Heres an interesting article in Fire Engineering written by a sargeant that works with me at the District of Columbia Fire Department. I notice the same problems with discussions in this site. People who don't even properly understand the basics get caught up in all the new technology, equipment and phrases thinking they understand it all. How many of you that know the best type of lights for your POV can actually efficiently pull a hose line? How many of you have pulled lines in the last month somewhere other than your front ramp or parking lot? Instead, many sit around and talk about some new tool that you don't need. Luckily I pull lines every tour of duty at my department. I feel that these "bread and butter" skills are much more important than many of the "advanced" skills that many of you won't ever use. Anyway here's the article:

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Well said Cap.


A good friend of mine is in charge of an industrial fire brigade here and every training session without fail, he has them pull lines, tap a hydrant and done/doff SCBA.


Regardless of the topic being taught, this stuff gets done every single time- he's always argued that you have to get the basics right- first time, every time.


Absolutely.  We do about 850-900 runs a year, no EMS.  I would say hoses are pulled on about half of those calls, and used on about 30.  Fortunately we train on the bread and butter, hooking the hydrant, pulling and advancing the line.  Most of what we see (outside of MVA's) are kitchen fires and room and contents and they get knocked down pretty quickly.  Even on the all hands working fires things run pretty smoothly, no charlie foxtrots (usually, but there are those occasions).

What works for us works for us. We change when change makes us better at what we do.

I am the training officer on 2 POC FDs and my mission this year has been basic skills.  Hose advances both 1 3/4 and 2 1/2, search, restricted passage with scba, pumping ops, both from hydrants and foldatanks, and I will continue that through thr winter and into next year.


I do agree that lack of actual fire incidents makes the demand for bread and butter skills training even more pressing. 

Thanks for sharing that article.

The basics are the backbone to what we do as firefighters.

I think they don't get covered as often as needed sometimes just because of everything else depts are trying to fit in for training.

I think they definitely need to be emphasised in a depts training and then focus on what the fd responds to or may respond to in their particular area after that.


bump - apply this to the science on fireground discussion

Some of our members are telling our officers that we have not had a basic drill on hoses, ladders, SCBA, ladders and other needed basics  in sometime and then someone wants to change training nights so that people will be around to work BINGO instead of training. BINGO drove members away from coming to the station because they were forced to work BINGO instead of running calls, I know we need the money but don't take away from protecting the public on fire and EMS calls.

We discussed this on Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio, on the show "Tap the Box" and I had Dave LeBlanc on as a guest.  The funny thing is many want to have the advanced stuff before they have mastered the basics, like jumping out of a window and bail, but ask them the ladder compliment on their truck and they can't tell you the different sizes.

Amen, thanks for sharing. Put the wet stuff on the red stuff.

Glad to share.  I haven't been posting much since some people on here would complain that I share my "big city tactics" that don't apply to most people on here.  However many things, like this, should apply to everyone.

Here in DC, like most cities in the US, our fires have gone down drastically.  As recently as the early 2000s, there'd be at least 3-5 fires in the city every day. According to our administrator(us firemen don't call him a chief because he doesn't look out for his firefighters) at the state of department address the other day, there were only around 450-500 working structure fires last year.  Luckily, we I still run multiple box alarms every day I'm at work which results in pulling lines for practice.  However, it still leaves even more of a reason to train because depending on where you're assigned you most likely won't see fire on a regular basis.

We train on the basics on a regular basis - hose lays and pulls, flaking lines up stairs, ground and aerial ladder placement, search and rescue, forcible entry, ventilation, standpipe work, etc.


We've been fortunate to train in several acquired structures in the past two years.  We were not able to put live fire in the structures, but we got to do several days of truck work in one of our old stations before we demolished it, more truck work in a big box grocery store, a month of MAYDAY and RIC training in an old school building, roof vent training at the same school and truck work at another old fire station followed by a wek of basic USAR training for engine and truck companies and a full-scale structural collapse deployment exercise at the same station.  When you live in a hurricane zone, USAR work is part of the basics.

You know capcityff, we actually agree on most topics.  Especially this one with the need for proficiency in the bread and butter basic skills.  My issue with you is your constantly beating your chest about your "Big City" firefighting skills and knowledge.  Truth is hoselines get pulled and water gets put on fires, ceilings get pulled, roofs get vented, and searches get done pretty much the same everywhere by properly trained firefighters.  The biggest difference is the number of personnel and how quickly they get there.


Like I stated earlier, as training officer, my emphasis on both POC FDs I am involved with is those basic bread and butter skills.  Because like you I believe that we must remain proficient at those skills before we can consider adding advaced skills.



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