Things around the Ironfiremen.com World Headquarters have been a little hectic to say the least here lately. I’ve had a full schedule and have been doing my best to try to stay “caught up”…. I haven’t been doing too good of a job.

Our latest adventure found me and Rhett smack dab in the middle of The Big Apple … oh yea .. New York City BABY!!

We met up with Zach Green inside the City for a few days before heading South to Jersey and teaching Rhett’s Social Media Class.

Reads Rhett’s thoughts on our trip HERE and Zach’s 2 part installment  HERE  and  HERE  . 

It was a very emotional but successful trip for each of us. Rhett and I have had an unbelievable year and it looks like things are only getting better. We have some big things coming up and can’t wait to share them with you … stay tuned.

Rhett is holding one of our “Brotherhood Chips” in the above picture…. They have been a HUGE success. Special THANKS to The Chip Site  for the great design and quality work.

Get you Fire Critic / Iron Firemen “Brotherhood Chip” by clicking HERE .

I’ve also been busy here on the farm.

This is my busy time of year so the Buckaroo and I have been doing our best to sort all the cattle and finish up in the hay fields.

Of course, we have all of our “regular” chores to attend to as well …. mowing the lawn etc …

The good news  is that The Buckaroo is a Top Hand here at the Rocking “W” Hay and Cattle Company .

LMAO … my 3 best workers in one photo …

If you ever meet me in person, ask me to empty my right front pocket …LOL. I have about 10 different keys in there….

His 4-wheeler, the tractors, mowers etc …. I have to take the keys out of every piece of equipment on the place or there’s no telling where he’d be.

That said, if you happen to pass a 3 year old and 2 dalmatians on a 4-wheeler, tractor, mower or 5500 Dodge flat bed, please tell him to get back home … his “Paw-Paw” is looking for him !  LMAO

Ok, to my title … A Huge “Let Down”.  Because I’ve been so busy, I recently dropped the ball in helping out a couple good friends and Brother blogger / firefighters. I let them down.

Bill Carey over at Backstep Firefighter  had asked me a very small favor a few weeks back. Bill runs a GREAT site that should be in your “favorites” and is a “MUST READ”  for anyone “on the job”.

Bill and Dave LaBlanc had asked for readers to submit articles concerning running “short staffed” or with 3 (and even sometimes less)  members. Bill is a good friend and knows that my company / Department typically runs with 3 and asked me to submit an article.

All of this was a “lead in” to Bill and Dave’s live pod cast over on Firefighter Netcast ( A View From The Front Seat ).  I let em down and did not get an article in. Rhett and I were able to catch part of the live show while in NYC … they did a GREAT job !

Learn more at Backstep Firefighter’s  “Real World Staffing” by clicking HERE

Bill and Dave brought many valid points to light on a topic that affects many of us on a daily basis. Not just firefighters either … a short staffed Department / rig affects our citizens as well. We can NOT do our job as safe or efficiently while short staffed as we can when running with a minimum of 4. Running short places our lives and YOURS at risk!

See a “Melrose Misfit” post of mine on this issue HERE

There are 7 Tactical Functions that have to be completed on EVERY fire … running short directly affects how (and in what order) we accomplish / achieve these objectives.

Take a Department such as mine … 3 members on each piece ( Engine and Ladders) … 2 on a Medic. Take a typical 2 story, wood frame residential structure with fire showing from the 2nd floor, Alpha / Delta corner at 2am.

My rig carries 1,000 gallons of water so I go in … pull past and give my size up. I exit the truck and conduct a 360 while my lone firefighter stretches dry to the front door. My Lieutenant ( our Driver / operators ) assists the stretch from the rig and gets the pump set.

The 2nd in piece is the 2nd Engine. They stop at the hydrant, drop off their lone firefighter and lay in. The Officer establishes Command while the driver helps make the hydrant connection into my Engine.

Let’s say the next in is a Medic Unit. More often than not, we will assign these members as “2 Out” … NOW, my crew (me and my firefighter) can make entry. Of course, the only way this scenario works is IF there are no injured civilians in the yard upon arrival … otherwise, the Medic Unit would have Medical duties vs. their “2-out” assignment. You also have to consider that the members on that Medic Unit need to “dress out” when assigned “2-out” (another delay).

The next arriving is a 3 member Ladder. We’ll take forcible entry out of the equation ( I most likely did it from the Engine if needed / possible) and go to their main objective .. LIFE SAFETY. They will go right into a Primary Search. Here’s the thing there though … most likely, the Officer and firefighter will split and conduct their searches ALONE. The driver will set the rig, get the fan to the front door and throw some ground ladders for secondary egress ( again … ALONE ).

A 3rd engine arrives and will be assigned as RIC  ( The “2-out” crew can now advance and act as the “stair” or “Back up” line).

A 2nd Medic Unit arrives and is assigned “Medical”.

The Chief gets in and assumes Command but holds the officer who established command  to assist.

That’s a total of 17 members on scene … 2 members on the fire, 2 searching, 2 on a back up line and NO VERTICAL VENTILATION ( we use PPV). Every member on that scene is working their butt off!

There are a lot of other functions / decisions made in this scenario that place us (and our citizens) at risk. We are FORCED to take a 1 3/4″  hose line and stretch it dry. Ever tried to stretch and handle a 2 1/2″ alone??  To the 2nd floor of an occupied structure? How effective was that?

Does the first in go to the fire or attempt a search? Maybe both? ( so the crew is separated again ). A single firefighter fire attack crew? Train to work in pairs but operate alone right?

What will that firefighter(s) do once he / they get to the fire? Do you put it out or wait on the searches behind you? Ever heard of “Door Control”??

Maybe the first in should go straight to the search?? Who’s on the fire? How long will it be before someone gets on it? What’s killing the trapped occupants … smoke, heat etc??? Hummmmm WHAT DO WE DO?

My point here is that when we run with less than 4 members on a rig, we are faced with some very difficult decisions. Which of those 7 tactical functions would you perform first? Would you have waited for “2-out”?? Our members are doing “more with less” on a daily basis and it’s one big crap shoot!

Our strategies and tactics must change and adapt to the environments in which we are placed. I’m not so sure that our training methods and text books shouldn’t be changed as well. I mean we may as well be teaching single firefighter techniques right? Why teach and drill into a rookies head the “team concept” when in reality, they are gonna end up on the nozzle or searching alone? How about this … let’s put our Department, City and State Official’s feet to the fire ( no pun intended ) and honor NFPA 1710 and 1500 and get America’s staffing up to acceptable levels!

I could go on and on and on but I’ll spare you. Bill and Dave … sorry I let ya down Brothers … I would have LOVED to have gotten a post in for ya and to have thrown it back and forth on the netcast.

For all of you Brothers and Sisters out there running short … Stay SAFE and hopefully ..in house!

Captain Wines