Monday, November 20th, 2023
Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare EMS Education has added another class to the 2024 spring line up. EMT Basic Original at Westmoreland FD. This class runs from 02/05/2024 to 06/20/2024. Class dates an...
Friday, April 21st, 2023
The Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department took delivery of our brand new Rosenbauer Commander Heavy Rescue today. We would like to thank Garrison Fire & Rescue, our Commissioners and the Rescue C...
Sunday, March 19th, 2023
The New York State Residential Brush Burning Ban starts today and runs through May 14th. Conditions for wildfires are heightened in springtime when most wildfires occur. Backyard fire pits and campfir...
Saturday, December 31st, 2022
The Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department regretfully announces that 51 year member Earl Gibbs has passed away today, December 31st, 2022. Earl (Unit 123) was a longtime firefighter, most recently as...






Table of Contents

SECTION 1 Manual of Operations
Organization and Policy Statement
Mission Statement
Safety and Health Program
Infectious Control Program
Ryan White Officer
Fire Department Safety Officer

SECTION 2 Alarms and Response Procedures
Alarm Response
Protective Clothing

SECTION 3 Apparatus Operations
Driving Emergency Vehicles
Warning Devices

SECTION 4 Company Operations
Accountability System

SECTION 5 Command Operations
Incident Command System
Cellular Phone Use
All Terrain Rescue (ATR-1)
General Strategic Guidelines

SECTION 6 Firefighting
Structure Fires
Vehicle Fires
Brush & Wildland Fires
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Responses
Pole Fires & Wires Down Operations
Thruway Operations

SECTION 7 Rescue Operations
Response to Motor Vehicle Accidents
Building Evacuation

SECTION 8 Hazardous Materials Incidents
Hazardous Materials (General)
Broken Natural Gas Line-No Fire

SECTION 9 Equipment
Cascade Breathing Air System
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Qualifications and Use
Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue Rope and System for Interior Firefighters
MAYDAY and Emergency Evacuation
Automatic External Defibrillator

SECTION 10 Personnel Policies
Disciplinary Guidelines

SECTION 11 Training
Live Fire Training

SECTION 12 Annex’s
Annex A-Live Fire Training NFPA 1403 Checklist





Standard Operating Guidelines


Organization and Policy Statement

To set forth and establish a standard, written source of departmental guidelines that will promote the effective and efficient operation of the fire department.


The Westmoreland Fire Department shall establish an Operations Manual containing written, standardized operational guidelines.  The manual shall be utilized by fire department personnel as the official reference source of written guidelines as pertaining to departmental operations of an organizational, routine or emergency nature.

It shall be the responsibility of all members to familiarize themselves with the operation guideline manual.

A. Policies in the form of reasonable guidelines are necessary for the proper operation of any organization.   

     Such guidelines must be standardized in a workable, readable format that is available to all levels of the



B.  Knowledge of these guidelines by the fire department members is essential for the maintenance of     

     discipline and the development of teamwork and morale.


C.  The guidelines contained within the manual are intended to be reasonable and workable guidelines of a 

      positive nature.


D.  Periodic review and revision of the guidelines will be the responsibility of the Chief of the fire department.


E.  These guidelines cannot be expected to provide a solution to every question that may arise in an

     organization established to provide an emergency service delivery system.  It is expected however, that it

     will be sufficiently comprehensive to cover, either in a specific or general way, the majority of operational

     activities that involve the members of the Westmoreland Fire Department.


F.  The existence of these written guidelines is not intended to limit any member in the exercise of judgment, or

      initiative in taking action any reasonable person would take in extraordinary situations that may arise in the

      fire service.







Standard Operating Guidelines


Mission Statement



The mission of the Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department is to provide fire prevention, fire suppression, hazardous material, operational level, response and emergency state of the art procedures and equipment to save lives and protect property.












Standard Operating Guidelines


Safety and Health Program


The Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department strives to ensure the safety of our officers and firefighters as a priority and provide, to our utmost ability, for the safety of our personnel.  This will be achieved by developing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating a safety and health program for the fire department.



All Westmoreland Fire Department personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating procedure.  All chief officers are especially responsible for their subordinate’s compliance with these procedures.


1.      Organizational Statement

The Westmoreland Fire Department was organized to save lives, suppress and control fires, and provide other services such as rescue, inspections, code enforcement, fire & arson investigation, public fire education, and other activities as deemed in the best interest of the fire department or the citizens of our community.


Membership in the fire department shall be comprised of active, life, honorary and associate members.  Active membership is further divided into interior structural firefighters and non-interior structural firefighters.  It is the responsibility of each member to cooperate, participate, and comply with the provisions of this safety and health program, and to perform their assigned duties in a safe manner that does not present a hazard to themselves or others.


A training program will be developed as a minimum guideline, under section two of this program, in the following categories:


1.      Interior Structural Firefighters entry Level Training In-Service Training

2.      Non-Interior Structural Firefighters Entry Level Training In-Service Training

3.      Fire Department Line Officers

4.      Fire Department Instructors


It is the commitment of this department to provide to the best of our ability, safe operations; prevent accidents, illnesses and fatalities; comply with all applicable laws and regulations; establish safe work habits; and establish guidelines to help meet these objectives.  Guidelines and standard operating procedures (S.O.G.s), for dealing with specific hazardous situations will be developed, implemented and used by the members of this department.


Safety officers shall be appointed by the department chief and shall continue in that position until relieved of those responsibilities.  Each safety officer shall be trained in emergency scene safety.  If a safety officer is not available at emergencies when the incident commander deems that this staff position should be activated, an appropriate officer or firefighter shall be assigned to this position until relieved by one of the department safety officers.


The chief of department or his designee shall establish a record collection system for such records as injuries, illnesses, deaths, exposure to toxic products and infectious diseases, membership training, maintenance/inspection of equipment, apparatus, facilities and other areas as deemed appropriate.


2.      Training Education

The following training guidelines are the minimum requirements to maintain active membership in the department and additional training courses may be developed and/or implemented by the department chief or his designee.


All training provided to members shall be developed and delivered with consideration for the members’ safety as a priority, and where appropriate, specific safety information shall be incorporated into the curriculum.


A.      Interior Structural Firefighters

1.      Newly appointed members shall be trained for all anticipated assignments prior to being assigned to perform them.  Prior to performing firefighting duties, the newly appointed member shall complete the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control’s “Fire Fighter I” program or an equivalent.  The member should work under the supervision of an experienced firefighter until the completion of Fire Fighter I.


2.      Members shall receive annually as a minimum, and at least a portion of the required curriculum on a quarterly basis, training subjects and time in the following areas as required by OSHA:


General Hazard Recognition……………… 30 min.

Fire Station Safety ………………………….30 min.

Response Safety ……………………………45 min.

Fire Scene Safety ……………………..1 hr. 15 min.

Protective Clothing…………………………….. 1 hr.

Self Contained Breathing Apparatus………….2 hr.

Tool and Equipment Safety …………………...1 hr.

Recent Developments in Fire Safety……….…1 hr.


8 Hours Total


3.      In addition, other training courses as identified by the chief of department may be required of membership.  Drivers/operators of apparatus should possess a valid NYS drivers license, must complete NYSOFP&C Emergency Vehicle Operation course and pump operators must take NYSOFP&C Pump Operators course.


B. Protective Clothing and Equipment

1.      Protective clothing for all firefighters shall be provided commensurate with their responsibilities.  The personal protective clothing shall be OSHA and/or NFPA approved and include a coat, helmet, eye & ear protection, gloves, bunker pants, reflective vest and appropriate boots.  The equipment shall be used when firefighters are exposed to the hazards it was designed for as a required by standard operating procedures.


2.      Each member should be trained in the maintenance and use of their personal protective clothing and shall have the responsibility to see that it is maintained.  Self- contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) shall be of the positive pressure type.  SCBA shall be used in accordance with Dept. S.O.G.’s.  All breathing apparatus shall be maintained and tested according to the manufacturer recommendations.  Each member expected to use SCBA shall complete training in its use, prior to using the equipment at an emergency incident.  Only persons trained to do so will make repairs on SCBA.


3.      Personal alert safety devices shall be provided and will be used at all times the breathing apparatus is in use and tested prior to their use.


4.      Life safety rope, harnesses and hardware for rescue operations shall be purchased and maintained for that purpose, with an examination of it for deterioration on a regular basis.  It shall be the policy that if the rescue rope is used it shall be examined and, if necessary, downgraded or destroyed.

5.      The department shall develop a face, eye and hearing protection program.


6.      Members, who operate power driven tools and equipment, shall wear eye, face and hearing protection appropriate for the tool or equipment they are using.


7.      Safety standards applicable to the operation of tools and equipment will be adhered to at all times.  Work uniforms shall meet the NFPA standard applicable at the time of purchase.

C.  Emergency Operations

1.      All training evolutions and emergency operations shall be conducted in as safe manner as is practical and in a manner to recognize and prevent accidents and injuries.  Live fire training should be conducted using NFPA 1403 as a guideline and Westmoreland Fire District Policies and Procedures.


2.      A safety officer position shall be activated when, in the opinion of the senior safety officer on-scene, the emergency has reached a level that requires additional safety precautions.  In the absence of a safety officer, the incident commander shall assign a trained officer or firefighter to fulfill this responsibility.  A safety officer may have additional duties at the emergency scene if personnel are limited.


3.      A personnel accountability system will be developed and utilized at all incidents, such as structure fires, hazardous materials incidents, multi-vehicle accidents, and grass/brush fires, where personnel may have to be quickly accounted for.


4.      Special hazards may require special safety precautions.  The special hazards shall be described along with the special precautions to be taken in S.O.G.’s.  In addition, the S.O.G.’s should be distributed to each member for inclusion in his or her training book.  The development of these S.O.G.’s shall be an on-going process and be reviewed annually for additions and/or changes.






Standard Operating Guidelines


Infectious Control Program


The following is issued to re-emphasize to firefighters the appropriate methods of limiting exposure to infectious diseases.



All Westmoreland Fire Department personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating guideline.  All chief officers are especially responsible for their subordinate’s compliance with these guidelines.



The following precautions are suggested as basic sanitary measures and are applicable to the handling of all patients:


A.       Use of universal precautions will be adhered to.


B.     Assume that all blood and bodily fluids are potentially infected.


C.     For patients known to have a communicable disease, inform medical personnel (if applicable) and the receiving hospital.


D.     Always exercise caution in administering any life support procedures that may result in contact with blood or bodily fluids.


E.     Gloves should be worn when treatment involves contact with patient’s blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions in order to avoid accidental contamination of skin lesions.


F.      Exercise care to avoid accidental wounds or punctures from sharp instruments, metal or glass.


G.     After coming into contact with a patient, avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes, or another mucous membranes until you have washed your hands thoroughly.


H.     Use of a bag-valve mask with reservoir, a manually triggered, oxygen-powered resuscitative device or pocket mask is preferred for patients in respiratory arrest.


I.         Wash your hands after every call.


J.       Wash equipment, not able to be sterilized, that comes in contact with patient’s blood, body fluids, secretions, or excretions with a 1:10 dilution of sodium hypochlorite (1 part household bleach, 10 parts water).


K.     Place disposable surgical facemask, gloves and any contaminated articles of clothing not intended to be reused in a plastic bag; place contaminated nondisposable items of clothing in an impervious plastic red bag and have them processed by a hospital.










Standard Operating Guidelines


Ryan White Officer


Identifying the roles and responsibilities of the Ryan White Officer.



The Ryan White Officer will be responsible for documenting and following up on any bloodborne or airborne exposures to the responders of this agency.  The Incident Commander MUST BE NOTIFIED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE following an exposure so that the proper paperwork can be completed.  The Ryan White Officer will maintain all the records of immunizations and tests.  The position of the Ryan White Officer will be completed by this agency’s EMS Captain.







Ryan White Officer: Tom Wilcox Jr

  Cell: 315-796-0009


      Alternate RWO: Bea Watson











Standard Operating Guidelines

Exposure Control Plan



To ensure that all members report to the Ryan White Officer after a potential exposure.



It is the policy of the Westmoreland Fire Department that all personnel should immediately report to the Ryan White Officer all percutaneous, non-intact skin or mucous membrane contact with blood or body secretions; and the Ryan White Officer should refer exposed members for immediate medical attention.


In the event a Westmoreland Fire Department member incurs an exposure, the following will be completed:


Initial Response:

  1. Thoroughly cleanse the area of exposure 
  1. Seek medical attention and exposure evaluation.

  1. Notification of RWO or alternative RWO

  1. Review the exposed member’s immunization history.

  1. The exposed member will be referred for appropriate medical evaluation, care and any necessary post exposure follow up treatment.

  1. The exposed member’s RWO will complete necessary documentation and required reports.

Wound Cleansing:

A.      For a puncture wound, cleanse with Betadine immediately and follow up with soaking the site for five minutes in a solution of Betadine and sterile water.


B.     For skin contact, first wash the affected area with soap and water, then clean the affected area with Betadine,


C.     For mucous membranes: if in mouth, rinse out mouth with large quantity of tap water; if in eyes, flush with water from eyewash station or sterile saline.



  1. The designated Ryan White Officer will seek any existing information on the source.

  1. The exposed member will be informed of applicable laws and regulations concerning disclosing the identity and infectious status of the source individual.

  1. As soon as consent has been obtained, the source individual’s blood will be tested for HIV and various forms of Hepatitis.  The source has a choice to be tested.

  1. The exposed member will be tested for HIV and various forms of Hepatitis.  

Notification and Counseling:

  1. Test results will be shared with the exposed member, who should be counseled about his/her health status and if necessary.

Administrative Responsibilities:

  1. The exposed member will be directed to the appropriate location for evaluation and immediate medical treatment.

  1. An incident report will be prepared and the incident will be noted on the pre-hospital care report for the call in which the incident took place.

  1. The exposed member will be advised to initiate a Worker’s Compensation claim.

  1. It will be verified that appropriate member health records have been updated.

  1. The member’s medical care will be followed-up with and that appropriate medical care has been given.

Testing Guidelines:

The Ryan White Officer will arrange to have the source individual’s blood tested for HIV and various forms of Hepatitis as soon as possible after consent has been obtained.  If the source individual is unable or unwilling to give consent, Westmoreland Fire Department may consider seeking legal authority to act without his/her consent.  If it is not possible to draw blood from the source individual, but some other sample of his/her blood is available, this should be used.  If the source individual is already known to be infected with one or more blood borne pathogens, the test for that pathogen may be omitted.


The Ryan White Officer will ask the exposed member for his/her permission to begin baseline blood tests for HIV and various forms of Hepatitis.  This should be done as soon as possible after exposure.  Follow up testing for HIV will take place at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 26 weeks and 52 weeks after exposure.


Treatment Possibilities:

HIV prophylaxis may include the administration of antiretroviral treatment.  Highly Active Retroviral Therapy (HART) should be initiated as soon as possible, preferably within one hour following exposure, particularly if the exposed member is HIV negative and the source is HIV positive or at risk.


The risk of transmission of Hepatitis B (HBV) or Hepatitis C (HCV) is significantly greater than the risk of transmission of HIV.  Chronic HBV infection can be prevented in the non-immune member by administration of prophylactic Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and Hepatitis B vaccine series.  There is no known prophylaxis treatment for HCV.  The exposed member should be referred for medical management to a specialist knowledgeable in this area.  Obtained baseline HCV serology should be repeated in 4 to 6 months.










Standard Operating Guidelines

Fire Department Safety Officer


The purpose of this standard operating guideline is to specify the duties and responsibilities of a fire department safety officer.



All Westmoreland Fire Department personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating guideline.  All chief officers are especially responsible for their subordinate’s compliance with these guidelines.



A.      Assignment:

1.      The fire chief shall make the assignment of fire department safety officer.


2.      The fire chief shall have the ultimate responsibility for the fire department safety and health program.


3.      The safety officer shall assist the fire chief in this responsibility.  The safety officer shall report directly to the fire chief.


4.      In the absence of the safety officer, one of the other line officers, as designated by the chief, shall perform the duties and responsibilities of the position that require immediate attention.  This includes duties and responsibilities at the scene of incidents.


B.     Qualifications:

1.      The safety officer shall have and maintain knowledge of current federal, state and local laws.


2.      Regulating occupational safety and health applicable to the fire service work environment.


3.      The safety officer shall have and maintain knowledge of current potential safety and health hazards involved in fire fighting and other related activities.


4.      The safety officer shall have and maintain knowledge of the current principles and techniques of management of a safety and health program.


5.      The safety officer shall have and maintain knowledge of the current health and physical fitness factors that affect the fire service work environment.


C.     Authority:

1.      At an emergency incident the safety officer shall have the responsibility to identify and cause correction of health and safety hazards.


2.      The safety officer shall have the authority to cause immediate correction of situations that create an imminent hazard to personnel.


3.      At an emergency incident, when activities are judged by the safety officer to be unsafe and to involve an imminent hazard, the safety officer shall have the authority to alter, suspend or terminate those activities.


4.      The safety officer shall immediately inform the incident commander of any actions taken to correct imminent hazards at an emergency scene.

When non-imminent hazards are identified, the safety officer shall develop actions to correct the situation within the administrative process of the fire department.


1.       The safety officer shall have the authority to bring notice of such hazards to whoever in the fire department has the ability to cause correction.


Records and Data Management:

1.       The fire department shall maintain records of all accidents, occupational deaths, injuries, illnesses and exposures.  The safety officer shall manage the collection and analysis of this information.


2.      The safety officer shall identify and analyze health and safety hazards and shall develop corrective actions to deal with these hazards.


3.      The safety officer shall ensure that records are maintained on:


a.      Fire department safety and health policies


b.     Periodic inspection and service testing of apparatus and equipment


c.     Periodic inspection and service testing of personal safety equipment, including protective clothing


d.     Periodic inspection of fire department buildings and facilities


4.      The safety officer shall maintain records of all recommendations made and action taken to implement or correct safety and health hazards or unsafe practices.


5.      The safety officer shall maintain records of all measures taken to implement safety and health procedures and accident prevention methods.


6.      The safety officer shall issue a report to the fire chef, at least annually, on fire department accidents, occupational injuries, illnesses, death and exposures.


1.       The safety officer shall submit recommendations on safety and health to the fire chief.


2.       The safety officer shall provide information and assistance to officers and fire fighters in surveying the district to identify and report safety and health hazards that could have adverse effects on fire department operations.


3.      The safety officer shall maintain a liaison with other officers regarding recommended changes in equipment, procedures and recommended methods to eliminate unsafe practices and reduce existing hazardous conditions.

Organizations, regulatory agencies and safety specialists outside the fire department recommend changes in equipment and procedures, and recommend methods to eliminate unsafe practices and reduce existing hazardous conditions.


1.       The safety officer shall maintain a liaison with the fire department physician to ensure that needed medical advice and treatment are available to the members of the fire department.


Rules, Regulations and Procedures:

1.       The safety officer shall develop, review and revise rules, regulations and standard operating procedures pertaining to the fire department safety and health program for implementation by the fire chief.


2.      The safety officer shall periodically report to the fire chief on the adequacy and effectiveness of and compliance with the safety-related rules, regulations and standard operating procedures.


3.      The fire chief shall define the role of the safety officer in the enforcement of the rules, regulations and standard operating procedures.

Accident Prevention:

1.      The safety officer shall develop and manage an accident prevention program that addresses the items specified in this section.  The participation of the safety officer in this program may include direct participation, review or supervision.


2.      The accident prevention program shall provide instruction in safe work methods to fire department members.


3.      The accident prevention program shall address the training and testing of fire apparatus driver/operators.


4.      The accident prevention program shall provide for the periodic inspection and service testing of all safety equipment.

Apparatus and Equipment:

1.       The safety officer shall review specifications for new apparatus, equipment, protective clothing and protective equipment for compliance with the applicable safety standards.


2.      The safety officer shall assist and make recommendations regarding the testing of new equipment and its acceptance or approval by the fire department.


3.      The safety officer shall assist and make recommendations regarding the service testing of apparatus and equipment to determine its suitability for continued service.


4.      The safety officer shall develop, implement and maintain a protective clothing and protective equipment program that will meet the requirements of the fire department safety and health program and provide criteria for periodic inspection and evaluation of all protective clothing and equipment to determine its suitability for continued service.


5.      The safety officer shall periodically survey operations, procedures, equipment and facilities with regard to maintaining safe working practices and procedures and report recommendations to the fire chief.

Accident Investigation Procedures and Review:

1.       The safety officer shall assure that emergency medical treatment and transportation to medical facilities are provided for members injured on duty.


2.      The safety officer shall also ensure that occupational injuries and illnesses are treated at the most appropriate medical facilities.


3.      The safety officer shall investigate, or cause to be investigated, all occupational injuries, illness, exposure and fatalities involving fire department members and all accidents involving fire department apparatus, equipment or facilities.


4.      The safety officer shall develop and submit collective recommendations resulting from these investigations to the fire chief.


5.      The safety officer shall develop accident reporting and investigation procedures and shall periodically review and revise these procedures.


6.      The safety officer shall review the procedures employed during any unusually hazardous operation.  Whenever it is determined that incorrect or questionable procedures were employed, the safety officer shall submit corrective recommendations to the fire chief.

Incident Scene Safety:

1.       At the scene, the safety officer shall identify and mitigate safety hazards in accordance with the provisions of the fire department safety and health program.


2.      The functions of the safety officer shall be integrated with the command structure, and the safety officer shall report to the incident commander.


3.      The safety officer shall routinely observe operations at the scene of emergency incidents to ensure that safety regulations are being followed.  When necessary, the safety officer shall recommend corrective actions to the fire chief.


4.      The safety officer shall be involved in the process of post incident critiques in order to review the safety factors involved in emergency incidents.

Training and Education:

1.       The safety officer shall ensure that training in safety procedures relating to all fire department operations and functions is provided to fire department members.  Training shall address recommendations arising from the investigation of accidents, injuries, occupational deaths, illnesses and exposures and the observation of incident scene activities.


2.      The safety officer shall ensure that safety supervision is provided for training activities, including all live burn exercises.


3.      The safety officer shall develop and distribute safety and health related materials for the education of fire department members.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Alarm Response


To provide uniform response guidelines for various emergency and non-emergencies as well as identifying inherent safety hazards in emergency responses.



All Westmoreland Fire Department personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating guideline when responding with fire apparatus to an emergency situation.  The Westmoreland Fire Department will operate under a two priority response system: Priority One being emergency lights and sirens and Priority Two being non-emergency, no lights or sirens.


Classification of Alarms:

A.      The following alarms will be classified as Priority One responses:


1.      Any reported fire within a structure including chimney fires.


2.      Any fire reported adjacent to a structure.


3.      Any fire alarm reported.


4.      Building collapse.


5.      Natural gas leak.


6.      Any odor of smoke within a structure.


7.      Vehicle fires.


8.      Auto accidents.


9.      Brush or grass fires.


10.  Rescues.


11.  Hazmat.


12.  Wires down & burning.


13.  CO2 alarm with symptoms.


B.     The following alarms will be classified as Priority Two responses:


1.      Odor investigations.


2.      Details (wash downs, water problems).


3.      Tree fires/unless near structures.

4.      Pole fires/wires down.


5.      Utility shut-off.


6.      Lockouts.


7.      Basement pump details.


8.      Mutual aid station standby.


9.      Hazardous materials (non-motor vehicle accident related).


10.  CO² alarm with no symptoms


A.      Alarm Responses


1.      For structure fires- Engine 1, Engine 5, Engine 3,  Rescue 1 and Tanker 7 will respond.


B.     Mutual Aid


1.      Only equipment called for will respond with full crews.


2.      All other personnel will standby at the Westmoreland Fire Department fire station.


3.      No private vehicles will respond to the station calling for mutual aid for standby calls.


4.      No lights and sirens in use when going to a station standby.


C.     Safety


1.      All apparatus shall proceed to emergency alarms with all available emergency warning devices operating.


2.      All apparatus including chief vehicles will stop at all traffic lights and stop signs.


3.      All members responding in private vehicles will stop at all traffic lights, stop signs and will obey all traffic laws.


4.      Blue lights may be utilized but are only a courtesy light and no special privileges are extended.


5.      All apparatus drivers shall operate emergency vehicles in a safe manner taking into account traffic and weather conditions.


6.      Under no circumstances shall apparatus exceed the posted speed limit.


7.      All personnel shall wear seat belts while apparatus is in motion.


8.      Multiple responding apparatus shall communicate on home alert channel when approaching common intersections.










Standard Operating Guidelines

Protective Clothing

To provide policy and guidelines relative to the proper personal protection, in the form of protective clothing, to all fire department members exposed to dangerous situations and hazardous atmospheres and/or environments.



A.       Fire department members shall utilize and wear protective clothing and safety gear as prescribed by these guidelines contained herein.


B.     Use of protective clothing as defined and prescribed within this policy shall be considered mandatory during emergency operations and/or whenever the risk of personal injury to fire department members may exist.


C.     The fire department shall provide its members with the proper type of approved protective clothing which meets or exceeds NFPA standards and is currently available in the safety clothing market.


D.     All protective clothing shall be inspected annually.


A.      The fire chief and safety officer have the overall responsibility to ensure that members abide by the fire department’s guidelines regarding the use of protective clothing.


B.     All fire department members are directly responsible for their personal safety and shall utilize proper protective clothing as prescribed within this guideline.


All fire department personnel shall wear and utilize full protective clothing as defined herein.


A.      Helmet

B.     Gloves

C.     Turnout coat

D.     Eye & ear protection

E.     Nomex hood

F.      Turnout pants

G.     Bunker boots

H.     Traffic Vest



A.      Emergency Operations:

1.      Personnel actively engaged in firefighting shall wear full protective gear (except brush firefighting).  Any person without proper gear shall not enter the fire building or engage themselves in activities in the immediate area.


2.      All members shall wear and utilize appropriate clothing during emergency operations.


B.     During Priority One Response:

1.      Members responding in or on fire apparatus shall wear their protective clothing.


2.      Drivers are not required to wear their protective clothing while driving.  Once arriving on scene, drivers must put on their protective clothing.  Drivers are not to wear helmets when driving apparatus.


3.      Those members responding to calls in their personal vehicles will have their protective clothing on before entering the scene.


4.      If during a response to a call, an unusual condition or hazard presents itself, the incident commander may, at his/her discretion, order all personnel, including drivers, into any level of protective clothing, which may be necessary, to protect said personnel from injury or death.


C.     During Training:

1.       Members engaged in training sessions shall wear full protective clothing as deemed necessary.


2.      Officers or members conducting training sessions are responsible to ensure that adequate protective clothing is utilized properly by all personnel involved.  Full protective clothing shall be worn during simulated hazardous environments.


3.      When on driver’s training, the protective clothing to be worn by those participating in the exercise shall be at the discretion of the training officer.


D.     During Hose Testing:

1.       When working around charged hose that is being tested, all members shall wear boots, bunker pants, gloves and helmet.


E.     Maintenance:

1.      All protective clothing such as turnout clothing, helmets and boots shall be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.


2.      All personnel will clean their protective clothing on a regular basis.


3.      All helmets are required to have all designations and safety stripes as required by the chief.









Standard Operating Guidelines

Driving Emergency Vehicles


To establish fire department policy relative to driving fire apparatus and other department owned vehicles.



A.      All members shall follow departmental guidelines for safe driving and report traffic infraction to the chief.


B.      The wheel chocks provided with the fire apparatus shall be utilized at all times when the vehicle is parked.


C.     Members driving fire department vehicles shall observe the speed limit, (never exceed a speed which is safe, reasonable and proper for existing conditions).


D.     When backing fire apparatus, a member shall serve as a guide to assist the driver and insure a safe backing operation.


E.     If no member is able to assist in backing, the driver will do a complete walk around of the apparatus before proceeding.


F.      Members driving fire department vehicles shall utilize defensive driving techniques.


G.     Fire department members driving emergency vehicles shall use extreme caution when approaching and traversing street intersections.


H.     No member shall drive any fire department vehicle until a departmental approved emergency vehicle-driving course has been completed and approved by the Chief.


I.         Fire department members driving emergency vehicles shall utilize warning devices in accordance with the guidelines set forth.


J.       Fire department members driving emergency vehicles shall use extreme caution while approaching an emergency scene.


K.     Must hold a valid NYS driver’s license.


L.      Headlights shall be on at all times.









Standard Operating Guidelines


Warning Devices


To establish the procedures and criteria for use of warning devices on fire vehicles.



The Westmoreland Fire Department shall utilize warning devices on emergency vehicles in accordance with those criteria established in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Code.



New York State authorizes the use of warning lights and sirens on fire department vehicles during response to emergency situations.  Emergency situations are defined as those situations where life and/or property are directly endangered.


Emergency Operations:

A.      Emergency vehicles shall be operated on an emergency basis only when all warning devices are in continuous operation


B.     Warning lights on fire department apparatus shall be kept in operation while responding to alarms or when necessary while working at emergency scenes.


C.     The siren shall be operated through its full range of sounds during emergency responses.


D.     Apparatus headlights shall be kept in operation during all emergency responses day or night, and when necessary while working at emergencies.


E.     Air horn may be used in connection with the siren.  (The air horn is not to be used in a manner, which will exclude the siren).


F.      All fire department vehicles will stop at all marked intersections either by a stop sign or traffic light.


Non-Emergency Operations:

A.       Vehicles responding to non-emergency type incidents, such as stand-by calls, public assist or calls defined as non-emergency by the fire department officers.


B.     Warning lights and/or sirens will not be used when returning to the station from fire incidents.


C.     When apparatus is parked on a public street, the four-way amber flashers may be utilized to warn passing motorists of its presence.









Standard Operating Guidelines


Accountability System


To establish a coordinated system of monitoring and tracking personnel on fire grounds entry points: along with enabling the incident commander or his/her designee to identify, locate and account for all his/her personnel operating at the scene of an incident.



All members of the Westmoreland Fire Department shall operate under these guidelines at all emergency incidents.



It is the responsibility of all members of the fire department to understand and follow the guidelines outlined in this section.



A.      General

1.      Each member shall be issued two personal identifications tags, both being attached to the firefighter’s turnout gear.


2.      When responding to an alarm in a fire department apparatus all personnel onboard will place an accountability tag on the board located in the apparatus.


B.     Operations

1.      When arriving on the scene with a piece of apparatus, the officer or the operator is required to turn in the vehicle accountability ring to the incident commander or his/her designee, and will be given an assignment.


2.      When arriving on scene in private vehicles, the firefighter must report to the incident commander with his/her accountability tag, and be given an assignment.  If they are tagged-in to a piece of apparatus, they must notify the driver of that apparatus that they are tagged on to them.


3.      Additional mutual aid companies must report to the incident commander to tag in and receive assignments.


4.      The second accountability tag will be used as a point of entry tag, entering firefighters will be required to give that tag to the safety officer before entry.


5.      Companies will remain intact and all personnel shall operate in the same area.  If the company is split up, the sector officer will be responsible for the company.


6.      All personnel leaving the scene shall report to the safety officer for verification and to pick up their accountability tag.









Standard Operating Guidelines


Incident Command System


Command procedures are designed to offer a practical framework for emergency operations and to effectively integrate the efforts of all members, officers and firefighters.  This will facilitate an organized and orderly tactical operations and a more effective effort.



It shall be the policy of the Westmoreland Fire Department that all members shall operate under the Incident Command System at all incidents.



A.       The first department officer or member arriving on the scene shall be in command until relieved by a higher ranking officer, and shall transmit a brief initial radio report including:

1.      Unit identification

2.      A brief description of the situation found, and obvious fire conditions, or lack of fire

3.      The member in command


B.     As higher-ranking officer arrive on the scene, they assume command at their discretion.


C.     Command- the officer or member in command is responsible for the following tasks.

1.       Assume an effective, visible command position.

2.      Rapidly evaluate the situation (scene size-up).

3.      Develop a plan for dealing with the incident.

4.      Assign units as required.

5.      Provide on-going reports to dispatch.

6.      Review and reevaluate efforts, and revise the incident plan as needed.

7.      Request and assign additional units as necessary.

8.      Return units to service as necessary.


D.     The incident commander will monitor and/or operate on all channels as necessary, and their radio designation will be command.


E.     Radio channels- Upon arriving at working incidents involving multiple units, command will direct that all units operate on home alert.


F.      In order to facilitate the management of an incident, the incident commander may assign personnel to the following positions:

1.       Operations- The operations officer is responsible for directing of the incident, and reports directly to the Incident Commander.  The operations officer will operate on home alert, and their radio designation will be “operations”.

2.      Safety- The safety officer is responsible for monitoring incident operations from a safety standpoint.  They will report directly to the Incident Commander, however, in the event of an emergency the safety officer has the authority to stop any activity deemed hazardous to personnel without consulting the Incident Commander.  In the event this occurs, the safety officer will operate on home alert, their radio designation will be “safety”.

G.     Sectoring- based on the nature or scope of an emergency, it may be desirable to divide an incident into more manageable parts, or sectors, such as sectors A, B, C and D.  Sector A being the front of the building, Sector B being the left side of the building, Sector C being the rear of the building and Sector D being the right side of the building.  Specific sectors may also be established such as roof, vent, medical, triage, etc.  Sector officers are responsible for the following:

1.      Monitoring work progress.

2.      Directing activities as required.

3.      Coordinating with related activities and/or sectors.

4.      Monitoring the welfare of sector personnel.

5.      Account for all personnel assigned to their sector.  Sector officers will report directly to the operations officer.  Sector officers will operate on home alert.


H.      Companies are responsible for performing specific tasks as assigned.  Companies assigned to sectors will report directly to their sector officer.  They will operate on home alert.


I.         All personnel shall endeavor to make all communications face-to-face whenever possible, in order to keep radio channels as clear as possible.


J.       All media related questions will be referred to Command or his designee, no questions will be addressed by any fire personnel.











Standard Operating Guidelines

Cellular Phone Use

To prevent distractions responding to and on scene of emergencies, and help ensure the safety and privacy of both the patient and all personnel.

Cellular phones and use of personal digital assistants (PDA’s) while on duty is not permitted unless directed otherwise by the Officer in Charge of the scene.

A.       Personal Cellular Telephones

1. Personal cellular phones are permitted to be carried while on duty, but must be placed on silent, mode, and allow voice mail to answer the call. Messages may be checked when not actively involved in a call or performing duties.

2. Cellular phones may be used for personal purposes, but never be cause for delay in responding to a patient or an assignment.

3. While attending to a patient or while operating a department vehicle, personnel shall not, under any circumstances, respond to (or make) a personal cellular telephone call, send text messages, or check electronic mail on PDA’s

4. Personnel are prohibited from using personal cell phone cameras to take pictures or video of any scene unless directed by an officer. Officers may use their cell phones to take pictures if there is not a department camera available.

5. Personnel and Officers that are directed to take pictures or video with their personnel cell phone are not to send them to any other cell phone or email unless directed by an officer.






Standard Operating Guidelines


All Terrain Rescue (ATR-1)


Purpose:  To establish the Westmoreland Fire Department Policy and Procedure regarding the response of the All-Terrain Rescue (ATR-1)

Policy:   ATR-1 will respond to any call that it is deemed necessary in addition to any mutual aid call. ATR-1 will not be used for personal recreation or use.

A.      Response

1.            a.      Driver

b.      Operator

c.      EMT

d.      Officer

B.     Training

1. ATR-1 training shall consist of a working knowledge of the machine and sled.

2. Procedures for driving, loading and unloading patients.

3.  Loading and unloading ATR/Trailer hitch up.

4.  Driving the rescue and trailer on obstacle course and over the road training.

C.     Maintenance & Inspection

1. ATR-1 will be washed and inspected after each use.

2. A weekly inspection will be conducted.

3. Monthly test drive inspection.

4. All discrepancies will be reported to an officer.








Standard Operating Guidelines


General Strategic Guidelines


The following is issued to facilitate more effective and efficient management of emergency operations, while providing guidelines for on-scene operational planning.



A.      Priorities are identified as a result of the on-scene analysis of the emergency situation.


B.     Priorities identify the most important or urgent factors of an emergency situation.  Since emergencies are dynamic in nature and change as they progress and/or are affected by the efforts of the fire department, the priorities involved, in any given emergency situation will also change.


C.     Priorities provide the basis for determining operational objectives.


D.     In a general sense, the basic priorities may be divided into three broad categories.


1.       Life Safety- All factors and operations which affect the safety and well-being of persons involved in the emergency.  Involved persons include victims, bystanders and emergency personnel.


2.      Control – Those operations or activities required to stop the spread or growth of an emergency incident, and bring about its final termination.


3.      Property conservation – Those operations or activities required to stop or reduce additional loss of property.


E.      Although priorities are normally placed into a hierarchy, overlapping can and does occur.  Such a case of overlapping may be illustrated by a situation where rapid control of a fire is necessary to provide life safety.


Operational Objectives:

A.       Objectives are derived from the priorities which have been identified.  They are specific in nature and must be realistic in the sense that they can be accomplished with available resources.


B.      They must be identified and communicated in short, easy to understand terms.


C.     Objectives normally follow the same hierarchy as the priorities from which they have been derived.  Objectives may; however, also overlap in the same sense as priorities sometimes do.


D.     Objectives change as priorities change.  Normally achievement of an objective leads to the next objective in the hierarchy.  Many times objectives may be simultaneously handled by different tactical divisions at the emergency scene.  This simultaneous achievement of objectives requires close coordination by the incident commander.



A.      Strategies

1.      The choice of strategy is dependent upon the objectives that have been set.  As with priorities and objectives, the chosen strategy must change in accordance with changes in the nature of the emergency.


2.      The following defines the four basic strategies:


a.      Offensive- An aggressive attack or effort to bring about rapid control of a problem.  Example: a quick attack at the seat of the fire.


b.      Offensive/Defensive- An effort to make a direct attack or attempt at control while simultaneously provide back-up resources for confinement operations.  Example; attacking the seat of the fire while simultaneously providing lines to check fire extension.


c.      Defensive/Offensive- Initial efforts concentrate on achieving confinement of a problem while additional resources are amassed to begin an offensive control operation.  Example: holding a fire in check until more lines can be placed into service for aggressive attack.


d.      Defensive- Strictly an effort to confine a problem.  Example: using heavy streams to protect exposures without attacking the main body of the fire.


Planning and Decision Making:

A.       On-scene operation planning and decision making requires analysis of the factors involved; realistic projection and forecasting, identification of priorities, objectives and strategies and evaluation of results.


B.     The following is a guide for on-scene operational planning and decision making:


1.      Determine the nature and extent of the problem (size up).


2.      Estimate the growth and spread potential.


3.      Determine priorities based on existing and projected conditions.


4.      Determine objectives based on priorities and available resources.


5.      Determine strategy based on objectives.


6.      Develop a plan of action based on objectives and strategy.


7.      Establish time frames and points of evaluation.


8.      Modify plans or actions as required by evaluation.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Structure Fires


To provide a means of suppressing fires when they occur within a structure along with establishing guidelines so that all personnel shall have a clear understanding of their responsibilities at the scene of a structure fire.



It shall be the policy of the Westmoreland Fire Department that all members shall follow these guidelines whenever a fire occurs within a structure.



A.      Upon arrival:

1.      The first in officer shall brief condition report:

a.      Number of stories

b.      Type of structure

c.      What is showing

d.      From what side the problem is showing

e.      Report on exposures

f.        Who is in command


2.      The first in officer shall conduct an on the spot size-up:

a.      What have I got

b.      What is burning

c.      Where is it going

d.      What and who is in its way

e.      Do I need additional help


3.      The first arriving officer shall take command.


B.     Communications and Coordination

Good communications and proper coordination are essential at structure fires.

1.      The incident commander must provide the necessary coordination of the various fire ground activities.

2.      The incident commander must communicate all instructions and vital information clearly to those who he is supervising.


C.     Tactical Considerations:

The tactical objectives in fighting a structure fire shall be in order of priority as follows:


1.      Rescue-

a.      Human life is the most important consideration at a fire or other emergency.

b.      Rescue of human override all other strategic considerations at a fire.

c.      A primary and secondary search shall be conducted at all structure fires.

d.      During a search, rooms should be marked with red surveyors flagging.


2.      Exposure protection-

a.      Exposure protection is the strategy of preventing a fire from spreading to the uninvolved building(s) or in involved parts of the fire building.

b.      The first in incident commander shall be responsible for the initial protection of exposures.

3.      Confinement-

a.      The strategy of confinement means preventing the fire from extending to uninvolved sections of the building

b.      Whenever possible, the most effective method of confining fire spread is a direct attack on the fire.

c.      The incident commander shall decide whether to make an offensive approach, aggressive interior attach, or a defensive approach, attacking the fire from the outside.  There may be situations when both approaches could be used.

d.      All avenues of fire spread must be considered examples, shafts, openings, utility raceways, ducts, type of construction, etc.

e.      When fires involve concealed spaces, such as attics, voids, ceilings, it becomes very important that ventilation be conducted and hose lines be operated into such areas.


4.      Ventilation-

a.      Based upon the situation, ventilation may need to occur anytime during the operation.

b.      Ventilation shall be employed to:

1.      Channel heat, smoke and flames from potential victims.

2.      To prevent back draft and flashover.

3.      To remove heat and smoke from the building so to reduce property damage.

4.      To allow the interior of the structure to be more tenable and safer for the fire fighting operations.


5.      Extinguishment-

a.      In most fire stations a quick and aggressive attack on the seat of the fire will take care of rescue, exposures, and confinement at the same time.

b.      The size-up will provide information as to techniques, equipment and manpower needs to overcome the fire.


6.      Salvage-

a.      Salvage may need to begin at various points during a fire operation.

b.      Salvage is those operations required to safeguard personal property, furnishings and the unaffected portions of a structure from the effects of heat, smoke, fire and the weather.

c.      Salvage shall include:

a.      The use of salvage covers.

b.      Removing water from the structure.

c.      Removing furniture and personal belongings to a safe location.

d.      Debris removal.

e.      Removal of valuables from debris.

f.        Covering openings to keep weather out and to secure the building.

d.      All members are expected to perform in a manner that continually reduces loss during fire operations.


7.      Overhaul-

a)      The purpose of overhaul is to make sure the fire is completely out.

b)      Overhaul operations must be properly coordinated with fire investigation efforts.

c)      Unsafe conditions should be identified early in the overhaul process and definite efforts made to avoid the possible problems associated with the same.

d)      During overhaul most fire fighters are more relaxed, tired, perhaps less alert and thus more apt to get injured.

e)      Personnel should not remove their breathing apparatus until the area is completely cleared of toxic gases.

f)        When available, fresh crews should perform overhaul.

g)      Particular attention should be given to hidden areas during overhaul.

h)      During overhaul, care should be given to protect personnel from exposure to carbon monoxide and other byproducts of combustion.  The CO detector should be used to monitor the CO levels until they drop below 50 ppm to allow firefighters to remove their SCBA’s.

8.      Utility Control-

a)      Utilities should be shut down and brought under control to insure that they will not contribute to the fire spread, overall damage or create any type of safety hazard.

b)      At structure fires where electrical involvement or damage has occurred, request the response of the electric company.

c)      If necessary, shut down gas lines at the meter and have the gas department notified.

d)      If necessary, shut down water supplies to the structure.


9.      Safety-

a)      Safety is an important aspect of all fire ground operations.  Accomplishing fire ground objectives in a safe manner helps reduce fire fighter injuries and deaths.

b)      Members involved at structure fires shall wear appropriate protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus.

c)      Fire ground operations should not be carried out in a rush, but rather they should be accomplished at a reasonable pace, which allows for operations to be completed in a safe and efficient manner.

d)      Fire officers must constantly be aware of both fire and structural conditions, which may deteriorate at a point, which places fire fighters in jeopardy.

e)      Indications of the possibility of structural collapse and/or other life threatening occurrences shall be communicated to all personnel within the incidents perimeter via three long blasts from the apparatus air horn which calls for immediate exit from the structure.


10.  Life Safety to the Occupants-

a)      Is the number one priority.

b)      Fire ground operations shall be coordinated and conducted in such a manner as to support life safety operations, which may be currently under way.

c)      Hose line placement and ventilation shall be coordinated so as affect safe and efficient rescue operations.

d)      Use normal means of egress first.

e)      Aerial ladders, ground ladders and fire escapes are considered to be secondary means of egress.

f)        Provide for the care and medical needs of victims who have been removed from the fire building.


11.  On-Site Fire Equipment and Systems-

a)      Utilize on-site fire protection equipment and systems to best advantage in accordance with the type of system and the fire situation.

b)      FAST team will be on scene and in place for all structure fires.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Vehicle Fires


To provide a means of extinguishing vehicle fires as well as protecting fire department personnel while they operate at these types of emergencies.



All members of the Westmoreland Fire Department shall operate under these guidelines when operating at emergency incidents involving vehicle fires.



The response order for vehicle fires will be:

1.      Engine 1

2.      Rescue 1

3.      Engine (If needed)

4.      Tanker 7



A.      Park apparatus uphill, upwind.

B.     Conduct size-up.

C.     Determine if additional assistance is needed.

D.     Use fire department fire police for traffic control.

E.     If involved vehicle is a common carrier, determine type of cargo.



A.      Wear protective clothing and SCBA’s

B.     Consider traffic conditions and be conscience of traffic hazardous to personnel.

C.     Consider the flow of spilled fuel, burning or non-burning.

D.     Use adequate size hand lines and appropriate foam systems if needed.

E.     Be alert for the possible explosion of fuel systems.

F.      Be alert for the possible explosion of pressurized “energy absorbing” bumpers and shock absorbers.

G.     Remember that batteries may serve as an ignition source and produce electrical shock or explode.

H.     Remember that the suspension systems on many buses may collapse to within four inches of ground level when exposed to fire.

I.         Remember that most motor homes, camper and mobile canteens have built in LPG tanks on board.

J.       Vehicles that have air bags where the air bag has not deployed should be approached with caution.  Personnel should not position themselves between the bags and seat while the air bag system is armed.



A.      Consider life safety.

B.     Consider water supply availability.

C.     Consider slope of terrain.

D.     Determine type of fuel which may be involved.

E.     Consider fuel system-newer vehicles have pressurized fuel systems.

F.      Breathing apparatus shall be necessary for operation on all vehicle fires.

G.     Be prepared for tire fires to re-ignite.


Post Emergency:

A.      Have investigators determine the cause of the fire, as long as a vehicle accident was not involved.

B.     Insure that the vehicle is in a safe condition prior to towing away from the scene.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Brush and Wildland Fires


To establish guidelines that will provide fire ground command and personnel a safe and effective way of handling fires involving forest, brush and/or ground cover.



In the event of a forest, brush and/or ground cover fire the following guidelines have been established.



The response order for forest, brush and/or ground cover fires will be:

1.      Engine 5

2.      Rescue 1

3.      Engine (If needed)

4.      Tanker (If needed)



A.      Report on conditions:

1.      Determine actual location of fire.

2.      Direction and characteristic of fire travel.

3.      Type of fuel burning (grass, leaves, brush).

4.      Exposures.

5.      Action being taken by first arriving unit.

B.     Request additional equipment.

C.     Determine plan of action based on priorities and resources available.



A.      All members shall wear necessary proactive clothing in accordance with the hazard.

B.     Safety rule for operating vehicles “off road”:

1.      Have a means of escape should your position be over run.

2.      Avoid commitment of units on narrow roads in heavy brush areas.

3.      It’s not uncommon for heavy vehicles to become stuck off road.

4.      Before taking a unit “off road” you must know location and direction of fire travel.

C.     Post guard when advancing and manning lines in brush areas.  Some things to be especially cautious of are:

1. Spot fires below your crew and frequent spot fires.

2. Heavy equipment working above your crew, i.e. falling rocks, etc.

3. Changes in wind velocity and direction.

D.     A means for escape shall be made known to all fire personnel working in brush areas.  Stay close to burned areas.

E.     All personnel should know location and direction of travel of fire head.

F.      Do not allow fire personnel to become exhausted.  Provide rest periods.  Frequency will depend upon topography and weather conditions.

G.     Be alert to the possibility of downed electrical wires, there may be energized fences as a result.

H.     Do not go downhill to attack a fire.



A.      Base all actions and strategy on current and expected behavior of the fire.

B.     Structural protection and life safety take priority over extinguishment of brush.

C.     If offensive attack is indicated, choose an anchor point and hit the head of the fire if possible.  If that is not possible, establish an anchor point and start on the flanks and work toward the head.

D.     If the fire is a large, hot, fast moving one, then a direct attack may not be possible.  In such cases, an indirect and/or parallel attack may be utilized by cutting a fire line a distance ahead of the fire.

1.      This may require writing off losses (structures, etc.) in the path of the fire.

2.      Indirect attack is commonly used in conjunction with fire retardant drops and backfire techniques.

E.     Different methods of attack may be used simultaneously according to the situation.

F.      If assigned structural protection, keep hose lays flexible enough to be able to quickly break away in the event of being over run.

G.     If additional resources are needed the NYS DEC Forest Rangers should be contacted.  They have added supplies and tools.



A.      The incident command system should be put in place.

B.     Establish a command post.

C.     The incident commander has responsibility for the engine operation.  They also have responsibility for assigning the following positions during brush fire operations:

1.      Operations

2.      Support

3.      Sectors

4.      Liaison positions between various agencies (unified command).

D.     If an area evacuation is warranted, use local law enforcement to assist.  Radio communications should conform to incident command system guidelines.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Carbon Monoxide (CO) Responses


To establish a guideline for locating and mitigating carbon monoxide hazards.



The Westmoreland Fire Department shall respond to and investigate all reports of possible carbon monoxide incidents occurring in occupied spaces.



Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that is deadly.  It is a byproduct of combustion.  Many appliances such as furnaces, kitchen stoves, hot water heaters, autos, etc., can produce carbon monoxide.  When a faulty device or unusual conditions exist, carbon monoxide may be vented into areas where people are present.  Carbon Monoxide poisoning may be difficult to diagnose.  Its symptoms are similar to that of the flu, which may include headache, nausea, fatigue and dizzy spells for low levels and convulsions, unconsciousness and death for high levels.



The response order for carbon monoxide calls will be:

1.      Rescue 1

2.      Engine

3.      COCVAC or next closest ambulance



A.      Priority one or Priority two responses to reports of carbon monoxide shall be determined by the following criteria:

1.      Priority one response- Caller indicates or suspects any signs or symptoms or carbon monoxide poisoning.  In this event, have dispatch advise the caller and all occupants to evacuate the building and await the fire department’s arrival.

2.      Priority two response- Caller has a carbon monoxide detector activation or suspects there may be carbon monoxide present in the building.

3.      All priority one responses shall require full protective clothing and SCBA.

4.      All priority two responses shall require full protective clothing, but no SCBA’s unless the situation calls for them.


B.     Once the fire department arrives on the scene, the officers should first interview the occupant to determine the following:

1.      If any occupants are or have been feeling ill.

2.      The number and location of any CO detectors, which have been activated.

3.      The location of combustion equipment/appliances.


NOTE: This interview should take place outside of any suspected contaminated areas.


C.     After the interview, zero the CO meter in fresh air and comply with all start up procedures as recommended.


D.     Take the first reading just inside the doorway to determine initial CO level.  If a reading of 35ppm or greater is detected, the building or effected area shall be evacuated immediately and full turnout gear and SCBA shall be utilized during the investigation.

E.     Personnel shall begin monitoring the lower levels of the building then proceed to the higher levels.

1.      Be sure to check all areas, especially, areas that include utility spaces, kitchens and attached garages.

NOTE: The gas company is an important resource during CO investigations; they will be notified anytime the gas has to be shut off and if high reading is detected and unable to pinpoint the cause.

2.      Appliance service personnel should be contacted by the occupant to check operation of appliances.


F.      If a reading of 9ppm or less is detected:

1.      Inform the occupant that our instrument did not detect an elevated level of CO at this time.

2.      Recommend occupant to check their CO detector per manufacturer’s recommendations.

3.      Advise the occupant to reset the CO detector according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

4.      Inform the occupant that, if the detector re-activates or they feel there may be a problem, to call 911 anytime.


G.     If a reading above 9ppm and below 35ppm is detected:

1.      Any reading above 9ppm shall be considered an above normal reading.

2.      Occupants shall be informed that an elevated level of CO has been detected.

3.      If it is determined that an appliance is malfunctioning and thereby producing CO, it shall be shut down and the gas company notified.

4.      Once the premises has been ventilated and reduced to a safe level of CO, it may be occupied, at the discretion of the occupant.


H.     If a reading of 35ppm or greater is detected, follow the same procedures as in section D. Advise occupants of findings and further actions, as necessary.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Pole Fires and Wires Down Operations


To provide safe guidelines for the handling of electrical emergency operations.  When it has been determined that an electrical emergency exists, these guidelines have been established.



All Westmoreland Fire Department personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating guideline.  All chief officers are especially responsible for their subordinate’s compliance with these guidelines.



Response for electrical emergencies will be, a Priority 2 response:

Apparatus response will be in the following order.

1.      Engine

2.      Rescue 1

3.      Fire Police vehicle for traffic control.



A.      Determine the type of electrical problem and request the appropriate power company to respond, if needed.

B.     Give dispatch proper location of incident (pole number).

C.     Park apparatus outside of operational perimeter.


A.      Safety:

1.      Do not fight electrical fires unless de-energized, or life is in danger.  Protect exposures.

2.      Be careful when spotting equipment and hose lines.  Electrical lines may fall on apparatus, personnel or hose lines.

3.      Do not walk under transformers as they contain PCB’s or burning oil.

4.      Wear protective clothing (full turnout gear)

5.      Keep bystanders clear of hazardous area.

6.      Do not open pole-mounted switches; they are for power company personnel only.

7.      Do not assume that telephone/cable wires are not hot- they may be in contact with hot wires.

8.      Do not use water to control pole top fires unless de-energized by the power company.  Protect exposures.

9.      Avoid standing in puddles of run-off water during fire fighting operations when energized electrical equipment may be involved or nearby.

10.  Assume that all wires down are energized and act accordingly.

11.  Do not use non-rated equipment such as pike poles, non-rated cutters and non-rated ropes to handle downed wires.


B.     Wires Down:

1.      Members should not move wires unless necessary to rescue victims, and then only after all safety precautions have been observed.

2.      Be careful when spotting hose lines and apparatus, additional lines may fall.

3.      Establish a secure area; including fences, vehicles, guardrails, railroad tracks and puddles of water, which may be electrically energized.

4.      Standby and keep the public away from the scene until wires are de-energized by the power company.


C.     Electrical Fire Control:

1.      Power pole fire- do not extinguish with water unless life is threatened, or major structural component of power pole is threatened, or directed by the power company to do so.

2.      Electrical fires are best handled by shutting down power sources.

3.      CO² and dry chemicals are the best extinguishing agents for electrical fires.  If structure fire involves electrical service or wiring, the power to the building should be shut off.


D.     Vehicle Rescue:

1.      Uninjured or mildly injured victims should stay in vehicle until power company personnel can secure power to downed lines.


Do not use pike poles, non-rated ropes and/or non-rated equipment to handle downed lines during vehicle rescues.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Thruway Operations


To establish response and operation guidelines for fire and medical incidents on the New York State Thruway.



A.       The Westmoreland Fire Department shall follow these guidelines for the response criteria for both fire and medical emergencies on the Thruway.


B.     The fire department shall follow these operational guidelines for emergency incidents on the Thruway to insure the proper handling of the incident and safety of the personnel.



Fire Control shall dispatch the response for the Thruway according to the response criteria established by the individual volunteer fire department covering that portion of the Thruway.  No personally owned vehicles are allowed except chief vehicles.


A.      Dispatch for MVA

1.      Engine 1

2.      Rescue 1

3.      Fire Police


B.     Dispatch for Vehicle Fires

1.      Engine 1

2.      Engine 5

3.      Tanker 7

4.      Fire Police


C.     Dispatch for Medical Emergencies

1.      Emergencies at Oneida Service Area use Access Road; key for gate is in apparatus Rescue 2.

2.      Medical emergencies on the highway respond with Rescue 1.



A.      Upon Arrival:

1.      Give standard condition report, which should also include the exact location of the incident.


2.      If other responding apparatus are approaching from an opposite direction, every effort should be made to inform the other responding apparatus of the best approach.


3.      If possible, place apparatus between the emergency scene and the oncoming traffic (for protection).


4.      Place apparatus out of the flow of spilled chemicals, flammable liquids and run-off water (normally this would be upgrade and upwind from the incident).


5.      Request the response of the police and coordinate with them upon their arrival.


B.     Safety:

1.      During thruway operations, personnel shall wear a minimum of regular protective clothing and be guided by the fire department protective clothing policy.


2.      If possible, place apparatus between oncoming traffic and the emergency (to provide protection for personnel operating on the scene).


3.      Personnel should constantly remain cognizant of traffic and shall exercise caution when operating at the scene.


4.      Personnel should be aware of the topography of the section of the Thruway on which they are operating.  This can affect the flow of flammable and hazardous materials.


5.      Personnel must be aware that storm drains on the Thruway and run-off may lead into sewers or small streams that could spread contamination.


C.     Water Sources:

Fire officers should be cognizant of the lack of water sources on the Thruway and should consider alternative means of obtaining water:


1.      Tank on fire apparatus.


2.      Additional engines.


3.      Hydrant on surface streets adjacent to the Thruway.


4.      Relay pumping.


5.      Tankers with portable dump tanks.


6.      Responding apparatus will not go on the wrong side of traffic unless thruway has been shut down in that direction of travel.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Response to Motor Vehicle Accidents


To establish procedures and policies that will standardize the department’s response and actions with regard to motor vehicle accidents.



All Westmoreland Fire Department personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating guideline.  All chief officers are especially responsible for their subordinate’s compliance with these procedures.



A.      Upon notification of an accident involving 1 or more motor vehicles, the fire department will respond with the appropriate fire and rescue apparatus.


B.     Upon arrival the incident command system will be put into action and transferred accordingly.  The incident commander will determine:





C.     Responding apparatus shall position uphill, upwind and at a safe distance from the accident scene whenever practical.


D.     Whenever rescue personnel respond to any emergency situation involving electrical lines they should:

1.      Assume that electrical lines or equipment are energized.

2.      Contact the power provider.

3.      Control the scene.


E.     Rescue personnel should stay away from downed power lines a minimum distance equal to one span between power poles in all directions until they are certain that the power has been shut off.


F.      The engine company will wear full protective clothing and SCBA.  All other personnel responding will wear full protective clothing unless a fire or special hazard exists.  SCBA may be removed after it is determined that a fire or special hazard no longer exists.


G.     A minimum 1.75” handline will be deployed if there is any evidence of entrapment, fire, fuel leak or other hazard.  The handline will be charged and manned whenever any of the above listed conditions exists.  Use of foam should be a consideration whenever dealing with fuel spills.


H.     Vehicle stabilization will be performed whenever extrication is required or the vehicle involving poses a safety hazard to personnel working in the immediate area.


I.         Any vehicle involved in an accident should have all 4 wheels chocked as a minimum.


J.       Power will be disconnected from all vehicles that pose a potential hazard.


K.     NOTE – These are initial response procedures.  Actual extrication operations are unique to every incident.  Situations may dictate the incident commander to deviate from the above listed procedures as required.










Standard Operating Guidelines


Building Evacuation


To provide a system for evacuation of a building during emergency situations.



A.      The incident commander shall initiate building evacuation operations whenever, in their opinion, it is in the best interest of occupants to be evacuated due to a definite life safety hazard.


B.     Additional resources, as may be required, shall be requested by the incident commander to accomplish life safety objectives during evacuation operations.


C.     During bomb threat situations the decision to evacuate a building rests with the occupancy management and the law enforcement agency involved.



The incident commander shall be responsible for initiating evacuation operations at emergencies involving structures which are occupied.



The scope of this policy is concerned primarily with the evacuation of those buildings in which a life hazard problem has developed due to an emergency condition within the involved building.



A.      Establish a plan, plan the evacuation and make assignments and progress reports related to the plan.


B.     Evacuate persons in the greatest danger first.  The people in the greatest danger in a fire are those in the immediate area and those above.


C.     Assign specific areas for evacuation.  Companies should be assigned according to priorities, areas, sectors or floors to evacuate and report all clear.


D.     Identify safe evacuation routes.  Usually an evacuation is intended to remove occupants from a hazard.  The objective should include moving occupants to safe areas via identified safe paths.  Companies may have to be assigned to keep the evacuation routes safe.  If the evacuation route is unsafe, consider leaving occupants where they are until conditions improve.


E.     Identify evacuation stairs.  In multi-story buildings, it may be necessary to designate one stairway to be used for evacuation while another is used for firefighting and/or ventilation.


F.      Evacuate to a safe location.  Move evacuees to a location out of danger, but not further than is practical.


G.     Avoid panic.  Personnel must consciously work to lessen anxiety of occupants and avoid panic.  Explain what the problem is and what needs to be done as accurately as the situation permits.


H.     Assign sufficient resources to evacuation.  Rapid evacuation of a building may require a major commitment of crews.  Never leave evacuated occupants unattended.


I.         Do not evacuate unnecessarily.  If conditions do not present a hazard, evacuation may be unnecessary.


Marking Searched Rooms:

A.      A roll of search tape will be carried on all apparatus.


B.     All rooms searched will be marked with red surveyors tape.









Standard Operating Guidelines


Hazardous Materials (General)


To establish guidelines for incident evaluation and safe handling of hazardous materials incidents.



It shall be the policy of the Westmoreland fire Department to follow these procedures in the handling of hazardous material incidents and to ensure the safety of the personnel and citizens of the Town of Westmoreland.  The fire department will only act in the roll as Haz-Mat first responders.



Response for hazardous materials incidents will be:

1.      Engine 1

2.      Rescue 1

3.      Fire Police

4.      A second engine- if requested



A.      Upon Arrival:

1.      Size-up the situation.

a.      The first unit must consciously avoid committing itself to a dangerous situation.  When approaching, slow down or stop to assess any visible activity taking place.  Evaluate the effects of the wind, topography and location of the situation.


b.      The objective of size-up is to identify the nature and severity of the immediate problem and gather sufficient information to formulate a valid action plan.  A hazardous materials incident requires a more caution and deliberate size-up than most fire situation.


c.      Avoid premature commitment of units and personnel to potentially hazardous locations.


d.      Make careful size-up before deciding on a commitment.  It may be necessary to take immediate action to make a rescue or evacuate an area, but this should be done with an awareness of the risk to fire department personnel, and taking advantage of available protective equipment.


e.      Don’t assume anything! A wrong decision, while working with hazardous materials, can be worse than no decision.


B.     Report on Conditions:

1.      Once condition is identified request appropriate haz-mat response.


2.      Establish an operational perimeter, set-up zones (hot, warm, and cold).


3.      If the involved incident has occurred on a public road, highway or freeway request haz-mat team and coordinate with same.


4.      Initiate materials identification operation.

a.      It is imperative that the first arriving fire department unit determine what hazardous materials are involved and how much, prior to contacting the haz-mat team and taking action to stabilize the incident.


b.      Entering the scene to make positive identification will be the task of the haz-mat team.


c.      Action taken prior to determining the product involved may be totally wrong and may severely compound the problem.


d.      Transportation emergencies are often more difficult than those at fixed facilities.  The materials involved maybe unknown, warning signs may not be visible, or obscured by smoke and debris, or the driver may be killed.  DOT hazardous materials marking systems are inadequate because some hazardous materials in quantities up to 1,000 pounds do not require a placard and there may be combinations of products involved with only a “dangerous” label showing.  Sometimes only the most evident hazard is identified, while additional hazards are not labeled.


C.     Attempt to identify the involved materials by way of the following:

1.      Check placarding and/or label.

2.      Check paperwork associated with the materials transportation or storage.

3.      Check with persons directly related to the accident/incident (i.e. driver, owner, trainman, technician, plant manager, etc.).

4.      Contact shipper and/or manufacturer.

5.      Obtain the exact spelling of the materials involved.


D.     Initial Operations:

1.      Establish a command post at least 1,000 feet from the incident and set-up zones.  If the incident is on a highway or roadway, make contact with the appropriate law enforcement agency having primary investigative authority and coordinate with same.


2.      Obtain technical information

a.      Utilize DOT hazardous materials emergency response guidebook.

b.      Contact Chemtrec (800)-424-9300.

c.      Utilize other information sources available.

d.      Contact the shipper and/or manufacturer.


3.      Identify priorities based on the following:

a.      The type and magnitude of life hazard involved.


b.      The type and quantity of hazardous materials involved.


c.      Reference the “D.E.C.I.D.E.” mnemonic for determining the steps in dealing with a hazardous materials event.


D—Detect the presence of hazardous materials

E—Estimate the potential harm without intervention

C—Choose response level for haz-mat

I—Identify action options

D—Do best option

E—Evaluate progress


4.      Identify the objectives:

a.      The objectives must be based upon those priorities that have already been identified.  They must be flexible enough to account for the dynamics of the situation.


b.      The objectives must focus on confinement and/or control of the involved materials in such a way so as to save lives and to prevent the unnecessary exposure of on-scene or nearby personnel to the adverse effects of the involved materials.  Objectives must also provide for the protection of uninvolved property and the environment.


c.      Objectives must be clearly understood and well communicated among all levels of the on-scene organization that is attempting to cope with the problem.  Close cooperation and coordination is essential if disaster is to be averted.


5.      Action Plan:

The action plan must be based upon the identified objectives and must be based upon the identified objectives and must be understood by all involved personnel at the scene.  The action plan should be centered primarily on the following:

a.      Protection of life

b.      Confinement of the materials and its byproducts

c.      Control of the material and its effects on humans, animals, property and environment


6.      Monitor progress of the action plan to insure that objectives are either accomplished or modified according to the dynamics of the situation.


E.     Safety:

1.      All operations up to and including the evacuation process must be accomplished with the idea of overall safety as the key component.


2.      Members shall wear the appropriate protective clothing.  A minimum of full turnout gear must be worn inside the operational perimeter.  Special protective clothing will be worn by the haz-mat team.


3.      Be alert for the symptoms of chemical poisoning and reactions that could threaten the lives of firefighters and other involved personnel.


4.      Members who have been exposed to hazardous materials shall receive immediate medical treatment.  NOTE: many symptoms may be delayed up to 24 hours after contact.


5.      In general; the following safety guidelines should be observed:

a.      Move and keep people away from the incident scene.

b.      Do not walk into or touch any spilled materials.

c.      Avoid inhalation of all gases, fumes and smoke even if no hazardous materials are involved.

d.      Do not assume that gases or vapors are harmless because of lack of smell.


6.      Keep in mind the basic safety priorities.

a.      Personal safety

b.      Safety of others.

c.      Environmental impact.


F.      Communication:

1.      The best, most accurate method of communications is face-to-face, person-to-person communication.


2.      Radio direction must be clear, concise and on the correct channel.


3.      Communications during the incident must be, by necessity, two way in nature.  Information reconnaissance data and suggestions must flow up to command level for evaluation.  Clear directions and coordination must flow down from the command level.


4.      Direct radio/telephone communication may be made through dispatch and chief vehicle or the rescue truck.


5.      Channel one should be used when contacting dispatch when requesting contact with other agencies.


6.      In incidents that occur on highways, or roadways early and clear communication links must be established between the incident commander and the law enforcement manager to insure successful operations.


G.     Coordination and Control:

1.      State law provides that the on-scene fire incident commander is in charge of the incident and coordination of all agencies handling the incident.


2.      The fire department shall establish the command post for all agencies working at a hazardous materials incident.


3.      The fire department will conduct an after action report with all agencies involved after the incident completion.


H.     Clean Up and Disposal:

1.      The incident commander’s responsibility, beyond that of preserving life and property, is only to identify and, if possible contain the spill material.  Under most circumstances, no attempt should be made to “decontaminate’ a spill unless directed and supervised by responsible parties from the haz-mat team and/or other technical advisers.  Professional disposal companies and/or teams should be utilized for clean up and disposal.  Use of this resource is expected, but will normally occur after local expertise is on hand.


I.         Procedures:

It must be remembered that any and all procedures, which may be carried out at a hazardous materials incident, must be based upon and compatible with the physical properties of the involved materials.  The following list contains some basic guidelines, which may apply to hazardous materials situations in a general sense.  The nature of materials involved will dictate more specific procedures.

1.      Take all feasible steps necessary to protect or save human life.   Safeguard property in so far as practical.


2.      Take all actions to contain and/or prevent the spread of the material.  Spread sand or other collection agents, build dikes, etc., and control run-off water at fires.


3.      Keep the public as far from the scene of the incident as reasonably possible.


4.      Isolate for further examination of those persons who may have had contact with the material.  Obtain names and addresses of those involved.


5.      Remove injured persons from the area with as little direct personnel contact as possible.  Hold them at a transfer point for first aid.  If serious injury has occurred, demanding more than first aid measures, the patient should be sent, at once, to the nearest emergency room for medical attention.  Advise medical attendants and facilities of possible contamination and what material is involved.

a.      Medical first aid is directed primarily at restoration of breathing, control of bleeding, splinting of fractures, and prevention of shock and control of pain.  These are carried out for the exposed person in the same basic fashion as for a non-exposed individual.


b.      First aid for contaminated persons consists of cleansing the skin of obvious dirt if feasible, carefully remove the outer garments and shoes of the patient and wrap them mummy fashion in a blanket.  By this measure, any remaining contamination is contained and if the wrapping is done carefully, the victim can be moved with little likelihood of spreading contamination.


c.      If incidents involve fire or material subject to blowing in the wind, conduct operations from the upwind positions.  Keep out of smoke, fumes or dust resulting from the incident.  Segregate clothing and tools used at the scene until they can be checked for contamination.  Do not handle suspected material until it has been inspected and released by qualified technical experts.


d.      In a vehicle accident involving hazardous material, detour all traffic around the accident scene.


e.      Do not eat, drink or smoke in the accident area.  Do not use food or drinking water that may have been in contact with material from the incident area.


f.        Take only necessary emergency actions prior to the arrival of a qualified hazardous materials specialist, team and/or physician.


g.      There are basically four different methods of handling hazardous material spills or leaks.  They are:

1.      Absorption

2.      Containment

3.      Separation

4.      Neutralization


h.      Sometimes, a non-attack posture is the best approach to a hazardous materials problem.  A fire in any of the following materials should signal a non-attack posture and immediate evacuation of the surrounding area:

1.      Explosive A or B

2.      Oxidizers

3.      Organic Peroxides


i.         Hazardous materials must not be carelessly washed down storm drains or sewers.  Such action could compound the problem and hasten disaster.


j.         In some cases, it may be better to let a fire involving certain hazardous materials to burn.  In such cases, the run off water from fire extinguishment operations may pose more of a hazard than the fire itself.


k.       Fire involving hazardous materials in closed containers such as trucks, tank farms, etc. require special decision making considerations and may also indicate a non-attack posture.







Standard Operating Guidelines


Broken Natural Gas Line-No Fire


To establish guidelines for the handling of gas leaks outside a structure that is not on fire.



All personnel shall follow these guidelines for gas leaks outside a structure that is not on fire.



A.      Notify dispatch to respond Natural Gas provider to the leak address.

B.     Spot apparatus safely upwind from the break.

C.     The first due apparatus may enter the block area of the leak

D.     All other apparatus shall stage upwind from the break site.

E.     Request traffic control and/or road closure by the police department.



A.      All personnel involved with the gas shutoff operations shall have on full protective clothing and breathing apparatus.

B.     Operate with the wind at your back.

C.     Make sure companies that are hooking up for water supplies are in a safe position.

D.     Remove sources of ignition from the immediate area including fire apparatus.

E.     Keep all bystanders and traffic clear of area (with large, high pressure mains, five hundred (500) feet is considered a safe distance).

F.      Noise level from high-pressure gas line breaks can be loud enough to cause physical affect on personnel, actually influencing their ability to think and act clearly.


Control Leak:

A.      The gas department shall control any leaks from gas mains.

B.     The fire department shall protect gas division personnel, fire personnel and all exposures with hose lines.

C.     Make sure that companies hooking up to water supplies are in a safe location.

D.     It is possible to disperse pockets of gas by fog lines (If fog stream is used, do not direct stream on broken pipe in pit.  This could create additional problems).

E.     Guard against static electricity when stopping leaks by use of wet rags or fine mist.



A.      Request necessary assistance from the gas department.

B.     Evacuate the area.

C.     Eliminate sources of ignition.

D.     Position apparatus for exposure control.

E.     Utilize control measures to stop leak.

F.      Check area with atmospheric monitoring device.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Cascade Breathing Air System


To establish procedures for the use and maintenance of the Cascade Breathing Air System.



A.      Only those individuals who have been trained in the operational procedures of the respiratory breathing air system may operate said equipment.


B.     All personnel operating the respiratory breathing air system shall be responsible for seeing that these guidelines are followed.



A.      The Fire Chief will be responsible for insuring that he/she or person(s) designated by him/her:

1.      Conduct periodic training and qualifying of personnel.


2.      Conducts required periodic maintenance.


B.      Each officer-in-charge will be responsible for seeing that the air system is operated only by qualified personnel.


C.     Air system operators will be responsible for the following:

1.      Filling pressures

2.      Condition of bottles as outlined in this SOG.

3.      Maintaining air system record log.

4.      Filling out a defective equipment form should the air system need repair and proper notification of such to the officer-in-charge



A.      Filling SCBA Cylinders from Cascade System:

1.      Place bottle(s) in cradle in fill station.


2.      Attach fill line bottle(s).


3.      Make sure relief knob is closed.


4.      Open tank valve on bottle(s) to be filled.


5.      Open fill valve on fill station.


6.      Open cascade valves on fill station that controls air coming from cascade system.


7.      Fill bottle(s) by increasing pressure using cascade bottles in sequence (bottle 1 should be used first, bottle 2 should be second, etc.).


8.      After bottle is full, shut off tank valve.


9.      Shut off valve on fill station.

10.  Decrease pressure in line with relief knob until pressure is zero before disconnecting fill line from bottle(s).


11.  Close all valves (do not over tighten).


B.     Filling SCBA Cylinders from Air Compressor:

1.      Check all valves to be sure they are closed.


2.      Open compressor valve on fill station.


3.      Start compressor by pressing “start” button.


4.      Place bottle(s) in cradle in fill station.


5.      Attach fill line to bottle(s).


6.      Make sure relief knob is closed.


7.      Open tank valve on bottle(s) to be filled.


8.      Open fill valve on fill station.


9.      Fill bottle(s) by using variable regulator.


10.  After bottle is full, shut off tank valve.


11.  Decrease pressure in line with relief knob until pressure is zero before disconnecting fill line from bottle(s).


12.  Close all valves (do not over tighten)


13.  Return compressor switch to “off” position.


14.  Drain fill station and fill lines to zero (not to include compressor).


C.     Refilling cascade system

1.      Open storage cylinder valve that needs refilling.


2.      Open cascade and compressor valves on fill station.


3.      Open valve on compressor.


4.      Start compressor by pressing “start” button.


5.      When system is full compressor will shut off automatically.


6.      Shut off storage cylinder valve.


7.      Drain hoses and fill stations to zero.


8.      Close all valves.


D.     Tank Inspections:

1.      All tanks that are filled must:

a.      Have closed valves if pressure is zero.

b.      Have valid hydrostatic test date.

c.      Have company ID number.

d.      Be in good state of repair.


E.     General:

1.      Filling pressures

a.      Only cylinders will be used on this system.


2.      Air System Log

a.      Completed anytime compressor is used (i.e. filling Cascade system, SBCA bottles).

b.      Cascade system is used to fill bottles.


3.      Safety:

a.      Proper pressures must be adhered to in order to prevent over-pressuring a cylinder.

b.      Make sure the SCBA cylinder being filled is not past the recommended hydrostatic date prior to filling.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) Qualifications & Use


A.      To help prevent the occurrence of a firefighter being in distress, missing, lost, injured, trapped or unconscious and not being able to summon assistance.


B.     To provide each with a device to be worn as a part of the SCBA which emits an audible alarm signal in order to summon assistance in the event that the firefighter becomes incapacitated or needs assistance.


C.     To provide each interior firefighter with a life safety rope/bailout rope.


D.     To provide each firefighter with training, which when complete will give the firefighter the knowledge and skills necessary to inspect, use, search for, locate and maintain in working order the PASS device.



A.      Each Westmoreland Fire Department SCBA, which is placed in service on any piece of apparatus, shall be equipped with a PASS device.


B.     Firefighters will not be permitted to operate in any hazardous environment without a PASS device in operation.


C.     PASS device will be located on the right shoulder strap.  PASS device is integrated into the SCBA and will arm itself whenever the SCBA is charged.


D.     The PASS device shall not be removed from the SCBA by any personnel other than those authorized to perform repairs and maintenance on the device.


E.     The device shall be checked for proper functioning during the monthly truck report.


F.      The SCBA and PASS device are considered to be as one unit; therefore, if one or the other is found to be malfunctioning, both units will be removed from service.


G.     The chief, once notified of the defective equipment, will arrange immediate replacement and/or repair of the unit.


H.     Batteries will be replaced when needed.  The unit requires one 9-volt battery and two lithium batteries.


I.         Training utilizing the PASS devices will be conducted to maintain both knowledge and skills necessary to use, search for, locate and maintain in working order the PASS devices.  This training is highly recommended for all suppression firefighters and mandatory for all FAST team members.



A.      PASS device inspection:

1.      Check for visible damage to the device.


2.      Push the red alarm button.  A loud pulsating distress sound should be heard.  Let the device sound for a minimum of five seconds.


3.      When test is complete shake the device which will place the device in the armed mode, green lights should flash, let the device stand for one minute, the alarm distress sound should start, let it sound for five seconds.


4.      Depress gray button on the side of the device two times to shut the device off and return it to the stowed condition.  Test complete.


B.     PASS device malfunction:

1.      Whenever a PASS device is found to be malfunctioning, the SCBA will be placed out of service, and the chief notified.


C.     PASS device use:

1.      The PASS device may be manually activated by a firefighter in distress by depressing the RED button on the device, which will produce a loud pulsating distress sound.


2.      When in the armed position the device will start to sound a low volume distress signal, if the firefighter is not in distress simply tap the device to re-arm it.


3.      The device and the redundant alarm will sound a low volume beep sound as a low battery is detected, replace the battery.









Standard Operating Guidelines


Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue Rope and System for Interior Firefighters


A.     Established the Westmoreland Fire Department policy and procedures regarding the mandatory use of the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System.


B.    Defines the department and interior qualified member responsibility in the use and training of the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System.


C.    Defines the department responsibility in the maintenance, repair and replacement of the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System and its components.



  1. In the event an Interior Firefighter becomes trapped by an uncontrolled emergency situation such as a rapid fire advance, the use of the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System should enable the firefighter to utilize a non-conventional opening such as a window to escape the emergency.

  1. It is mandatory that all interior firefighters operating in a structure will be equipped with an Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System.

  1. It is mandatory that all interior firefighters be trained by a qualified instructor designated by the authority having jurisdiction on an annual basis on the use of Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System.

  1. Based on the department risk of assessment the maximum elevation has been determined to be 3 stories or less.  Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue will consist of the following components:*

a.      35 ft. of escape rope

b.      1 escape carabiner

c.      1 anchoring device


All components will meet NFPA 1983 Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services 2006 edition.


* The actual system you employ will be determined by the Risk Assessment results for your response areas.


  1. The emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System will be issued to each interior firefighter and will be stored in their turnout gear.

  1. In the event that an Emergency Escape system is deployed and used in an actual emergency, the EES will be immediately taken out of service and the escape rope replaced.


  1. All interior firefighters will wear their Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System on all emergency responses.

  1. All interior firefighters shall train to proficiency and show competency in the use of the emergency escape system.  Each interior firefighter shall demonstrate proficiency at designated department training drill to the satisfaction of the designated department officer on an annual basis. 
  2. When a firefighter determines it necessary to evacuate a structure at an elevation higher than the first floor of a structure using the  Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System, the firefighter will declare a MAYDAY (See MAYDAY SOG) informing the IC of their situation.  The firefighter will escape the life threatening situation by utilizing any convenient route of escape.  In the case of a non-conventional route such as a window, the firefighter will deploy the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System issued and lower themselves in a controlled manner using the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System as it was designed and as trained in its use.  The firefighter will lower themselves to:

1.      The ground if enough rope is available

2.      A lower floor safe from the danger to be pulled in by responding rescuers (FAST)

3.      To a safe position and stand-by to be rescued by ladder, or aerial device

4.      To a safe position and stand-by to be rescued by high angle FAST deployed above the firefighter.


  1. Incident Command/FAST Command will communicate the type of rescue that will be attempted to the firefighter needing rescue.

  1. IC will declare end to MAYDAY situation when appropriate.

Testing and Maintenance and Training:

  1. All components of the Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue System will meet NFPA 1983 Standard on Life Safety Rope and Equipment for Emergency Services 2006 edition, and 12NYCRR 800.7.

  1. Life safety rope or escape rope used for training purposes will not be used for any other purpose other than the emergency escape training.

  1. Life safety rope or escape rope used in training will be stored in a locked cabinet until needed for emergency escape system training.

  1. Life safety rope or escape rope used in training will be inspected after every training use.

  1. Training will utilize a life safety rope belay system with an appropriate high point anchor with trained operators as a safety backup for emergency escape rope training.

  1. The safety belay system will not be secured to the firefighters SCBA harness, but will be secured to an appropriate Class II or III safety harness.


  1. Chief Officers and company officers will enter the receipt of all Emergency Escape and Self-Rescue Systems into inventory.

  1. Chief Officers and company officers have the joint responsibility to ensure all personnel are in compliance with this SOG.

  1. Chief Officers and company officers have the joint responsibility to ensure all training is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

  1. Any interior class firefighter not able to satisfactorily show competence and proficiency in the emergency escape system will be moved from interior to exterior firefighting classification.

  1. Any member refusing to comply with this SOG will be reclassified from interior to exterior firefighter classification.








Standard Operating Guidelines


MAYDAY and Emergency Evacuation


  1.  The purpose of this policy is to provide a uniform procedure for both MAYDAY situations and emergency evacuation situations and to clearly define the differences between both applications.

  1. It is required that all firefighters know and understand these procedures and the criteria for calling a MAYDAY.


MAYDAY is only for use when a firefighter or firefighters find themselves or others in a life threatening situation or lost/missing during fire ground operations.


A MAYDAY is not an emergency evacuation call.  The emergency evacuation signal shall not be given only because of the declaration of a MAYDAY.


The following situations will initiate an IMMEDIATE MAYDAY alert:

*         Trapped

*         Entanglement

*         Cut off by fire

*         Cut off by collapse through the floor/roof

*         Pinned

*         SCBA failure

*         Out of air

*         Lose/Disoriented


Emergency Evacuation Description:

  1. An emergency evacuation signal is different than a “MAYDAY” alert.

  1. An emergency evacuation signal will be initiated when personnel on the scene recognize the imminent collapse of a structure during firefighting operations or change in conditions during an incident, which will endanger personnel.

  1. An emergency evacuation signal will be given by a continuous blast of apparatus air horns.

MAYDAY Procedures:

  1. The MAYDAY procedure for the department will be as follows:

1.      The signal for a missing/lost trapped firefighter is the radio or verbal transmission of “MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY”.


2.      Incident Commander shall acknowledge the MAYDAY transmission.


3.      All other radio traffic shall cease.


4.      The individual declaring a MAYDAY shall provide information to the Incident Commander.

a. Location

b. Unit

c. Name

d. Assignment

e. Resources needed

EXAMPLE: Second floor B side, 1 engine, Firefighter Jones, Initial Attack, The ceiling has collapsed on top of me and I need assistance.


After the transmission of this information the Firefighter shall activate the PASS alarm.

Do not activate the PASS alarm until you have communicated the above information, this will allow your transmission to be heard clear as possible.


5.      Personnel who become trapped or disoriented should execute all necessary self rescue techniques to assist in their own rescue.


6.      Upon receipt of the “MAYDAY” the incident commander shall immediately consult the Rapid Intervention Team leader and assign the rescue to that team if one is already assigned.  In the event a Rapid Intervention Team is not assigned, interior firefighters not engaged in other critical assignments on the scene will be utilized for the rescue effort.


7.      All fire suppression activities shall continue unless ordered to cease by the Incident Commander.  Fire suppression operations shall be communicated to the Incident Commander.


8.      The assigned Incident Safety Officer shall perform a personnel accountability report of all units on the scene.  This report shall be communicated to the Incident Commander.


9.      All “MAYDAY” activities will continue as directed by the incident commander utilizing the Rapid Intervention Team.


10.   Only the individual who first signaled the emergency of the Rapid Intervention Team leader can cancel a “MAYDAY” after confirmation of the rescue or recovery with the incident commander.


Emergency Evacuation Procedure:

  1. The Emergency Evacuation Procedure will be as follows:
    1. All observations of building and/or incident conditions recognized as an impending threat to personnel will be reported to the Incident Commander for immediate action.

    1. Once the situation has been reported to the Incident Commander, only the IC will give the order for apparatus air horns to sound the evacuation signal.  This rule must be adhered to as to eliminate any confusion during an emergency evacuation.

    1. Apparatus air horns will sound continuously and the incident commander shall transmit “evacuate” over the radio.  All firefighting and/or rescue activities will cease and emergency accountability of personnel will begin immediately at the designated staging area.

    1. Once the situation has been assessed and ultimately rectified, only the Incident Commander can order fire ground operations to continue as conditions permit.










Standard Operating Guidelines


Automatic External Defibrillator


To establish procedures for the use and maintenance of the AED’s.



All personnel are responsible for compliance with this standard operating procedure.


Regulatory Compliance:

Use of the AED’s will be in accordance with the policy set by Mid-State Regional Emergency Medical Council.  Protocols will be strictly adhered to.



A.      The Automatic Advisory Defibrillator will be carried to the patient’s location on all unknown illness, patient down, patient complaining of chest discomfort or as situation may warrant.


B.     When the patient is in full arrest (no pulse and no respiration effort):

1.      Initiate CPR

2.      Turn AED on and place leads on the patient’s chest.  One member will be in charge of the AED operation.

3.      Press the analyze button and follow the instructions the AED gives.  Repeat this step three times.

4.      Following the third discharge, asses the patient.

5.      If the patient is still in full arrest, perform CPR for one minute.

6.      Repeat the steps above.

7.      Continue this procedure until the patient responds with a pulse.


C.     If relieved by a higher-level care provider, the higher-level provider may choose to use our AED during the rest of the care.  The AED operator will follow instructions given by the higher level provider.


D.     Documentation of the incident will be included on a complete PCR.  These will be kept for a period of seven years.



A.      Monthly checklist will be completed every month.


B.     After each use on a patient, a checklist must be performed.


C.     Battery rotation will be done the last Tuesday of each month and after each patient use.


D.     Upon finding a problem with the unit, report it immediately to a chief officer.


E.     All maintenance shall be recorded on the Automatic Advisory defibrillator Maintenance Log.











Standard Operating Guidelines


Disciplinary Guidelines


To provide disciplinary policies, guidelines and procedures for the Westmoreland Fire Department.



A.      The establishment and maintenance of discipline is the responsibility of all department members.


B.     Extenuating circumstances will be taken into account.  Previous conduct will be taken into account in determining the penalty.


C.     All reports of discipline will be dealt with case by case.


D.     The chief will handle all written and signed complaints.



A.      All charges shall be made in writing and signed by the individual making the complaint.


B.     Charges can be brought for the following violations:

1.      Violation of any order of a superior officer.

2.      Responding to calls while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

3.      Careless or reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

4.      Thievery, the taking of property belonging to the fire department.

5.      Not adhering to any rule, regulation or SOG.


C.     No charges shall be brought unless it is believed the charges can be proved.


D.     Any officer or member charged with a complaint shall have the right to answer the charge against them and face their accuser if they desire.


E.     After receiving a written complaint, the chief will investigate the complaint.


F.      Once the investigation is complete the chief will make a decision whether the complaint has merit.


G.     In the event of a motor vehicle accident or damage to any fire department vehicles, the responsible party will have their driving privileges suspended.


H.     In the event of a written complaint and finding of creditable evidence of a driver failing to stop at any stop sign or intersection where a red light is indicated, the driver will have their driving privileges suspended.


Types of Disciplinary Action:

A.      Oral reprimand

B.     Written reprimand

C.     Suspension from driving

D.     Suspension from active roster

E.     Dismissal from the department









Standard Operating Guidelines


Live Fire Training


To minimize the risk of all Westmoreland firefighters operating on the scene of Live Fire training Evolutions, whether it be an acquired structure or at the training center, interior or exterior suppression evolutions.



A.      The Westmoreland Fire Department will adhere to these guidelines whenever live fire training evolutions are being conducted.


B.     NFPA guideline 1403 (standard on live fire training evolutions) annex A to these guidelines will be followed in its entirety.


C.     All live fire training requests will be made in writing by the Chief to the commissioners.



It is the responsibility of all Westmoreland Fire Department officers to ensure this guideline and NFPA 1403 are followed for all live fire training evolutions.  It is also every member’s responsibility to ensure personal safety at all times during live fire training evolutions.



A.      NFPA 1403 checklist will be completed in its entirety (annex A to this guideline)


B.     All members will have prerequisite training in ten core subject areas.

1.      Firefighter safety

2.      Fire behavior

3.      Portable extinguishers

4.      Personal protective equipment

5.      Ladders

6.      Fire hose, appliances and streams

7.      Overhaul

8.      Water supply

9.      Ventilation

10.  Forcible entry


Note: Basic Firefighters course does not meet these prerequisites.  Intermediate firefighter course exceeds these prerequisites for student involvement.


C.     In acquired structures or gas fired burn buildings (training center), the following instructor positions will be filled.

1.      Instructor in charge

2.      Ignition officer

3.      Safety officer(s)

4.      Member instructors (1 for every 5 members)



A.      No flammable or combustible fuels will be used to ignite a fire in an acquired structure.


B.     Only one fire will be ignited at a time in an acquired structure.  More than one fire can be ignited at a time in a gas fired burn building.


C.     The safety officer has the authority to stop any activity regardless of their rank.



Annex A to this guideline will be on file at the station for review for all members.  NFPA 1403 checklist will be attached to this guideline as Annex A.








Standard Operating Guidelines


Annex A-Live Fire Training NFPA 1403 Checklist

A.      Permits, Documents, Notifications, Insurance:

1.     Written documentation received from owner:

a.     Permission to burn structure

b.     Proof of clear title

c.     Certificate of insurance cancellation

d.     Acknowledgment of post-burn property conditions


2.     Local burn permit received.


3.     Permission obtained to utilize fire hydrants.


4.     Notification made to dispatch of date, time, and location of burn.


5.     Notification made to all police agencies:

a.      Received authorization to block roads

b.      Received assistance in traffic control


6.     Notification made to owners and users of adjacent property of date, time and location of burn.


7.      Liability insurance obtained covering damage to other property.


8.     Written evidence of prerequisite training obtained from participating members from outside agencies.


B.     Pre-burn Planning:

1.  Pre-burn plans made, showing the following:

a.      Site plan drawing, including all exposures

b.      Building plan, including overall dimensions

c.      Floor plan detailing all rooms, hallways and exterior openings

d.      Location of command post

e.      Position of all apparatus

f.        Position of all hoses, including backup lines

g.      Location of emergency escape routes

h.      Location of ingress and egress routes for emergency vehicles


2.  Available water supply determined.


3.  Required fire flow determined for the burn building and exposure buildings.


4.  Required reserve flow determined (50 percent of fire flow).


5.  Apparatus pumps obtained that meet or exceed the required fire flow for the building and exposures.


6.  Separate water sources established for attack and backup lines.


7.  Periodic weather reports obtained.


8.  Parking areas designated and marked:

a.      Apparatus staging

b.      Ambulances

c.      Police vehicles

d.      Press vehicles

e.      Private vehicles


9.  Operations area established and perimeter marked.


10.  Communications frequencies established and equipment obtained.


C.     Building Preparation:

1.      Building inspected to determine structural integrity.


2.      All utilities disconnected (acquired buildings only).


3.      Highly combustible interior wall and ceiling coverings removed.


4.      All holes in walls and ceilings patched.


5.      Materials of exceptional weight removed from the above training area (or area sealed from activity).


6.      Ventilation openings of adequate size precut for each separate roof area.


7.      Windows checked and operated, opened and closed, as needed.


8.      Building components checked and operated:

a.      Roof scuttles

b.      Automatic ventilators

c.      Lighting equipment

d.      Manual or automatic sprinklers

e.      Standpipes


9.      Stairways made safe with railings in place.


10.  Chimney checked for stability.


11.  Fuel tanks and closed vessels removed or adequately vented.


12.  Unnecessary inside and outside debris removed.


13.  Porches and outside steps made safe.


14.  Cisterns, wells, cesspools and other ground openings fenced or filled.


15.  Hazards from toxic weeds, hives and vermin eliminated.


16.   Hazardous trees, brush and surrounding vegetation removed.


17.  Exposures such as buildings, trees and utilities removed or protected.


18.  All extraordinary exterior and interior hazards remedied. 


19.  Fire “sets” prepared:

a.      Class A materials only

b.      No flammable or combustible liquids

c.      No contaminated materials


D.     Preburn Procedures:

 1. All participants briefed:

a.      Building layout

b.      Crew and instructor assignments

c.      Safety rules

d.      Building evacuation procedure

e.      Evacuation procedures

f.        Evacuation signal (demonstrate)


 2. All hose lines checked:

a.      Sufficient size for the area of fire involvement

b.      Charged and test flowed

c.      Supervised by qualified instructors

d.      Adequate number of personnel


3. Necessary tools and equipment positioned


 4. Participants checked:

a.      Approved full protective clothing

b.      Self-contained breathing apparatus

c.      Adequate SCBA air volume

d.      All equipment properly donned


E.     Post-Burn Procedures:

 1. All personnel accounted for.


 2. Remaining fires overhauled, as needed.


 3. Building inspected for stability and hazards where more training is to follow (see Section C, Building Preparation).


4. Training critique conducted.


 5. Records and reports prepared, as required:

a.      Account of activities conducted

b.      List of instructors and assignments

c.      List of other participants

d.      Documentation of unusual conditions or events

e.      Documentation of injuries incurred and treatment rendered

f.        Documentation of changes or deterioration of training center burn building

g.      Acquired building release

h.      Student training records

i.         Certificates of completion


6. Building and property released to owner, release document signed.


F.      Instructor-in-Charge:

 1. Plan and coordinate all training activities.


 2. Monitor activities to ensure safe practices.


 3. Inspect building integrity prior to each fire.


 4. Assign instructors:

a.    Attack hose lines

b.    Backup hose lines

c.    Functional assignments

d.    Teaching assignments


 5. Brief instructors on responsibilities:

a.    Accounting for assigned students

b.    Assessing student performance

c.    Clothing and equipment inspection

d.    Monitoring safety

e.    Achieving tactical and training objectives


 6. Assign coordinating personnel, as needed:

a.    Emergency medical services

b.    Communications

c.    Water supply

d.    Apparatus staging

e.    Equipment staging

f.      Breathing apparatus

g.    Personnel welfare

h.    Public relations


 7. Ensure adherence to this standard by all persons within the training area.


G.     Safety Officer:

1.      Prevent unsafe acts


2.      Eliminate unsafe conditions


3.      Intervene and terminate unsafe acts


4.      Supervise additional safety personnel, as needed


5.      Coordinate lighting of fires with instructor-in-charge


6.      Ensure compliance of participants’ personal equipment with applicable standards:

a.      Protective clothing

b.      SCBA

c.      Personal alarm devices, where used


7.      Ensure that all participants are accounted for, both before and after each evolution.


H.     Instructor:

1.      Monitor and supervise assigned students (no more than five per instructor).


2.      Inspect students’ protective clothing and equipment.


3.      Account for assigned students, both before and after evolutions.



I.         Student:

1.      Acquire prerequisite training


2.      Become familiar with building


3.      Wear approved full protective clothing


4.      Wear approved self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)


5.      Obey all instructions and safety rules.


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