What do Firefighters do when there is a Fire?

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What do firefighters do when there is a fire? It seems a lot of people understand that firefighters fight fire, but what actually happens when a firefighter is dispatched to a fire?

Firefighter implement a very fast response with getting dressed and moving once the alarms go off.

Do they magically appear at the fire? The truth is the clock starts ticking when those alarms/tones go off. Let me explain what actually happens.

Here’s what Firefighters do when there is a Fire and they are at the station

The planning for the fire starts way before the fire even happens. If it’s a commercial building it’s probably been inspected and pre planned by the local fire department.

This removes alot of unknown elements for the firefighters because they are already somewhat familiar with the building. 

Once the tones go for a fire that’s when seconds start really counting. Most firefighters will move quickly to the truck they are on and be geared up in under a 1.5 minutes.

The driver of the truck will be possibly gearing up but he or she will be planning the route and determining a strategic place to put the apparatus.

The driver may also be reviewing where the closest fire hydrant may be to insure adequate water supply.

What they do Enroute

Once the wheels are rolling typically the only people talking is the Lieutenant and dispatch. While the crew will probably already know what their general jobs are at the fire. The rest of crew is mostly listening for updates and instructions from the Lieutenant.

 It’s important that the crew listens up for further or specialty instructions. The crew members that have air packs built into the seat will be strapping in to go to work as soon as they arrive on scene.

In the days of Tiktok and social media, one of the Firefighters is likely recording enroute. For many, this isn’t ‘the way it’s always done’ but can provide a lot of great teaching material for when they look over the video after the fire.

This is also the moment where the new guy starts getting really anxious, probably nauseous and most likely throwing up a prayer because he’s about to slay his first proverbial dragon! 

What Firefighters do at the Fire Scene of an active Fire

This is where the guys get off the truck battle ready and go to work. They are coming in with a plan and are amped to do the job.

The first crew that arrives on scene will typically begin fire attack and establish the first order of command.

Command is the person in charge of the scene and will usually be the highest ranking individual present.

The driver of the truck will strategically place the fire engine so to provide the best and safest options to deploy fire hoses. 

Now this is all subjective to what order each truck arrives on scene and what kind of apparatus the crew has.

For an example the most common truck is the fire engine and they are the ones typically who are responsible for putting out the fire.

Then you also have a ladder or tower truck which are responsible for laddering the building and any other aerial operations including rescue.


Well what about what happens after the fire is out? Good question. Glad you asked. After the fire is out a process called overhaul will begin.

This is where crews will start pulling down ceiling and other drywall to insure there is no hidden fire. Most of the time the crews will also help the home owner by grabbing important belongings and applying tarps until mitigation crews arrive.

Once there is no more reasons to enter the structure crews “should” begin decon procedures and that should start before they leave the scene. This is where the crews wash off as much of the contaminants from their gear and skin. 

Back at the fire house the crews will then put the truck back in order by replacing air bottles, cleaning equipment and cleaning the cab of the vehicle on order to get back to operating level.

After that it’s full decon, shower, swapping and cleaning out gear. 

A lot of stuff all at once

Kind of a crazy process huh? We like to call it organized choas! In short when a crew is dispatched to a fire a slew of thought processes, adrenaline and muscle memory kick in.

These guys train non stop for these moments and live for it. Their goal is to be the perfect machine to save lives and protect property! Oh and look badass doing it.😎

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