It’s a new year and in many fire departments across America large or small, paid, part-paid and volunteer, members of our service will be retiring from positions of command and new faces will be taking their spots. If you are in one of these categories of either retirement or promotion I say congratulations and Godspeed. Now, for those of you getting promoted to command positions (which will include me in 2015) I ask if you are ready to hear one word repeated three times….MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.
No one ever wants to hear this word which most of the time is shouted through a mask and comes across garbled and scrambled. But it will happen somewhere this year and no matter how safe or how well trained you may think you and your department is to handle these situations We as incident commanders need to be ALL ENGAGED and prepared mentally and physically to handle as it comes with this burden of fire ground leadership.
There are volumes of great information out there on handling the MAYDAY event for us to study and train on; my point with this article is to simply say congrats if you are getting promoted, celebrate this awesome accomplishment with your family and love ones but also stop and think if you are truly ready and start the process of education NOW TODAY on preparing yourself for this part of fireground leadership. One of my mentors Chief Billy Goldfeder penned a great article in September of 2014 titled “You Really Want to Be in Command? Seriously?” in it he emphasizes the need to stay on track with command, control and accountability of an incident, it is a great read and one that in my humble opinion should be read after the oath of office at every promotional ceremony. Until this is made mandatory, I respectfully ask that you web search this article, print it out and stick it by your gear rack or wherever it can be clearly seen every day you work.
To help kick start our training, I have included two items for you to review the first is MAYDAY radio traffic from a fire which occurred last year in Baltimore Maryland the audio is courtesy of broadcastify.com and details a firefighter who fell through the stairs going to the second floor and went all the way into the basement the event occurs 14 minutes and 47 seconds into the tape which is in real time. Close your eyes and play this event out in your fire department and place yourself in the command chair. This member was not seriously injured fortunately. The second is a video in which two firefighters became disoriented in the basement of a single family dwelling fire. Place yourself on the sidewalk or command car and handle the MAYDAY. These events are not being provided for critique they are here to assist and utilize for you to envision their occurrence on your fireground with you in command.
Congratulations on your promotion or future promotion Brothers and Sisters, enjoy 2015 and the rest of your career, Be Safe.
Video to review: