Ok just to give a brief overview of our system and department. We have 4 inch tags that has just the ff name on it. When ff's arrive on scene they are supposed to put there tags on the primary engine. At structure fires we have an average of 40 to 50 ff's. Whether they are in POVs or rode on a piece of apparatus. Thats a lot of ff's to keep up with for a volunteer dept. And as you know everyone wants to be on the hosepipe so its a rush to the attack lines. No one wants to to the dirty work. We have no system other than ffs putting there tags on the engine if they even do that! But even then IC has no idea where his ff's are. How can we control ff's from free lancing and keep them accounted for? Thanks for all the help!

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I hate to say it, but, there are only two ways that this will stop. 1) someone gets seriously hurt or killed because no one is actually in charge of thier actions, & 2) Your Chief grows a brass set & puts a stop to it. You are supposed to be fully NIMS complient, which spells out how the ICS system works. I hate to say, but if your dept' showed up on a scene anywhere in my county, and acted like that, they would be sent home instantly & that would be the last time they would be called untill they changed. Way to much liability.
This is why I do not agree with responding POV to the scene. It is hard to track firefighters on the fire scene. We have 3 name tags that stay on our helmets, then when we go on a call we put them on the 3 passports on the rig. When we get on scene we keep one on the rig, one goes with the officer and one goes to the IC. The passports have the name of the rig we are on, and on our helmets is a shield with what rig we came out on. Works great.
my mabas division in illinois came up with a way to id all ff on a ground but it is expensive. it consits of 4 readers and a chip in each coat. it tells where everyone is at on a screen at the ic location
Back to the basics, remember what you were taught in Firefighter I and than aggressively reminded of in every class thereafter...Set up a strong IC system, including a Command Post, Staging Area , and your IC Structure, depending on the extent of the emergency you are responding to. Key officers include Operations, Safety, Staging and EMS Liaison for incidents with injuries.

Set it up and train on it every month, train so that the arriving firefighters respond directly to the staging area and leave their tags with the Staging Officer. When called into action their tags than go to the safety officer either at the door or the "Entry" point of the IDLH atmosphere. Train your firefighters to return to the safety officer to retrieve their tags upon leaving the IDLH and report back to staging for rehab. Better personnel management is key to every emergency and can be simple when you train on its implementation and adaptation to any emergency.

Sounds like you need to create a committee to research the possible accountability systems available, determine what would best fit your dept needs, and than purchase it and train on it till they puke it.
Well... we run a two tag system. Everybody has the little yellow laminated card hanging from the back of their helmet that has your personal info on and it and also a pix of you. This is the tag that stays on the actual truck you rode in on. Then we have another smaller tag that just velcros to the bottom of our helmet that you give to whoever your officer is on that truck. Once on scene, the entire crew from the truck goes to IC and is assigned a specific duty. The officer from the truck you rode in on hands the smaller tags to IC who then places them on their board with the different posistions on the scene.

This way, the officer on the truck you rode in on knows who exactly is on his crew and who he is responsible for and IC also knows who they have and where they are on the scene.

As far the freelancing goes... thats just dangerous business and there and also very counter-productive. If everyone goes running for the attack lines, who vents?, whos RIT?, etc. Like I said, it is a requirement that the first thing we do on scene is go as a group with the truck you rode in on to IC and be given a specific job duty. No questions asked. When you and your crew is done with that specific job, you go back to IC and get another job, or go to rehab if need be.
Um, agreed with a few other postings. WAAAYYYYY too many people on the fire ground, and yes congrats on your unpresidented showing to incidents.

Also another statement I agree with aside some minor reservations, I would discourage POV response, though at my dept we do have staff (paid or volunteer) who are close to the scene and may respond into the area.

Last, I also see the attitude problem. I don't have a problem with doing the "dirty work" getting equipment or whatever, accountability, pump ops, staging, etc.
This really doesnt sound good. Some one should grab control( chain of command). the engine tags are one thing but the hot zone tags are paramount. If there is an incident where something does go wrong(God forbid!!!!) its like a domino effect, if u got two in trouble, without accountability your gonna have at least a few more because you dont know where people are. The time it takes to gather that info, the emergency has grown bigger. its not a good situation. gotta get it together for everyones safety.
Well what we do is the driver of the truck tells each man to leave his tag on the truck or we have a jr.firefighter stand by the fire ground with clipboard and get the tags from each man as they enter fire ground it works well with the jr.because he is not aloud to fight fire so they jump on it to get close to it and when they get the count they give it to the IC .but like everyone else says it dont work unless you train on it .
I agree with most everyone else...it sounds like there are some organizational / scene discipline problems. While I am not against pov response (We only allow officers) and most other departments we run AMA with do it, every new member that arrives on scene MUST check in with the IC or designated staging officer. The discipline required to run a scene really begins with your SOGs and first arriving engine to initiate or follow them. Our SOGs call for an initial size up and then depending upon where we are geographically (we are in the northeast corner of our county and border two others) we identify to responding units which tachtical channel we will be operating on and initial assignments including where apparatus and personnel are to stage.

Once on scene we we use several methods of accountability...first the officer of the engine / truck is responsible for his own crew. We also use the traditional two tag method, one for the apparatus and one for the officer of whichever company you are assigned to. Our tags include photo, medical info, and levels of training. While this is a very low tech solution that works, if you don't have the discipline to stage and take assignments I doubt you will have the discipline to place the tags on the truck and really use them. I will admit that in the heat of the moment they often get overlooked at first. That is why we invested in a new computerized system. Every member has a small (cell phone battery sized) RFID tag sewn into their bunkers. The system uses a laptop computer that stays in the engine that communicates wirelessly to transceivers that you place where ever you assign people. For example we have one for staging and another for fireground or interior operations. The transceivers are about the size of a kid's lunchbox. When you get on scene you leave one with the engine and can literally throw the other near the front door. The system tracks our movement between the boxes and shows the IC in real time where we are and how long we have been there. It isn't perfect but it is damn near idiot proof.

What I would suggest for you is to work with your officers and develop good strong SOGs and then put your foot down and follow them. No exceptions! Most of the firefighters we work with know (I really emphasize this to the new guys) that if you are not initially in on the attack grab some tools, get ready and stage by a truck to get rotated in. Also don't be afraid to have your officer's exercise their authoritiy, that's what it is for! If I am on scene and need additional guys to do something I will simply go to the staging area and grab the first three or four guys who are packed up and ready with tools, whether they are on my department or not. Run your scenes, don't let them run you!
I still can't get over the fact that you have 40-50 FF's show up at a structure fire! On most of our runs, we're lucky to get 8!!

Now just follow all the good advice about Accountability......
besides leaving the tags at the engine why is there not a staging area where everyone is to go and get their assignments. That is how the freelancing would stop. If you weren't in the staging area and given an assignment then you are freelancing and you should be sent back to staging until further notice. If you don't go there and stay till you are given a job then you are to go home, you are of no use. Freelancing is dangerous and can end in a fatality or fatalities. That is just my suggestion.
I make a Epoxy Dome Color Accountability Tags if I could help you sort it out. Some Departments use color for qualification. Takes the guesswork out of the action rush of making decisions.

Good Luck,

AL

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