Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Behind the Computer Critic

As a Blog follower, as many of you obviously are, we all see what I feel like is a paradigm shift in our fire service.  We all know that there are video cameras everywhere we go, and that almost no working fire goes untaped anymore.  Someone (Public or Fire Service) is taping what we are doing on almost any significant call that we run these days.  I check statter911.com virtually everyday to help me formulate daily training, keep up on the latest cool videos from all around, and inadvertently, I watch unqualified, under-experienced, and most of all ignorant firefighters post how much better they could have done things than the folks being taped.  Really....... you could have gotten water on the line quicker than 2 minutes, well you probably could if you had your department's staffing, no rescues in progress and who knows what other obstacles the brothers in the video had.

I watched a video today where the fire engine was overwhelmed with what they had going on as soon as they pulled the parking brake. Here is the link to it: Fire in Ca .  This video shows just how hectic and chaotic a fire scene can be, because last I checked A frame ladders weren't NFPA complaint but, they sure appear to rescue people just fine in this fire.  In reading the comments, there are some great ones describing how "they" would have done it better and faster and greater.....but really could they have?  Everytime one of these videos comes out, there are always a few who tell everyone they could have done it better.  My question is always: Did they invite you to the critique?  If the answer is no, then you must not be the expert you think you are Captain Anonymous.

My point is that most videos provide only a snapshot of the whole picture of what the brothers encountered.  We know only what side A looked like, or what the uneducated civilians are saying.  Sure, there are some videos that show some training needs in departments, but the last time I checked I wasn't the training officer in the XXXXX Fire Department, hell I'm not even the training officer in my department, so who am I to say what people need to train on in other departments.  But give me a keyboard and a screen name and man I'm John Norman, or Tom Brennan.

Folks, realize that we can critique one another constructively and quietly, not in a public forum.  We can always think we can do it better, prior to any idea what happened on scene or without even knowing what information the folks had prior to arrival.  We all know every department is different, so why do we as a service continue to critique in an open forum everyone's actions at fires of which we have no idea the events leading up to what we watch in our cozy homes.  Watch the videos, discuss them with your people, but don't criticize one another in a public forum.  Get the information and discuss it, but until you know the whole story, don't sharp shoot tactics and videos.

Until the next time, Stay Disciplined and Stay Trained.


  1. Jonah, great post. You are right on the money. A while back Nate DeMarse from Brotherhood Instructors posted a video out of Hackensack on their Facebook page as an avenue to get some discussion going. The first couple commenters stuck to the rules and answered the questions Nate posted. From there on the Monday morning quarterbacking and tearing into the Hack brothers was on. It was disgusting. It was after that particular instance of watching us eat our own I decided never to comment again on a video unless I was pointing out the good that was contained in it. Leave the looking down the nose and nit-picking to the keyboard firefighters. The rest of us will keep on trying to help and support our brothers and sisters doing the job.

  2. Chris that video you speak of was put up around the same time as the one from Ca. with the helmet cam. I watched the comments on that FB page and actually laughed because so many were outlandish and rediculous. At least on FB the folks could hide behind their names.

    Funny part is you don't see any sharpshooting in the Fire Engineering Training Community.....Wonder why, oh wait I'm pretty sure Ray McCormack, Bill Gustin, or any of the other FE Folks could out tactic Captain Anonymous any day.

  3. That police officer looked like he had handled the pipe before. Watsonville is not too far from where I live and I know that a lot of police officers and firefighters live in mountain communities nearby that are serviced by volunteers. That police officer may have been a volunteer firefighter. I couldn't agree more about attacking through the blogosphere from the safety of mommy and daddy's basement, keep the poison to yourself.

    Everybody is emboldened when anonymous and online. Stand behind what you have to say or don't say it.

  4. Exactly Mark, let's save that stuff for personal conversations with our friends, not some public forum. The mom and dad's basement comment......Classic.