Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Truck Crew

(Photo courtesy of firefighter Amos Akers, Loudoun County Tower Ladder 619)

Here, in the picture above, one of each length of ground ladder (two 35' extension, two 28' extension, one 20' straight, and one 16' straight) is stored with the tip facing out, and one with the tip in.  This gives the driver and/or OVM a little bit of flexibility when retrieving ground ladders for placement regardless of whether if the truck has pulled past, or just short of, the fire building.  -Keith

How are the ground ladders configured on your truck/tower ladder?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who Is On Your Truck Company?

Post courtesy of Firefighter Amos Akers, Loudoun County Tower Ladder 619

Most of us can agree that the aerial device doesn’t make a truck company. It’s the crew that makes the truck company.

On the fireground, truck companies are expected to perform multiple, coordinated tasks simultaneously in order to support engine company operations. John Norman, retired FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief, used the acronym LOVERS U to describe the basics of truck/tower company operations in his book “The Fire Officers Handbook of Tactics”.

This acronym spells out the basics of what “Truck Work” is all about:

   L adders
   O verhaul
      V entilation
                               E ntry (of the forcible type)
 R escue
S earch

          U tility control

Here in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, truck companies, like rescues, are referred to as “Special Services” units. Meaning, units have special responsibilities not only on working fires, but also at heavy technical rescues, and other special operations assignments.

Being a "Special Services" unit, a truck company is not the place where just any firefighter can be assigned, or “rotated” into. There should be a set of minimum requirements in order for someone to be on the truck/tower ladder. Unfortunately, in the “Kinder and Gentler” fire service, not a lot of people understand this.

If your department has a truck company, how are members assigned to it?

Do you place a firefighter, 1 year out of the academy with no previous fire experience, and who’s never been in a fire, as your Forcible Entry position on the Interior Team?

Do you assign a firefighter as the Outside Vent Man (OVM) spot knowing for a fact that they cannot carry and/or raise a ground ladder by themselves?

Do you assign the newly promoted Apparatus Technician who’s never driven anything bigger than an ambulance as the driver operator of your truck?

As I stated before, the truck company is required to perform multiple, coordinated tasks simultaneously on the fireground. Many times this requires the truck crew to split, and to operate on their own, without the direct supervision of their OIC. This is the work that your experienced, highly skilled, and well trained firefighters should be performing.