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Jim Silvernail's Blog (7)

Are tactics a one size fit all?

I recently saw a question on social media which asked: " Do you think the tactics used and developed in urban departments are universal?"  This is an outstanding question. First of all, what are tactics?  Are they the same as strategy?  Or are they the implementation of fire ground actions/functions?  If you were taught that tactics are the implementation of fire ground functions, then there are many circumstances which affect the implementation of actions, making universal tactics extremely…


Added by Jim Silvernail on February 17, 2016 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

A Good Suppression Plan = A Great Safety Plan

The RIT/RIC dilemma raised its ugly head again last week when my friend Doug Mitchell (25 to Survive) posted a chart of FDNY’s RIT statistics from 1989 to 2008.  The stats that really grabbed my attention were 1. The elapsed time from the working fire declaration (10-75) until the Mayday, 19 minutes, and 2. Who found the Mayday firefighter.  First alarm units, excluding the F.A.S.T. or RIT team, found the Mayday firefighter 76.47% of the…


Added by Jim Silvernail on August 12, 2015 at 12:14pm — No Comments

The Coordinated Attack: Stealing the X’s and O’s from Football’s Playbook

If you have ever sat through one of my lectures this will not be new.  But as the high school, college and professional football players begin to get back to their practice fields, I thought this lesson in coordinated tactics was relevant.

Many comparisons can be made between American Football and Firefighting. …


Added by Jim Silvernail on August 2, 2014 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Size Up Begins with an Honest Look in the Mirror

Often we are asked, "When does size up begin?"  Many times when asked this, most fire officers and firefighters answer: at the receipt of the alarm.  Very true, but it begins way before this.  In the realm of situational awareness it begins with a very honest look in the mirror.  Simply stated; however, sometimes difficult and painful.

Even though I find it beneficial and necessary to differentiate your capabilities by your circumstance or particular demographic (often…


Added by Jim Silvernail on May 1, 2014 at 10:24am — No Comments

Fingerspitzengefühl: Know your Enemy!

I know many who are reading this had to do a double take.  Yes that word is spelled correctly: Fingerspitzengefühl.

The German word Fingerspitzengefühl translates directly into English as "finger tip feel."  However, its meaning is much greater than this literal translation.  In German, it describes great situational awareness and being able to most appropriately and tactfully respond. It can be well applied to diplomats, bearers of bad news, or a superior ability to…


Added by Jim Silvernail on February 14, 2014 at 10:49am — No Comments

Am I a 1710 hypocrite?

I currently serve as a technical member to the NFPA standard 1710. This is the famous standard which suggests response guidelines to structure fires and mandates 4 personnel staffing on all apparatus for paid fire agencies. It also supports the principle of 2 in/2 out which is defined in NFPA 1500. The standard has many other valuable suggestions and guidelines, but for the purpose of this entry I would like to concentrate on these main issues.

As many of you know, I also authored…


Added by Jim Silvernail on January 30, 2014 at 8:00am — No Comments

Round Pegs in Square Holes: Implementing Tactics that Work for Your Agency

How many agencies take the time to analyze their tactical proficiencies and truly are honest about their success in relation to their capabilities?

All fire agencies, unfortunately, are not created equal.  We know that many are better staffed, better trained, have more experience, and more resources.  It is an unfortunate fact.  The bottom line; however, is that we all have the same objectives and mandates to our sworn citizens:

  • To save lives
  • To protect…

Added by Jim Silvernail on January 23, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

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