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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 the turn of the last century (1900). On the market, it's probably worth $50.000.00 and most of that is for the land the building is sitting on. 

There are two types of building owners!  Those that have and those that do not have fire insurance. The building owner had a decision to make as it relates to the purchase of insurance.  Chief officers and first arriving company officers also have decisions to make.  To blindly run into any building simply because smoke or fire is showing represents NTS or "Non Thinking Syndrome" as Billy Goldfeder calls it. 

The current and previous administration of Toledo's fire department shows leadership and a caring for the men and women of the department by fostering an attitude that shows that there is dignity and honor in restraint. They get it!

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Comment by Skip Coleman on August 5, 2011 at 10:08pm
Again, thanks for the comments. As I told Michael, there is mire than one right way to fight a fire. Two things,
1) they followed procedure - the administration of the department set the policy to not enter obviously vacant past fire eroded, boarded up buildings. They resisted the urge and did as the department wanted them to and
2) everyone went home.
Why did they even show up? They assured that the un-insured previously burned, boarded up building didn't spread to other occupied buildings? After that threat, they put the fire out from the outside.

Different administrations allow for different actions. They accept the responsibility. In my opinion, "they get it"!
Comment by Skip Coleman on July 30, 2011 at 2:01pm

Again, Good Comments from Michael and Dan.  I do not want to stray from the main reason I posted this blog.  I personally believe that there are still too many departments, chiefs and officers that have a belief where anytime smoke or fire is present,  that the first action must be to start an offensive interior firefight.

In Toledo, a mindset has been developed that  - as I stated in the blog -  fosters "an attitude that shows that there is dignity and honor in restraint".  The last firefighter fireground fatality in Toledo was in 1969. (Prior to that we averaged one every 4 years on average.)  No bad for a 300,000 + populated city with a department responding to over 400 "working structure" fires a year (defined as a fire utilizing 3 or more companies for more than 30 minutes.)  and continually has extremely low civilian fire death rate.  (In early 2000, we went almost two years without a fatality.) Not bad for a department that "gets it". 

Michael, we can discuss search over some drinks any time,  but we both know that there is almost always more then one "right way" to fight a fire and conversely, more than one "wrong way" to fight a fire.  I am confident both our ways protect the citizens and our firefighters to the best degree. 

Comment by Michael Bricault (ret) on July 30, 2011 at 12:34pm

-Dan, well said. It's all about a proper size up, remembering priorities like L.I.P. (Life safety, Incident stabilization and Property conservation) and a risk evaluation.

1. Risk everything to save a life

2. Risk a little for property

3. Risk nothing for that which is gone

-Skip, since we continue to disagree on these posts and are both published on the subject, I would look forward to an opportunity to discuss the finer points of search and rescue operations with you some time. Best of luck with the book.

Comment by Dan Rice on July 30, 2011 at 10:57am

I don’t see where these concepts that have been presented in these opinions represent “Leaping” into the incident. Nothing has been said about improperly assessing the scene or running into this structure with no reason or established concept of why they are doing such. Its general initial decision making that can make this a dangerous situation or, a properly operated, safe, and productive scene. If conditions in this scenario make it an overly dangerous scenario for the companies then yes pull them out and keep the men safe. Life Safety and Property Conservation must remain in our minds. Good opinions by all though



Comment by Skip Coleman on July 29, 2011 at 4:46pm
I do not agree with any of your contentions. Your first point is that they are in the hazard zone. The "collapse" zone for this construction type is 1/3 the height of the building . 1/3 of 25 ft (being generous) is approximately 8 ft. In that city, 8 ft won't get you to the curb.
I have a new book coming out on Search next month. In it I disagree with all your contentions on search. That city in the picture has a policy that no interior firefighting operations will be conducted on this type of building unless "seen or heard" victims are present. They followed policy.
We have disagreed in the past and will disagree again. Is just you being with your experience and opinion and me being me with my experience and opinions.
Still love ya brother!
Comment by Michael Bricault (ret) on July 29, 2011 at 1:35pm

-Skip, I'm not to sure about the "someone taught them good" line. Who said its ok to be working a structure fire without full ppe? These guys are in the hazard zone and the officer in charge should be loosing his mind. It's hot out?! Something like this is grounds for serious discipline. I work in a city where the summers are miserable and this type of reckless conduct would start heads rolling.

-Secondly, and this is a pet peeve... regardless if this building is "unoccupied" a primary search must be made. If the building is truly vacant than how did the fire start? Mice with matches? A lightning strike? The answer is... HUMAN INTERVENTION. Therefore the person who started the fire, malicious or not, may still be inside and in need of rescue. Of all the skills and abilities possessed by firefighters and chief officers, omniscience is not among them. ALL structures are occupied until a search has proven otherwise. 

-Yes Mike France size up is all important!!! Especially in these economic times there is no such thing as a truly abandoned structure. Homeless may have taken up residence, it may be a drug den for those addicted or even unsupervised children playing inside this "urban playground".

-The only considerations for not searching an occupancy is structural instability or seriously advanced fire conditions making the interior incompatible with human life. In either case the occupancy, or what's left of it, will be searched, even if its just rubble. Acknowledging that the photo is only one moment captured in time, it appears that the first floor may be tenable for a search; maybe even part of the second floor.

-From what is visible in the photo, the occupancy has still not been opened up. The first floor is still boarded over and that is sloppy firefighting!! Pull the boards from the 1st floor doors and windows... someone may have become trapped and overcome or even come walking out.  At least make easier access for the firefighters operating. 

-The photo is an excellent depiction of needlessly reckless, sloppy, complacent firefighting and that is inexcusable.

Comment by Skip Coleman on July 27, 2011 at 3:59pm
Thanks all of you for your comments. Seem like you all are on the same page. It's something that the younger firefighters don't like but the mind set must be first instilled and then reinforced and soon, they too will learn to "look before they leap".
Comment by Charles Bezanson on July 27, 2011 at 3:55pm
 It is something far to few of us does right. and some last alarms as of late testify to this as fact
Comment by Chuck Wehrli on July 26, 2011 at 2:27pm
Comment by Mike France on July 26, 2011 at 11:48am
Very True , it's all about proper size up.

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