Close Calls: With Nothing Showing Initially... Part 2

This is the second of two columns about a close call experienced by members of the Mantua Township Fire District (MTFD) in New Jersey on Feb. 7, 2012 (part one was in the January issue). Part one featured an account by Chief Brian Hauss, who suffered...


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Only in the past few years have we started looking at the emotional or mental impact of the more-critical incidents we respond to and operate at. I am hardly an expert in that area, but I know many who are. Time and experience can help us get through these tougher calls. But it’s also important to understand that while no two fires are the same, no two firefighters are the same either. Our emotions kick in at different levels and different intensities.

Lieutenant Craft and Chief Hauss placed themselves in harm’s way in their attempt to save a victim who was certainly savable based on their initial size-up and related conditions. As conditions changed, so did the ability to save the victim – and it turned into attempts to save themselves. Heroic efforts such as those by Chief Hauss to save trapped victims are what the fire service is based on. I would be hard pressed to find any chief – especially one who arrived “alone,” first due, with related working conditions – who would not have attempted that rescue. By fully understanding what went right and the lessons learned, we increase our chances during those rare rescues to make a positive difference. Thanks to Chief Hauss and the MTFD firefighters for the opportunity. n