One of our Division Chiefs has seen more fire than a line cook at Outback Steakhouse and loves to ask odd questions in the heat of a situation. Some think he’s just picking on people while others see it as a way to really think about the situation we’re in.
On other occasions this Chief likes to play with the RIC or Rapid Intervention Company. This is the 4th due engine at a working fire and is tasked with standing by to rescue firefighters should the need arise. Many Departments staff this position differently, but most will tell you they don’t like standing in the street while everyone else gets to work.
The RIC is responsible to size up the building, soften the exterior by removing hazards before they are an issue and knowing what operations are going on in and around the fire building.
It seems like a no brainer, but as the RIC team gets itchy to freelance, the Chief will turn to them and make them turn around to face him in the street at the command post.
From here he asks a very simple question:
“Describe the fire building.”
Each of the 4 members often have a slightly different interpretation of the building, from number of floors, to color, to where ladders are placed.
Ever since I saw him do it, I’ve always paid closer attention to the building as the RIC team. And that was his intention.