FRIDAY FORUM:FRIDAY FORUM: Lubricating the Fireground - The Role of SOC Units at Structural Fires

*This view is expressly my own and does not necessarily align with any agency where I am currently or was previously employed*

The appropriate use of Rescue & Squad co’s is to lubricate the fireground. They should be utilized to make primary systems run better, not to be the primary system. This plays out in a number of ways. Let’s explore them assuming a SOC unit that upon arrival splits its crew into an inside and outside team.

Force Multiplication: members supplement existing engine and truck companies to increase tempo; moving lines faster, searching quicker, or venting more efficiently.

Filling Gaps: members move to attack friction points as they occur in real time, provided the flexibility to converge or expand depending on the environment.

Firefighter Rescue: members seamlessly respond to Mayday events as a forward deployed RIT (great term I got from Kelly Byrne DCFD RS 2), if their operations didn’t prevent them in the first place.

All of this is made possible by the freedom to move flexibly and respond instinctively, trusted by their IC and not tied down by primary tasks. Because they are not assigned as the primary on vent or search, they can assist freely with these tasks but abandon them without consequence should a greater challenge emerge that requires a pivot. All with an underlying mission of firefighter and civilian survival.

Freelancing you say? No, it’s firemanship. SOC Units exist not to steal anyone’s work. On the contrary, at many bread and butter fires they see more of the sidewalk than the fire room. But used appropriately, they can smooth the mole hills before they become mountains. 



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