Saturday, July 30, 2011

Asheville LODD

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The First Post

Well, I guess like every other member of my generation I am slowly falling victim to the internet trap called a blog.......I started this blog to add another resource to the many that are already out there for the fire service.  My focus will start on health, wellness, and safety all passions of mine when it comes to our job.  I feel like these topics cause more problems and arguments with many in our profession than they truly should.  We all want to be aggressive firefighters, but we can't do it the way they used to in the old days.  Many fail to realize this and attempt to teach the young firefighters how they need to do it.....

Now don't jump on me about not liking fire service tradition, because I am a true believer in that, but let's keep the traditions that are positive around.  Let's leave behind the carcinogen covered gear and helmets that scream "Look at me I stand up when its way too hot" and "I think I'm a bad ass because my gear hasn't been washed since I got it".  Let's leave behind the "We don't need physicals" and the "Who needs to work out?" and bring with us the selfless nature of the true firefighter.  The bravery and the respect for the profession, the public, and the firefighters that got us where we are today.  we should continue the "ball busting", the "probie period", and the continuous rounds of practical jokes.  We can't ever forget that our job is fun, that's why we do it.  If we can just begin to change our culture when it comes to safety we will move forward everyday.

You say safety and most firefighters immediately use some derogatory words soon after.  Yeah, safety can interfere with what we want to do, but doesn't that word get us home to the people that matter to us?  Safety doesn't mean standing outside of fires, or wearing a complete body reflective suit, it means making calculated risks and operating properly and consciously on emergency scenes.  Many take safety too far and handcuff guys and girls on scenes to the point where they can't act as firefighters should.  The right blend of aggressiveness and safety saves victims of emergencies and gets us all home the next day.

Well, that's my first stab at it, hopefully it won't be my last..........Stay safe and stay trained.