As I was preparing my New Year’s message for 2011 I ran across my posting from Commandsafety.com that I had posted at the start of 2010. After looking it over, I got to thinking about what I had set out to accomplish this past year; what did I intend to do; what did I accomplish, what difference did I make-if any in what I worked at in 2010; did I give back to the fire service, did I support, promote and advocate, did I learn, grow and better myself, did the year have meaning?
I wondered how many line items from this 2010 list did any of my readers hit the mark on, or was this list laidd by the way side, forgotten; but certainly attempted-with good faith. I started putting another list of what needed to be addressed in 2011, but I kept coming back to common themes and similar important issues affecting the fire service as reflected in the previous list. It became readily apparent that this is THE list, with some minor additions and updates. So instead of developing a “new” list, here is the “new” list of “old” issues-that are just as important in twenty eleven.
Take a minute to look it over, think about whateach of these line items can do for you, your organization and the fire service in 2011. Don’t sacrifice or forego on these mission critical areas when so much is at stake in the domain of combat structural fire suppression. Understand the predictability of performance in the buildings and occupancies not only in your jurisdiction, first or second-due areas, but also in those areas that you may be called upon to respond to for greater alarms or mutual aid. Remember Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.
Twenty Eleven (2011)
Here are twenty-one (21) Suggested activities or initiatives for you to consider in 2011….
Above all, be safe in all your endeavors, assignments and incident tasks.
- Regardless of my years of experience, I will increase my understanding of the basic principles of Building Construction, because; Building Knowledge=Firefighter Safety.
- Identify eleven (11) buildings within your first-due or response district and complete a pre-fire plan and present this to my company of organization.
- Identify an area where new residential construction is underway and follow the construction process from foundation through completion to gain an understanding of operational issues.
- I will complete the UL Structural stability of engineered lumber in fire conditions online course AND the new UL Fire Behavior course and implement the lessons learned in my strategic and tactical operations.
- I will not take any building or occupancy for granted, and shall take all precautions to ensure crew integrity and safety during my task assignments.
- Complete a 360 assessment of all buildings upon arrival (or delegate), when ever feasible to gain reconnaissance information on the building and incident risks and implement this info into my strategic, tactical plans or company task assignments.
- Research the issues affecting; Engineered Structural Systems (ESS), Fire Behavior/Fire Dynamics or Fire Suppression Management/Fire Loading and develop a training drill to share the lessons learned.
- Select a new or previous published fire service text book and read up on a subject area that I may have neglected or ignored to increase my skill set.
- Implement an objective approach towards effective risk assessment and profiling of all buildings and occupancies during incident operations and implement balanced tactical deployment with aggressive/measured assignments; recognizing that my company and I are not invincible.
- During demanding Combat Structural Fire Engagements, I will; Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reasons and will not practice Tactical Entertainment.
- Read the Report of the Week (ROTW) on the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System web site and share the operating experience (OE) lessons with my company or department, to reduce the likelihood of a similar or more serious event.
- I will read Eleven (11) NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports and present the lessons learned in a discussion, table top, drill or training program.
- I will attend a regional or national training conference to increase my perspective and awareness of other firefighting, safety or operational methodologies, process or practices to increase firefighter safety in my home organization.
- I will increase my understanding of the NFFF Everyone Goes Home Program initiatives, including the Sixteen Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, Safety Thru Leadership and the Courage to Be Safe Programs and other new program initiatives and advocate and promote enhanced safety measures in my organization.
- I will advocate and promote safe and defensive apparatus operations during emergency responses and will always buckle-up my seat belt and ensure my crew is always belted-in, not placing my company at risk and obeying traffic signals and postings.
- I will implement the New Rules of Engagement during combat structural fire operations; while monitoring and reacting to on-going building performance and fire behavior.
- I will increase my understanding of the Predictability of Building Performance and base my operational deployments on Occupancy Risk not Occupancy Type.
- I will become a mentor to a new or less experienced firefighter and promote the traditions, honor and duty of our fire service profession, tempered with an emphasis on firefighter safety, survival and wellness.
- I will take NO emergency incident responses as being routine in nature, due to frequency , regularity or past performance, demands or outcomes, nor will I take any building for granted; Company, Team and personal safety and integrity is paramount and I will not be complacent, but remain vigilant based upon my training, skills and experience.
- I will be an aggressive firefighter; operating smarter, working within the parameters of my Department’s protocols, regulations and expectations while employing Tactical Patience and NOT underestimate the fireground
- I will not settle for status quo; but strive to achieve my highest potential as a firefighter, company officer or commander; and remember I am a brother/sister (firefighter) to everyone in this great profession
Ensure you’re glancing occasionally in your rear view mirror to monitor where you’ve been, while driving your initiatives, programs, processes and actions forward. Above all, maintain the courage to be safe.
Keep an eye in the rear view mirror; learning from the wisdom and knowledge from where you’ve been, what you’ve done and all your past experiences and practice; but at the same time focusing on the road before you with keen attentiveness on situational awareness, anticipating error-likely conditions and balanced risk assessment and operational management in both your strategic and tactical deployments.