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Skip Coleman's Blog (44)

What Type of Search Would You Use #2? Split Level

Thanks to those that posted comments. They were good and showed some different ideas which is what I want.  

In this scenario, we have a fire in a split level residential house.  The fire occurs at 0630 hours on a Sunday morning. As with all these scenarios, what you see is what you get!   As a reminder, you are using your departments staffing, procedures and equipment.

Here is what i want to discuss:

  • Where would you enter the house to begin your…
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Added by Skip Coleman on September 17, 2013 at 11:10am — 4 Comments

Search Scenario #1 Bungalow

When I teach, I usually bring up the point that “there is always more than one right way to fight a fire and conversely, more than one wrong way to fight a fire”.  What works (or worked) in Toledo may not work in New York and vice versa.  

In my third book, “Searching Smarter” (published by Fire Engineering/Pennwell, 2011), in Chapter 2,  I discuss the four types of search I am aware of; those being “Standard Search”, “Team Search”, “Vent Enter Search (VES)” and the “Oriented…

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Added by Skip Coleman on September 6, 2013 at 10:00am — 12 Comments

Search Scenarios

For the next few weeks I am going to post blogs that ask questions concerning searching.  Of everything we do on the fireground, I believe Search is the poorest evolution we conduct.  I have my ideas why but that’s another  blog for another time.

I will embed video in the blog that shows a fire problem.  In each of these, assume you are operating in your jurisdiction with your resources.  If your staffing is 5 plus an officer or two, whatever - it’s what you have to work with.  Bring…

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Added by Skip Coleman on September 3, 2013 at 3:46pm — 2 Comments

What are You Going to Do? - Tornado's

Things get messed up on occasion at almost every level of almost every occupation.  As an example I posted a Round Table question in Fire Engineering Magazine a month or two ago.  Due to extensive and I must add quite insightful and interesting coverage of Hurricane Sandy in the June and July issues,  it kind of got lost. I think it was a great opportunity for those that “do”, to help those that “don’t” (but should).  And in an occupation that prides itself on brother and sisterhood, isn’t…

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Added by Skip Coleman on August 23, 2013 at 1:30pm — 6 Comments

The Best is Yet to Come

I have good news and I have bad news.  The good news is that "things" in the fire service are finally changing and changing for the better.  The bad news is that some of you may not like it. 



I just got back from a weekend with some of the largest minds in today's fire service. (Not quite sure what I was doing there.) Here is some of what’s coming or in some cases, already here.

  • Did you know that every fire apparatus built after 2008 (I believe – maybe 2009)  has a…
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Added by Skip Coleman on August 14, 2013 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

They get it!

I saw this in the paper a few days back.  Someone taught them good! 

What do they have? A Vacant Storefront, 90+ degree temps outside and no exposure problems.

Not because this is my old department but examples of this reinforce the concept that some departments just "get it"!

This is an old storefront on the East Side of town.   Probably built around…

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Added by Skip Coleman on July 26, 2011 at 11:10am — 10 Comments

Round Table Review - Seat Belt Policy

Just a quick recap of last question. Does your department have a mandatory seat belt policy? Is it enforced and who is responsible for its enforcement?  Does the officer have any culpability if a firefighter knowingly violates the policy and should he?

13 responses were all pretty identical (with the exception of 1).

All 13 said their department had a policy. Only one said that it was never enforced even with accidents and injuries. It was interesting that 4 of the responses we from… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on July 7, 2011 at 5:30pm — 2 Comments

Whose job is it?

First off I want to thank everyone for the kind words I received at this years FDIC.

Ever onward!

At this years FDIC I was moderator of Round Table "Off Line".

One of the questions I posed to the esteemed panel was "We continually hear of firefighter injured and/or killed in vehicular accidents because they were not wearing their seat belts. Should the office be held responsible for this and to what extent?".

We had a good discussion there and I hope we have a similar good… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on April 18, 2011 at 6:30pm — 5 Comments

Looking at both sides of the fire.

I was forwarded the letter below (in red) from my wife.  Her sisters’ life-long friend sent it to her. 

Mike had a fire in his home and lost everything.  Literally, everything.  This is not about the fire department that responded.  This is an extremely rural, mountainous region and I am sure they did everything possible.

The reason for this is simply to remind us all of what I am sure most of us take for granted.  “Someone had a fire in their home”!  OMG!  I have gone to…

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Added by Skip Coleman on January 27, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Things that drive me crazy! (or crazier)



I suppose we all have pet peeves. As anal as I am, I have more than my share. One of them is what is shown in the photo above. Now, to be fair, no water is flowing (yet) and I am sure that the men and women of the Pawtucket fire department are among the best in the country. But - what's the firefighter doing at the tip of the aerial?

In my opinion, he or she is in one of the most dangerous positions a firefighter can put themselves in - and… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on October 21, 2010 at 9:52am — 7 Comments

Too Hot - The last!

Ok! On March 22nd. I asked "HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE FLOOR YOU ARE CRAWLING ON IS BECOMING WEAKENED BY FIRE?" I had one fire officer post a comment. One!

Billy Goldfeder recently put out another e-mail on his "Secret List" about another firefighter falling into a basement in a floor collapse. PLEASE don't tell me that as an officer, don't have a method of determining the fire conditions below you. Please. Pass on to other firefighters how you know if the floor assembly you are crawling on… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on April 29, 2010 at 6:13pm — 14 Comments

“True Colors” Brother and Sisterhood in the Toledo Fire Department

Last week, the members of the Toledo Fire Department were faced with a very difficult decision. Along with the decisions they made at fires and on EMS runs which affect life and death and the preservation of property, they had to decide on the shape of the Brother and Sisterhood of the department. The question: “Let 125 young firefighters get laid off and for the remaining brothers and sisters with seniority, keep their well deserved pay-raises, pension pick-ups and reduced healthcare costs OR… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on April 6, 2010 at 12:00pm — 4 Comments

More of "Too Hot" Stuff

I Blogged last (February 5th. to be exact) on "How do you know when it's getting too hot when you are inside a fire building"? I extend the question!



God Love Billy Goldfeder! He sends out his "Secret List" and as we all should be aware, most of us are dying responding to and returning from incidents. If you look at the list of other ways we are dying and getting hurt "really bad", collapses of floor assemblies is at the top of the list.



Many are as a result of fires… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on March 22, 2010 at 4:25pm — 3 Comments

Too Hot #2

Alright! The blog has been there for weeks. Only one comment. I just finished teaching to 100 or so firefighters from the south east. No one there had an answer!


I really can't believe it. 300,000 firefighters in the United States and no one can tell us how to tell if it's getting too hot in the atmosphere they are in.


Come on - if your shy, get over it and help us out. How do you monitor heat conditions inside a burning…
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Added by Skip Coleman on February 5, 2010 at 2:40pm — 22 Comments

Too Hot

OK! I have a question. I have brought this up to the past few groups I have worked with. It stems from the video of the kids (recruit firefighters) from the DC area putting on the demonstration to the pre-school kid and they get burned. If you haven’t seen it – here is a short clip. Demo very short.wmv

This also springs from recent firefighter injuries and fatalities. Guys falling through fire… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on January 18, 2010 at 2:30pm — 14 Comments

Good Job Detroit Battalion 9

I look at the Fire Engineering web page more than once daily. There are several places I go when I visit - one of them being the photo;s on the front page. I skim through and look for good things and bad. I find both (in my opinion).

Kudos' to DFD and the 9th. Battalion. This picture is great (again - in my opinion).

I don't think most departments use aerials enough for "normal" operations. Here is a straight stick, spotted correctly and… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on January 1, 2010 at 4:49pm — No Comments

An Encouraging Training Session

I just finished giving a two-day training program to a very “together” group of firefighters and officers. I won’t mention where the training took place, but it was very apparent that these departments worked well together.

The group of fire departments was part of an area where over 40 departments existed in the same county. Of course, there was a major metropolitan department representing one of the 40 departments and surprisingly, they were represented at the training.

I had the… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on December 16, 2009 at 5:35pm — 3 Comments

More "Nevers"

In my last post, I was talking about the “NEVER” word. You see, we say things around the kitchen table and the young crew members listen and pick up on this stuff. Their minds are quite impressionable at that early age and their concern is to do a good job. So they listen and take in what they hear. So, if you’re at the kitchen table and discussing a fire and one of the old salts says something like “Did you see what Engine 16 did on Elm Street? They used a fog stream inside a building.” Then… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on November 17, 2009 at 4:49pm — 3 Comments

Never say Never

I usually question veteran firefighters that tell a recruit or new-be “Son! Never hit smoke with a hose stream – Only the “red-stuff”!” or “Never take your gloves off”. (For those of you who are scratching your head saying “Tommie told me to never hit smoke”! If your intent is to cool unprotected steel, like the underside of a metal deck roof you are crawling under and all you see is smoke up there – it’s OK to hit smoke! I’ll discuss the glove thing in a minute.)

You see, when we tell… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on November 5, 2009 at 4:00pm — 8 Comments

It's like riding a bike

As I mentioned in my last blog about buddy breathing, 75% of what you learn (hands-on wise) is lost - forgotten, if you don't reinforce (practice) it within two weeks. There is psychological theory that states "when people are put in a stressful situation, they revert to what is "usual and customary" for them. These to "theory's" work hand in hand and ignoring them has cost a lot of us our lives.

Rick Lasky took self-rescue and firefighter rescue to new levels several years ago. With the… Continue

Added by Skip Coleman on October 20, 2009 at 4:43pm — 4 Comments

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