Dunn's Dispatch: Life and Death Decision Making

After a war many soldiers who made life-and-death decisions retire. The fire service does not have this problem.


The U.S. Marine Corps called several New York City fire chiefs to its military academy to find out how fire officers make life-and-death decisions. The Marines believe the Fire Service makes good life-and-death decisions at fires and emergencies, and they wanted to know how we train this decision-making.

During a war, the military makes many life-and-death decisions. But when the war ends, so does their decision-making. The fire service war never ends.

After a war many soldiers who made life-and-death decisions retire. The fire service does not have this problem. We continually pass along to new chiefs, officers and firefighters how to make life-and-death decisions. And they continue to make these critical decisions every day, throughout this country at fires and emergencies.

First, the fire service identifies the common life-and-death situations encountered at fires and emergencies. These critical situations get special attention during training sessions. Next, we teach firefighters, decisions to save their own lives and the lives of the people they serve in the community. Do you know the life and death decisions?

For more information go to www.vincentdunn.com and use the Google search feature with keywords "Life and Death Decision Making".


Vincent Dunn, a Firehouse Magazine contributing editor, is a 42-year veteran of the FDNY and a deputy chief (ret.), serving as division commander for midtown Manhattan. A nationally renowned lecturer, he is the author of the best-selling text and video series Collapse of Burning Buildings and the textbooks Safety and Survival on the Fireground and Command and Control of Fires and Emergencies. A new book, Strategy of Firefighting - How to Extinguish Fires will be published in April. Dunn has a master's degree in urban studies, a bachelor's degree in sociology and an associate's degree in fire administration from Queens College, City University of New York. He can be reached at 1-800-231-3388 or via through his website at www.vincentdunn.com.