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?”
For my department we usually have second due lay in a line or if it is one of our auto aid departments fire they are working a tender shuttle or just using their pumper tenders. but we run with three man engine companys so manpower is always an issue on first due apparatus
This depends on Two things:
1) Trapped occupants
2) How close behind the second engine is.
My Dept philosophy is: Trapped occupants means water supply comes second. How close the second engine is may not be the best thing to take into consideration, but, we use it. Our city will often ask second due to pull supply lines.
The other side of the coin on the closeness of the second Engine is what if the second Engine is involved in a TA? Then, your in trouble.
We are a fully hydrant area, and we accomplish it with our first due. We have limited staffing, and our 2nd due is too long coming in to help and many times we would be dry before they could lay in for us. I think timing and staffing makes the decision pretty easy, at least for us.