Close Calls: Speaking THEIR Language While Operating in OUR World

Each year, I take one opportunity to use this column for opinion, as opposed to a “close call” case study. As always, we have plenty to share in 2012 and will return to our usual format in March. Your department’s close call is welcome as a...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

Line firefighters who are told to “do this and not that” need to understand that the people making those decisions have been in their shoes as line firefighters. They may have grayer hair, but their experience matters and they’re the ones who have to make the decision. Think of a football team’s coaching staff. The coaches lead practices, develop game plans and “command, control and communicate” on the sidelines with the players operating on the “inside,” and based on their progress, strategy and tactics are applied. Certainly, players must deal with what they encounter on the field, but generally the rules, plays and training are what they follow. What the coaches direct is what the players do because of the coaches’ experience and qualifications. Following the coaches’ instructions is what players must do. It has worked well over the years on the field – and on the fireground. (For you younger firefighters, search “Coach Vince Lombardi” when you have a chance.)

 

Emotion and reality

A focus on learning about buildings before they are on fire and training before we have to use what we learn can go a long way. Before the run comes in, size-up the buildings, your resources, your alarm assignments and whatever else you can understand and learn about – and size-up again when the run comes in.

With more facts and less emotion, we’ll have a better chance to do our jobs despite what some elected officials have in mind. By using facts, we can get them to understand or, better yet, develop their own concerns about the emotional facts and realities of fire protection for their constituents.