House fire clinton place

Photo by Anthony Quintano

10. Make friends. Sometimes this happens well before the fire. Think about all the other times you bump into brothers and sisters in the fire service… Other mutual aid incidents, classes, fundraising events, hiring processes, just out at the local watering hole.

9. Eagerly accept your task. Sitting on a 2 1/2” outside or being assigned R.I.T. while everyone goes in is not glamorous and will likely get your photo in the newspaper (which leads you to buy dinner for the crew) but it’s an essential role that needs to be filled. The IC needs to see that even in “less fun” roles, you are focused, eager and engaged in you assigned fire ground operation.

8. Never hang out at rehab. You’re sweaty, tired, dehydrated but here’s the deal… Most of us only get a few fires each year so why are we gonna hang out at rehab? Send a crew member to get water for each of you while you stand or take a knee near the IC or Operations Officer.

7. Be focused. Look at the building, talk about where the fire is, what is happening, pre-plan exits, read the smoke. The IC and Ops Officer can hear you and they want crews they can trust and have some idea of what is happening.

6. Always be 100% ready. That means dressed in full turnouts, hood, helmet, gloves, SCBA on, mask at the ready, tool in hand. When you’re given an assignment, Incident Command and/or Ops wants you to go to work now, not 5 minutes later while you figure out how to get the hood out of your inner coat pocket and dress properly.

5. Be firefighter fit. If you are only good for 5 minutes on air while doing work and completely spent after your first bottle, everyone can see that. They will see you stumbling, moving without a sense of urgency and most likely, your crew won’t complete the task you were assigned. The IC needs things done and he/she needs your crew to finish it when possible so the other 500 tasks can be assigned to the next available crews.

4. Help the interior crews from the outside without getting in the way. Hump hose at the door, pull kinks, remove debris from the hose and entry point. This will put you front and center for the IC or Ops Officer to see that you want to be involved.

3. Position your crew very near Incident Command or if possible, next to the Operations Officer. When they need a crew, they don’t want to look far. Being by their side almost ensures assignments get to your crew first.

2. Have an aggressive officer who is good at being political with Incident Command. It’s who you know and your officer has likely been around long enough to know some faces, know some names and get you some work.

1. Develop and maintain a good reputation. A good individual reputation is something you can control 100% but the reputation of your respective department is important too. Whenever you and your members wear a department shirt, uniform or PPE, they have the opportunity to help and/or hurt the department’s reputation.