Command Tip of the Week Identifying Building Construction Type II

In this edition, we will discuss how to identify Type II building construction. This is critical as fire behavior will change based on building construction and many other associated factors, thus being able to identify the type of construction can be beneficial in strategy and tactics.


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Command Tip of the Week Identifying Building Construction: Type I

In this edition, we will discuss how to identify Type II building construction. This is critical as fire behavior will change based on building construction and many other associated factors, thus being able to identify the type of construction can be beneficial in strategy and tactics.


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Command Tip of the Week Situational Awareness

We are going to discuss Situational Awareness Management and why this is important from a command perspective.  Here are some key points to remember when dealing with any emergency response to help maintain situational awareness.  Remember an incident should not be an emergency to us, this is what we do.


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Command Tip of the Week Work Groups & Tactical Objectives

In this edition, we will be discussing work groups and tactical objectives as they relate to an incident action plan (IAP). No single person, or incident commander can do everything by themselves. Effective fire ground commanders are exceptional because they create effective teams to accomplish a considerable amount of work. Here are some suggested practices.


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Command Tip of the Week Incident Objectives

This tip will cover your tactical objectives you give to responding companies, along with tips on how to effectively communicate. It is important to have clear and concise communications to maintain command presence. Please enjoy.


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Command Tip of the Week Incident Priorities

This tip of there week will help you prioritize your actions and assist you in your decision making on incident scenes.

Today we are going to discuss incident priorities as they relate to an incident action plan. Our incident action plan is our roadmap to a successful ending of an event.

The fire service has always embraced mnemonics, Lloyd Layman introduced RECEO VS in the 1930’s in his book Fundamentals of Firefighting Tactics. Today, RECEO VS is still relevant but whether you use the flavor of the month like RIVAS, Life, Property and Environment or Life Safety, Property Conservation and Incident Stabilization they all cover the same priorities.  Life is always out top priority.


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Command Tip of the Week Normalization of Deviance

How are past experiences has set us up for failure.


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Command Tip of the Week Risk Assessment vs. Risk Analysis

This weeks tip we are going to discuss Risk Assessment vs. Risk Analysis as it relates to a secondary size up for an incident and why this information is important.

 


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Your Obligation as a Fire Service Professional

These are the Top 3 obligations you accept when you add firefighter to your name. These are true if you are the recruit Firefighter all the way up to the Fire Chief. Whether you are paid or a volunteer, your obligations do not change. I want to apologize for I am about to get on my soapbox, I shouldn’t but I am going to anyway.

3. Competence in your job
We all are expected to earn the respect of our peers and our community by understanding and performing our duties in a competent manner. If you are the firefighter who has the main responsibility of cleaning the heads and pulling lines, or the Battalion Chief with responsibility of incident management, know this: The fire does not burn differently if you are not competent or inexperienced and it damn sure does not care about your pay status. The competence factor is one that ensures you make decisions that will not cause your teammates to have to risk their lives to save yours. This does not mean once you have had a few fires you can stop learning. A wise Firefighter once told me that in this profession every day is school day, if you are not learning something new every day you are falling behind and becoming less competent and prepared to handle the ever-changing Fire Service environment. So, commit to lifelong learning or find some other profession to do that won’t put others at risk.

2. Accept Responsibility for your Actions
Firefighting is not an exact science. There are many appropriate ways to fight a fire. There are also several wrong ways to do this job. If you miss reread the signs or make a decision that does not work, do not stand behind that decision accept it, learn from it and move on. I have seen on many occasion in my career, people stand and try to defend a task or tactic that was proven wrong. I have even heard them say if I had to do it all over again, I would make the same decision. That is not accepting responsibility for a mistake. It is not learning from it and it doesn’t install confidence from your peers. You will gain more respect from your team if you own your missteps and learn from them and try not to make the same mistake twice.

1. Ethical Behavior
When you accept the firefighter position you represent a long list of firefighters who came before you. There are certain benefits that come with this name. I am not talking about discounted meals or any other monetary perk, I am talking about respect of the community. With this respect comes some strings, you are expected to conduct yourself in a certain manner. This is on-duty and off-duty, in your professional live and your private life. How often do you see headlines in the media that a firefighter did this or that? Had they been a private citizen the same event would have no media attention but because it was a fire fighter its headlines. The same thing occurs in social media, recently I had an exchange with a so-called firefighter who was using inappropriate language (F-Bombs & sexual comments) and bullying others. I pointed out that what they were doing was reflecting poorly on all firefighters. The response I received was physically impossible. Then I became the focus of the groups attack, I was called a hobbyist and lacked leadership because I was attacking someone with PTSD who had had over 100 rescues from burning buildings. Are you kidding me! Wow imagine my embarrassment he was an actual hero. No matter what, hero or not ethical behavior is not negotiable for the fire service.

So, if you are a formal or informal leader, a Chief Officer or (as I have heard so many times) “I’m Just a Firefighter “and you observe any firefighter not meeting their obligation pull them aside and say something. The Career/life you save maybe your own.


Command Tip of the Week-Survivability Profile

The discussion is on a survivability profile as it relates to a secondary size up for an incident, and why this information is important to first arriving companies.
There are four components that should be evaluated for survivability profile. They are: occupants, firefighters/responders, the fire involved structure, and exposures. When evaluating life safety issues, use three descriptors: survival likely, survival marginal and survival unlikely.


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Command Tip of the Week- Flow Path

Today Scott is going to discuss the Interior Flow Path as it relates to a secondary size up for an incident and why this information is important.

 

There are two types of flow paths Unidirectional & Bidirectional. When we identify the flow path we can increase firefighter safety by appropriately directing attack lines to the safest path.


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Command Tip of the Week- Flow Path

Today, Scott is going to discuss the Interior Flow Path as it relates to a secondary size up for an incident and why this information is important.

 

There are two types of flow paths Unidirectional & Bidirectional. Reading of the flow path can increase firefighter safety by directing the attack from a safer location.


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Command Tip of the Week-Conditions Found

Today Scott is going to discuss the Fire Conditions as they relate to a secondary size up for an incident and why this information is important.  We should predict the fire conditions by observing the smoke behavior and location.  You should evaluate the smoke and location to determine what type of fire you are dealing with.


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Command Tip of the Week-Entry and Egress Points

In todays tip Scott is going to discuss the Entry and Egress points of a building as it relates to a secondary size up for an incident and why this information is important.  We should look at the access points from two perspectives.  You must evaluate the entry and egress from a civilian perspective and an emergency response perspective.  These are not the same issue but one may affect the other.


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Command Tip of the Week-Design and Construction Features

In today's tip Scott is going to discuss the design and construction features of a building as it relates to a secondary size up for an incident and why this information is important. In the Fire Service we talk a good game about a 360° Assessment.  But is it always done.


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Command Tip of the Week-SHOWING Overview

In this weeks tip Scott is going to discuss an initial radio report system. We are going to do a quick review of what should be included in the initial radio report.  This is the report you give when you first arrive on the scene.  It is not intended to be a complete assessment of the incident but a brief description.

 


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Command Tip of the Week Give a Command Designation

This weeks tip  Scott is going to discuss the giving a command designation for an incident and why this information is important. When we decide command options we have three choices. These choices are Investigation, Command and Immediate Action.


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Command Tip of the Week Needs

This week Scott is going to discuss the needs of an incident and why this information is important. The Incident needs can be addressed in the following terms Additional Alarms, Emergency Medical Resources and Command Staff.


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Command Tip of the Week Initial Actions

In this weeks tip we are going to discuss the initial actions to be taken at an incident and why this information is important. Your Initial Actions are determined by what you see upon arrival.  These actions can be securing a water supply, pulling attack lines, but at a minimum it should be completion of a 360° assessment.


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Command Tip of the Week Witnessed Conditions

In this weeks tip we are going to discuss the witnessed conditions of an incident and why this information is important. Witnessed conditions can be reported as nothing showing, Smoke showing and Fire showing.  Each description has different connotations.

 


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Occupancy of the Building

This week's tip is going to discuss the occupancy of the building and why that is important. The occupancy type can help predict occupant loading as well as fire loading.  Fire loading affects required fire flow.
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Height of Building

This week's tip is going to discuss the height of the building and why that is important for a good size up. There are three descriptors we would like you to use when it comes to the height of the building. (more…)


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Size of Building

This week's tip is going to discuss the size of the building and why that is important.  There have been numerous studies done to determine the appropriate number of firefighters that should respond to an incident. (more…)


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Does Size-up Matter?

This week's tip is going to answer the question does size up matter?  And the answer is absolutely yes.  If we do not do a good size up that can lead to inaccurate assumptions, Inaccurate assumption may lead to inappropriate actions. (more…)


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Commitment, Heroism, and Bravery (part 1)

I recently saw a movie, for those of you who know me or have ever taken a class from me the fact I saw a movie may come as a shock.  The movie was “Hacksaw Ridge”. The story was about a World War II conscientious objector, Desmond Doss who served as a combat medic.  After viewing the movie I was so intrigued I did some research on Corporal Desmond Thomas Doss. (more…)


Commitment, Heroism, and Bravery (part 2)

Desmond Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1919 to a super-religious family of hardcore Bible-thumping Seventh-Day Adventists. A firm believer in the Sixth Commandment (that's the one about not murdering other people), He registered for the draft on his 18th birthday like every patriotic red-blooded football-watching American man was supposed to do, and he took a decent civvie job working on Navy ships at the Newport News docks, but then just to be safe he went out and took a little bit of medical training as well so that in case his number actually got called he could be sure he wouldn't have to be packing heat when he was deployed into a hellacious overseas war zone. (more…)


Commitment, Heroism, and Bravery (part 3)

When I think of Pvt. 1st Class Desmond Doss, I ask myself was Desmond just brave or did he have something to prove, was he so confident in his faith that he had no worries, was he suicidal or just plain crazy?  When I contemplate those questions, I must answer “I don't know’”.  But they lead me to another question. (more…)


Valor, Fidelity and Sacrifice

Recently I was fortunate to spend a day at the National "D" Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. It was a thought provoking and emotional experience. There were two especially thought provoking items on the walls of the memorial for me. (more…)


Situational Awareness Management

It is with heavy Heart that I write this issue of the SGA Newsletter. In the past few weeks we have lost several brothers in Blue. As a matter of fact, this year we have lost almost 200 Firefighters, Police Officers and EMS personnel in the line of duty. This is heartbreaking and unacceptable for emergency responders. The majority of these line of duty deaths can be attributed to a breakdown of situational awareness. With complete understanding of situational awareness most of these responders would not have taken the actions that contributed to their deaths. Let's be clear dying in the line of duty is NOT an heroic act it is a tragedy. (more…)


Secondary Size-Up

The following are the Rules of Engagement for Incident Commanders, developed by the Safety, Health and Survival Section International Association of Fire Chiefs. (more…)


Irish Heritage with Police Officers and Firefighters

Following the great potato famine in Ireland during the 18th century many Irish immigrated to the United States of America, bringing their traditions with them.Work for these immigrants was often very difficult to find. Factories and shops displayed signs reading “NINA” meaning No Irish Need Apply. The only jobs they could get were the civil service jobs that were dirty, dangerous or both — firefighters and police officers — jobs that no one else wanted. Both of these careers were considered undesirable due to low pay, few benefits, and poor working conditions. The Irish gladly accepted these careers because it was a way to become a part of mainstream America, and it was a way to give back to their new country. (more…)


Building Construction

In the past, firefighters were often recruited from the trades or from the military. With technological advancements, computers, industrialization, robotizing what used to be completed by humans using hand tools, and outsourcing to third world countries, the use of hand tools and trades has changed. Thus, many of the up coming firefighters have not been taught how to use saws, hand tools, basic construction concepts, and mechanical skills. This presents a challenge for the fire service since a good portion of what we do is based around building systems and processes. (more…)


What is a firefighters’ life worth?

When I ask the question “what would you do to save the life of another firefighter”? I usually get two answers. The first answer is, which firefighter? And after the laughing stops the serious answer comes out and that answer is whatever it takes. If that is a true statement lets discuss “whatever it takes”. (more…)