Drill: Engine Company Operator Tools

By Dan Shaw

This drill focuses on the successful actions of a disciplined engine company and the tools and skills needed to affect that outcome. There are many moving parts to a successful hoseline deployment in a stairwell, and one of those is the operator on that hoseline having the correct tools and knowing why they have them and how to use them.

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The stairwell is not only the chimney for the fire and it’s by-products but it is also the main avenue for our entry and staging of units and operations. Additionally, it is also the main means of egress for the fleeing occupants and any persons being rescued.

All these factors demonstrate the need for engine company personnel to deploy the line correctly and, if feasible, free up the stairwell so there are fewer obstacles for the movement of people. Additionally, maximizing the available lengths of the hoseline is of paramount importance so water can get to the seat of the fire.


Dan Shaw is the battalion chief for the Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue Department and a vice president for Traditions Training, LLC.

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