In the late afternoon the department I belong to was dispatched to a working structure fire in a sparsely populated area classified as a Wildland Urban Interface upon arrival of the first unit the sizeup was reported as fully involved. first due engine and water tender were more than 20 minutes away. Minutes after command was on scene it was decided by IC to let the structure burn as it was determined to be a total loss. So this morning we were paged to the same location for a brush fire! Granted we have approximately 2 ft. of snow on the ground this brush fire has the potential of becoming a forest fire. I am writing this post out of anger because I was trained to put a fire out completely  and to be paged out for a second time to the same location  shows a lack of competence and professionalism on not only the department but command as well.Had I been IC on the incident it would have been put out the first time! Your thoughts ?

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...and recruit some help. However, I'm guessing the population is a bit thin in the area around Russ and his neighbors. Add to that, like Russ says, volunteerism is down - everywhere.

Russ - How old is the person to whom you are referring? Will he retire any time soon?


He's in his 60's and has been dealing with a lot of health issues as of lately. He does have someone in line to take over for him but his work has him out of the area for weeks at a time. I suspect our department will be taking over the area again but the response time will be such that unless a fire is reported in it's very early stages and for some reason does not spread very quickly the chance of a decent outcome is slim

A "no win" situation for all.

Best of luck to you and your department. Perhaps some very aggressive recruitment could produce a couple of prospects in the neighboring district.

Above all, stay safe and don't lose sleep over it.

In our Dept. we have had to make this call too, BUT we usually leave a engine on scene and babysit the fireground. Just to make certain that it doesn't go beyond the structure. On occasion we have had to be recalled after we left prematurely Oh we are a totally VOLUNTEER dept. too.I can tell of one instance were we hooked into a hydrant that was next door put a 3/4" adapter on the 2 /12" plug and then ran about 150' of garden hose with wyes the we took garden sprinklers on the ends and turned on the hydrant about half way and left it for a while. IT WORKED GREAT TOO.

Norm I have 2 engines parked in my yard 24/7. I sleep just fine LoL

Daryl. if you ue dry barrel hydrants you should NEVER only open the hydrant half way.  You are allowing water to blow out of the drain holes at the bottom of the hydrant and that will undermine the ground around the hydrant.

Here is reality - all attacks are based on two things - manpower and supplies.  If either of those is lackign then the attacks have to modifeid. 

Would I suggest leaving a property until such time as you are 100% certain that the fire is extiinguished - never.  

Would my department leave a property without a fire watch if not 100% certain it was extinguished.....?  Now no but it did happen in the early 80's an dwhat had intially been a save turned into a total loss.....

Armchair Chiefing is easy to do because you already know the outcome - real time chiefing is much more difficult and unless you have stood in those shoes and understand 100% of the reason for their decision in no way should you be criticizing and calling them on the carpet in a public forum such as this 


Were not "Publicly Criticizing" anyone, in the fire service we have whats called "Critiques" or "Post Incident Reviews", do you not have any of those?

You cant sit there and tell us that a department with one man (the chief) is doing their jobs appropriately or safely, and NOT want to find out what we can do to help this department.  In my experience I have always know good, experienced firefighters to always be welcoming of any criticism and call it "Constructive Criticism" and try to learn from it, anyone else always uses the "Monday Morning Quarterback" defense to hide behind.  We are here to learn; bringing up past incidents and reviewing what went well and what went wrong helps us learn.  If I make a mistake that almost hurts or kills someone I will share it with everyone so they dont make the same mistake, thats one of the purposes that Firefighter Nation has, to inform, educate and share experiences.  If this behavior is allowed to continue in this department, who is going to loose their lives and property???  The innocent residents who are depending on their local fire department only to find out there is only one man in the roster...

Something needs to be done and I dont care if I hurt this guys feelings...someone will loose their lives if someone fails to speak up.

The department in question definitely needs some help, and if the neighboring departments are offering and willing to step in and lend a hand, the chief of that department (apparently the only member of that department) should welcome the help with open arms.

A department of one is not a department - it is an attempt to appease the citizenry.  Someone needs to inform the citizens of the conditions that exist within their community and also inform the lcoal insurance companies - because the increases in insurance rates would surely offset the costs associated with improving / providing fire protection.

Our department does do the "Post-Incident Reviews" with those who participated and actually attended the response - not the whole world wide internet community.  Post Incident reviews are for the betterment of the responders not to allow barbs to be hurled to hurt the responders.


Also - as a heads up - no where in your initial response did you mention that the other "community" had a Department of one so I was basing my response on the idea of there being a fire department not a single member resource

Robert I would recommend reading all the previous  comments which may give you a better insight of our situation. In my initial posting I failed to mention all the details. Just to clarify a few things I was the Chief of my last department for 8 years and am currently the Vice President of our Chiefs Association we all know each other very well. My last department currently has 4 on the roster one of which is an actual firefighter of 20 years and is the only one I trust to have my back in an interior situation.As I had mentioned before the Chief in question I know quite well I have done a lot of work for him on his equipment in the past, The community that he serves is well aware of the situation, all 30 of them. Shortly after the second fire that resulted from the original structure fire he and I had a rather lengthy sometimes heated discussion about his actions to which his reply was " I don't have to respond to fires".As for informing insurance companies very few people have insurance mainly because of the fact many insurance companies will not insure most of the homes around here because our department are not staffed 24/7. The only department that has an ISO rating is my last department which I personally made happen at my own expense.With that said I hope this gives you a better idea that not all departments are ran the same as much as I would like to think it was as black and white as that it's not. This is just the reality of rural Alaska.

Its called technology; if we can critique things with firefighters from all over the world and learn something from it like a new technique or new tool being developed somewhere then why not?

We need to keep up with the times, and technology is a huge part of the future, I learn new things from someone here daily, and there are a lot of departments that share their experiences with us so we know what to do and what not to do, I guess we can agree to disagree here.


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