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David Topczynski's Blog (13)

Where has all the tradesmen gone?

While attending a recent training seminar the presenter, a well respected, seasoned veteran of the fire service made a statement that I seem to hear a lot lately, “the fire service sure has changed from when I first started thirty years go! Where has all the brotherhood and pride gone”.  Now, many are quick to blame the “newer generations” of firefighter’s, but talk with any retired firefighter and they’ll tell you that “these new generation of firefighters” have been “ruining” the fire…


Added by David Topczynski on March 27, 2016 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Size Up: Not always what it seems - part 2

A few months ago I posted an article on fireground size up titled, "Size Up's: Not just what it is, but what it was". This article is the second part on size ups. It focuses on two important factors that are not always discussed when talking about size ups. A major key to being able to perform a good size up actually begins well before the fire with taking the time to get to know your district inside out and…


Added by David Topczynski on January 30, 2016 at 10:00pm — No Comments

212 degrees - the one degree difference

This photo is actually of a poster that I saw in the middle school while on a fire alarm. These posters hang throughout the entire school. It is simple, but it says a lot. This post is simple and short. It's not a motivational speech about being a 212 degree firefighter but reminder not to give up and cool off to 211 degrees. It is about the importance of the single…


Added by David Topczynski on January 25, 2016 at 4:54pm — 2 Comments

Building Renovations: the hidden dangers

Having an understanding of building construction is one of the best tools a firefighter can have to help them perform safely and efficiently at a fire. It may not be possible to know the specific details of a building’s layout before a fire, but by studying how buildings are constructed, we can predict how a fire will behave, travel, and react in different types of buildings.…


Added by David Topczynski on November 18, 2015 at 3:46pm — 1 Comment

Pre-fab Construction in Highrise Buildings

Here are two photos of a highrise building that is being constructed using pre-fab construction methods. As you can see, the A & C sides are placed, then the floor slab of the upper floor, which is held up by struts until the side walls are added. In the second picture you can see the side walls arriving with the windows installed and everything. Mid-rise and high-rise buildings are being constructed like this…


Added by David Topczynski on November 8, 2015 at 8:55pm — 1 Comment

Victim Removal from Confined Area

We recently conducted drills in an old dormitory/clinic building built around the turn of the century and in use through the 1990's. The challenge presented was victim removal, both civilian and firefighter, through the basement windows. The question is, what challenges do anticipate having when removing a victim or firefighter in a confined area? There is only one interior stairwell into the basement, making a…


Added by David Topczynski on October 26, 2015 at 7:42pm — No Comments

Search Skills for the Short Staffed RIT

It is especially important for the understaffed RIT to start searching for the down firefighter as close as possible to their location. The quicker the down firefighter is located the more energy and air supply the understaffed RIT will have to remove them. This is important because usually understaffed departments don’t have extra firefighters on the fireground to form a second, replacement RIT right away. The understaffed RIT needs to save time, their energy, and their air to give the down…


Added by David Topczynski on October 24, 2015 at 6:53pm — No Comments

Understaffed RIT - Arrival & Initial Actions

      As firefighter’s we always want to be ahead of the game,. Especially when operating with short staffed RIT’s. Do not wait until a mayday occurs to make a plan. Have a plan in place on the fireground before a mayday occurs. This does not mean adding a RIT section to pre-plans. It means the RIT members need to have a plan for the fireground they are operating on that is based on what they are presented with at the time. RIT members need to know things like how…


Added by David Topczynski on September 22, 2015 at 12:20pm — No Comments

Understaffed Engine Company - Water Supply

     It is essential that both paid and volunteer engine companies understand how staffing shortages will affect their company’s operation at a fire because operating under staffed will greatly change the way they need to think and act at a structure fire. The difference in minor actions and decisions by the company will greatly affect the fire’s outcome and the overall performance of the company.

     One of the first things the pump operator and officer need to consider when…


Added by David Topczynski on September 6, 2015 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Understaffed Company Operations

I often get asked how I began teaching on the topic of understaffed company operations, or why I feel addressing short staffed operations is so important. The answer is very simple, because our lives depend on it. Most foundation level training programs are based on students working in teams of five or six, even in my own state. Realistically, that is just not practical for many firefighters across the country. Our focus is to take the skills and material taught in most training programs…


Added by David Topczynski on August 29, 2015 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Size Up- Not just What it is but What it was

While out running errands I came across the building that is pictured below. From the street it looks like any other Starbucks, Moes, Cold Stone, Remax and dentist office. But a closer look reveals the old smoke stack and a 360 reveals that it used to be some type of plant or factory. This changes our size up completely. It takes the building from being a possible Type II to a Type III or Type IV. Meaning that instead of truss being our main concern, now it's hidden…


Added by David Topczynski on August 22, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Searching the "Child Proof" Home

It wasn't until I was at a friends house recently that I realized just how "Child Proof" a home can be. There seems to be a gismo that can block any size opening or keep any type of knob from turning on the market. While this is great for the safety of our children these products can create a nightmare for us. There is in fact so many different safety products available that I will start by only discussing baby gates in this post. 

Baby gates come in just about any shape and…


Added by David Topczynski on August 21, 2015 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Training for the Understaffed RIT Company

The topic of short staffed operations is often overlooked, despite it being an issue that many municipalities deal with across the country. Understaffed fireground operations, specifically understaffed rapid intervention team (RIT) operations, is an important topic to address for any fire department. Short staffed operations change the way we operate on the fireground. Understaffed RIT operations directly affect our safety on the fireground. Not being able to rescue a downed firefighter…


Added by David Topczynski on August 20, 2015 at 3:17pm — No Comments

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