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Going in Off Duty

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  • Going in Off Duty

    Lately, I have heard stories of firefighters passing by a fire when off duty and rescuing the occupants. I realize that this is what we do, and if most of us were presented with this situation would also find ourselves inside of that fire attempting the rescue. I just want to know what everyone's opinion is on this topic. Would you go in if you knew someone was trapped? What would you do?

    These are my own ideas and opinions and do not reflect the Fort Washington Fire Company in anyway.

  • #2
    I would, but without gear, I'd keep a huge eye on the conditions inside, and would do all possible to get a good location from family members. If I had any means of protection near me, I'd use them. The fire may be one that could be extinguished easily, or one that could roast me with my first crawl in the door, or window. It all depends on how severe it is inside, and my chances of reaching a victim and pulling them out before an entry/escape path becomes too hot or smokey to be any good. Obviously, it does take a hell of a lot of dedication to do, as well as courage, and size-up is a prime factor as to what actions to take. But if I know for sure there's someone inside and I can make it, well... I couldn't just stand there. But others will have differing opinions, and have different factors that'd affect their decisions. I have no kids and am not married, so I don't feel I'm risking as much as someone who's got three boys and a wife waiting for them to get back home with pizza and rented videos...


    • #3
      I think this is a huge personal discretion issue, i mean obviously you want to assess the value of what you are going in for. is there a verified person inside? is the end result...a rescue worth the risk, or are you just doing a body recovery? in either case, the gear you have at hand, the severity of the situation and the knowledge of whether or not the rescue is needed all influence the decision one must make.

      stay safe out there....


      • #4
        I agree with lumpy649,I would but I would have to be darn sure there was someone in there, that they had a chance, and that I had a chance to make it out.


        • #5
          I would given prescribed conditions, meaning there was a chance of making a rescue.

          I find it interesting that one is considered a hero if going in off duty or a cop goes in, but if a firefighter goes in on duty not in full PPE, he/she gets a letter of reprimand in there file.


          • #6
            I, too, will agree with lumpy649. Along with a personal discretion issue, I would have to consider the risk/benefit outcome. You have to cover your assets first.

            As quoted by Chief Taylor, "I find it interesting that one is considered a hero if going in off duty or a cop goes in, but if a firefighter goes in on duty not in full PPE, he/she gets a letter of reprimand in there file."

            I'll have to disagree with you there, chief. The letter should be written in bold with a big,red "STUPID" stamp across it. If a brother/sister FF is bunked out with all of his PPE, I feel I can depend on them to do "the job" and not have to perform a rescue because he/she was stupid. These tools are here for our safety and well being, not for adornment on the truck. Any FF that doesn't use these tools is a hazard to the overall safe operation of "the team" as well as the incident.


            Just my opinions, not my departments. If they are alike, it usually means somethin's gonna happen!


            • #7
              I can't say that I know exactly what Chief Taylor meant, but if you've been around long enough eventually you will see someone cut the corner on some issue of PPE/SOP in order to speed up a critical fireground task.
              Once I pulled up on a truck, watched an engine FF do the following. He raced up a stairwell to an outside landing where an intoxicated man was pushing an overstuffed chair through the doorway. The chair had burst into flames as it hit the doorway, the drunk had fallen to his knees, the chair was immediately beginning to scorch the soffit. Firefighter X grabbed the chair, held it away from his body and dumped it off the landing, dragged the drunk onto the landing. While this happened the officer still was setting up command and going to the compartment for his airpak. The pump was placed in gear by the driver and a trash line put out the chair. Firefighter X never put his facepiece or hood on.

              I was Firefighter X's union rep when his 24 hour suspension (Battalion Chief) was increased to 72 hours by the Chief.

              The example probably doesn't exactly fit your or Chief Taylors comments and really doesn't have anything to do with the original post. (SORRY FORT FF - )
              But it seems to sum up some of the safe at all costs attitude that prevails in todays fire service.

              Be safe

              [This message has been edited by Corvin (edited 05-17-2001).]


              • #8

                its all good about getting offtrack. i like seeing what everyone's opinions are about topics such as these. as for people having the access to proper PPE, and not using it. well shame on them, if they have it there they should have it on or have quick access to putting it on.


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