The fire service is without any shadow of argument one of the most if not the most dangerous entities. I thought this small article might help some people look at certain situations we get ourselves into a little differently.

Tactical Mistakes We Can't Afford To Make

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Exactly  Training and slowing down to properly asses the situation will play a huge role.   But the "thats the way..." statement goes farther than just on scene.  In my short 4 months I have seen a couple good seasoned guys quit because they had to wear a "uniform" (black pants with either a dept. t shirt or polo) to meetings trainnings and any event the dept takes part of.  All because they never had to before so they were not going to start now.   If thats the mentality they have over how you represent your dept. in the community how do you think they would act to a new training method or safety procedure?  I don't care how good you are if you dont have an open mind to new things then you really aren't as good as you think

I agree my friend. I like the idea of the manuals and the like. Wish more departments would take that leap.

We have a fellow who insist every situation firewise is a time to use full on fog pattern. I keep reffering them to material discussing the threat of disturbing the thermal layer but they never listen. Sometimes being set in your ways will get you killed.

Jason,

You imply that you wouldn't want a rookie being IC. Is this even a possibility in your department? (In any department?) Because if it is, you have  a real problem within this so called department. The fire service is not a club or a hobby or a race or a popularity contest. Size of department and available resources does not change this, or at least shouldn't change this. It is the smaller slower departments who need a good command and supervisory structure more than anyone.

Sam,

Same basic point. What is going on within your department that allows the first guy to "call it" to be the IC? You say a that a probie announcing that he is the IC frightens you? What frightens me is that your department (or any department) apparently allows this to happen.

It really does depend on our daytime coverage.  Only having 26 guys with 5 of those being rookies.  Most everyone on our dept is at least 20 plus minutes away from the station during the day.  So it is very possible to have a truck roll with just rookies on the scene first till someone from our dept or mutual aid shows up.

I sure as hell wouldn't want a rig rolling in with an all rookie crew. Every dept. should have an officer on every rig dispatched. The way I always understood the IC system, the first arriving officer was the IC until the arrival of a higher ranking officer. Also the switch should be face to face. The higher rank relieving the lower rank face to face. So there will be no confusion as to who is in charge. In New York State all depts. have a rank structure, Firefighter to Lieut. to Captain to Chief. I've always assumed the same was nation wide but if not, feel free to correct me. Dispatching a rig with a crew of all rookie firfighters and no officers is in my opinion a safety violation of the highest magnitude. It should never be allowed. 

My point was this firefighter lacked the training to know how ICS worked. He was corrected real quick mind you. I also agree that a rig of rookies is just asking for serious trouble. We run an officer on each apparatus that leaves our bay regardless. We use a simular rank structure here but we are a small department so it basicly goes chief, assistant chief, and than captain. We also recquire a certain amount of hours on each truck before an individual is ever allowed to drive it to a scene.

We have 3 officers for 23 (26 including them)  We had 4 but one had to take a leave because of his wifes medical issues.   Now 2 of those officers work a minimum 20 min away from the station.  Our chief works in the next county over but is available 3-4 days per week depending on what week it is.  So even if its not just rookies very rarely during the day does a truck leave with an officer.   Also our command structure is the same except we have a deputy chief just under the chief.

I have to believe, it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt or dead. If your dept cannot provide proper staffing of the apparatus it should be shut down. This situation should not be allowed.

I agree with you 100%   And I will tss in that when an officer does arrive on scene there is a transfer of command.  But in that time from first on scene to officers arrival a lot can go wrong.  Also what is the solution?  Promote more guys to officer level?  Or shut the whole works down and rely on other depts. for coverage?  Right now what we have works.   We are a small town with a slow dept. Only 72 runs YTD and only 2 of those being structure fires.   We also have one of the best ranked depts. in the county so we must be doing something right

we don't roll without a field officer (deputy captain, senior deputy captain, or the captain) on board, and sitting in the left front seat.

First tanker on scene, oic assumes incident control, and it usually stays that way, unless the fire escalates to the point you have more than 3 or 4 tankers there, then a group officer is responded.  if it escalates again, to the point where you have 20 or so tankers, working in groups of 4 or 5 under group captains, a fire control officer is responded to take overall control of the incident

And  that is perfect example of the ICS system.  But how many other times during a call do things work textbook perfect?  Not too often.  Sure our system is flawed and Im sure it would be different if our types of calls and number were to increase.  Our last structure fire we had a full dept. response.  Every single person was there.  The first time since i joined has everyone showed up for everything

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