Learning your streets and routes

   Knowing your streets and routes is one of the most important basic knowledge sets required in the fire service. If you cannot get the apparatus to the scene in a efficient and safe manner, you cannot do your job. If you are new to a district or the fire service you should start by learning the major streets in your area. Here is the order of importance for learning your streets.

1. Major Roads

2. Major feeder roads (Smaller roads that lead to many roads)

3. Frequent addresses (By name, address and alias)

4. Common residential roads and splits

5. Small roads, trivial roads and trivial addresses

   Major roads are easy money, if you cannot find the 4 lane road in your first response area the first day you will not make a good first impression. By the end of the first day you should know which way those major roads are numbered (which way to the lower or higher numbers).

  Major feeder roads are the roads that your company always seems to have to take to get to a call. Whether it's a shortcut street or the only access to a large subdivision these streets are next and should be some of the first you know without effort. These are going to be your bread and butter streets and because they are streets you travel frequently you will begin to know specific adresses on these streets.

  Early on in your time at a new firehouse you will start to see some repetition in the responses. These addresses you need to know solid. There is no excuse for not knowing you are going to the Golden Living Center, even if dispatch somehow sends you out to 99 Gove St or the Gumball factory instead. All the different names for the same location are free game. You need to know all the aliases of these frequent responses.

  Common residential and small roads are all close to the same priority. Knowing their location is not good enough. If the road crosses the road you use to get there you need to know the splits. "The Split" refers to the number at the intersection. Example: 100 is the house on the right of the intersection, numbers go down to the left and higher to the right. A little known but somehow oddly true rule of thumb is that numbers go higher as the get further from city hall/city center. I'm sure you can guess why. If you have to guess the direction of the numbering, go with this.

  Trivial streets and addresses are not trivial to the people who live on them. Remember that. At my first firehouse the UPS man showed up and asked us where "3 McCormack Sq" was 1 person out of 8 knew. It is where 2 streets meet to form a triangle, only 1 house is numbered on "McCormack Sq". I've never forgotten. 

Now for the drills.

 Daily tests. Someone gives you a list of 3-4 streets or addresses and you give directions to there from the firehouse.

Driving/running through your area before/after your shift.  Just the repitition of seeing the numbers and the intersections will go a long way to making sense of the map.

Google Earth. Google Earth is great for finding secret routes and hidden streets.  DO NOT rely on it to find a call when you should be on the road responding.

Get a map and drive around writing house numbers on it, on your own time. Print out a map and go see the intersections and write the splits on it.  Having the mental image helps while responding.

Repetition, say the street names out loud as you pass them, every time.

Take a picture of actual box locations.  If your city has a street box numbering system take a picture of all the fire boxes from the side you will be responding from.  Make sure its far enough back to see the whole intersection.

Mnemonics- SPLiT EM With Birds was one from my first district. Saratoga, Princeton, Lexington, Trenton, Eutaw, Monmouth, White, Eagle Falcon Condor Always remember; it's in everyone's best interest to get to the call, and get there safely.

You cannot do your job if you cannot get to the scene. It takes a concerted effort to learn your routes but it must be done.

Good luck Stay safe

1 Comment

  • Training38 says:

    We have area’s that are grouped together by ducks, tree’s historical names etc. It does help when responding to those area’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

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
Comments
ladderjack
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
Anthony, Thank you for your response. I hope I didn't come off as saying that "I am the only opinion that matters in this paper." I agree with you 100% that there is no "Set" way to do anything, and that we need to keep our minds open to different techniques and thinking outside of…
2014-08-27 20:34:16
Ryan McGovern/ Ladderjack
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
Ben, Thanks a lot for your comment! You're definitely right that there needs to be hoseline protection given to the guys working above the fire; and that a TIC should be utilized when attempting VES techniques. Every little thing we can do and engineer to make an already dangerous maneuver safer is a must! Thanks…
2014-08-27 20:25:20
Anthony Correia
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
While VSP was written as an EFO paper, the paper it is not end all be all on this topic. In a presentation Marsars did last year, he himself said it wasn't 100%. Even gave an example of a fire in his home local where a person lived, that would of met unlikely survivability profiling.…
2014-08-27 19:24:24
Ben Waller
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
...OK, it was 3 points, but who is counting?
2014-08-26 23:44:08
Ben Waller
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
I agree, with two additional points. VIES of the tenable 2nd story windows should include the following - 1. A heavy Transitional attack in the 1st floor windows below the fire to protect the truckies' access, the ladders, and egress for truckies and (potential) victims. 2. Truckies take a thermal imaging camera and size up…
2014-08-26 23:43:33

Follow Firefighter Basics

FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

LATEST FIREFIGHTER NEWS

HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS

LATEST ON FIRE ENGINEERING

FEATURED DISCUSSIONS