A little bit of buzz lately on “aggressive” interior attack. Dave Dodson, retired Battalion Chief from Colorado said “we need to be intellectually aggressive, not arbitrarily aggressive.” He recorded it on Volume 4 of the Everyone Goes Home video series. My Connecticut Compadres PJ Norwood and Frank Ricci were live last week on the “Hump Day Hangout” with Bobby Halton. They covered a lot of ground. They were looking for the right terminology to slow us down just a bit as they referred to “Survivability Profiling” (See more on this below.) I shared Dave’s quote with them and they thought it was spot on. In the past I quoted Alan Brunacini who wrote about Ben Franklin’s paper called “Fast, Close and Wet.” We still need to be fast (without breaking speed records and buckled in), we still need to get close (when building conditions permit) and we still need to get everything wet (well……….yeah).
The word aggressive brings a few things to mind. Wild animals that eat raw meat, killers, boxers and wrestlers, and you can finish the list yourself. Continuing to tell young firefighters entering the service that we are aggressive is certainly macho however I’m not sure if this is the message we want to send. We want them to do better than we did keeping their personal safety in mind. I heard a firefighter recently say “The order has been reversed. It’s now us before them.” I didn’t agree. We’ll always be there to serve the public however we’re simply asking our next generation to be smarter and more deliberate than the generation before. For us 30-40 year vets, it’s out of the box but it’s time to turn the corner. By now, if in fact any of the macho interior aggressive guys are reading this, they have probably stopped. That’s OK. But note there’s a time for everything. Fire on the second floor with people trapped on the second floor. Take a line and a truck company and go get them. John Norman, retired DAC from FDNY said “it’s not just that there are people trapped in a burning building. It’s people who can still be saved that will lead us to put our lives on the line.” People who can still be saved. Capt. Steven Marsar, FDNY wrote an award winning paper (USFA/NFA Outstanding Research Award-EFO Program) “Survivability Profiling.” Read it. They lost 32 guys in New York City over a 23 year period, all in “empty” buildings. Everyone had escaped prior to arrival or were rescued when these 32 brothers fell in the line of duty. Profile the building on arrival. Derive from conditions if people can still be alive or not, and act accordingly.
This isn’t about staying outside the rest of our lives. It’s not about only throwing water in the window from now on. It’s about taking an extra 10 seconds, evaluating what’s going on, heightening our situational awareness and making good sound decisions. Get the next generation to think intellectually not aggressively. Intellectual Interior Attack. Who knows, maybe we’ll drop our injury and LODD rate over time.
Take care, be well, be safe,
Next Back Step Boys radio show is Monday March 23, 1930 hours EST. Join me and Tommy A as we talk about safety, survival and other things.