Get your own water!

Or maybe I should say “TAKE” your own water.

I received a few e-mails following Monday’s post  Tricks of the Trade.. RIT Tips .

The post was intended to offer only a few “tricks” concerning the removal of (dragging) a downed firefighter. The e-mails I received wanted to know more about what we carry with our RIT team ie: stokes basket, charged line etc.

In my Department, we do NOT take a charged line with our RIT. We put a lot of emphisis on the “R” in RIT … RAPID and do not want a hose line slowing the team down.

That said, if warranted; we will activate a 2nd team / crew with a line to provide protection for the RIT. On the other hand, the Brothers from one of our neighboring Departments (Roanoke County Fire / Rescue) take a line with their initial team.

I’m not saying either is right or wrong and think it all boils down to your Department’s SOP’s and how you train. I will add that it’s difficult to do both even though in today’s fire service, many of us are forced to perform multiple tasks regardless of what piece you ride (Engine men doing truck work, truckies doing engine work etc). The guys over at Brotherhood Instructors had a good post on this a few weeks back. See  “Hose Line & Hand Tools

Now I don’t want to get into the “take a line or not” debate but I did get to thinking about water. YOUR water and WHERE it comes from.

If I’m first in on a job, we stretch a line from our rig and begin our attack. Generally, the Medic unit will grab a 2nd line from our truck and establish 2-out.

As more companies arrive, a RIT is established and the 2-out advance in to whatever assignment. More times than not (depending on how quick the knock down comes etc),at some point; a 3rd line is pulled for a “back up”.

My question and point here is where does that 3rd line come from? In the above case, would it be once again from my Engine? Honestly (and sadly), in my Department; most of the time that 3rd line DOES come from that first in rig.

Now think about it from this view… All lines operating are from a single source . What if “something” happens to that Engine? Mechanical break down, trash in the hydrant, broken water main, busted or obstructed supply line?

This is the Fire Department …. the unexpected  happens.

Now, all members operating are without water!

Go back to a RIT activation scenario. Maybe the reason for the MAYDAY in the first place was loss of water. Where will you get yours and how much time will you waste getting it?

Now, don’t get excited .. I’m not talking about every engine stretching their own line or bringing their own hydrant. There are too many factors to consider and the biggest may be apparatus positioning. If we had to leave a man at every pump, we’d have to add additional companies to the box to have enough members to fight fire.

What I will offer is at minimum, maybe having your “back up” line stretched from a second source would be a good practice. Most rigs carry at least 500 gallons of water these days so I’d go as far to say that as a back up you could do this from the tank (although I would have another engine sitting on a 2nd hydrant ready to lay in if need be).

Again, this goes back to how you operate, staffing, alarm assignments and your Department’s SOP’s/SOG’s. Take it to the kitchen table in your house. Make it tomorrows company drill. Talk about it a bit. Who knows .. it just may save a Jake’s ass one day .. maybe even mine or yours!

Ok, moving on.. I didn’t mention in Monday’s post that we had a special visitor. The Battalion stopped by and had Father Webb riding along once again.

You folks may remember my post from St. Patty’s Day when we first met Father Webb. That makes his visit Monday even more remarkable.

LOL .. everyone told Father about my site and that the pictures I took that evening would most likely end up in that night’s post. Of course he wanted the address so he could take a look and check out the site  himself. LMAO.. A priest reading …oh no! I told him to please keep an open mind and apparently he did.

Not even dinner at station #5 followed by a healthy dose of Ironfiremen could keep Father Webb away! He has been planning and working towards beginning a Chaplin Program here in the city and I can’t think of a better person. I’m very excited about the program and for Father Webb and the members of our Department. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of Father Webb in the future (as will you .. right here on Ironfiremen).

Ok,  DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE to enter to win a FREE pair of Black Diamond X2 Boots. Entries close at midnight tonight!


I will announce the winner sometime tomorrow right here on so check in often.  Also take the time to drop by Black Diamond Footwear  to learn more about the boot and many more of their great products.

The contest was been GREAT! We’ve had just over 100 entries with a little time remaining. It has been really cool to seen the pics from various places. I even received an entry from South Africa today!  How cool is that!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who follows the site and took the time to send in an entry. Thanks also to Black Diamond Products for giving me the opportunity to give back to the readers!

That said, I’ll have much more on Black Diamond and the contest tomorrow …..

Don’t forget to “Share”  “Like”  “Recommend” and  “Tweet” me … You folks stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines