’s better to get through this before we get to know each other. I think the dialouge would suffer if I knew who I was talking to or where you work. Hopefully you know very little about me other than the information that is available to everyone else reading this.
    I did miss your point. I read through it again and I have the same thoughts as the first time. If you could describe the right way maybe it would better help me understand what you think the legacy departments are doing wrong.
    If I told anyone on my job that they were on a modern department they would kill me. We don’t require firefighters to get their I/II cert or ANY cert for that matter, except EMT-B. I could go down the whole list but i think it would wander further off subject.
    I’m not done either..

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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 firefighterbasics@gmail.com

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