No Progress? Time to Egress

Good afternoon from the jumpseat. Being a blogger and contributor here at has enabled me to meet some interesting fire service folks; many who have blogs themselves. Reaching out to them through the channels of social media and meeting them in person has led to some interesting discussions.

One example is with the guys at Average Jake Firefighter Blog. We recently had a Twitter discussion where they used the analogy of five minutes into a firefight is a defining time.

If you haven’t made significant headway it’s time to reconsider your tactics or get out. Bam! There it was: the five minute man analogy smack dab in front of the entire Twitter world, but what a great point, no offense ladies, it's just a saying.

When you grab your weapon of choice to crawl into the deep, dark clutches of today’s fast moving fires you need to have a clock either in your head or preferably at the commander’s side. I know many of you have dispatchers that tell every one the standard time, but this time should be on all our minds.

Often when I am teaching a class I’ll pick up my phone, hit the stopwatch, and ask a student to tell me when five minutes are up. You would be amazed at how often they get it wrong. They get it wrong in a stressless environment with no life or death decisions being made.

So what does this mean to us jumpseat riders? Well it means that you need to stay aware of how long you have crawled and be aware of the conditions around you. If it’s getting hotter and it’s not getting better you might need to be a five minute firefighter. Constant communications with the exterior crew needs maintained. "Attack team one to command, is the smoke lifting any?" If the answer is no it’s time to try something different, like hitting it from the outside because you’re not making enough progress.

In closing, all of us are responsible jumpseat riders, one that has time on their minds. If you are jumpseat ready to attack a fire you need jumpseat awareness that it is not your fight to win.

So get out before the conditions are not tenable for any of us. I would like to thank you to the bloggers at Average Jake for today’s topic. Anyone who puts words on paper to make us all safer is OK in my book.

Take a moment to check out the their website and remember that all jakes need to be #jumpseatready! And remember to like us on and follow me on Twitter: @jumpseatviews

Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat.

Bunker up, buckle in, and remember that we all start in the jumpseat!