SOP's are thoughts preserved.
I am passionate about many things surrounding the fire service. I see value in education and experience. One without the other can fall short. I have spent time in person, on the phone, messaging etc. with some of the most brilliant (some educated, some simply experienced tailboarders, drivers and officers who gained knowledge thru busy tours). I generally hate reading but see value in it. As I read fire service literature both old and new I see so many of the same thoughts being presented by the author now and then. The words have changed but the meat of the message is fairly consistent. When the fire service began moving away from SOP's they also moved away from years of information. Information that is not written down can be lost forever. SOP's should be updated and relevant. They should be the frame work for the actions expected at an incident. SOP's and strong Incident Command implemented from the front end of the incident (can most often be a working command). Incident Command is something that helps to implement, apply and adjust if needed the SOP for the alarm. Oddly enough you can call an "audible" from the play if needed. Yet, calling the "audible" is not the play itself. You should have a known starting point. It is not SOP's versus Incident Command. It is SOP's and Incident Command.
For just a minute I will speak to those who oppose an SOP based response (provided thru written documents, education, training and drill, enforced by those who lead). I have heard some of the fears of being constrained to a "plan", boxed into a format that's too rigid, etc. I ask you to pause and see the true value in the words written and conveyed. Many a great mind has conveyed some of the most incredible thoughts. Those thoughts have fallen onto many kitchen tables across America, left there by some, picked up by others, passed on by a few. If those thoughts are written down they are captured forever, not lost. Please see this is the heart of my passion for SOP based responses, the words capture the thoughts (they can actually be updated......weird) forever. The words are passed along for generations. Things that are to some, cutting edge, riveting and new are for the most part history that was lost. "Door control"- known and taught for years, lost without SOP's and written documents. "Quick water" - nothing new here, most agencies have had that SOP for years, and they know when it applies (PS it is not always....) VES again, without an SOP and clear written guidelines someone forgot to close the door, someone else went to one class with the sole intent of teaching to gain fame, shame on you sir, you have no HONOR.
Please take time to digest the words that I have written, read them several times. Do not be quick to respond, to defend your kingdom, just take a minute and try to understand fully why this threatens you so much. Please look in, not out. Look around, read, and pass along. If someone had not written it down, you could not be reading it. When you are listening to senior folks, write it down for them. The most honorable thing a junior member could do for a senior is to volunteer to type up their memoirs for them. You have talents with your devices, keyboards, etc. The time is now to put them to a proper, respectful use. Close your mouth, and type what you hear. Please just listen. Please understand that LISTEN and SILENT have the exact same letters....there is no accident there. Thank you for your time.
This job gets real, real quick.
Scott Corrigan, Engine Company Officer, Pierce County WA
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