Saturday, September 26

Rules for Covering-In

Different places might call it different things, but here when one company is called to respond for another, it is called Covering-In. Our dispatch system already knows who will cover for who depending on the severity of the incident. Most commonly used when greater alarm fires are transmitted, this system puts companies into the effected area to maintain basic coverage.

We are dispatched as follows: "This is a directed cover for Engine 99 to the quarters of Engine 77, Engine 99 you are now first due in place of Engine 77." And we head over to Station 77.

There are rules you should follow when covering-in.

1. Get the map book from the office and put it on your rig, after looking it over. Maybe you're lucky enough to come from a nearby area and know the neighborhood you're covering, but if not, become best friends with that book if you're the driver.

2. Cover the food. If they were in the middle of a meal when the bells rang, cover their plates and tend to the food left out. Do not eat the food, they're expecting it to be there when they return, so go out and get your own food.

3. Make up a hose pack. If your department has a standard strapped hose load, make a new one so the company can go back in service faster when they return. Make it up or ensure there is enough line to restock their pre-connects and get it ready.

4. Don't sleep in their beds. If you're stuck there overnight, you get to sleep in a chair. Do you want some stranger sleeping in your bunk? Didn't think so.

5. Secure the house and the yard. Make sure all the doors are closed and locked (and that you can get back in) and cars in the lot are secure. Goodness only knows what they were doing when the call came in.

6. Make a fresh pot of coffee. Also check for bottled water and put some in the fridge.

7. Post a night watch. This person will be pre-selected to answer the phone, front door and monitor the radio to wake the crew when the home company is returning. That way they return to lights on, fresh coffee and extra hands to help get back in service.

8. Check the washing machine and dishwasher. Do basic chores to make less work for your co-workers when they return, likely exhausted.

9. Keep a log of any supplies you use while gone, from coffee to medical supplies.

10. Before leaving, make sure there is nothing else you can do for that company including chores, dishes, cooking, anything. Pay it forward. Do onto others, etc etc.


Capt. Schmoe said...

#11 - Go to freezer and open door. If Ice cream is present, remove from freezer and and fill a clean bowl with ice cream. Have seconds if ice cream was "virgin" (unopened). Leave dirty bowl in day room, on table next to recliner. Don't forget to leave TV on when you leave.

the observer said...

I always wondered how this worked.

One question: Does the fire company that left the firehouse lock the door (or have it lock automatically)? If they do, how does the covering company get in?

Medix311 said...

You would think this stuff is common sense, but no... I've returned to quarters to find that my bed has been slept in. My bed with my personal sheets on it.

I love these rules. I think I'll print these up and post them at the stations.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes rule #4 is broken by other people who work out of the station.

Once upon a time there was hard working medic ... he was working in the hood, and had been going hard core since his shift started.

Somewhere in the middle of the night he and he partner actually returned to the station, while one partner went to the kitchen to eat, the other went straight to his bed.

The medic never turned on the light, he just kicked off his shoes, and just wanted to lay down in his bed.

As he went to pull the covers back in his bed, he notice the covers where tight, he couldn't easily pull them back; of course, he tried a little harder -- and he found a sleeping rookie fire fighter.

I am not sure how the rookie fire fighter wondered into the medic bunk room, but he met one the medics that worked out of station early in the morning, as he was kicked out bed, and told to find his own bed.

Anonymous said...

Obeying these rules was how I was brought up in the FD. When I moved to another, distant department, I couldnt believe that my company would stand around with their hands in their pockets, while the home department worked hard to return to service. I changed that once I became a line officer. We would even take the time to wash and hang any hose that had been used. I know that after a worker, washing and hanging hose was the worst job I made sure they never had to worry about that. Made a lot of friends that way. (For you youngsters who dont know, cotton jacketed hose had to be washed and then hung to dry after use. You have no idea how nice you have it now with rubberized hose)

Anonymous said...

WOW. Getting to stand by in another company's quarters. In my department, we get to spend hours on the side of the road to cover other Stations (and our own at the same time). If we were allowed to stand by in an actual Station, I'd even do their windows! Triple J