Mutual Aid Fire

MVA’s & minimal manning
March 2, 2008, 1:52 pm
Filed under: MVA ops

Check out a wreck the Island had recently here Video & pics…

As many of us know, or have experienced


Vehicle extrications are labor intensive and the need for proper manning should be one of your primary objectives as a company officer or on scene commander. Even the simple “door pop” or removal takes people to accomplish. Patient care, tool staging and use, scene safety and finally command, will take more folks than we have on our areas first out engine companies.

Let’s take a few moments and look at what would be involved, manpower wise, for a “simple” extrication. I will use Okaloosa Island’s response and my personal command decisions. (Disclaimer: By no means is this the way to do everything. Follow your department’s SOP for vehicle accidents and extrications. Become familiar with and train with your equipment and your neighboring department’s members and equipment to avoid confusion and embarrassment.)

Scene: Two vehicle accident, low speed “T” bone into driver’s side of Vehicle 1. The driver and front passenger of Vehicle 1 are injured. No injuries reported in Vehicle 2. Vehicle 1 comes to rest against a brick wall on the passenger side.

Response: Engine 4 with 2 (Captain and Driver/Paramedic) and Truck 4 with 2 (Driver and Firefighter).

Upon arrival, we stage vehicles to provide protection for our firefighters and persons involved. The truck in this case has pulled past the accident and the engine provides the first defense for oncoming traffic. After notifying dispatch of what I have, what we are going to do, and who is in command, I perform a scene survey looking for everything like downed power lines, hazardous spills or leaks, looking if exposed natural gas sets or meters have been involved. I perform a walk around of the scene and then move into a walk around of each vehicle. Once the scene is deemed safe, the Driver/Medic begins assessment of Vehicle 1, while the truck company assesses Vehicle 2. It becomes obvious that we will have an extrication involved for Vehicle 1 when the Driver/Medic reports of obvious fractures and possible head injuries on the driver and possible head injuries of the passenger. A trauma alert will be transmitted.

At this time I will call for an additional Engine Company to assist with extrication, and knowing that at least one patient will be transported for the trauma alert, an additional Engine or Truck for LZ support.

So let’s see how my math is: 4 members on the first alarm assignment, Truck 6 sends 3 and Ladder 9 with 3 for LZ support. That’s 10 folks already and we haven’t even begun cutting on the vehicle.


Safety should be paramount on all extrication calls. At the very minimum, a 10 lb. Dry Chem extinguisher and a CO2 extinguisher deployed. When Truck 6 arrives, I have them pull a 1¾ for protection. The Driver of my Truck Company has begun staging the extrication tools from Engine 4, the Driver/Medic and Firefighter are performing patient care from the outside of the vehicle. At this time, only the driver is accessible and the Firefighter has tried to open the front door manually. (REMEMBER – TRY BEFORE YOU PRY).

Of my 10 on the scene, I have committed the following: 1 – command; 2 – patient care;
2 – hoseline; 1 – pump operator; 3 – LZ operations; 1 – tool staging and usage. Gee, I have used my 10. Now, I know what many of you are thinking, “why 2 on the hose and can’t you set the pump and forget it?” Sure, if you need to take the risk that could be done. But those folks are there for “our safety”.As a company officer, that decision will have to be weighed with a riskanalysis.


Remember, we still haven’t completely stabilized the vehicle, removed glass, etc. And the other factor is of course EMS. I personally believe that without PPE, EMS should not be in the vehicle or around the vehicle during extrications. They become a liability should something go wrong. I feel that we should bring the patients to them, outside the action area. We are ALS providers can provide the same care.

I call for an additional Engine or Truck Company to assist with extrication. 3 to 4 members will be needed to remove doors and then do a roof removal. As the need for manpower decreases, put those Companies back in service and make them available for coverage.

So, for my “simple” one vehicle extrication, vehicle on its wheels, against a wall, door and roof removal, trauma alerts on two patients, LZ support, scene safety and command; I used 13-14 firefighters. We all have done that same job with less, but was it as efficient as it could have been with the proper amount of hands on the job.

When not performing a specific function on or around the vehicle, step back and watch for dangerous or unsafe acts and alert command if you see one. Listen to your fellow rescuers for ideas on how to best accomplish the task at hand.

Remember to work safely, in FULL PPE. Position your apparatus to protect the scene, even on residential streets. Don’t be afraid to call for assistance. Train with your equipment and your neighbor’s equipment. KNOW YOUR TOOLS.


Article by MAF contributor Shayne Stewart, OIFD Captain Truck 4 A little about him below:


Captain Stewart is a 24 year veteran of the fire service, beginning his career as a volunteer firefighter with the Destin Fire Control District in 1983. He obtained Florida Minimum Standards in 1984 and became a paid professional firefighter in 1985. In 1989, Shayne left Destin and moved to his current assignment at the Okaloosa Island Fire District where he has served as Firefighter/EMT, Firefighter/Engineer, Lieutenant, and now Captain of OIFD “A” Shift. Shayne holds an Associate of Science Degree in Fire Science from Okaloosa Walton College, Fl. State Certificate for Apparatus Operator, Instructor I & II, Live Fire Instructor I, and Fire Officer I & II.

Shayne also serves on the Florida Firefighter Employment, Standards and Training Council as a Firefighter member representing the Florida Professional Firefighters. Upon promotion to Captain, he was reappointed by the State Fire Marshall as one of the Fire Officer members on the Council, where the other members of the FFESTC elected him as Chairman, and has served a total of 11 years on the Council.

Shayne has been involved in the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Florida Professional Firefighters since 1987 as a charter member of Destin Professional Firefighters Association, Local 3158, serving as the first Secretary-Treasurer of that organization. Upon moving to Okaloosa Island, he joined Okaloosa Island Firefighters Association, Local 2617, and has served as Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President, and President of the Local. Shayne was elected to the position of 2nd Sergeant at Arms of the Florida Professional Firefighters and served 2 ½ terms. He currently serves as the 8th District Vice-President of the Florida Professional Firefighters, servicing Locals in the Panhandle from Pensacola to Tallahassee.

Shayne is married to Michelle, and have one son, Matthew, from a previous marriage, and two stepchildren, Kathryn and Cody.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

In North Walton County minimal manning is a huge issue, right off the bat you are under gunned and it’s unknown what you’ll get with the vollies! SWFD has a Technical Rescue Team(squad) available 24-7 out of their main station, it’s staffed with 4 qualified brothers and ready to roll. We DO need to think of calling out the calvary even if you may not need em’ it’s easier to cancel companies than call them half way thru the incident!

Comment by WCFF

Great write up. The training FWBFD & OIFD did last week really brings to light the importance of the these subjects you discussed. Keep em coming!

Comment by ffstoney

Good article keep em coming!!

Comment by Danny

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