View Full Version : Procedure for a Fire

07-30-2010, 11:52 PM
Could someone describe to me the procedure involved when the Fire Dept responds to an emergency call? (to a fire, not as a first response)

I think I'm good with the actual putting out of the fire, but I was wondering, is there any paperwork to be filled out? Is the paperwork on-site, or is the person instructed to an office at a later date?

Assuming there is paperwork, what information is gathered. Does the fire dept keep a record of the person who called it in, or only the owner of the affected building?

Any information would be helpful. Thanks.

07-31-2010, 12:17 AM
Also - just in case it matters, the building on fire is a restaurant, and the scene starts after the fire has been put out (so the obvious questions such as "Is anyone else in there?" have already been taken care of.

I'm looking for information on the usual stuff that happens after the emergency is contained and people are hanging around, etc.

07-31-2010, 12:21 AM
When we had a housefire in 1996, the fire department came out and did their job.

For insurance purposes, we had to get a copy of the incident report filled out. It was a one page fill-in-the-blank thing without a lot of room to write. It was filled out by the Fire Marshal, who is required by state (MI) law to investigate all structure fires (probably among others too).

All pertenient information was there: time of call, who called, phone number of who called, time of dispatch, time of arrival, address of fire, severity of blaze, engine numbers dispatched, whether or not rescue was called, which ambulance dispatched, what damage they did to the home to ensure the fire was out, what damage the fire did to the home, what the decided cause of the fire was, owner's name, renter's name, contact information for both, house insurer's name---yeah, it was all there. It was written up in triplicate--my copy still stank of the smoke some months later.

It was 14 years ago, so it might be electronic now, but I'm sure the information would still be the same. It's their main way of covering their butts if some homeowner decides to come after them later.

Some of it was done at the time by the Fire Marshal, but it took nearly a week for the investigation to be complete as to the cause. That's when the paper gets filed and official, you get your copy and access to the property.

07-31-2010, 12:54 AM
I'm not sure I quite understand your question, and it involves several different levels. So let me do a quick rundown and you can supplement your question if you need to.

9-1-1 center -- Presumably your call went into a 9-1-1 center. New Hampshire has only one for statewide service. This is where your phone call goes when you dial 9-1-1. The person there records information onto a computer as he/she ascertains it. This includes the type of incident, person calling, location, and any other information.
Dispatch center -- Fire departments use a dispatch center. A big city will have their own, otherwise the cost is spread throughout several cities/town. Concord dispatch, which covers the town I live in, handles the city of Concord, and about twenty towns of varying populations. The dispatch center is notified by 9-1-1 of the call. It then contacts the fire departments involved. For a reported structure fire, a first alarm is sent, which consists of around here three engines, a rescue, and two tankers. In the case of my town, it would consist of the entire department, as well as automatic mutual aid from two of the neighboring towns. Again, all of this information is recorded. The dispatch center will record who was called out and keep track of all the stuff sent.
Each truck -- Each truck that responds will fill out an incident report. It will include the location of the call, response times, personal on the truck, number of hours in operation and what equipment was operated. This is filled out after you get back to the station.
Incident commander -- This is the person who fills out the overall information, such as owner of the house, what units were called, so on and so forth. Not likely to have who called in the situation. This is filled out back at the station, with notes you make at the scene. For a big incident, it might take several days to get all the information you need.
Fire marshal -- This is the person who investigates the fire. He takes the incident commander's report and supplements it with the cause and damage estimates. Might be a month or more after the fire before it's finished.

The notes I'd take as an incident commander at a scene were pretty sparse. I'd call up the dispatcher and get most of the stuff from him/her. And after a while, some of this stuff is pretty simple. One hour fire, ten tankers (1500 gallons per tanker), three shuttles = water used 45,000 gallons, rounded down to 40k (we never use as much as we think we do). Usually the notes I'd take at the scene would take me about five minutes. Filling out the report on a major fire could take an hour or two back at the station.

Let's say you have a two alarm fire, with five engines and five tankers. From my department, I'd have two engines and one tanker, the rest would be mutual aid. As the situation winds down, I would start releasing the mutual aid equipment. As overall continues, I want to get one of my engines back in service, so that I can release the cover truck (another town would be covering our service). The last truck on scene would finish putting equipment away, then return to the station. There equipment would be cleaned, and anything broken, fixed and/or replaced.

Standing around occurs as the scene winds down as you wait for things to cool down and making sure everything is completely out. It's hard to be sure whether something is steam or smoke. Usually you don't have a hell of a lot of energy at this point.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe
Former captain/EMT volunteer department

07-31-2010, 01:55 AM
My experience with them is that fire marshals are very friendly people, and alway ready to answer a question. Just ask one and tell them its for a book. :D They'll always be happy to get some true information out there about what they do.

07-31-2010, 11:03 PM
This was exactly the type of information I needed. You answered every question I had. Thanks so much.