Hey Bro's ,
Whats everyones opinion on what seems to be starting as a new trend for fire appartus response, by this I mean the ever popular , "cancell all units or hold everything in quarters"
Now don't get me wrong if the Cheif or any line officer and PD are on scene and there is obviously not a thing going on then I agree hold us there, for safety sake and no need to burn the fuel for nothing. But when PD is not there and the Cheif or line officer is enroute and you can hear over the radio which ever officer (mostly chief) is responding hold in quarters till i asses" that to me is just wrong at the very least roll us code 2 so if the reports to dispatch are wrong we are enroute and just have to light em up to get there quicker. So what do you all think and use and are you seeing this more. Thanks

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At my department (a small town all vol.) only an officer can tell us to back down to regular traffic or cancell us.
In my department, if it is an AFA then usually what happens is, if an officer is en rout he will have one engine respond in and hold the other equipment in quarters. That way we have one engine on the road and the engine maybe there before the officer. It works pretty well, we are able to not put all the equipment on the road but have it maned in case we need it. I can't see holding all equipment in quarters if the officer isn't there yet. Any other call the assigned equipment goes.
Once we roll, we keep rolling. We may downgrade the response depending on what the call is and who is saying we're not needed, but one truck at least will keep going to make an assessment. On our own calls only one of us can cancel the response - not Police, not anyone.
Our Police can not stop us either they try by suggesting we hold it is nothing but we still roll despite their word, Also the way we do it was to roll at least one piece of equipment and have it on the road and enroute while the other pieces stayed back manned up but like we seem to agree here the officers enroute and not there yet taking it for granted no big deal I agree is a mistake and when I was officer nothing was stopped till we were sure, but on the days the scanner is on or I am at the station listening to county dispatch more and more units are being held up or cancelled prior to or just oic arrives, I have a feeling this will be more and more till sadly one or more victims gets hurt or suffers a loss of some kind and some chief is taken to court before they realize it is better to tell the insurance companies go F^%off.
I guess the trend, if there is one, is a recognition that an automatic alarm is usually false; that firefighters die while responding to calls, either POV or apparatus; that the more apparatus on the road to a call, the greater the chance that a response accident will happen; and other items I'm not thinking of at present. Assuming that the first officer on the air is in charge of the incident, it is his or her call as to what apparatus responds and in what fashion.

Now that I've got that out of my system, there really is no such thing as a false alarm until we get there and check it out. Even if the dispatcher reports an accidental trip, I or one otf the other chiefs will continue to respond to the scene just to double check. We may or may not return the apparatus, depending on the location and reason for cancellation.

Also, my favorites are the vehicle crashes when they want the ambulance only to "check over" someone at the scene. Sorry; you want the bus, you get all of us. Invariably we find SOMETHING to do at the scene and LE thanks us for turning out.
It sounds to me as if the problem lies in your SOPs.
If your dispatching agency knows your SOPs, then they know that THEY can't change them.
Make sure that what you want done is in your SOPs and then FOLLOW them-every time.
The minute that you don't, you have just opened the door to interpretation by anyone with a radio.
Don't let that happen. Period.
I've never run into the problem of being cancelled or held in station until an officer has assessed the situation. I think that it would be best to have units respond until the situation is at least assessed. You can always cancel the response once they are on the way. Cancelling the response or holding in station until someone knows what exactly is going on seems crazy to me. Lets just say you get toned out for a simple fire alarm activation at 2: 30 a.m., you get held in station until two minutes later when the officer arrives, he or she pulls up on a structure with a decent amount of involvement and realizes that there is a family that is trapped within that residence. As we all know, seconds matter in this job and being held in station is taking very precious time away from saving lives and or property. Those are just my thoughts.
The trend I see is downsizing initial responses. A ringing alarm may get you 1+1 instead of a full 1st alarm. A dept around here has stopped automatically responding to all EMS calls with an engine. I would make sure you are following your dept SOP/SOG as far as responses go. It's always harder to be sued successfully when you are doing it by the book. We have often been advised by PD/SO while enroute and then OUR chief may decide to cancel all but one. A great working relationship with law enforcement is a good thing to have.

I'm not a big fan of 'emptying the house' on all calls. There are depts out there that on a ringing alarm would respond with everything they have. Do you think that your dept should respond 3+1 on a ringing alarm?
Roll the rigs... if you don't need them, they can always be sent back to quarters.

Many times, while responding to a fire alarm activation, the dispatch center will get a call from the responsible party who states that it is a false alarm from cooking, accidental trip from workers, etc. We always have the 1st due company continue to the scene. On arrival, if there is no problem, the balance of the response is returned to quarters.

As a Deputy, I have downgraded responses as well as upgraded them.

Some administrators are concerned with the cost of fuel... I'd rather burn a few gallons of diesel than have someone lose their home, business or life!

On that same note, we have altered our inspection schedules. Smoke and CO detector inspections for new construction (single and two family) and existing home resales, oil burner inspections and such are done on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM. The inspections are grouped by district and location as much as possible to get "more bang for the gallon".

Quarterly inspection details of places of assembly, medical facilities, hotels, lodging houses and Deputy level inspections for commercial fire alarm and sprinkler systems are not affected and are done when scheduled.
It's a hell of a lot easier to send back extra help than it is to explain to a homeowner why you and your one truck and no manpower can't save her trapped childs life.
Well, one department I'm on, the trend is that the chief or asst. chief will have us hold at quarters (his reasoning being that why risk an accident on our narrow streets for an alarm) however, we have been caught with our pants down doing this.

we had an AFA at a restaurant undergoing renovations. we'd had several calls from there before. we were told to hold. eventually we were told to roll our utility/support vehicle for the sake of delivering our knox box keys (we were in the process of getting our new chief vehicle, so we hadn't put the knox box keys in yet.) so the utility rolls with a driver, myself, a firefighter who was fresh out of the academy, and a junior. chief, asst. chief both go in without scba, and come running out saying we have smoke in the basement. luckily it was smoldering insulation from the hot water heater and our firehouse is just a couple blocks down but, it could have been much worse.

also, for the record, in the case of volunteer departments, I feel that constantly holding apparatus in quarters discourages people from going to calls. I mean, how many times have you had an alarm in the middle of the night for an AFA and you think to yourself, "well, time to get held in quarters again."?
I have never like the hold in quater call. Then don't dispatch me make my sire n go off and make me get up... There is a reason why we set this up is to be enroute with the needed equipment.. resond code 2 yea I can live with that ..Chief gets on scene nothing showing.. stand down.... PD should never never be allowed to make tha call...I hear alot of times a chief will get on the radio and holds people in quater then get to scene and well wholly crap start rolling... Tooo late buddy much needed time has been lost...

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