As all of you should be aware on Thursday, we all lost a brother firefighter and a family lost a husband, Father and friend. Captain Jeffrey Bowen of Rescue 3 in Asheville was killed tragically at a working fire at an office building in the hospital district of town. I also just confirmed that he was an alumni of the Fayetteville State Fire Science program where I am a professor. I had him as a student in at least one class so this one hits too close for comfort. Everytime there is an LODD, I always pause to think about the tragedy, and I immediately become curious as to what happened. I always want to learn from it, especially as a company officer so that I don't ever have to experience an LODD first hand.
It is always easy to Monday morning quarterback fires especially from 2 hours away or across the country even, but that's not what this post is about. The radio traffic from the fire has circulated the internet and I am even using it for training at my station today. This audio allows us to identify OUR own shortcomings when it comes to OUR department not the one involved in the tragedy. Do you know how to call a Mayday? What are your department's parameters for a Mayday? How do you carry out a search of a large office building that is unsprinklered? How proficient are you with standpipe operations and the deployment of hose in a high rise or mid rise enviroment?
If more of us focused on how we could be placed in the same situtation in our own department, rather than cast blame on the affected department after hearing fireground audio and seeing a 2 minute video we would all be safer. I challenge you to examine this tragedy by looking at how you would approach the same situation in your own department not cast blame on anyone. This is how we can honor Captain Bowen and the others injured at the fire. He would want us to learn from the tragedy and to prevent it from happening anywhere else, because in our line of work we all too often have the "It can't happen here" attitude. However, we all know that when all the cards are dealt, it can happen anywhere to anyone, we just have to limit our opportunity for it to happen to us. Please honor Captain Bowen by going over your Mayday procedures, High/Mid rise tactics, and Search procedures to ensure we all gain knowledge out of this tragedy.
Until the next post:
Stay Safe and Stay Trained