This week is another retro-SOS from my original first few months. These were pictures only so now that we are broadcasting out to the FE community and in full blog mode I will add some commentary. Again, if you already saw this one I hope you get another laugh or affirmation that you are not alone in your thinking.
This is a carryover on last week’s theme that the nozzle is one of the most impactful tools in our quest for safety. There are some in command roles that are over educated and under experienced. These text book and procedure warriors think they are keeping you safe by delaying fire attack until the perfect plan is in place and the redundant systems are backing up the backups. I have seen it many times right after someone returns from a traditional style command class. During the classes you learn how to build and incident action plan and practice it over and over. The problem however is that in the fast paced world of Type 4 and 5 incident command the basic IAP should be automatic. It’s not that you are operating without one it’s just that you don’t need to gather the troops and work through the planning P before you initiate fire attack. Whatever you decide the priority order is you still must accomplish Rescue, Exposure Protection, Confine the Fire, Extinguish the Fire and Overhaul to prevent the fire from coming back. More than enough objectives for initial company officer.
The fire service is notorious for focusing efforts very hard in one direction to accomplish something. This has almost always been at the price of basic fundamental blue collar trade firefighting skills. We don’t drop onto the scene with all the resources and command staff to operate like we can at a training event so our system has to be designed to do the most good with the resources on hand in a system that can grow not only with the incident but with the resources.
Putting a fire out without newly generated NIMS form 201 or RIT in place is not the end all of all sins. 2 in 2 out is the standard and even that can be foregone if there is entrapment. Initial arriving company officers must be trained in a manner that develops decision making skills that will allow them to make the call on when to wait and when to make the attack now. Waiting to knock down a small fire that will double in size is a minute and deteriorate the structure and environment for the occupants in the name of being “safe” is such a misnomer. The goal is to stabilize the situation to eliminate as much risk to the occupants and the other working firefighters as possible. However, WE CANNOT ELIMINATE ALL RISK so if our delaying of fire attack is being done without thought of the consequences then we are actually making things more “unsafe”.
The incident keeps getting worse until enough water is applied to overwhelm the fire. Use command and procedure to help you manage the FIRE incident. Don’t fall into the trap of responding to incidents to manage your procedures and command system.