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  • Catch22
    replied
    Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I agree with most of this, however my comment was directed specifically to the "low opportunity" for experience crowd. Without the regular ability to get that "real world" experience, training is the only avenue that can start to overcome that.

    Mentoring is great, however if your veterans have little real world experience, then you likely won't reap much benefit from the process in terms of relaying that real world experience.

    I would tend to agree with the recognition-primed decision making theory and the lack of "slides" to pull from for some. To me, this is clear in some of the "what would you do?" threads that come up. A picture gets posted of a decent sized SFD with fire venting from a couple of windows and a lot of smoke pouring out and we see initial tactics being thrown around like hitting it with the deck gun or pulling a 2-1/2 line when more than likely this fire could be (and has been) quickly knocked down by an experienced attack crew and a single 1-3/4 line.

    If you don't see much fire, then I suppose having 2 rooms off upon arrival is a "big fire" and you may not realize just how much fire the smaller line can put out when properly applied.
    This is where "good" training has to take place of that experience. As an career training chief, vollie chief, and an instructor, I have to find a way to build those slides. We have the ability to use things like the Fire Studio software to simulate fires, burn buildings/trailers to simulate the heat of fire, and on occassion (fewer occassions, thanks to people who can't do it safely) we can use a structure for live-fire training.

    Beyond that, it takes a lot of trying to build those slides however we can. YouTube videos, pictures and discussions on here, and things like that are one way. Sometimes it takes a lot of creativity, but we have to do what we can.

    Leave a comment:


  • jimmyg34
    replied
    Thank you

    Thank you for all of the excellent and thought provoking questions and answers.

    Jim Gower, NNFD Virginia

    Leave a comment:


  • DeputyChiefGonzo
    replied
    Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Thank you for the correction.

    I'm probably listening to too much jazz.
    I get it....

    Leave a comment:


  • LaFireEducator
    replied
    Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    That was actually Colerain (OH) Township.
    Thank you for the correction.

    I'm probably listening to too much jazz.

    Leave a comment:


  • LaFireEducator
    replied

    I have nothing against safety... hell I preached it everyday. But you also have to use your head. I have seen guys doing everything right, but leaning to cautious and safety, still get their butt handed to them. If we do not try to push the envelop, then why bother at all? We cannot save everything, but that should not cause us to migrate to a platform of "let it burn.... I don't want to risk getting a hang nail."


    I agree with a lot of what you say, but the section highlighted in red causes me concern, especially for small rural VFDs, which is truly my interest in terms of this discussion.

    Bottom line, if you truly beleive that any department should be pushing the envelope, it should only be departments with the best training, significant experience and some damn fine equipment. The fact is most small town and rural departments do not have those. They are generally less well equipped, have limited experience and limited training. Expecting them to push the envelope if they want to be considered firefighters, as compared to firesitters, is simply not a realistic expectation and could get them into some serious trouble which I doubt they would have the training and/or experience to get themselves out of.

    It takes no particluar knowledge or skillset to position for a defensive fire posture. Humans have been doing that for thousands of years. That is not what we were meant to do.


    Again, disagree. Fact is many departments do not possess a significant interior skillset, due in part to limited, inaccessible, distant or overly expensive state-level training and limited in house training capabilities due to limited state training (see above) and incidents to gain experience. Is this an excuse? I guess I would call it a reason as they can do little to change that reality.

    We can talk about the value of internet training, but the reality is without significant hands-on training to reinforce or practice it, it has limited value. Even a well-planned series of dry drills covering the basics still does not prepare personnel for the heat and smoke of interior operations, which are almost impossible to replicate without a burn building. And the sad fact is that even a burn building is beyond the financial capabilities or many departments, or even groups of departments.

    Knight, I know nothing about your background, which in all of our cases shapes our views. I have a background in busy suburban volunteer and combo departments, as well as a couple of stints in rural areas with very limited resources. I know what it's like to try to develop a knowledge and experience base on 2 or 3 fires a year, or running a training program with a budget of less than 1K.
    The simple fact is any firefighter that has an expectation od interior attack beyond a single room fire is simply not connected with the real world, and while it may sound like an insult, it is not meant in that way. It simply is not realistic to have that expectation.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 07-29-2010, 09:49 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • PaladinKnight
    replied
    Well stated Catch22.

    Because we do have a lack of opportunity to live drill new people, they must rely on the old veterans to provide guidance. But in departments that have gutted the roster in favor of new younger blood, this asset does not exist. I have found this to be very true in my last three assignments. Lots of wall paper, but no real experience.

    What you are left with are very cautious commanders that lack the experience and the aggressive nature. They almost always lean to defense if they have not seen this before. Aggressiveness does not automatically translate to recklessness. There is a distinct difference.

    Your comment about beginning your knock down on the exterior is key to the debate. This is where it must begin, unless you have no access to start there, say a interior room with little extension. We almost always fight our way in. Once we can see what is inside, we formulate a new opinion about what we are dealing with, then change accordingly. If we are effective, we drive on. If it looks like the situation is dire, we retreat. But what I interpret might not be what you interpret.

    I have good reason to not risk my people. I was the guy that became the human torch. I didn't like it then, and I doubt I would like it in the future. I don't want any Firefighter to deal with that pain and suffering. But that doesn't mean I will not push an attack. My entrapment was due to a very poor command decision to deploy 9 people at once in a three story dwelling. There was only a few left to pry us out when the thing went to hell and collapsed in my sector. My team mates were basically hurled out of the only door, but regrouped to fight back to me. 7 guys were injured in that one moment, but I was the only one trapped and burned. I have a damn good reason to be cautious.

    Those of us older guys base our decision making on past knowledge and have the advantage of seeing and dealing with things that many of the newer, younger bunch have not experienced. So what looks like a simple deal to us, looks like a five alarm to a young inexperienced commander.

    I was really impressed to learn that a well placed stream of water actually puts out the fire. Duh! Well if you don't put the stream where you need it, then you don't put out the fire. That seems pretty simple, but we all mostly know that it is not that easy. You first have to get there and make your own vantage or attack point to find success.

    I have nothing against safety... hell I preached it everyday. But you also have to use your head. I have seen guys doing everything right, but leaning to cautious and safety, still get their butt handed to them. If we do not try to push the envelop, then why bother at all? We cannot save everything, but that should not cause us to migrate to a platform of "let it burn.... I don't want to risk getting a hang nail."

    Your illustration of the slides is a keen observation and I appreciate it. I don't know how we solve all of the issues and this command thing. There has never been anything easy about this job. But this debate does bring to the forefront, that in fact, we have dumbed down the job with many taking the easy course. If it was easy, then our losses would be zero. Well we have along ways to go, but we are marching that direction... one step forward and two steps back.

    It takes no particluar knowledge or skillset to position for a defensive fire posture. Humans have been doing that for thousands of years. That is not what we were meant to do.

    And please do not confuse this with departments that do not have adquate resources, manpower or funding by no fault of their own. I am certain they are doing the best they can. But there is room for improvement everywhere, every department, every firefighter.

    Leave a comment:


  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by Catch22 View Post
    Herein lies part of the problem- Adequate experience. It is estimated that in order to replace a 20-year veteran, it will take a new guy 30 years to gain the same amount of experience.

    While I tend to agree with what much of Ray McCormack had to say in his presentation, I think he was a bit on the wreckless side. What FDNY does and how they fight fire cannot be replicated by more than a handful of departments in the US. NY is built where people are stacked on top of people, and they have adapted their operations to fit that. They are aggressive and experienced at that type of operation.

    What I have heard several rookies take out of McCormack's words were that we are becoming a bunch of pansies and we're letting safety override our "job". These are the same rookies that wear their helmet earflaps up so they can "feel the heat on their ears and no when it's too hot to be inside", despite the fact they've only been in a dozen fires and are too wound up on adrenalin to even realize their ears are blistered until they're in rehab.

    What I took out of McCormack's presentation was that we are not as aggressive as we used to be. Since when did the term "defensive" come to apply all exterior operations? When did interior operations become the ONLY means to really fight fire? On many occassions I've arrived at a fire and made an exterior attack and shifted into an interior. It's not hard. I've seen younger officers take similar fires and make a weak exterior attack and wrote the building off because it was too involved to make an interior attack when they could have been aggressive, knocked it down, and then went in for the kill.

    There's a couple of factors that often get lost out of this type of discussion. Firefighters work off of recognition-primed decision-making. When we see something it creates a slide in our mind. If we have that slide already in our mind, we recognize it and it primes our decisions based on the outcome of that last slide. I do not have the slides the guys retiring now have, and the guys coming on now don't have the slides I do. It will take me half again as long to get all the slides the guys retiring now got in their 20 years, and it will take half again as long for the new kids to get mine.

    "Safety" and "aggressiveness" can go hand-in-hand. We have not found a new way to kill ourselves in 200 years that I'm aware of, yet we keep making the same mistakes. Everytime a firefighter dies, you can find an error chain where something wasn't noticed and it progressed to the point that the fatality occurred. I.e., someone didn't notice the weak floor that collapsed, someone didn't notice the need for a seatbelt, someone didn't notice the indicators of flashover.

    Experience is everything, yet training enhances that experience. Real-world training builds those slides for us to go back on. The problem is, we can't do "real world" fire training anymore. Now we must stick these new guys with experienced officers that will mentor them and make those slides stick in their head by using a real fire as a training opportunity instead of putting out the fire then going back to the station and sitting in the recliner.
    I agree with most of this, however my comment was directed specifically to the "low opportunity" for experience crowd. Without the regular ability to get that "real world" experience, training is the only avenue that can start to overcome that.

    Mentoring is great, however if your veterans have little real world experience, then you likely won't reap much benefit from the process in terms of relaying that real world experience.

    I would tend to agree with the recognition-primed decision making theory and the lack of "slides" to pull from for some. To me, this is clear in some of the "what would you do?" threads that come up. A picture gets posted of a decent sized SFD with fire venting from a couple of windows and a lot of smoke pouring out and we see initial tactics being thrown around like hitting it with the deck gun or pulling a 2-1/2 line when more than likely this fire could be (and has been) quickly knocked down by an experienced attack crew and a single 1-3/4 line.

    If you don't see much fire, then I suppose having 2 rooms off upon arrival is a "big fire" and you may not realize just how much fire the smaller line can put out when properly applied.

    Leave a comment:


  • slackjawedyokel
    replied
    training will never replace experence -- but the more training you have , you will get more benefit out of the actual incidents where you gain experence. Sort of like putting in the last few pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
    Training is too easy to aquire now days to use lack of it as an excuse to lay back.
    -

    Leave a comment:


  • Catch22
    replied
    Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Adequate? NO! However, in lieu of actual experience, I'd say extensive training will generally be much better than little or no training.
    Herein lies part of the problem- Adequate experience. It is estimated that in order to replace a 20-year veteran, it will take a new guy 30 years to gain the same amount of experience.

    While I tend to agree with what much of Ray McCormack had to say in his presentation, I think he was a bit on the wreckless side. What FDNY does and how they fight fire cannot be replicated by more than a handful of departments in the US. NY is built where people are stacked on top of people, and they have adapted their operations to fit that. They are aggressive and experienced at that type of operation.

    What I have heard several rookies take out of McCormack's words were that we are becoming a bunch of pansies and we're letting safety override our "job". These are the same rookies that wear their helmet earflaps up so they can "feel the heat on their ears and no when it's too hot to be inside", despite the fact they've only been in a dozen fires and are too wound up on adrenalin to even realize their ears are blistered until they're in rehab.

    What I took out of McCormack's presentation was that we are not as aggressive as we used to be. Since when did the term "defensive" come to apply all exterior operations? When did interior operations become the ONLY means to really fight fire? On many occassions I've arrived at a fire and made an exterior attack and shifted into an interior. It's not hard. I've seen younger officers take similar fires and make a weak exterior attack and wrote the building off because it was too involved to make an interior attack when they could have been aggressive, knocked it down, and then went in for the kill.

    There's a couple of factors that often get lost out of this type of discussion. Firefighters work off of recognition-primed decision-making. When we see something it creates a slide in our mind. If we have that slide already in our mind, we recognize it and it primes our decisions based on the outcome of that last slide. I do not have the slides the guys retiring now have, and the guys coming on now don't have the slides I do. It will take me half again as long to get all the slides the guys retiring now got in their 20 years, and it will take half again as long for the new kids to get mine.

    "Safety" and "aggressiveness" can go hand-in-hand. We have not found a new way to kill ourselves in 200 years that I'm aware of, yet we keep making the same mistakes. Everytime a firefighter dies, you can find an error chain where something wasn't noticed and it progressed to the point that the fatality occurred. I.e., someone didn't notice the weak floor that collapsed, someone didn't notice the need for a seatbelt, someone didn't notice the indicators of flashover.

    Experience is everything, yet training enhances that experience. Real-world training builds those slides for us to go back on. The problem is, we can't do "real world" fire training anymore. Now we must stick these new guys with experienced officers that will mentor them and make those slides stick in their head by using a real fire as a training opportunity instead of putting out the fire then going back to the station and sitting in the recliner.

    Leave a comment:


  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Indeed.

    There have certainly been situations where a failure to do a scene size-up has been a factor.

    The double LODD incident in Coltrain Twonship comes to mind, where the lack of a 360 was a huge factor in deaths of the firefighters.

    Continueing 360s by command are also critical and often not performed.
    That was actually Colerain (OH) Township.

    Leave a comment:


  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by Capt790 View Post
    I agree with what that Lt. from a big city in New York said: "A culture of extinguishment will bring about safety."

    Let me ask this though: I see a lot of disparaging remarks here and in other places about officers with a lot of training and certifications but little experience. While this may apply to an urban department that goes to a lot of fires, what about the small rural & suburban departments that only go to one or two fires a year at most? Should only their 20 or 30 year members be officers? What if those members have in essence repeated their first year 20 or 30 times?

    Is training an adequate substitute when the opportunities for experience just aren't there?
    Adequate? NO! However, in lieu of actual experience, I'd say extensive training will generally be much better than little or no training.

    Leave a comment:


  • LaFireEducator
    replied
    Originally posted by BW21 View Post
    I think the real issue is people need to start doing SCENE SIZE UP

    How many fires have you all been on where no one does a 360 of the house or apartment?

    I'm guilty
    Indeed.

    There have certainly been situations where a failure to do a scene size-up has been a factor.

    The double LODD incident in Coltrain Twonship comes to mind, where the lack of a 360 was a huge factor in deaths of the firefighters.

    Continueing 360s by command are also critical and often not performed.

    Leave a comment:


  • BW21
    replied
    I think the real issue is people need to start doing SCENE SIZE UP

    How many fires have you all been on where no one does a 360 of the house or apartment?

    I'm guilty

    Leave a comment:


  • PaladinKnight
    replied
    nameless.... well played sir, well played.

    Leave a comment:


  • nameless
    replied
    Everyone loves that Edward F. Croker quotation, "I have no ambition in this world but one, such and such......" If you love that quotation and think our job isn't to save lives and property, maybe you should read the whole thing because there is this little passage:

    "There is an adage which says that, "Nothing can be destroyed except by fire." We strive to preserve from destruction the wealth of the world which is the product of the industry of men, necessary for the comfort of both the rich and the poor. We are defenders from fires of the art which has beautified the world, the product of the genius of men and the means of refinement of mankind. (But, above all; our proudest endeavor is to save lives of men-the work of God Himself."

    Leave a comment:

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