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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Yes, I agree...but honestly, think....How many times have we really needed to run...? I see newbies or Probies running everywhere....I saw one a week or so ago running with a haligan bar to pry open a car hood....you fall on that animal and you WILL get hurt....there was no reason for it....I know if something comes up we need to get in high gear....I didn't just get off the newbie truck...but the vast majority of times....? No.
Rob, I agree that; we need to learn when to move fast. Moving fast does not equal running.

Short of a building collapse, (which we should be watching for in the first place) or an eminent explosion, the couple of seconds we might save by running, are going to be lost because it'll take that long for us to realize we need to run.

Running on the scene equates to driving an apparatus 90 mph and blowing intersections to get there.
You're right, most of the time we don't, and a lot of the time a fast walk will suffice. I would prefer running to be generally discouraged rather than set in policy.

One of our past calls involved on arrival a teenage kid holding on to a 2nd story window sill out of a fully involved room. I can tell you, it's amazing how fast some guys can run with a 14ft ladder when they need to. The kid could probably have hung there for several more seconds, maybe even a minute or two, but we have no idea of that and he needed rescue pronto! We talked with him later and asked why he didn't just jump. He said that as he was climbing out of the window he could hear our sirens coming and decided it safer to 'hang around for a ladder' instead of risking a jump.
Great input, and I'm surprised at the wide variety of responses! I agree that if a wall is about to fall on you, you should probably RUN!

Ok, now lets take it step further for those departments where you not only don't discourage running but actually encourage it. As an officer or even chief, what reprocussions will you face if one of your team is injured on the scene, OSHA gets involved and it's determined the person was injured running? Any issue there? Any fall out?

I know from most of my fires, they were of residential and most of the time at night. First on scene, no lights. I, for one, am not about to go running through an area I am not familiar with, especially in the dark. Also, as the chief, I didn't want to be the one to call the wife at two in the morning informing her, her spouse is in the hospital because of this.

When I was in Frist Responder training, the instructor said "It's better to have just one body instead of two", indicating that if we drop our guard or do something stupid with the mind set of "we have to hurry to help", and take ourselves out, have we really helped? Those departments that encourage running on scene, how do you handle it if one of yours is injured that way?

Just another thought, during your state tests, what happend if you ran during the practicals?
We teach to not run on the fireground, but to hustle instead. I know, what's the difference but hustle comes from the sense of urgency. It's subjective but you move based upon the conditions, both emergent and safety.

I tend to agree that running on the fireground is not good, not because of the public perception of 'not being in control' but because it can be unsafe, either with or without tools in hand. Hoselines, PPE, and the last thing we need to do is elevate our heart rates any more.

I would think that departments that encourage running have calculated that people are as likely to be hurt from not running as they are from running.
I try not to run on scene basically cause it looks like panic and then could spread like wild fire.
We can be injured;

Falling off a ladder - Don't climb ladders.
Serious cuts using a chainsaw - Don't use chainsaws.
Back injury lifting a heavy objects - Don't lift heavy things.
Twist an ankle climbing off the rig - Don't get off the rig.
Back injury swinging an axe or haligan - Don't use the irons.
Hearing damage using power tools - Don't use power tools.
Attacked by combative patient - Don't treat patients.
Burns from fire - Don't go near fire.
Cancer from anything that burns - Move to Antarctica and stay out of the sun.
Fall over when running - Don't run
etc etc...

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.
Know when running is warranted.
Know when running is NOT warranted.
Know your physical limits.
Know how to run.
Train train train.
i never run or hurry enless told, i was chewed out first time i ran to pull a line off the truck for the interior guys first and the last time i ever have and will ever run...
My thought is that we should not be running on scene. I was taught that if you have a important task and you need to get it done you do it in a controlled but rapid fashion. You can accomplish things rapidly and safely without killing yourself, your crew or a civilian. Take your time, do the job right and safely and more than likely you will get it done right the first time and with no injuries.

Only run when your life truly depends on it-collapse, explosion, etc.
You are a sharp fire dept. great videos I am a fan.
If it's an emergency to us, who would you call. We're supposed to be calm and professional, not run like it's the first time we've seen fire coming out of a window.

There's a big difference between moving with a sense of urgency and purpose and running.

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