3) Making an all-out effort to win or succeed.
According to Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aggressive this is the third meaning of the word aggressive.
Often times we hear the term used in a sense of operations. An aggressive fire department goes in all the time, an aggressive engine company never uses transitional attacks, an aggressive truck company throws a ladder at every window even on still alarms, etc. so you can see the list can go on and on.
And with aggressive firefighting I often hear how some firefighters are not aggressive rather they are cowardly in their duties to perform.
This has never been more prevalent than on social media; I see the photos and videos posted with the statements what would you do, or would you go in? As normal there are some that say of course I would go in you’re a coward if you don’t others say no way risk a lot save a lot so on and so forth. I have often shared these same photos and videos on Small Town Tactics and Tools. But what drives your answer? To me, I want to hear how your department would handle said situation and while a picture and video only show a small part and small second or so in time how would you approach this fire.
My key audience is small towns, smaller suburbs and rural area firefighters and still I see a huge difference in replies at times.
For some the mere thought of going in on a vacant is pointless, vacant means empty, to some that’s totally dangerous and you the fire department must search it. Other times I hear hit it hard from the yard knock it down and then push in for the kill. Others prefer to go in from the unburnt side and push the products of combustion out away from trapped occupants.
Which one is wrong? Which one is aggressive?
To many the fireman who wants to go in and push the fire products out the window would be deemed the Jake worth their weight and the other individual is a yard breathing want to be. But is he?
What kind of staffing do they have?
How is their training?
What kind of water supply do they have?
What kind of experience do they have?
What kind of officer do they have?
These are all questions I try and ask myself before judging whether they are incorrect or not. And before I say they are not aggressive.
So what is an aggressive firefighter/department?
To me it’s the firefighter who does there best with what they got they work there tails off; their 1%er’s on the fire ground and in the station. They know how to do the most with what they have. There movements are like an engine everyone has a purpose and they move with skillful tact. They don't base their tactics off the latest trend rather they base their operations on their area, tools, staffing, water, etc. For example a rural department without a tower ladder should not be adopting tower ladder operations from a bucket; rather they look at the skill set and examine what they can use and how to use it.
Often times if you step back and listen to people talk about their tactics you can get an idea about their training levels and what they have worked on. For instance when I ask someone about pistol grips I often hear we love them, Chances are they were only shown how to handle a nozzle with a pistol grip. Or I see smoothbore comments and people reply they are junk and too hard to handle, to me sounds like they have never gone over pump ops with a smoothbore. Same applies to tactics. When I hear "its vacant you’re suicidal if you go in surround and drown"(room and contents fire only) tells me one they likely have not dealt with squatters, two their fire attack training may not be what it should, essentially it falls back on training.
Now maybe they’re not aggressive with their training (you won’t learn to be good at the craft watching Paternity Court on TV). You got to get out there and train, and train hard!
That’s where if you see these subjects struggling in a field you feel they are off in (such as individuals who only use pistol grips) help them, educate them don't leave them hanging, but don’t belittle them as cowardly and unfit to wear the badge. Rather explain your reasoning and help them understand your views. Not everyone will but people do notice it.
To me judging from the definition listed above aggressive firefighters are more than guys who go in from the unburnt side on all working fires. It’s a combination of things from training to performance and everything in-between like an athlete the game may end but the training goes on combine that with the will to win they can be an aggressive athlete
And after all, are we not just fire service athletes?