The greatest asset we deploy on the fireground is our people. Perception of passing time can be distorted by stressors and friction points on the fireground. How many times have you felt this?
Have you ever felt pressured by command to rush through tasks and give reports that are not fully investigated/completed. As though they have a checklist that they just want to have all the boxes ticked and the fire will go out and we can go home! We know that is not the case (at least we hope thats not the case).
The first step is recognition that this statement is true. 2 minutes will not feel the same from person to person. To make sure we are all on the same page... set expectations of your people before the fire. Have solid communication and patience. Combine those with trust in your people, controlling emotion and understanding those stressors that come with being a fireman.
The Sunday Preach:
"When 2 minutes do not feel like 2 minutes". If this seems like an abstract comment then you have likely not been a company officer nor an incident commander for any length of time.
The rate at which time passes on the fire ground has a strange sense of speed. For some, it seems to pass quickly. For others, it seems as though the seconds tick by like minutes.
Operating in the IDLH removes and distorts many of our physical senses, also... to many, it impacts the passing time.
While you are many be attempting to monitoring fire conditions, managing searches or line deployments... time seems to fly by. The Command staff asking, what appears to be incessantly your status and the progress of your task completion.
Conversely, the outside forces of command... blinded by the inability to 'enter' the structure has a different picture presented. To them, time can appear to stand still, as they are on a quest to gain more information as to the effectiveness of the plan that is ongoing in front of them.
In the end, 2 minutes IS 2 minutes. But this is about perception. The timeline is real... but in perception in the end is a delicate balance of good communication.
From page 33 "Chief officers can inundate a company that is working diligently to stretch a hoseline down a smoke filled, heat infested hallway to knock down a fire by calling them 20 seconds after they entered to get a situation report." Likewise, a company officer who never reports "extension to the floor above" will delay needed resources to that area.
First and foremost, know that the radio is a listening device. If you need to get a message to the team, know that the message must be prompt, clear, concise and consistent with your role in the operation...