FireWire Top 5: Best Assignments/Positions

In this series of FireWire Top 5, we’re ranking the best assignments/positions in the fire service. This is all opinion of course, but every position counts in order to get the job done, and there are a few that we’d much rather have over the others. Everyone likes to get in there and do it, but which jobs are the most exhilarating?

5. Roof

Being the roof man is an important task. Typically done by the truckie, this job isn’t for the faint of heart. Although there’s a lot of talk about getting away from this tactic, it’s a good way to get the blood flowing. You have a lot of edge being up there cutting holes for inspection or ventilation, or simply getting a good idea of where the fire may be. If you don’t like heights, this isn’t the position for you.

4. Search

Who doesn’t want to be the first team in? You get to force doors, follow the flow of smoke, and find the fire. You have your tools with you to assist your senses and your teammate behind you with a can and a hook ready to tackle whatever it is that comes your way. You have the potential to make a grab or assist a civilian getting out of the building, and by the time you get to wherever the fire is, you’ll have the hose team waiting for you to show them where to go. Truly an awesome spot to be in.

3. Outside Vent

The OV position is a great one for firefighters with experience. While the other crews are setting up their operations, it’s almost like a one off mission with you and your partner. You get to search the areas untouched by other firefighters. Usually finding an additional entry way into the building, this position takes strength and confidence to perform. You instantly become an additional set of eyes and ears for command, and you are the ones that may be tasked with evacuating occupants in difficult spots. Simply a position for firefighters that get things done!

2. Tool Operator

We’re talking about the jaws of life! The name speaks for itself. We’re in the business of helping out people when they’re having the worst day of their lives. Imagine how somebody feels when they’ve gotten in a terrible accident and they physically can’t move because they’re pinned in their vehicle. You’re the guy that comes in with the spreaders or cutters, and you’re ultimately responsible for making things just a tad bit easier for the person trapped. This position takes a lot of skill and patience, but when your job is finished, you have the satisfying feeling knowing you’ve just directly helped someone out.

1. Nozzle

This one may piss off the truck guys, but it is for sure the best position to have on the fireground. When you picture the word “firefighter” it’s this position that comes to mind. Putting the wet stuff on the red stuff as they say. You can have all the tools in the world, but nothing fights fire better than water. When you’re making your way into a building, advancing the line through all of that smoke, and then you see the enemy, that’s what gets the adrenaline going. It’s do or die at that point. Either that fire is going to grow and eventually get to you, or you’re going to open the nozzle on it and put it out of its misery. You are THE guy when you have the nozzle, and that is why this position sits at number 1.

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