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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I don't believe out department has a policy per say, but there's a common understanding among all of our members that there is no running on a fireground. There's no safety officer right now. We like to use the concept that everybody is a safety officer.
No running at our incidents here, the reason is if you fall an get hurt then you are not able to help with the emergency.
Ralph summed it up nicely.

Our dept doesn't have a policy about it but it is just understood that it is better to walk with equipment than run with it. Plus as weighed down as we are with gear & scba's it is better to conserve our energy by walking fast than running (besides, how much time do you really gain?).

Now with that said are there times that we have ran on scene? Absolutely, situations come up that require you to act fast and maybe even run . . . we just need to remember to temper the decision to run with training, experience and the demands of the situation.

Run when you have to, but you probably don't have to run to get an ax from the rig for overhaul.
Here we ALWAYS run. As we pull up I'm already opening my door and sprinting for a line on every box alarm, working fire or not.
Here's a clip that kind of shows what it's like at a DC fire:
Or here where running saved seconds in rescuing an already burned up guy:
This last one is long(a recruit class video), but it shows how they are actually trained to run:
We have no written policy on running on the scene, but also a mutual understanding that it is not safe to do, tripping over hose,cords, tools or downed lines, while running you just don't see these things , also carrying tools or ladders and running not good could give the ems crew something to do though , being in a command / safety position we try to emphasize the don't run at all trainings , have to look out for number 1 first , then the customer, then property jmo .there is a time to run, that is to save your butt from what ever is gonna fall or blow up
It doesn't matter, why was the IC worried about you running instead of worrying about the fire? Seems like a trivial issue (and an overcontrolling IC).

I disagree. Typically if there is not a Safety Officer appointed for the scene the IC does fill that role. Secondly, the number one people to look for is our own. The IC is in his/her rights to stop a safety issue if one is spotted

nothing is really safe now is it? We run into burning buildings for a living

Yes, to a point. The job in and of itself is inherently dangerous, but there is no reason to expand on that danger by being lax, or rushed without necessity.
I tell my guys there are ONLY 2 times to run... to either out run me, or to keep up with me. When you see this old man running, you know the world is fixin' to end.

There is a difference between doing things quickly, and doing things in a hurry. Doing things quickly is a measured, methodical approach where you are planning one or two steps ahead while working on the present task. Being in a hurry such as running, means you will overlook something or not pay attention to a detail which may injure you and or your crew.

Besides, if God had intended me to run... He would have put a HEMI in my butt.
GREAT videos. That's what firefighters should look like when arriving! Show the public (the people whose house is burning up or whose family are trapped) that you actually give a crap and are doing your job.

There's nothing worse than watching firefighters slowly walking around like it's no big deal and showing very little concern for what is obviously a very big deal to someone. It's not hard to work safe and fast at the same time.

I don't see the need to run around during overhaul and clearly not every action even needs it, but in the initial stages of a fire, show some purpose in your actions. Get moving!
Gary...you pretty much summed it up real well.....Now maybe the adrenaline would kick in if it were for a search team looking for a KNOWN victim and they might haul butt a bit...we are taught to never run on a scene...it isn't safe with what we carry....
You DON'T run at a fire scene...it is drilled into you from Probie days till the day you get out...it isn't safe...it isn't done...we work in the most hazardous job in the world...why make it more dangerous than it already is...? Slow down, do your size up...look for egress points and the layout of the place BEFORE you go inside...if things turn to shit in a hurry having those little tidbits might save your ass....
Paul, as I'm sure you will agree, there are times when seconds count. There are times when you NEED to run or else things will get exponentially worse. A blanket no running rule is not a good idea and creates the risk of someone resisting the need to hurry when they so clearly need to.
Firefighting is a time critical job and we need to learn when to move fast and when not to.

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