Close Calls: Firefighters Trapped At Maryland House Fire - Part 3

As reported in parts one and two of this column in the July and August issues, on Feb. 24, 2012, the Prince George’s County, MD, Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department (PGFD) was dispatched to an arson fire in a single-family house at which seven...

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23 The department needs to develop and implement a comprehensive Behavioral Health Program with adequate professional behavioral health staff to support all personnel.

24 The department needs to provide a comprehensive in-station refresher training on the behavioral health services that are available to all career and volunteer personnel.

25 Consider utilizing community clergy to assist in providing CISD services to members and families in cases of firefighter injuries and deaths. This would increase the team size and increase the involvement of the department with the community.

27 Evaluate the current working fire dispatch policy and consider adding additional units. Consideration should be given to adding a large-diameter-hose company, an additional rescue squad, an additional truck company and additional chief officers.

28 Consider establishing a command talk group between the command post and communications to provide direct communications, requests for additional resources and provide incident updates without interfering with critical transmissions on the tactical talk group.

30 Develop a policy that requires a task force or greater assignment to respond on a different talk group from the tactical talk group.

33 Develop a General Order outlining how the firefighter’s portable radio is to be carried during firefighting operations to provide the maximum thermal protection for the radio and enhanced firefighter safety.

44 Standardize SCBA and SCBA cylinder labeling and painting department-wide.



6 Amend the General Orders to require incident commanders to prioritize and announce critical information, including strategy (defensive/offensive operations) that will impact incident outcomes and tactics, as a part of the initial size-up report. This should also include classroom and hands-on command, control and accountability training.

7 Consider adopting guidelines of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI)/U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) “Vacant and Abandoned Building Project/Toolbox.”

13 One standardized county-wide tactical command sheet/board must be used in any multi-unit response to ensure command and control of incident operations.

14 The department should consider the use of chiefs’ aides. This position would most likely be a captain or lieutenant so that there is a form of mentoring associated with this assignment. This can further enhance the development of the line officer into the role of a chief officer.

16 Develop and implement system-wide policies and procedures related to personnel accountability utilizing the passport system. Such policies should address the following:

• Requiring personnel verify the passport and unit roster as quickly as possible after arriving for duty.

• Requiring personnel to drop their passports off at a predetermined location, immediately after arriving on the scene of an incident.

• Standardize the location of unit rosters and passports.

17 Develop a structured transition and implementation plan to achieve standardization of apparatus and equipment. The structured transition and implementation plan must include a process for the removal of non-standardized apparatus and equipment from the system’s inventory. Consideration should be given to:

• Standard supply and attack lines

• Standard complement of nozzles (nozzle types, standardized pressure and gpm flow, etc.)

• Standard hose load configurations

• Standardize appliances to be used (i.e., four-way hydrant valves, blitz nozzles)

18 Develop a system-wide plan that shall identify the deployment and distribution of all apparatus. This plan should be routinely evaluated for optimal strategic placement of apparatus and consider emerging technologies.

32 Work with the radio manufacturer to develop an extension microphone cable that is better protected from high heat.

35 Develop and implement a centralized, standardized system-wide record-keeping system for all training-related records, for both career and volunteer personnel.