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.
Well, I will have to say that it is exciting and down right fun bailing out of windows whether its head first down a ladder and doing the flip turn or dangling out the window from a small rope held in place by a tool in the corner (I once saw a guy bailout using a plastic Gatorade bottle as the anchor during an instructor development session). Both of these skills are essential and should be mastered just in case you need them to get yourself or crew out of situation. A potential problem arises however when this type of training dominates the hands on drills in your company. Unfortunately we see far too many firefighters who are extremely proficient and bailing out of window or down a ladder but they are not so efficient when it comes to moving hose from the apparatus to the fire. We constantly see the nozzle tucked under the arm pit with two back up firefighters bunched up within 3 feet of the nozzleman. Each subsequently turning to the other and yelling, “We need more hose!” The guy in the back turns and yells into the smoke along a 150’ hand line, “We need more hose!” No one hears the request and there are no hands on the hose anywhere else. Meanwhile the truck crew (yeah baby!) steps over the engine crew and forges ahead. They start dropping ceiling and proficiently expose 2 rooms and a hallway of attic that exposes a slow swirling orange array of rapid oxidation.
It’s getting hot in here now so we need to take some windows out. The sound of glass breaking is like music to the ears of those inside. “We need more hose!!” Nothing. The truck crew finishes up a quick search and heads down. On the way out they tell the engine crew, “Hey you need to get that line up there!”…….. “We need more hose……we need more hose……we need more hose……..” Nothing. RIT is outside being very aggressive at placing ladders for egress and has all the proper equipment ready. “Mayday….mayday….mayday we are bailing out the 2nd floor window on the bravo side!”
Everyone is out safe with only a little discoloration on the turnout gear and a couple melted eye shields. At the critique we applaud ourselves for all the survival training we have been doing and proclaim that if it hadn’t been for that training it could have been bad. We re-double our effort on survival training meanwhile……………………. “We need more hose!”
Not all fire ground tasks are exciting and many require very disciplined teamwork and mastered technique. Moving a hoseline is one of them. Mastery of the essential skills of stretching, moving and operating a hoseline efficiently will prevent more injuries on the fireground than most any other skill.
Balance your training drills to make sure you have the essentials mastered and train to put the fire out instead of spending all your time training to bailout!