These are the logical steps you must take in any emergency. They were initially created for fire-related emergencies, but times are changing. We all know (or should know by now) that fires and fire-related emergencies are now a smaller percentage of the average fire department’s workload. We need to broaden our thought processes to the widest possible range of emergencies that our fire department may be called on to handle. Here are just a few for your consideration:
• Motor vehicle accidents
• Vehicle extrication and rescues
• Water-related emergencies (drownings, swiftwater rescues, etc.)
• Potential hazardous materials/chemical incidents (including suicides involving combinations of household cleaning materials)
Train yourself to be an observer, and train yourself to become a recorder of observations and thoughts. It is this combination of thinking skills that will make you a successful “right-seat” rider. Assess the elements of the call to which you and your unit have been dispatched, then calmly decide which of the many actions you and your crew have been trained to do is appropriate for the situation at hand.
None of the above tasks are easy to master. They all require a conscious effort on your part to learn and make them a part of your riding-the-right-front-seat tool kit. When they become a part of your soul, they will become your standard way of operating. Further, you must train your crew in the ways in which they will need to operate at a given emergency situation.
Team-building starts with the person riding the right-front seat. So too does a successful emergency operation. You may be a rookie or a veteran. You may be a permanent officer or an acting officer. You may not even be with your regular crew. Regardless, it is up to you to get the job done safely. When riding the right-front seat, you have a short time within which to succeed or fail. How you do is up to you.
FIREHOUSE EXPO BLURB:
Harry R. Carter, Ph.D., will present “The Leadership/Followership Equation” at Firehouse Expo 2011.