Close Calls: A "Bad Day" on the Fireground – Part 2

A fire department in Texas had a "bad day" at a house fire, with two firefighters suffering burns. Because the officers and members took a critical look at what happened – what they did, how they did it and what they could have done better – they...


As reported last month, a fire department in Texas had a “bad day” at a house fire, with two firefighters suffering burns. Because the officers and members took a critical look at what happened – what they did, how they did it and what they could have done better – they improved their...


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Classroom (instructional)

Practical (hands on)

Testing verification (testing written and practical to ensure members “get it”)

g. Publish and post as final.

h. Expect the members to operate the way the SOP or SOG directs.

i. Expect officers to supervise and enforce it.

j. Conduct a regular review to determine whether any SOP/SOG must be changed or updated.

3. Has your department clearly defined (in an SOP or SOG) what is expected by those who establish as well as assume command?

What is command’s role and responsibility? What does the chief of department expect those in command to do – and not do? Are those in command trained, qualified and certified to be in command? These are tough questions, but it is better to ask them now than to have someone else ask them later.

4. What is your department’s plan to spec, purchase, maintain, inspect and replace PPE?

Do firefighters understand what their PPE can do and what it cannot do as far as protecting them? Do members understand their responsibility in taking care of the PPE issued to them? Want to purchase top-of-the-line gear, but the price is too high? Reach out to neighboring departments, agree on a spec and then rebid the gear. You will often find significant savings when ordering as a group.

5. What are your department’s training plans and requirements? Does your training match the response area? For example, if 99% of your fires involve single-family dwellings, then the SOPs and related training should be in complete sync.

Consider who your department’s training standards (both initial and continuing) are for:

Probies

Firefighters

Driver/engineers

Officers

EMS personnel

Hazmat and other services

A good rule of thumb that more and more fire departments are using is that if you are not certified, you should not be doing it.

Hutto Fire Rescue had a “bad day,” but there is no question it could have been worse. However, because the officers and members took a critical look at what they did and how they did it, they have improved their operations and helped the rest of us as well. n