The tools are well worn, air packs are a solid shade of black, and the hosebed looks like it was dragged through a fire pit. Just like the engine, its crew has seen many fires. But is this a good thing? Sometimes with experience comes over confidence and oversight. How many times before have we seen this type of fire? Well, last time we grabbed the hose and made a quick knock down. But who is to say that this fire is the same as the last 100. It's not! Every fire needs to be sized up before being knocked down. Just because you have fought a lot of fires doesn’t give you the right to not take a long, hard look at what you are running into. The same challenge that the twin engine and its crew is facing can now be seen on the battle-hardened warrior, complacency. It may have different parameters, but it still is the same killer of firefighters.
How do we combat this problem? Training, just the same as with the twin engine. Constant training needs to be used. Always getting new updates on tactics, building construction, and fire behavior can keep you safe on your 101st fire. The fires we fight are an ever-changing variety. While the tactics may or may not be the same, the belongings inside the homes definitely are changing and if we treat every fire the same, the outcome could be completely different. With a constant flow of fires being a good thing for improving skills, morale and job fulfillment, it is not an end all cure all. We must continue to train just as hard, if not harder, than the twin crew to ensure that we can handle the next challenging fire.
Battling complacency can be found in every firehouse at any time. Whatever company you find yourself assigned to make sure that you are taking the time to learn, prepare and advance your skill set to ensure that when the alarm sounds you will be prepared to handle the emergency.
It was the best of days; it was the worst of days, but the twin engines remain on the front lines making a difference. It is amazing that these two proud warriors can be so alike when their worlds are completely different. Training, preparing and fighting complacency remain constant while the crews that ride on these engines gain valuable experience. One may gain experience at a much slower rate, but it still is just that, experience.
If your department lacks the fires that many see, it’s time to use different tools to gain that knowledge. Get on the internet, watch the videos, and get out in the training grounds for some real-world situations. You never know when you may be reassigned from the slow house to the busy or vice versa. It’s your job to remain ready for war at any moment, even if your moment only comes once in a blue moon! Always remember the story of the two engines. That in the service of their communities they are no more important than the other because there goal remains constant. To protect life and property!