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Learning from Death

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  • Learning from Death

    I felt very much the same as Dr. Carter as I read his article on the dangers of firefighting. I come from the West and when the 14 firefighters lost their life on Storm King Mountain in Colorado, it made quite an impact. I even stood on the spot where 12 of them died and then where the other two had died, and unless you have stood on the ground where someone has lost their life in such a noble endeavor, I can't describe what I felt. But, I did know, without a doubt, that I never wanted to have this feeling in my area, and, I wanted to do whatever I could to make a difference nationally.

    My partner and I took a lead role in transferring the current information from Aviation to the Fire Service so that we could prevent the circumstances that occured on Storm King and I'm sure other areas.

    On a recent course, one Fire Chief stopped me while I was discussing a LODD and berated me for (as Dr.Carter stated) "Monday Morning Quarterbacking." I couldn't have disagreed more with him. My greatest wish is that I do not become a statistic in this job. My second is that if I do, that some good should come out of the tragedy. I think that an uninvestigated death, and unchanged procedures, is, in fact, a double death--because it is bound to happen again...

    Keep up the good work and don't let those people who are killed and injured in the line of duty disappear from our trainings and discussions....

    Randy Okray
    Campbell County Fire Department
    Gillette, WY 82716

    [email protected]

  • #2
    Battalion3... You're absolutely right. The true tragedy of an LODD is when no experience or lesson is picked up to prevent it from happening again in the future. The thing that I feel people don't understand is the difference between "monday morning quarterbacking" and constructive criticism or learning from a mistake (yours or another's). To prevent history from repeating itself we must be proactive in training and drills but we also have to be reactive. I say reactive in the sense of reacting to a tragedy or a near miss by spotting what triggered the incident and correcting it before it becomes a problem again.

    Be Safe.

    BTW... Dr. Carter... if you read this... keep up the good work. I'm a friend of the person you mentioned in South Jersey and I must say, your piece meant a lot to him, as well as many others. Hopefully. I'll see you at the seminar in Boonton.


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