Will someone please help me understand! In the next two days, two highly respected Texas firefighters will be laid to rest. One a seasoned veteran and one an up and coming leader. These two men did not start the day with a reckless sense of duty. They were being pro active and training, doing something that they probably did before, only this time something went wrong. Was it the equipment? Was it human error? Was it lack of supervision? Was it experience? Only time will tell. My intention is not to “Monday Morning Quarterback” what has happened in Kilgore, Texas. I was not there. Maybe this is not the best time to speak out. However, I can’t sit silent anymore. As many of my close personal friends head to Kilgore to assist this department during their time of need, I can’t help but to once again feel great sorrow for the families and the Bothers and Sisters of this small Texas department who lost their family while training. If not now, when? When will it be a good time for all of us to wake up and realize we need to do something differently so that we DO NOT KILL FIREFIGHTERS TRAINING…..PERIOD.
Will someone please help me understand how, and more importantly why firefighters are dying and being severely injured during training? I personally have had the opportunity to work with some of the best firefighters in the Country and I have witnessed how they conduct their training. I personally have been involved in training literally thousands of firefighters. Based on my 25 years of experience, I can’t fathom killing a firefighter during training. Is it that we don’t think we can cause harm during training and therefore let down our guard? Do we not apply the same risk management principles in training as we do on actual incidents? Do we create scenarios that are unrealistic, and then attempt to handle them with far less resources than we would on an actual incident? Are inexperienced people fighting out of their weight class and conducting training that they are not qualified to conduct? Are egos involved? Do we still have those “knuckle heads” who believe that hotter is better, and the “by golly” I did it and so will you attitude? Well you know what? Maybe you were lucky.
Everyday I hear experienced guys complain about the lack of experience in today’s fire service. Guess what, twenty years of riding on a big red truck does not equal experience. Is it our so called experienced guys that are planning and conducting these deadly training sessions?
I’m pleading with those of you involved with training to DRT (Do The Right Thing) and make sure you personally do everything you can to PTB (Protect The Brothers) and make sure no one dies, or gets seriously injured during training. I challenge officers to pull back on the reins a little and do your job to make sure no one is exposed to unnecessary risks during training and that EGH (Everyone Goes Home). To those Chiefs who are managers and pro claim that they leave operations to others. News flash…at the end of the day it falls in your lap. Get involved and have a clue as to what is going on in YOUR department. To all FOOLS; maybe we should adopt a new saying, NODT (No One Dies Training) and use our influence to sell and reinforce the same.
Unfortunately we will see more training related deaths. We may even have one here in The Colony. But if it does happen, I fully expect to be held accountable. So as you start your tour today. As you conduct your roll-call. Please take a minute and make sure that any and all training activities will be conducted safely, that they are adequately supervised, and above all, survivable.
God bless the families of Kyle Perkins and Cory Galloway and the Brothers and Sisters of the Kilgore Fire Department. Let us all remember that they died trying to become better firefighters…