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firerescue.hotims.com FIREFIGH TERNATION. COM
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way someone decided that
some fire departments are democratic, which couldn’t be further
from the truth. While yes, you have a choice and a right to be or
not to be a firefighter (that is the question—sorry, William, I had
to), once you make that decision (career or volunteer, we ALL
made a choice to join or not) you are expected to follow rules,
policies, and orders. You are expected to do as you are taught and
do as you are ordered—and, BADA BING, you do it! We make an
offer you can’t refuse. (See what I did there?)
This Is NOT a democracy. But be it a democracy or a dictatorship, it requires leadership. That’s the first step: Determine who is
in charge. Who is the head of the family?
In each of the e-mails I received on this fire and the department, the writers indicated that a firefighter was transported to
the hospital following a collapse at the structure fire. I hope she
is doing better. The fact is that there are times when we may get
hurt, or worse, and that may very well be a part of the job—a very
rare part but a known factor nonetheless. They key questions are:
Was her injury necessary? Was she performing a search for possible
victims? Was she removing a trapped victim? Was she searching for
a down firefighter? No, No, No, and No.
Was she or the crews following their training and operations
policies and guidelines? No, because they don’t have any. Does the
department have regular training? No. Does the department have
physicals? No. Does the department have leadership? No. Is there a
plan that ensures mutual-aid departments operate collaboratively?
No. When mutual aid responds, does the mutual-aid department
place its personnel on an unled fireground with no command,
control, or accountability? YES.
Don Corleone said: “I spent my whole life trying not to be careless,” and that comes by preparedness well before one has to be
prepared. Unfortunately, the department described is the opposite
of that, and its most recent “warning” was the firefighter injury.
A warning reminds us that things can get worse. Pay attention to
warnings. A horse’s head in a bed, for example, that was a warning
for Jack Woltz, the movie director. Heed the warning.
If you have a chance to reach out to anyone at the department
who is interested in getting the place squared away, you should do
them that favor. Someday, and that day may never come, you may
call on them to do a service for you. But until that day, consider
this brief list a gift for them through you, a gift on this, the day,
the day that I write this column.
1. Identify the department leadership from the mayor and the
safety director. They need a chief. Now.
2. Develop a plan that includes operational rules, regulations,
policies, and procedures, all based on best practices and standards focused on life saving and fire extinguishment.
3. Identify the risks within the community and within the fire
department, After all, it may be time for some to swim with
4. Institute immediate training (hands on and classroom) on #2.
Reach out to the state trainers or neighboring departments
and use what they have as a start.
5. Include mutual-aid departments in the training, or have them