Drill of the Week: Engine Company Operations

How often your company stretches hoselines of various sizes often depends on how busy your department is. Busy or not, the importance of engine company operations drills cannot be overstated. Proficiency with these operations ensures that all apparatus riders can quickly move in to extinguish the fire and quickly establish a water supply to the attack engine. This week’s drill consists of four different evolutions and involves flows of 1,000 to 1,500 gpm.

Materials required are an engine company, whistles for the training officer and safety officer, extra personnel to keep spectators clear, and training foam or soap solution.

A good water source that allows flows of 1,000 to 1,500 gpm is required for this drill. Ensure the site you pick has adequate water drainage. Do not hold the drill if freezing temperatures are expected. Ideally, the drill should take place in a large area such as a parking lot to allow for a distance of 100 feet from the water source to the truck and 100 feet to the target flare. Use cones 100 feet from the hydrant and about halfway between that location and the target flare. Ideally you’d use your station’s parking lot so you can use its roof for some of the evolutions. If you use a different parking lot, see if you can use the structure located there for the roof evolution. This is a good drill to conduct at night, as nighttime increases the challenge and reduces the number of spectators. Arrange for a fill-in company since this drill will place your company out of service.

Use index cards for each evolution; have the engine company respond to the training officer, who will either give the company officer the card for the evolution or will read the instructions on arrival.

Evolution 1
Lay supply line to the first cone, then advance the longest 1 1/2- or 1 3/4-inch preconnected line to the second cone. Charge the line from the hydrant (not the booster tank), and knock out the target flare. Throw a 24-foot ladder to the roof of the adjoining building.

Evolution 2
This is the same as evolution 1, except you’ll be using the longest 2- or 2 1/2-inch preconnected line.

Evolution 3
For this evolution, follow the steps in evolution 1, but before advancing the line, set up the foam eductor and advance the shorter 1 1/2- or 1 3/4-inch line from the eductor to the second cone. After throwing the 24-foot ladder to the roof of the adjoining building, advance a second preconnect to the roof of the building.

Evolution 4
Lay a supply line from the hydrant to the first cone. Throw the 24-foot ladder to the roof of the adjoining building. Advance the longer 1 1/2- or 1 3/4-inch preconnect to the roof. Charge the line from the hydrant, and knock out the target flare.

These evolutions are detailed in Howard A. Chatterton’s Volunteer Training Drills-A Year of Weekly Drills. You can develop your own or use these. The objective of the drill is to develop proficiency in placing lines in service. Concentrate on working quickly but safely. Members should be in full turnout gear including SCBA (they don’t have to breathe from the bottle). Explain that they’ll be timed, and establish a time goal. If the training officers see a problem develop, they’ll blow a whistle and everyone will stop in place.

As with any other drill, discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what to do differently the next time.

If you have a similar drill idea and wish to share it, please e-mail to chrism@pennwell.com.

To review training officer and safety officer considerations, visit http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=HOME&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID=202453 to review training officer and safety officer considerations.

For more information on this drill, including a list of references and figures, visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.

Next week’s drill: Advancing Hoselines by Ladder (Live-Fire Exercise)

FireEngineering.com Drill of the Week Archive

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