I have a question for other departments regarding firefighters running on the scene. I see many news clips and even some clips here showing firefighters running from building to pumper, pumper to building and accross lots and yards. What, if any, are your policies for running on scene? 


When I was on the department, we were trained never to run on scene, and especially when carrying equipment. When I was in training, I was on a scene helping with overhaul. One of the officers asked me to get a fire ax from the rig. Well, to be so helpful, I took off running to the rig. I didn't get far across the lawn before I was yelled at by the IC. He told me we don't run on scene as it gives an perception we are not in control. (Firefighters never panic, right????). Anyway, I discussed it with our own department folks later, and they all agreed, it isn't safe, and it doesn't give the impression we are in control of the scene.


What are your thoughts on this issue?  Do you allow, encourage or restrict the running of firefighters on your scenes?

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Run when you're running away from something that can kill you. Otherwise, don't run on the fireground.

I've seen way too many firefighters trip over hoselines, curbs, steps, tree roots in the yard, or whatever when running. The running meant that it took longer to perform the assignment than walking with a sense of urgency.

Another problem with running is that it robs you of energy more quickly than if you walk with a sense of urgency. I've seen way too many firefighters run into the building, and five minutes later someone else is dragging them out.

Still another problem with running it that you reduce the time between your body and running into a hazard.
If you move a little slower, you have time to see hazards before you trip over them or fall into them.

Then there is the problem of maintaining situational awareness. When you run, you tend to miss things that you can see if you take a minimal amount of additional time, maintain situational awareness as you work toward the fire, and maintain your cool.

You rarely see older, more experienced firefighters running. Could it be that experience is a good teacher on the running issue as it is for most of the other things we do?
Our profession is inherently dangerous, but we shouldn't be stupid and intentionally increase the dangers.

"We can be injured;"

"Falling off a ladder - Don't climb ladders."
No, climb ladders while maintaining 3 points of contact, look where you place your hands and feet, look where you are going, carry tools properly or better yet, hoist them after you arrive, and use ladder belts or leg locks when stopping to work.

"Serious cuts using a chainsaw - Don't use chainsaws" No, take a chainsaw class, wear chainsaw chaps when you're cutting things that are not near a fire, wear your full turnout gear, wear SCBA or eye protection, use chainsaws with chain brakes, and follow your department's safety procedures."

"Back injury lifting a heavy objects - Don't lift heavy things." No, get help or use a lifting tool like an air bag, a crane, or a mechanical advantage system to do the lift.

"Twist an ankle climbing off the rig - Don't get off the rig." No, exit the rig with due care, don't jump off, and watch where you step when exiting."

"Back injury swinging an axe or haligan - Don't use the irons." No, use the irons properly to avoid injury.

"Hearing damage using power tools - Don't use power tools." No, use hearing protection.

"Attacked by combative patient - Don't treat patients." No, use police help, staging, don't get cornered, and have an escape route on potentially violent scenes.

"Burns from fire - Don't go near fire." Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you can attack the fire using stream reach as a standoff weapon and no life other than firefighters' is at risk, then don't go near the fire. If you must go near it, wear full turnout gear, flash hoods, SCBA, and use good fire attack and search tactics.

"Cancer from anything that burns - Move to Antarctica and stay out of the sun." No, wear your SCBA, turnout gear, clean your gear after every fire, and stop smoking or dipping tobacco.

"Fall over when running - Don't run" You're absolutely right on this one. It's not falling that's the problem so much as the tripping, slipping, etc. that starts the fall, and the slowing of assignment completion that accompanies the fall that are the problems.

"Yes, we have ways to mitigate or eliminate hazards like fire, smoke, falls, sprains, hearing loss, physical contact and whatever. But as firefighters, we accept risks from time to time on a risk vs gain basis. Risks from running are no different." Wrong. They are VERY different, because not running IS the mitigation for the hazards caused by running. The other activities you named are hazards that are inherent to the requirements of getting various parts of the job done. Running is rarely - or never - required to get the job done.

"Know when running is warranted." When you're running away from something that would otherwise kill you is about the only time it's warrented.

"Know when running is NOT warranted." The rest of the time on the fireground.

"Know your physical limits." Agreed, but you'll reach those limits more quickly if you run than if you don't.

"Know how to run." OK, how? There's a reason that NO state or national firefighter training program teaches running or how to do it. It isn't necessary, it increases risk, and our turnout gear isn't made for running.

"Train train train." Good idea, but if you train, train, train to do the wrong thing, you'll just be more likely to do that wrong thing on the fireground. While you're at it, can you show me a validated training program that will show us how to "properly" run in turnout gear and SCBA? I'd be very interested in reviewing that program if you can find one for me.
Well put Harrison Gold, We should be in shape to do what it takes. If not we need to get that way. I have never went down from running in 23 years. There is a time and place for everything. Time does matter in fire and ems.
That's a load of crap. Running on scene equates to bad driving? HAHA Good one. We get the job done faster than most departments and I'm damn proud of how we do it. If you aren't coordinated enough to run with hose on your shoulder then I don't want your ass on my crew. Anyone like that can find a new department. We have a few thousand others that line up outside with applications every year that actually want to do the job well.
I ALWAYS see older more experienced firemen running.

Who cares if it takes more energy? If you put the fire out fast, you don't need that extra energy. If you're too tired to do both, quit the job.
That's false that NO firefighter training program teaches running. We do. We even teach it in our camp that's coming up if you want to see how it works. http://www.dcfdfalltraining.com/
Believe me, it's not the first time anyone in those videos has seen a fire and I can guarantee that our department has seen more fire(using those tactics) that pretty much everyone on here. Yet, I've never heard of anyone getting hurt because they ran. We still burn in DC and happen to be a very aggressive fire department. We run to get the job fast. There's a reason there aren't many multiple alarm fires in DC. I don't see what's "unprofessional" about that.

Without having read the link( saw the video) I'm just going to take Ben's side here. It is really difficult for anyone to know the training programs and exercises of every dept out there to know what goes on.

Me taking now, I will say that it is a rarity for a dept to actually train on running o the fireground, because the overwhelming number of depts out there do not condone running on the fireground. You guys "teach" it, and that in itself is a rarity, so it basically goes back to, "it works for us" type of thing. Although I will say the key again is you teach it, with the mindset in mind most do not and also discourage it.

For me personally, I never been on a scene which required running. We moved fast and with purpose bu never seen one where running was needed. We also have a good reputation of saves to losses too without necissated running. Just stating you are not wrong, but just try and see the bigger picture out there.
I was trained right from the start that "we do not run at incidents, but we can walk pretty damned fast at times". And that's the way we do it, the way we (including I) teach it. Running can take our mind off of the job, it has you concentrate only on 'getting there'.

Oh, we're not the busiest fire service in the world, nor the biggest. We are one of the big ones though, around 60,000 members and over 1200 stations, fairly big I think. We do know what we're doing.

capcityff? You are proud of your FD, that's a good thing. Though perhaps a little too proud sometimes? Anyway, you said "We get the job done faster than most departments" - do you have any statistics to support that statement?
Sometimes you arrive on scene, encounter something that catches you off guard and it's all you can do not to run the other way...

You move your ass with a purpose. You run only when you have to, and you'll know when you have to.
If it were MY house burning, I'd think, it's just property, be safe guys. Put it out, but don't kill yourself or even get hurt if possible. I am one to complain about all the safety crap. (I've yet to put an orange flagger vest on on the hi-way...go ahead, let the discussion begin!) But have always believed running a,) looks like you're panicked or there's something wrong b.) can very likely lead to a stupid looking,painful,injury causing fall. Needless risk. The only time to run with hose is during the agility test.

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