Hello all, it’s been some time since I last penned an article. Well, in today’s day and age I guess I should say “typed an article.” After a new addition to the family and taking a step back from things for a while, it feels great to be back here with the Firehouse.com community.
Some time ago I thought of a topic that I wanted to throw out there because I have a hunch a good majority of you have dealt with it. If, while you’re reading this, you realize the topic pertains to you please share your thoughts in the comment box below. There’s no right or wrong being pointed out in this article. It’s more about gaining an understanding for a different train of thought.
So I will say thank you in advance for any insight you may have. Something I’ve seen time and time again is fear of change or something new. I think firefighters get in a zone of comfort and don’t want to lose that feeling of proficiency. In actuality, you’re creating a roadblock for progression in that discipline.
Having taught for some time, you realize fear of change is linked to the fear or feeling of not being able to perform that skill or method. You get so accustomed to performing the same skill set almost on auto pilot that the thought of losing that feeling is unwanted.
In our line of work, there are dozens of methods to perform the same task or skill. I think that’s one of the best attributes of our profession, especially for the thinkers among us. The sad thing though is sometimes those “thinkers” are shunned because they travel outside that box; you know the one they teach you to think outside of. As rescuers, we are trained in several disciplines, all which require quite a bit of training. With that training comes knowledge and with knowledge comes ingenuity. If people didn’t think outside the box and experiment with new ideas and techniques, the few methods we have would be challenged in an operation at some point with the possibility of failing.
Lifting and Moving Operations
Let’s look at a lifting and moving operation. There are a lot of variables that come into play when lifting an object, whether that object is a car, box truck, tractor trailer or heavy structural material from a collapse. Clearly, there are more objects that we’ll encounter, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Some of the factors on your lift or move could be positioning, the calculated weight of the load and how the lift or movement of the load will affect surrounding objects directly in contact with or adjacent to your object. Based on the location of the operation, normal learned techniques may not work. It’s now time to think outside the box and come up with new ways to accomplish your mission.
Of course, when devising new techniques the foundation knowledge you’ve learned must be adhered to. Knowledge such as material weights, correct equipment and physics a very important in figuring if the tools or shoring materials that are being used are strong enough to move and/or safely support the weight. I’m a believer that when you attend discipline classes such as rope, structural shoring, con?ned space and trench, you’re given a strong foundation to effectively and safely accomplish your mission.
Now I’d like to rewind several words and together we’ll shout “foundation!” That felt great, right? Just because it’s in black and white in a text book doesn’t mean it is the be all, end all of how to do things. Think about it. If someone hadn’t developed that technique, it would never have made it into the black-and-white print that some people latch onto and never deviate from. As long as you abide by the scienti?cally tested rules that engineers have documented for the materials and equipment we use, then the sky’s the limit. The only other rule you can never ignore is safety ?rst. Bottom line, safety can never be compromised. That is why, when experimenting with new techniques, this should be done in a controlled atmosphere.