The 3 F's of Firefighting

Good afternoon from the Injured Reserve once again. Physical therapy is going great and my return to the jumpseat is getting closer and closer. Until then I am preparing my "Back the Truck Up" and "Hoarding" programs to rock out the Ohio Fire Expo.

While updating my programs, the thought hit me about the 3F's of fighting fires. The fire service is a made up of people with service to their communities in mind, so how do we take that desire to serve and put it into action? One word: training! But when do you know that your training is working? That is where the 3 F's come in, so let's take a brief look at them:

  • Fitness - without beating a dead horse, fitness is commonly overlooked. It seems like the lack of fitness training that matches our job requirements are taken to heart by some and overlooked by many. I struggle with fitness, just like many of you. It is just something that needs constant attention.

Grab some old hose, rope, a tire, and make up a circuit that mirrors the task's that mimic our duties on the fireground. Getting your station involved in the circuit will help everyone stay on task. Make it a competition; we all seem to try harder when we are trying to beat the next person. Pay attention to proper lifting and application to insure that we all stay safe. Don't forget hydration.

  • Function - What is your role on the fireground and how do you function? Being able to carry out tasks is crucial for your safety and the survival of our customers, the victims. I could not imagine the pain of knowing that I was unable to perform a task that could have saved someone's life. This is where we all should take our training seriously, making sure that we can learn a skill and continue to perform it for our entire career. 

It seems like the fire service gives you a pass if you can perform a task early in your career, but as you gain time on the job you get a pass on having to revisit these tasks. I think we all should show respect for our senior firefighters, but we need to return to our skills, at least annually, making sure that we can still function.

  • Fantasy - This is where the rubber meets the road. How many firefighters today believe in their minds that they can pull a 350-pound patient out of a sixth story window? How many think they can pull that 2 1/2-inch line 150 feet at any time they want? I believe there are many folks in our line of work who are living in fantasy world. Without fitness and function it might as well be a fantasy as you will be unable to complete many tasks. 

These examples may be a little extreme, but I hope you get the point. The reality of our business means that we might need to climb six flights of stairs before the work really starts. I know that, in my mind, I feel pretty confident that I have the skills and fitness level that's needed when duty calls. But, I am often reminded that I am a little more out of shape than I want or a little rusty in my skill set.

We all need to stay committed to fitness and function while keeping our fantasy to a minimum. We need to make ourselves #jumpseatready. Stay committed to your fitness plan; continue to push ourselves towards keeping the skills you have and learning new techniques. Just remember that just because someone asks you to perform a skill that you might have done 1,000 times before they are not disrespecting your seniority they are just helping us all stay prepared!

Thanks for the stop in the jumpseat…

Bunker up, buckle in, it's where we all begin!