From one of our Fire and EMS blogs, First Due Questions with an initial water supply discussion


“You are responding to a confirmed working fire, do you lay in always or let your second due engine bring you water?"

"Is your decision based on your staffing?”

Views: 3115

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Being a Paid On Call Department with both Urban and Rural Areas my decisions are is it rural and if so do i have tenders enroute and if so how many. If its Urban (hydrant) do i have enough manpower to bring both our engines to the scene (1 1000 gal and 1 750 Gal.) if so then yes engine 1112 (second due) will catch the hydrant for us. If not and were relying on m/a then we'll try to grab it ourselfs however with 1000 gals we can usually get a pretty knock on the fire using that.

I think that the first in Engine co. should procure their own water supply. All later arriving Eng's should also make sure they can get and supply water when and if needed. I'm sure this becomes more and more difficult the further you get from an urban area. The use of tankers and drafting from lakes are some of the things we see in rural areas. Never having worked in an area without a hydrant system, I would be interested in how rural dept's solve the problem.

How much later would your own second due arrive? Unless it's right behind the first, I think the first engine should begin the water procurement process if at all possible. I suppose it depends on staffing. Also how quick does the first engine generally arrive? If it's pretty fast then yes the 1000 gallons will go a long way, making hydrants or tankers basically a moot point.

Tactically it makes sense to secure a water supply from hydrant etc asap. However we all realise that has to be weighed off against staffing on first appliance and initial actions. Whether you are committing BA and internal compartment firefighting with hose reels or attacking with a main line externally.

With POC FD #1 we willlay in or hand stretch our own supply line because unless the second engine rolls right behind us we can't guarantee it is coming.


With POC FD #2, we go staright in and either hand stretch to a close hydrant or have the second due lay in to us.

If it's a confirmed working fire that tells me we have a company on scene, so we're laying in.

Typically, if we are responding into an area with hydrants the first engine company will go to the scene and the second arriving company will lay a supply line.

If we are responding into a neighborhood that does not have hydrants (We serve a mostly rural district) our 3,500 gallon tender responds with the first out engine on any possible structure fire.

I must say I like having the tender right behind the engine. It buys us a lot of time.

we use mutual aid alot in the rural area several towns near by with 1000 people or less all have a tanker.  even use drop tanks in town that have a small water supply

We have a bunch of dry hydrants in our area. Depending on the location of a fire on the lake. First due engine will wrap the dry hydrant and drop is LDH and the 2nd due engine will go the other way around the lake and Start dropping LDH at the fire. When the two trucks cross they  will stop and make the connection of the LDH and then the 2nd due will proceed to the hydrant and get water started. The first due will proceed to the scene. In the village the first due pumper will go to the scene, the second due will make the hydrant for us.

Out where we can't do this we will set up 2 or 3 portable ponds (depending on road width) and set up a tanker shuttle. The tanker shuttle will normally have two different fill sites. We find this gets tankers filled faster and we are not overwhelming the guys at the fill site with 5 to 7 tankers sitting there waiting to be filled.

It will depend on what this working fire is in, it's size and locations of hydrants and alternate routes.

Big fire needs big water, so if its got a good hold first due will lay in if a hydrant is available (whole floor of a residence, barn, commercial unsprinklered)

If second due is responding and/or fire is confined to area of origin and a hydrant is close ( 200' or less) we will go straight in and start operations as set up takes a few minutes. 600 gallon booster tank can do a lot of work.

Also we take into consideration need for the quint. Typically this is second due and if dropping a line will restrict access, leave it for second so they can secure a supply and get to the scene.

Depending on staffing and how close the second engine is I like to have the first due lay the line.  It does not look good to run out of water and have to skull drag the supply line to a hydrant if that second piece does not get there before you run out. With the two in- two out rule you have time to lay the line and get set up with handlines, ladders, etc  and it looks good to the public.  Now the gung ho types are going to say they should attack the fire fast to knock it down but that is not always the correct choice depending on staffing, next piece, rescue or not.  You have to weigh the facts, evaluate the situation and your resources to make the call.  

Agree with your post with the exception of  the "looks good to the public" part. Why do we care what does or does not "look good" to the public?

Our department which is in a rural area with no hydrants responds with our first run pumper (1000 gallon) followed by our tanker (3000 gallon), which in turn is followed by our pumper/tanker (1500) gallon. Most of the time we pull the dump tank off of the tanker and begin draft operations. Also with a confirmed fire we have at two other departments coming on the initial page, one of which brings water as well.

Reply to Discussion


Find Members Fast

Or Name, Dept, Keyword
Invite Your Friends
Not a Member? Join Now

© 2024   Created by Firefighter Nation WebChief.   Powered by

Badges  |  Contact Firefighter Nation  |  Terms of Service