Engine Company, Firefighting, Fireground Management

Overcome Line Staffing Issues with the “Clamp”

Issue 10 and Volume 166.

By AARON FIELDS Today, many engine companies around the country will roll out the door to working fires with three or fewer crew members. The need to do more with less is a constant battle. Yet, regardless of staffing, engine companies around the country have little variation in tasks or equipment. Fire conditions improve for civilians and interior crews with the rapid advancement of an attack line that is flowing water. Many engine companies find themselves temporarily or always understaffed; they have no choice but to face the situation as is. There is no excuse for understaffed companies. At the ground level, members should make it a practice to assign additional crews to the initial handline. Understaffed lines separate nozzle teams, spreading crew members out on the line, which undermines handline advancement and fire attack. When the handline needs personnel, nothing replaces committing more hands to the line; a second…

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