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Part of the reason I agreed to participate in this blog is my urge to get us (all firefighters, including myself) to think. Just like the little fire problem I gave you to "think" about a week ago, I plan to present some photos and other illustrations, simply to get you to look at things form hopefully, a different perspective.

We at Fire Engineering continually get questions concerning the cover photos on the magazine. Yes, we realize that not every photo is showing a perfect fireground operation. Our hope is that you look at the cover, then try to analyse what is going on. Sometimes it's tough because you are only getting one small snippet of a big, continually evolving scene. Hopefully after you analyze the cover, you take it to the station kitchen table and talk to others on your crew about it as well.

When I teach I use the word "focus" a lot. I think that my job as an incident commander is to focus on this big picture in front of me. A Company officer's job is then to focus on his or her assignment. If everybody maintains their focus, hopefully, everything gets done.

Part of my focus is to continually look at "the picture", whatever the "picture" is (a house on fire or an overturned vehicle at an MVA) and make sure that everything that can be done with the staffing that I have on scene, is being done. Another part of my focus is to again, continually look at "the picture" and if something doesn't look right - quickly evaluate it and then stop it!

Look at the photo below that was a cover of Fire Engineering a few years ago, and try to guess where I'm going to go with this.

You pull up at this fire and this is the first thing you see. "What is stopping these guys from using the doors to get in?????" Almost anytime we have to enter a building that is on fire and we can't use the normal means of ingress/egress because of fire conditions--bells and whistles should be going off in our heads. Something isn't right! Again, what is stopping these guys from going in and out the front or back doors? If something doesn't look right -- stop it! What do you think?


posted by Skip Coleman
7/15/2007 09:09:00 AM

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Blogger John Buckman said...

I believe the challenge is how to overcome the task saturation that comes with being an IC that is not operating at the strategic level. Most IC's are very comfortable operating at the tactical level and in many casesIC to perform more efficiently and effectively in a rapidly changing, hostile environment.

John M. Buckman III

Sun Jul 15, 09:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger NWG said...

Seems like many questionable decisions were made by the first-arriving company officers. It almost seems like they "thought too hard" about how to enter the structure. Hopefully the IC arrived on location soon enough to change these initial tactics, revise the strategy, and give the company officers a new set of tactics. Obviously we don't know if there was entrapment, but the dry 1 3/4" line in the center window indicates that the firefighters entering the structure are not solely in search mode.

As a young company officer (maybe not in terms of age but in terms of years as an officer) I have yet to pull up on something like this. As the initial IC, however, my hope is that I wouldn't overthink the situation, but make sound strategic and tactical decisions that wouldn't require the arriving chief to undo an unsafe situation I've created.

I also look at that picture and wonder if they're abandoning the building or entering the building. I'm not sure which situation I'd find worse--not using the doors to enter the structure, or several firefighters in the process of escaping an untenable situation--upon arrival as an IC.

Chris Mc Loone

Mon Jul 16, 09:12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Russ Chapman said...

This looks to me as a well thought out process of VES that is attempted when there is a bonified report of a victem still inside, and in these particular rooms. Knowing this department that is pictured, this was not a panic situation, but like I said, a well thought out operation. VES is conducted and initiated for just these types of grabs. The key here is to control the door in the room being entered, or making a quick sweep of the room and then get out immediately. That is, to me, what it looks like what is occuring here.

Lt. Russ Chapman

Mon Jul 16, 06:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Skip Coleman said...

I posted this photo as an example. I have no comment on the particular fire that occured nor the tactics employed. My point is that if you pull up and see firefighters doing something un-natural such as going in and coming out windows instead of doors, something may not be right and if something isn't right - maybe we need to go to plan "B".

Tue Jul 17, 09:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Robo said...

VES for victims, entering/ exiting, don't know. My concern is the FF's in the structure on the lower right hand side of the photo not wearing their PPE. The guy inside does not have the regulator on nor does the guy entering/existing the window. Same for the guy going up the ladder. He does not even look ready to mask up. A little smoke may be okay but that much black smoke just can't be good for ya. IC has enough to worry about upon arrival. FF must use good judgement and wear their PPE.

Wed Jul 18, 10:02:00 AM EDT  

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