Apparatus & Equipment, Drills, Firefighter Training

Drill of the Week: First-In Company Decision Making

By Forest Reeder

The first-arriving company at a fire scene has many pivotal decisions to make that may ultimately affect the outcome of the incident. Consider the factors listed below and describe what makes you decide what the best possible course of action would be for the incident factor. There are probably many possible decisions for each factor, consider your manpower, apparatus, SOPs, training and experience of your crews and include any variables that may occur in your department.

Follow-up this discussion with the development of back-up plans and identification of how you will evaluate the effectiveness of your initial decisions. We should not be afraid to withdraw and modify our plan of action if it is not effective.

Download this week’s firefighter training drill as a PDF HERE.

Forest Reeder began his fire service career in 1979. He currently serves as Battalion Chief / Director of Training & Safety with the Pleasantview (IL) Fire Protection District ( and is the Director of Training for Southwest United Fire Districts ( In these capacities, he is responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of in-service training activities as well as a full-service fire training academy program. Forest holds numerous Illinois fire service certifications and holds a Masters Degree in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University.