When arriving at the station for a non emergency call like EMT assist or car unlock You never know how many FF's or FF/EMT's are en route to the station especially since we live In a rural area making travel time for some 10-15 min. I have a background in computers and programming and thought about suggesting a texting solution to let those at the station know who is en route so we can wait for ranking or EMT certified personell but I wasnt sure if this was even a viable solution. Right now the solution is call the vollies who are most likeley there and let them know, but sometimes we are already out by the time they call. How, if any do your vollies check in when heading up to the station? Any thoughts about solutions to this frustrating problem?

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To cut down on the cost to your department see if any of your mutual aid departments would be interested in signing up with you, that way the $500 is spread between two or more departments. My town has three separate fire departments that cover the entire town, all three are dispatched on in town structure responses (fire or alarm). Each of the three also have their own response areas in town for no structure responses in addition to specialized units at each station that respond out of town for various mutual aid requests. So far iamresponding.com has worked for all of our calls, actually have more of a problem with our Internet connection.

My area was notorious for members responding to the scene in POV's, which made the scene a NIGHTMARE to control...

Simple solution...everyone goes to the station EVERY call, even if you drive by the scene to get there.  The only person(s) responding to the scene any more are the chief officers; one chief and 2 assistants.  As captain even I am supposed to respond to the station every time.  If the trucks are all gone you stand by at station until someone calls for more manpower, THAN you respond POV.

I rolled up on a mutual aid structure fire one winter night with our rescue truck filled with interior firefighters, and I had to park 1/2 mile away from the scene on a country road with no street lights, icy as hell and full of curves with dozens of volunteer firefighter vehicles along both sides of the road...talk about rediculous??  A few had to drive back to the station to get the ladder truck and another engine because the first engine froze and there was no one at station to bring up another...15 minutes wasted while waiting for the driver to walk back to his POV, drive back to station, start up the engine and drive to the scene...

It makes no sense to have a firefighter go to the scene, even if they have their gear with them what are they going to do??  They have no water, no air pack, no PARTNER so what can they do?  Everyone should go to the station every time to guaruntee the trucks will get there when they are needed with the right amount of people.

Moose, In most case's i would agree with you; That everyone should respond to the station. But in someplace's it doesn't work that why. I carry my gear and a pack and there is quit a bit i can get done before the first truck arrives. I can do size up, identify any hazards, plus communicate all this with the chief before he gets on scene, and can get trucks placed in a good location when pulling up on scene. The biggest problem with departments that have POVs responding to the scene is no one has the gull to train their people to park out of the way. It is like anything else we do if we do not train we do what we want when we want in till someone gets hurt. 

The question here is what to use to see who is responding and where. You are right if everyone is responding to the station you would have to assume  you will have driver's, firefighters and ect.

Let's say you are in a department that has 15 FFs in a small rural department and 8 of those FFs have kids on a school sports team and all 8 of them are at the game on the other side of the county watching their kids play. A couple are at work. Lets say they are 2 of the chiefs and the truck drives. So now the alarm goes off you being a rookie at at the fire house first and nobody that normally shows up is showing up. This make you nervous. Don't care if you are a rookie or not this is a bad feeling. But everyone is to respond to the fire house so no big deal right? At least with the iamresponding or other programs like it you know within a minute if you are going to be able to get equipment out in a timely matter or to call fire control and have them start your mutual aid right now. Most of these systems you program in the number on a speed dial you hit the button put your phone down and it does the rest. 

This is just my opinion here. 

Derek, I am from a small rural department with only 20 active members, 5 interior firefighters and I dont see what any kind of "training" will do for your as far as people parking on scene goes.  You know as well as I that even if we train people and explain the rules they will still park any way they want.  I have seen it.  We have been having people respond to the station for years now and with training, it works.

Yes, you can do a size-up, but is every firefighter trained and experienced enough to do one?  Yes you could position equipment (if your IC allows firefighters to do these roles for them) but again, do you know what tactics your IC will want to do and how they will want their equipment parked?  And before everyone starts yelling at me about SOP's and SOG's yes I understand about the theory behind those, but not every incident is exactly the same and I want my equipment parked differently each call and each instance.  Id rather have the firefighters respond to the equipment and do what the officers tell them and have the officers respond to the scene and do the size-up and strategy.  But I respect your opinion too, we all have opinions and ideas on how to handle different situations.  I for one have never seen the software in action, but would like to see a demo of it, it might work for my area and it might not and until I actually try it out we will never know.

Does anyone have a list of dealers in the NY area that sell this product?

Thanks in advance and stay safe.

Our Recent problem with personal vehicle responses was our last house fire where it was difficult to get the mutual aid town's tanker in between two firefighters' personal trucks and i had to move both so they could get through. Other than that everyone is usually good about getting to the station and taking a truck or ambulance to the fire. Or how about this our last fire(Car) was two houses up from the station and they took the main engine out and  a tanker to do road block near the house's driveway and the rest of us walked up to the fire. We never have much of a problem with direct to sceners but this last time and we don't need to check in usually unless of course like i said last time if it would be a rescue call.

Moose, Like i said i agree with you that they should respond to the fire house and not to the scene. Like i have said before we are very blessed and have over 30 members with 20 being interior. We only have 4 of use that carry gear with us. All the others go to the station then if all the trucks are gone they respond in their POV. Our guys know if they park in the way they our not going to the next two calls. This has solved the problem for us. Being a officer myself I am allowed to do size up and take command in till a Chief shows up.

You can go to the iamresponding.com web site or call them at 315-701-1372. The company is out of DeWitt NY. Right out side of Syracuse. They will come in explain how it works and give you a two month free trail. It is worth checking into.

Thanks brother, thats not too far from where we are in NY.  Ill give them a call.


Thanks for all the great responses! Our department does not use POV except maybe officers so if you miss the rescue truck out of the station you just have to standby (because most med calls/car unlocks do not need additional personnel). The problem I think we would have would be lack of use from something like iamresponding which would probably not make it worth it in the long run. I do like the idea of checking in even at the station because you don't really know who's up there until you get there and see and by that point they may already call en route, but I think only a small percentage of our department would use such a system.
To piggyback on Moose's comments, our department runs the same way - everyone responds to the station. Chief responds direct to the scene - but his gear rides on our #1 engine. A few of us have a standing agreement that if say Joe is 10 miles out of town when the page goes out, he calls one of the other guys and they'll grab his gear, but otherwise, if you can get to the station, do so. It works well for us. We don't have any sort of check-in program; usually the first truck is full within 2-3 minutes of the page; 5 guys on board and it rolls. The rescue truck is also our personnel carrier, so the driver or officer makes a judgement call based on 1) what the call is (10-50 requiring extrication, structure fire, grass fire), 2) how many FF's are on board already, and 3) are there any FF's still gearing up, or just pulling up to the station. If someone shows up late to the party, they can either grab the quick attack, or if there's two guys, grab the second (or third) engine, or stand down at the station and wait for a call for more manpower.

On the flip side, most of the other departments in the county utilize equipment buses -- an old school bus converted into basically a rolling locker room, with all of their SCBA's, bunker gear, etc. When a page goes out, everyone starts heading towards the station; first 3-5 guys each hop in a truck and go en route. Once they hear the en route report over their pagers, everyone either follows the trucks out or meets at the scene. Royal cluster____ if you ask me. About this time last year, I rolled up on a 10-50 in our neighboring fire district, right on a curve in the highway. Two trucks, ambulance, equipment bus, two deputies, 6-10 POV's, light-duty wrecker and the heavy wrecker was just showing up on scene. (Accident was near head-on, utility truck vs sedan. Amazingly nobody seriously hurt.) Was absolute chaos for the general public on the (still-open) road.

Combo Department -


Very large district of over 200 square miles with 7 stations, One station is maned with career staff - 5 daytime including 2 admin and supression members and 3 supression members (4 supression weekend daytime) / 2 supression members 5PM- 8AM. 

4 of our 6 volunteer stations have live-in volunteers that will get apparatus up (each station has an engine and light rescue/EMS first response unit) if they are there. if not, the nearest driver will head that way if the run requires that piece.


Most volunteer personnel go directly to the scene with the exception of mutual aid and calls to the interstate. For those runs they are assigned to go to either the main station or the staging areas assigned to each of the the 2 interstate ramps depending on direction. Apparatus responding from either Central Station or that station will pickup members there.


All volunteer drivers check in by portable indicating which station they are responding to pickup apparatus.


Volunteer Department -


80 square mile response area with 5 stations. Currently we have avery limited number of active members so all personnel check-in when responding via portable radio. Closest 1-2 officers will go POV or stop by the station that houses our command SUV.. Most members will go to the closest station to pickup apparatus as assigned by responding officers per needs of the call.

All of our members have radios so it is very easy to know who is en route to the station.

Here in our county they don't want any unnecessary radio chat. So we are not allowed to use radios to call in route. Only chiefs responding are allowed to call out to a call.

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