When you think of “staging,” what comes to your mind? For most of us, our train of thought leads traight down the tracks of resource management. On large-scale emergency response incidents, such
as wildland deployments, fireground operations, or even rescue
events, apparatus and crew placement prior to access into the work
zone is critical for organization, communication, and accountability. The term “staging” is most commonly related with this concept. Although this is not incorrect, it is certainly not complete.
In today’s world, where active aggression is increasing, firefighters
are responding to more violent situations than they once did. To
uphold their sworn mission and perform the necessary life-saving
duties of public “servants,” fire departments have elected staging
as the safety tactic of choice to avoid personnel engaging in the
hostility until the scene can be determined safe by police. This
methodology, albeit wise in its usage, does not and cannot stand
alone without expanded explanation. Staging is much more significant than simply where to park a fire engine.
“What,” “why,” “where,” and “how” are all crucial components of
staging for fire companies to understand, and each needs deliberate dissection with directed application. Staging has genuine life
and death implications attached, and those implications need to be
exposed and addressed for the weight they carry.
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
First, the “what” and “why” of staging are intricately linked.
They hold great importance in comprehending the fundamental
guidelines of this tactical maneuver and are best understood when
All too often, fire companies are erroneously conducting the
mechanical nature of staging the same as they would on a large-scale incident. Unfortunately, crews are failing to identify the
duality of this method and the overwhelming safety concerns connected with staging as a protective precaution vs. purely a resource
distribution/allocation action. A “one-size-fits-all,” universal
approach is not appropriate for these call types. Unlike staging for
a large-scale event that is primarily static, staging as a safeguard
against violence is in fact a dynamic concept. (Yes, in its basic
form it holds the same chief perception of resource relocation,
but in practice it varies drastically.) In short, it’s a different animal
depending on its use.
ADD SOME DEFINITION
In the same way as many words have multiple definitions, “stag-
ing” within the fire service also requires context to produce clarity. It
A tactical response
to potential violence
BY JASON GALLIMORE
“What,” “why,” “where,” and “how”
are all crucial components of staging
for fire companies to understand, and
each needs deliberate dissection with
directed application. (Photo by Pixabay.)