What is this term "Compliant Complacency" you ask? Well to be honest we are seeing more of it not only on the training ground but at fires as well. The underlying cause is textbook training. When we drive training to "the standard" we often produce compliant testing results that may not be best suited for real world situations.
When we teach classes like our Critical Decision Making Under Fire or Thermal Insult Recognition, we focus heavily on having a better understanding of the limitations of our PPE. Unfortunately though (in my opinion) some firefighters have been mislead along the way. Before we get all hysterical saying NOT TRUE, hear me out. We all can agree that our (PPE) our Personal Protective Ensemble is absolutely critical to going home at the end of an incident... But most firefighters have no idea how their PPE was designed, tested and how it really protects us. And we didn't even mention to what degree will that PPE provide protection! Case in point in the photo below: Why would a firefighter wear his or her protective hood this way? Now some instructors will take exception to the answer. But here it is... Because somebody allowed it to happen. Good instructors know that muscle memory is established through repetition of a skill set. Now take that repetition and focus on quality assurance that "No bare skin is showing" during donning drills; GOOD. Then benchmark these drills with quantitative testing for time. (tick-tock, tick-tock) Focusing on these two points for compliance can simply create bad habits. Habits that instructors or testers may have instilled in that firefighter. A hood donned like the one shown above offers the firefighter less than 25% visibility and absolutely no peripheral vision. We are already handcuffed with today's hostile fire environment, why would you want to go into battle with just 25% visibility? (SA) Situational Awareness - Training for the environment you are expected to work in! Firefighters that are exposed to regular training the use backwards hoods for SCBA confidence; often see no problem with just 25% visibility. Why? because most of the time they were exposed to 0% visibility from a hood worn in reverse! Isn't that the definition of "Training to Failure". But hey hoods worn like this will provide additional protection to that mask lens and they have no bare skin showing! Real world tactics require us to make critical decisions under fire; for which in reality requires the use of ALL of our heightened senses!