What is a “combat ready” engine company?

Tim Linke from Lincoln, NE sent me this basic but thought provoking inquiry.  We all talk about being “combat ready”.  Weather you use that particular term or not, if you’re reading this you’re probably interested in being your best, A+ performances all the time, etc…

So for those of us in an engine company – WHAT IS COMBAT READY?

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Estimating the Stretch

There isn’t a whole lot about engine company operations that matters if you can’t get water on the fire.  Unfortunately most of us have heard the “more line, more line!!” yells on more than one occasion.  Correctly estimating the stretch, the distance between the rig and the fire and the amount of hose needed to cover it, is an essential skill for any engine company officer.  Here are a few quick tips I’ve learned over the years:

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Engine Company Ops: Standpipe Racks…

Really, I hate the term “high-rise” rack or “apartment bag” – or whatever you call it.  Those names imply single-situation use.  What these things are really is “100′ of easily carried/deployable hose with a spare nozzle”.  They are great for extending pre-connected lines long distances, or making up a gap when we come up short.  For this reason, every engine company should have some type of “standpipe rack” even if you don’t have a standpipe, or a building over 1 story, anywhere in your first due.

We could talk alot about high-rise fires and standpipes, but I just want to talk for a minute about setting up our equipment.  The goal of an engine company should be to get their hoseline in service as a team.  This means dividing the equipment up equally amongst the team.  If you have 3 or 4 firefighters on the rig, the load should be distributed evenly – this way we all get to the fire floor with a little energy left to work with.  Here are my thoughts….

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