Stopping Unsafe Practices

This MFRI Monthly Drill examines how the fire service can reduce the number of deaths and injuries by taking a positive step to reduce or eliminate unsafe practices. The continued following of unsafe practices becomes the norm rather than the exception if...


      those that make the building susceptible to collapse

      a. Open walls, ceilings, floors, shafts, or pipe chases

      b. Void spaces

      c. Areas not protected by fire sprinklers

      d. False walls or ceilings

      e. Interior finishes that may be combustible

      f. Ducts, pipes or other surfaces that can transmit heat

      g. Weakened floors, walls, or roofs

      h. Steel structural supports that have been subjected to high levels of heat

      i. Damaged mortar joints

      j. Veneer that has been separated from the frame

  3. Provide adequate lighting for the scene and the specific work area by using light towers for overall

      scene lighting and portable lights for specific work areas

  4. Properly lift, carry, and raise ground ladders

      a. Use legs for lifting rather than the back

      b. Properly foot the heel of the ladder when raising or lowering

      c. Make sure hands and feet are clear when moving ladder sections

      d. Maintain stability of the ladder when it is in an upright position

      e. Place the ladder at the proper angle for climbing

      f. Watch for overhead obstructions when raising the ladder

      g. Heel the ladder when someone is on it

      h. Use a leg lock or ladder belt when working off a ladder

      i. Climb the ladder smoothly and without excessive bouncing

      j. Have at least one hand in contact with the ladder when climbing

      k. Climb with the back straight while using the legs to climb

      l. Set the heel when the ladder is placed on soft surfaces

      m. Use extreme caution when the ladder heel must be placed on an uneven surface

  5. Use of tools and equipment properly

      a. Wear eye protection (safety glasses or goggles)

      b. Check the surrounding area before starting to minimize someone being hit with debris

      c. Chop so that the blade is going away from body parts when using an axe

      d. Use tools for the purposes for which they were designed

      e. Be careful when pulling ceiling to avoid being under it

      f. Do not reach to cut with a power saw

      g. Shut power saws off before carrying them to where they will be used

  6. Observe safe practices during overhaul

      a. Use SCBA and PPC until it has been determined that it is safe to remove them

      b. Have adequate lighting in the work area to prevent injury

      c. Have a charged hoselines in place in case fire is located

      d. If there is a concern about structural stability, delay overhaul until daylight or reduce the level of

          overhaul

  7. Use the buddy system at all times on the emergency scene sot that there are two sets of eyes and

      ears to be alert for danger

  8. Operate within the incident command system

      a. Maintain adequate supervision over operations and crews

      b. Maintain a reporting chain of command

      c. Prevent freelancing

      d. Maintain personnel accountability

      e. Maximize available resources

  9. Have a safety officer in place at any working incident

G. Wildland

  1. Understand that the fire behavior on wildland fires is different than that of structural fires and that

      wildland fires are not restricted by any boundaries

  2. Understand that wildland fires have an unlimited oxygen supply

  3. Unlike structural fires, the direction of travel of wildland fires can change at any time

  4. Follow the wildland fire orders

      a. Fight fire aggressively but provide for safety first

      b. Initiate all action based on current and expected fire behavior

      c. Recognize current weather conditions and obtain forecasts

      d. Ensure instructions are given and understood

      e. Obtain current information on fire status

      f. Remain in communication with crew members, your supervisor, and adjoining forces

      g. Determine safety zones and escape routes