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Roger A. McGary
Silver Spring Fire Dept.
Silver Spring, MD
Mark Emery responds: I appreciate Chief McGary’s comments regarding my August 2011 article. Regarding RECEOVS, he is correct, that acronym has served well for decades. However, Lloyd Layman identified many more objectives than the Layman-based acronym represents. RECEOVS is not a menu or script; the acronym represents a handful of objectives (not methods) for addressing problems identified during size-up. RECEOVS has limited value because there are important tactical omissions.
For example, where is primary search (PS)? Rescue, search and rescue, and primary search are not synonymous terms nor objectives. Each term addresses a specific life-safety situation as determined by focused size-up. On the contemporary fireground, primary search is conducted as part of a two-in/two-out-compliant offensive operation.
Where is water supply (WS)? The letter V does not address the method of ventilation (OVV, DVV, PPV, HV), which is why I developed my status board shorthand information sheet.
I encourage Chief McGary to read part two, page 80, in the July 2011 issue of Firehouse® (part one was published in the February 2011 issue). I believe the chief would concur with my “operational congruency” model for ensuring that all actions begin with problem identification (also on page 80 of the July 2011 issue). RECEOVS starts in the middle of my operational congruency model.
Providing “strong leadership” and “appropriate organization” does not articulate a structured, systematic and consistent process for managing strategy, resources and risk (let alone for eliminating freelancing). ITAC provides a specific ICS implementation methodology that includes strategic tools that ensure tactical accountability is achieved and maintained throughout the course of any incident of any size.
To access parts one and two of “Integrated Tactical Accountability,” navigate to: www.imsalliance.com/ITAC, then click “ITAC Articles” on the right side of your browser.
“Our Culture Is Sick”
I felt the need to comment on the excellent article by Daniel Byrne, “Our Culture Is Sick,” in the September issue of Firehouse®. Very rarely do I take the time to comment on articles I read, but I believe Daniel has stated the case for strong fire prevention and fire safety education in a very forthright, positive and realistic manner.
I have been a firefighter for over 26 years, in suppression and currently in education and, as most firefighters have, personally experienced the ugliness of uncontrolled fires that kill and destroy. Unfortunately, most of those fires and related deaths could have been prevented if the citizens we are trying to protect knew more about and practiced basic fire safety concepts. How many times do we need to pull dead bodies out of burning houses before we start to realize there has to be a better way?
Once smoke alarms became a legal requirement in residences, we saw a dramatic drop in fire deaths, but people seem to forget the smoke alarm is only one part of fire safety. How about this novel concept – let’s practice fire prevention and safety education daily and never have the fire to start with!
It is difficult enough as firefighters to deal with the needless death or serious injury of a child or adult in a fire that should never have occurred, but what about those departments that have lost firefighters in that fire? As Daniel so succinctly stated, “we have warped the once noble culture of ‘brotherhood’ ” into something it was not intended to be by constantly exposing ourselves to unnecessary risks to fulfill it.” Our “brotherhood” shows itself grandly at firefighters’ funerals, but why can’t that same “brotherhood” become active every day and help prevent that unnecessary fire that may take our “brother” or “sister’s” life? With every fire department in every community under financial scrutiny it seems the first thing thrown out of the budget is prevention and education.