Lastly, staging inherently is supported logically through an
expressed, one-to-one explicit relationship. Simply put, you are
staging because you believe violence is a reasonable variable in this
emergency equation. Thus, do not be caught off guard! By agreeing to stage, you are accepting the possibility of violence materializing and, hence, are resolved and resolute to respond.
STAGING IS AN ART FORM
Next, “where” a crew stages is equally significant. Much like
arranging furniture in a home to increase its appeal during a sale,
staging is an art form. Staging should be conscious and well-conceived—and not treated haphazardly.
During staging, companies should always anticipate that their
subject may have moved and could be armed. This is especially
true if the information from dispatch is vague or limited. Do not
imagine the ideal, but until proven otherwise, presume danger
When deciding “where” to stage, choose the location that provides a two-way exit strategy. We can all agree: Fire engines are not
readily maneuverable! Trying to turn quickly is nearly impossible,
and accelerating takes time.
Decision makers should choose staging selections that offer multiple egress options in case they encounter the dangerous subject or
the need to relocate becomes suddenly apparent. Again, purposeful
and prudent staging decisions must be made. Merely finding “any
old place” will not do!
“JUST RIGHT” IS NOT ALRIGHT
We have all heard the story of “Goldilocks and The Three
Bears.” Well, when it comes to staging, many departments fall
victim to tasting the “porridge”! Frequently, commanding officers
look for an area to stage that is not “too close” or “too far away”
but rather “just right.” This predicament, which I coin “The Goldilocks Dilemma,” can be disastrous! Stop looking for “just right”!
Always err on the side of farther away. Similar to a hazmat scene,
time, distance, and shielding are your friends. If you are parked
too close to the target site, you do not have the time necessary to
respond to an unfavorable act. If you are intentionally positioned
farther away, you are presented a greater reactionary gap, and it
will not (contrary to some opinions) jeopardize the welfare of the
citizens you were called to help. Twenty or 30 seconds of extra
drive time will not change the outcome of the patient’s condition.
Besides, at least one first responder (the police officer) will be on
scene and can take an initial medical intervention to slow any life-threatening symptoms if something transpires.
BEGINNING THE EMERGENCY
WHEN YOU WANT AND NOT BEFORE
Additionally, how many times, after parking “too close” has the
call started before you wanted it to commence? Reporting parties,
who dial 911 for help, are usually looking out the window for the
“red and blue lights” to arrive. They are anxious and scared. The
instant they see your apparatus, even if it is a block away, they will