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I am seeing more and more firefighters jumping off the truck with their face piece doned. Looking for thoughts about and reasons for doing this.

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I am not sure of the reason; there was a trend of this in my department a while back. We contributed it to the lack of experience. It seemed the fire fighters that did this were rookies, or fresh out of the "rookie stage" with a few fires under thier belt. We have been teaching to not do this. The main reason we are not fans of this is due to the "tunnel vision syndrom". When it comes to the officers, we do not practice this technique. It allows us to see the "bigger picture" and attempt to make correct fire ground decisions based on the entire scene. If I have my mask on well before we initiate our task, I seem to loose some insight due to lack of vision, fogging, hindered communications, etc.
I agree no facepiece should be donned until needed. I had an experience with a new firefighter who was trying to carry a portable ladder from the apparatus with his facepiece on, he tripped on a raised piece of sidewalk and was lucky enough just to receive minor injuries. Your visibility is minimal due to fogging and your peripheal vision is gone. Instruct all your members to don the facepiece just before use not when getting off the rig or when getting tools or ladders. The fireground is dangerous enough without having these type of accidents.
In my opinion, there is absolutely no value to donning a face piece enroute to a Structure Fire. The reasons for not donning the face piece is apparent by the previous responses. The least thing you need to worry about when responding to a Structure is donning PPE's, SCBA's and the face piece. This should be second nature to us. We call ourselves Professional Firefighters which implies we are trained to do our job.

This trend is disturbing and maybe the following questions need to be asked.

1) Do these Departments have written SOG's and Training Bulletins that state, when you donn and doff your face piece. ie entering an
IDLH environment. If they do , whose enforcing it.

2) Do these departments have formal Training Academies with instructors that have Firefighting Experience. An experienced officer
would never teach a Probationary Firefighter to donn his face piece enroute. He/She would teach personal sizeups, learning what
your role is on the fireground, survival techniques and would test the proficiency of your SCBA's, Hose Lays, Ladders as well as
your academics.

3) As a Captain, It is my job to train my Firefighters and enforce department standards. I should be aware of the experience level of
all members on my company. I keep my probationary Firefighter close to me or the senior firefighter on my company. Riding on our
Departments' apparatus with a face piece on would get you a written notice to improve or possible Reprimand on the first offense
because this is considered a safety violations. You would be remediated on your SCBA and would be required to throw your
breather 3 to 4 times a day until I felt you were competent on donning your face piece. Our new Firefighters are required to donn
there SCBA a minimum of 3 to 4 times a day to department standard and are also given go drills as warranted. This builds
confidence and speed. As a Company Officer, It imperative you are competent in donning your SCBA. Lead by Example. I donn my
SCBA every shift and I'm fast as my new firefighters.
I just have one other reason that I have not seen. When I do a 360 walk around I look for a lot of things fire being one. Some times you can’t see it but you can fell it. I know we have a TIC and I use it but some of the old ways should be remembered.
I have never tried doing a walk around with my mask on? I thing that may resolute in a meeting if I did.
Woodchew belive that's how their company officer wants it? Look at IFSTA Essentials, it shows almost no fireground task being done sans mask.
That's a good point Rick. There is such an emphasis placed on safety, especially eye proctection. It is an automatic fail on the Firefighter I practical certification test if they do not have eye protection. So to reduce the possibility of failing the practical station the recruits are taught to wear their facepiece from the start. Great point Rick.
I agree as well, and i have also done this myself. I have noticed on the rig that it seems like everyones edrenilin is pumping and everyone wants to be first to be ready, weather its to grab their tool or the nozzle. Maybe its a habbit after so many reps in the academy...i felt like it limited my visibility of my scene size up.
In my opinion I think this is a bad practice. I like to to put my face piece on right before I go in, at a safe distance from the structure. I find this gives me a few extra seconds to take in my enviroment so that I dont go running right into something dangerous, I would have other wise not noticed, ie downed lines, readable smoke ect.
I don't do it and here's why...

- My peripheral vision is blocked.
- Mask fogs up.
- I can't accurately SMELL, if you will, what is burning.
- Going back to my first reason... The safety concerns of having a block on your situation awareness. UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT.

We train hard on donning full PPE within a 90 second window... if you train well enough there is no reason why you cannot don your face piece before entering.

"Practice Makes Perfect"
YES... what many FF's forget is that we don't enter till our officer tells us to, usually after he does his 360. In this time a line should be in place and mask ready to don.

Jeff Woog said:
I agree as well, and i have also done this myself. I have noticed on the rig that it seems like everyones edrenilin is pumping and everyone wants to be first to be ready, weather its to grab their tool or the nozzle. Maybe its a habbit after so many reps in the academy...i felt like it limited my visibility of my scene size up.
I don't believe that any of the members should step off the rig with a pack on. I feel you should step off and don the pack at the curb, this way you can size-up the structure as your putting the pack on your back. Then not to put your face piece on until you make the door.
As said in the other replies, you need all of your senses when get to and open the entry door. So you can see clearly the conditions, smell the type of fire that is burning (room and contents of ordinary combustibles, petroleum products, or the structure itself) feel the heat, and even hear what the conditions present and communicate to the rest of the company the plan of action. That way you safely enter as a company. BE SAFE!
Good points Gary. The smell of the fire is becoming a lost art I think. I do not see members in my division coming off with masks on, nor do I teach my probies to start that practice. I did get a probie 2 years ago that was taught in a rather large Academy a little North of me and South of you to always come off the rig with the mask on. I informed him on the cons of that practice and he was told to not do that any more. So it is taught but not for the right reasons in my opinion. Faster to get the mask hooked up is not always the best thing.

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