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A closer look at incidents that "went well"

Normalization of deviance. If you haven't heard the term, it basically starts with taking shortcuts under pressure. Of course, we're frequently under pressure on this job and, by human nature, we don't always do exactly as we're supposed to. 

We don't buckle our waist strap. We don't throw ladders. We don't have solid incident command.

These things don't frequently make-or-break an incident because we're able to "make it work." Talk about a false sense of security. 

Good outcome. Bad way of getting there. It becomes commonplace without recognition. Boom -- normalization of deviance.

It's like putting together a puzzle you pulled out of your flooded basement. Sure, if you look at it from far enough away, it looks good enough once you've got all the pieces together. But look closely at the pieces, and the faded cardboard or peeling print make you realize it's not so great after all.

This year at my part-time department, we began analyzing our larger incidents, looking at the puzzle piece by piece. The department's training committee picks apart details of the incident, preparing a Post-Incident Review document and presentation that mimics the style of a NIOSH report, without the tragedy.

It shouldn't take a firefighter's death to take a hard, honest look at our operations.

Here are some examples...

Structure Fire PIR:…

River Rescue PIR:…

Other links:

Here's some more info on the normalization of deviance in the fire service setting:…/firefighter-safety--the-no…

HTs to Jake Hoffman of Squad 5 Fire Training, LLPNick Martin of Traditions Training, LLC, and for various pieces of inspiration along the way.

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