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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 "Saving Our Own" program, Rick has probably been responsible for several firefighter rescues through his teaching and writing. We brought him to Toledo and he taught a core group of us the Ladder Bailout, Denver Drill, John Nance drill and several other self rescue techniques.
Allison Materney, a recruit firefighter fell through a weak floor in a house and down into a crawl space. A dining room table landed on top of her and she could not get up. She was only a few months out of drill school.This was at a time when only the officer had a portable radio. Lt. Steve Lewis taught SCBA's to the recruits. He "pounded" into their minds full of mush the use of the PASS device and to activate it if you ever get into trouble. To them (the recruits) activating their PASS devise was a "usual and customary" as putting on their nomex hoods before going into a fire or brushing their teeth in the morning. When Allison fell, the first thing she did was activate her PASS. It was her PASS that alerted crews in the area she was in trouble. She reverted to what was "customary". She was burned but returned to work after missing a few tours,
My point: Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can do the ladder bailout or tie a handcuff knot or a multitude of other "simple" tasks a year or two after you initially learn them. I know, It like riding a bike. Once you learn you never forget. Been on a bike lately after not riding for a while? You can do it but you are a little "wobbly" at first.
Which of these evolutions do you want to be "a little wobbly" at in your next emergency stressful situation. What about helping your brother or sister if they get in trouble. What do they think is acceptable for you to be a "little wobbly" at? Today, What is "customary and routine" to you? Activating your PASS or watching Jerry Springer?

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Comment by Dan Rice on October 26, 2009 at 9:45am
Great posting brother! Its time for us as a whole to rise up and take pride in our jobs again and strive to be the very best we can. This job is getting more and more dangerous as every day passes and to many are sitting back and not taking advantage of the training opportunities that are available to us. Don’t become complacent in your job, that’s why or LODD number keep raising. Some obviously are unavoidable situations but to many are due to lack of training and complacency in our job. Thank you for doing your part to open the eyes of this service and push people to better themselves, and their crews!
Stay safe
Comment by Kevin Lanford on October 23, 2009 at 10:18am
Great post, reminds us that we all need to keep practicing and building on the fundamental skills that we learn, especially the "mental" part of fundamental. Thanks!
Comment by Jeff Schwering on October 22, 2009 at 6:42pm
Skip, we are are wobbly! but seems to many other things occupy members time and doing something about it can be like running full steam into a brick wall, but as a boss, that's what tylenol is for.
Comment by Jason Hoevelmann on October 22, 2009 at 11:13am
That was a great post. This is where the company officer makes all the difference. If every crew on every shift would do a 30 minute to hour company drill every shift day, it would help to make tying that knot or performing the "simple" tasks that you speak of. But, like you mention, too many of us are too busy doing other things or thinking we "already know that." Thanks for the post.

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