Fire Ground Basics: Engine Duty

Something that has been bothering me for some time now is how the basics of each company performs their duties. Even if you don’t have a ” Ladder Truck ” fireground support functions are still to be conducted. In this particular post we are going to look at the Engine’s responsibility, because truth be told if the fire doesn’t get put out, it is all for not.

Initial Responsibilities

Know where you are going. One of the single most important things is getting there in a timely fashion; you are already behind the eight ball being called after the fact.

The second part of this is that it begins your initial size-up of water supply, home construction, and if enough manpower was dispatched.

Listen to the information coming across the radio, don’t goof off and then arrive, and be set back on your heels. If you have a computer look at the CAD notes and see what you can gain from them. Now don’t forget the basics fact that you were called to a fire, don’t be shocked when you get there and find one, its time to go to work.

Engine operator, and officers, where you position is key to the fire. Pull past every time, even if you do not have a ladder truck that responds with you. The other apparatus assigned to fireground support duties should be allowed to get in as close to the scene as possible because they will be bringing lots of tools to the fireground. It is good on all types of firegrounds to ensure whatever type of apparatus responds can get into the scene.

Water supply- Where is it coming from? Is it a one-way in, one-way out deal, where you will need to do a split-lay to allow for other units to come in? Or because the closest hydrant is down and around the corner? Are you laying-in or having the next engine reverse lay? Know your area and have multiple thoughts on how you are going to getting water. The most simplest and truest form of the engine company’s role is to get water from your truck and/or static water source to the fire in a timely fashion. Below are just a few illustrations.

Reverse lay with two apparatusReverse laySplit Layhydrant 1

Two lines to the fire! Yes I acknowledge that there are absolutely times that one line is stretched, and extinguishes the fire , but that is no excuse for not being in the habit of running multiple lines. See the example below as why. In the next post, we will examine the where and why of multiple lines.

Colleton House Fire

Again the basic principle is get the water between the fire and the occupant and get water on the fire in a timely fashion.

Keep it Basic and enjoy! Look forward to seeing what you all add.



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