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As we transition into a new year, and as plans begin to take place that frame and outline the year’s activities, foremost in this planning, preparation, scheduling and outlook should be those activities and commitments that training, education and skill development can be implemented and enhanced. Take the initiative to recognize and identify training and operational gaps and distinguish the risk and options available to lessen or eliminate the risk and reduce the gap deficiencies. Take the time to implement effective, accurate and frequent training and skill development drills, training curriculums and programs.
Don’t sacrifice or forego on this mission critical area when so much is at stake in the domain of combat structural fire suppression. Understand the predictability of performance in the buildings and occupancies not only in your jurisdiction, first or second-due areas, but also in those areas that you may be called upon to respond to for greater alarms or mutual aid. Remember Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.
Keep an eye in the rear view mirror; learning from the wisdom and knowledge from where you’ve been, what you’ve done and all your past experiences and practice; but at the same time focusing on the road before you with keen attentiveness on situational awareness, anticipating error-likely conditions and balanced risk assessment and operational management in both your strategic and tactical deployments.
Twenty in Ten
Here are twenty (20) Suggested activities or initiatives for you to consider in 2010….
Above all, be safe in all your endeavors, assignments and incident tasks.
1. Regardless of my years of experience, I will increase my understanding of the basic principles of Building Construction, because; Building Knowledge=Firefighter Safety.
2. Identify ten (10) buildings within your first-due or response district and complete a pre-fire plan and present this to my company of organization.
3. Identify an area where new residential construction is underway and follow the construction process from foundation through completion to gain an understanding of operational issues.
4. I will complete the UL Structural stability of engineered lumber in fire conditions online course and implement the lessons learned in my strategic and tactical operations.
5. I will not take any building or occupancy for granted, and shall take all precautions to ensure crew integrity and safety during my task assignments.
6. Complete a 360 assessment of all buildings upon arrival, when ever feasible to gain reconnaissance information on the building and incident risks and implement this info into my strategic, tactical plans or company task assignments.
7. Research the issues affecting; Engineered Structural Systems (ESS), Fire Behavior/Fire Dynamics or Fire Suppression Management/Fire Loading and develop a training drill to share the lessons learned.
8. Select a new or previous published fire service text book and read up on a subject area that I may have neglected or ignored to increase my skill set.
9. Implement an objective approach towards effective risk assessment and profiling of all buildings and occupancies during incident operations and implement balanced tactical deployment with aggressive/measured assignments; recognizing that my company and I are not invincible.
10. During demanding Combat Structural Fire Engagements, I will; Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reasons and will not practice Tactical Entertainment.
11. Read the Report of the Week (ROTW) on the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System web site and share the operating experience (OE) lessons with my company or department, to reduce the likelihood of a similar or more serious event.
12. I will read Ten (10) NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Reports and present the lessons learned in a discussion, table top, drill or training program.
13. I will attend a regional or national training conference to increase my perspective and awareness of other firefighting, safety or operational methodologies, process or practices to increase firefighter safety in my home organization.
14. I will increase my understanding of the NFFF Everyone Goes Home Program initiatives, including the Sixteen Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, Safety Thru Leadership and the Courage to Be Safe Programs and other new program initiatives and advocate and promote enhanced safety measures in my organization.
15. I will advocate and promote safe and defensive apparatus operations during emergency responses and will always buckle-up my seat belt and ensure my crew is always belted-in, not placing my company at risk and obeying traffic signals and postings.
16. I will implement the New Rules of Engagement during combat structural fire operations; while monitoring and reacting to on-going building performance and fire behavior.
17. I will increase my understanding of the Predictability of Building Performance and base my operational deployments on Occupancy Risk not Occupancy Type.
18. I will become a mentor to a new or less experienced firefighter and promote the traditions, honor and duty of our fire service profession, tempered with an emphasis on firefighter safety, survival and wellness.
19. I will take NO emergency incident responses as being routine in nature, due to frequency , regularity or past performance, demands or outcomes, nor will I take any building for granted; Company, Team and personal safety and integrity is paramount and I will not be complacent, but remain vigilant based upon my training, skills and experience.
20. This one’s for you to identify and fill in………..
Ensure you're glancing occasionally in your rear view mirror to monitor where you've been, while driving your initiatives, programs, processes and actions forward. Above all, maintain the courage to be safe.
We don’t know what’s in the cards on any given day, but the citizens we protect can rest assured, we will do our job as firefighters, to the best of our abilities, because of who we are; today, in 2010 and certainly well into the next decade and beyond. Stay safe.
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