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How can we minimize our chances of experiencing a “close call” or worse? By dealing with problems now. Instead of talking about what might go wrong or saying, “Phew! We got lucky and got away with it this time,” take the problems and nail them. Nail them as a part of organizational pre-planning by looking ahead as to what could go wrong, by looking at the protected risks in the community and objectively looking at how the fire department operates. Sometimes. what needs to change is very obvious; sometimes, it’s not. When it’s not, examples of what almost went wrong – or what did go wrong for other fire departments – are available through this column and others, as a start. Read the case studies described in Firehouse® and apply them to your fire department. Ask the question, “Can it happen here?” – in many cases, it can. The good news is that it didn’t happen yet. Don’t keep collecting “free-pass” cards because eventually they will run out.
Using organizational pre-planning to help identify areas that are lacking accountability to help “predict” the future gives us all a much better chance to make it home in one piece – or we can just hope for some “free-pass” cards.
Readers are asked to share their accounts of incidents in which firefighters found themselves in dangerous or life-threatening situations, with the intention of sharing the information and learning from one another to reduce injuries and deaths. These accounts, in the firefighters’ own words, can help others avoid similar “close calls.” We thank those firefighters who are willing to share their stories. We invite readers to share their experiences. We will not identify any individuals, departments or communities. Our only intention is to provide educational information and prevent future tragedies. We thank Contributing Editor William Goldfeder for compiling these reports. You may send your reports to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. William Goldfeder, EFO, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a 31-year veteran of the fire service. He is a battalion chief with the Loveland Symmes Fire Department in Ohio, an ISO Class 2 and CAAS accredited department. Goldfeder has been a chief officer since 1982 and has served on numerous IAFC and NFPA committees, and is a past commissioner with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and is an active writer, speaker and instructor on fire service operational issues. Chief Goldfeder and Gordon Graham host the free and noncommercial firefighter safety and survival website www.FirefighterCloseCalls.com.