Article and photos by Rick Fritz
So gather around the kitchen table, and listen more than you blather on. Detail exactly what you want the engine company to do, and be specific about who’s going to do it, when they are going to do it, and how they are going to do it. Skip nothing.Go by each seat; the seats don’t change, but the butt in the seat will. Volunteer or paid, all of us have rigs, and those rigs have seats. Assign the job to the seat, notto an individual. That way, volunteer fire companies can be included.
Do this for everyseat and every position. The positions you have been pining for were detail/task-oriented, designed by our predecessors. What would you do with them today if you had them? Without a detailed task list, they become just another person to trip over.
The engine company (and the truck and rescue companies) needs to cover each and every position and what that riding position may encounter.
- The officer
- The driver
- The nozzleman
- The backup man
- The doorman
- The control man
(1) How are you going to get water?
(2) How is the hose to be loaded?
(3) How are attack lines loaded and selected?
This horse is dead, so I will stop beating it and let it rest in peace. But as for you, stop whining and get to work! Designing tasks lists is time consuming. You probably don’t remember when we had five or six-person engines, so write new procedures for the staffing you do have. Don’t throw away those old drill manuals or those old standard operating guidelines; use them as a reference/starting point. Use the models and information left to us by our predecessors. You might be surprised at how efficient you can become.
Rick Fritz retired as the battalion chief of Special Projects for the High Point (NC) Fire Department. He medically retired in 2008. A member of the fire service since 1973, he has served in a variety of roles in the fire service, both on the volunteer and career side. He is the author of Tools of the Trade: Firefighting Hand Tools and Their Uses book and video series. He was the lead instructor for FDIC HOT basic engine company operations for more than five years.