Ten Minutes in the Street: The First-Due

Ten Minutes in the Street with Christopher Naum

First-due company operations have a wide variation of considerations and demands that must be readily identified, rapidly assessed and effectively acted upon through concise and direct orders. 


 Arrivals and subsequent deployments during night time periods pose ever increasing challenges to arriving officers in the ability to ascertain and recognize factors that will have a direct or ancillary affect in the developing incident action plan, tactics and task assignments.


Night time operations at structure fires, especially those with heavy fire involvement upon arrival can mask or conceal critical operational or safety considerations, developing or progressing smoke conditions that may be missed due to darkness as well as other occupancy risk profiling considerations or civilians in distress or entrapment.  


Rapidly escalating or deteriorating conditions coupled with conflicting or concurrent operational demands (rescue and suppression) with limitations imposed due to staffing levels further exasperates the need for the company or command officer to maintain acute situational awareness, implement effective scene scanning , recon, the 360 and assimilate all available information and presumptions that can be made into orders and assignments.


This edition of Ten Minutes in the Street TM is looking at the considerations for the first-due engine company upon arrival at a well involved single family residential house fire. Take a look at the physical layout and arrangement of the incident scene and the primary house fire and exposures.


Take some time to look at the accompanying video clip. The video clip was compliments of our good friend FF David Stacy an intern with the IAFC and a member of College Park Station 12 (MD).

This scenario makes use of [the] fireground video clip and subsequent pictorials for representive example purposes only and are not intended to recreate or critique the events depicted in this video or in the operations shown.


Here are some considerations to talk and discuss in a group setting. Deliberate and debate the operational issues, roles and responsibilities, safety considerations, as well as tactical deployment demands and incident priorities.  Address through your discussions the requirements that are imposed upon your selected or suggested actions based on your company, departments or agency SOP/SOG or expectations.


You can discuss this event using the following criteria in any combination;


Building:              Single Family Residential, two stories

Profile:                 Built: 1986, wood frame with some engineered structural floor components, wood siding, full basement

Size:                      1,764 square feet, three bedroom, 2.5 baths, large sun room and pool on Division 3

Occupancy:         Occupied at the time of fire discovery

District:               (You select) Fully hydrant water supply or limited



  •  Arrival with Engine and Truck Company: Staffing four each
  •  Arrival with Engine Company only with staffing of four (or based upon your staffing levels)
  •  Arrival with two Engine companies: Staffing based upon your staffing levels



Street Side from the curb (Google Street View)Division Alpha view







Discussion Points and Questions;

  • What are the immediate priorities and operational considerations?
  • What are the primary considerations that the company officer must consider and why?
  • What factors must be identified and considered in order to implement your IAP?
  • What can be expected as the incident progresses in the next ten minutes of elapsed time?
  • What is the Building and Occupancy Profile?
  • Should a 360 be implemented:  if so why and by whom?
  • What is mission critical upon arrival at a well involved structure fire especially when it involves a residential structure at night?
  • What impact on tactical operations will time of night have on the IAP?
  • Based upon your staffing levels what can be realistically assigned? Why?
  • Identify some of the operational safety concerns evident or assumed that must be recognized and considered?
  • What affect will the building structure and degree of fire involvement have on incident operations?
  • What are the expected (sustained) fire flow rates that will be required?
  • What are the resource needs; now or later?
  • What should be considered if there are escalating exposure issues or extension?

Download the PDF File Version for use around the Kitchen Table, a drill or as a Training Aide: http://thecompanyofficer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2011/08/Vol11NO8.pdf


These are but a few questions that can be posed, think about other questions or considerations based upon local operational considerations, risk, or limitations.



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