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  1. #21
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    LA

    While I will agree with most of what you state, and I agree that we most likely agree on most issues, my position is also found in what you write.

    You have countered my examples where policy did in fact restrict actions.

    You say we cannot prove policy has an impact on the outcome. That is exactly my point. Our policies at the time guaranteed certain death for those boys and myself. But because a policy was tossed out in a moment of chance or opportunity, I survived as did those boys.

    The rest of the stories should be told I suppose.

    In my case, the 4 guys that cut me out were suspended pending an investigation. Because I was the evidence, the Chief also suspended me, although it didn't matter since I was in a burn center 100 miles away. In my statement to the investigators, I stated that I was glad the Chief made the decision to send those guys in.

    I was not told the truth for about 6 mnoths when the Captain let it slip that he was facing charges. They hid everything from me as to the investigation. The Chief tried to cover up the incident by threatening a few others with his wrath if they did not lie about what he did. It all came out in the end and every one of those guys was awarded a medal for their part in the rescue.

    I was promoted in my hospital bed because the others claimed they would have been killed if it were not for my actions before the event. I refused it because I only did my job and did not consider my actions extraordinary. I don't recall anything that I did that I would not have done on any other situation.

    But the policy was changed to give the scene commander back his toolbox. If it took my injury to do that, then it was worth it. It should have been the policy under investigation in the first place... it tied our hands and certainly the commanders. It was his actions during and after the fact that hung him.


    In the case of the three boys, our policy guaranteed their death. We were prohibited from entering any burning un-occupied or vacant building under all circumstances. It was badly written and prevented what many of us have done for many years without pause. This policy also restricted our ability to suppress the smallest interior fires which lead everything to a worse situation that it should have ever been. So we also guaranteed loss of property that could have been prevented.

    I was not in a position to have a public opinion or an audience with our bosses. Our command just didn't fight back too hard and finally embraced the rules. But as I recall, no one liked it because it prevented us from doing basic and rudimentary functions. In a nut shell, all structure fires were defensive with the intent to control.

    Well I am pretty sure that anyone that has done this job very long and has been to a few fully engulfed structures knows when it time to go defensive. But even a defensive fire can present you with a cause to enter and rescue.


    I was a young officer just a few weeks into a new assignment. I knew the guys on my crew pretty well; we could almost read each others thoughts. We had worked together for some time. You all know how that works.

    We knew when we arrived the fire was defensive. Our primary focus was to prevent the fuel storage tanks next door from becoming involved. When we heard the screams, not one of us stop to think about what we knew to do. We did not discuss it, we acted.

    The reason I gave this example was because it illustrates exactly why a restrictive policy will make you fail. Ok, I was suspended pending a investigation. So what, I would do the same thing again. I did not ask the two guys if they felt like going in... I did not ask for volunteers. We were all on the same page and act together, but it was my butt, and only my butt.

    My statements to the Captain and Chief were the same. If we cannot do our job, then why are we here? No one I have ever worked with would just stand there and not act if they thought there was a chance. Again the policy changed because we are not McDonalds.

    OK moving on...

    I know what you are trying to say, and I agree with a lot of your points. I have been there to hear the final screams of a couple of kids that we could not get to. That hurts my friend... I cannot describe what I felt, but I am sure I never want anyone to feel it. It was not a policy that kept us from them, it was the situation. Any kind of interior operation was doomed, I knew it, my commander knew it, and every man out there knew it. All we could do was hold our lines and cry.

    So I agree with you that the situation should dictate our course of action. I disagree that a policy should provide us safe harbor. The guy that wrote the policy is not going to stand there and cry with me when we fail to get that kid out.

    Will young inexperienced officers make mistakes? It happens everyday... it is part of the process. There is no one serving in the capacity of authority that is perfect. And a policy does not make you any more perfect, but it sure can make you less human.

    I have never figured out how to turn off my human side when I see a tragic situation. This does not mean it keeps me from doing my job. I can focus and do my job in the worse situation without thinking about it. But there is always an end and time to reflect. I deal with it my way, like everyone of you.

    For me, just to have the chance to still make a difference when someone is having the worst day of their life, is my life. My life was given back to me when a policy failed and some guys decided to throw away the book.

    So again, how can a policy designed to protect us, protect the citizens we swore to protect?


    The fact is we do not hold the responsibility for victim survival in our hands.
    Agreed.... but we sometimes get a chance to give them a chance to survive. A policy does not provide the victim anything. If we don't try, they will most certainly die.


    And as stated... we will just have to agree to disagree on this issue.

    It is obvious that our worlds are much different. I have never worked in your world so I cannot know what you world issue are. But my mindset has never changed on this subject during the last 40 years, 8 departments, 5 States and 6 Chief positions. Other than that, I am just a guy that is lucky to have an opinion.



    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    For the record... Part of my job is to make sure we are protecting our people. I preach it, I live it. We teach the same covenents of NFPA, IFSAC, etc... as the rest of you. But I will never agree to a policy that takes your training and common sense from you. Having said that, a Policy does not provide you any protection, it is the actions of humans that determine the outcome. If I worry about a policy providing me protection against loss of job or a lawsuit, then most likely I am not doing my job.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------


    My apologies to those in the peanut gallery... sometimes the soapbox seems to keep elevating until I step off. Time to put it up now boys...
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL


  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    It's outlined in my previous post.

    We do not have "truck companies" coming. We have to make an effort to search with what we have, which is low man power.
    OK, but I'm still not clear what that means in terms of an "aggressive search" and how that circumvents low manpower.

    Based on my training, I would tend to equate an "aggressive search" with what I was taught regarding the "primary search" - a quick moving search predominately focused on hitting the "common" spots where victims tend to be found or hide rather than a more thorough "leaving no stone unturned" type of search.

    It my understanding that when one "circumvents" something, it means getting around or bypassing something (an obstacle of some sorts).

    I work in a department with an on-duty staffing of 5-7 FFs and typically it takes about 10-15 minutes until our back up arrives so I'm very familiar with low manpower operations, but I'm not sure how your concept fits in regarding low manpower situations.

  3. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber tajm611's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    OK, but I'm still not clear what that means in terms of an "aggressive search" and how that circumvents low manpower.

    Based on my training, I would tend to equate an "aggressive search" with what I was taught regarding the "primary search" - a quick moving search predominately focused on hitting the "common" spots where victims tend to be found or hide rather than a more thorough "leaving no stone unturned" type of search.

    It my understanding that when one "circumvents" something, it means getting around or bypassing something (an obstacle of some sorts).

    I work in a department with an on-duty staffing of 5-7 FFs and typically it takes about 10-15 minutes until our back up arrives so I'm very familiar with low manpower operations, but I'm not sure how your concept fits in regarding low manpower situations.
    Google:
    http://www.westamptonfire.org/filelo...d/file_id/4323


    Theres plenty of other sources to read up on.

    Some call it simply VES, some call it aggressive searching.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

  4. #24
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    OK, but I'm still not clear what that means in terms of an "aggressive search" and how that circumvents low manpower.

    Based on my training, I would tend to equate an "aggressive search" with what I was taught regarding the "primary search" - a quick moving search predominately focused on hitting the "common" spots where victims tend to be found or hide rather than a more thorough "leaving no stone unturned" type of search.

    It my understanding that when one "circumvents" something, it means getting around or bypassing something (an obstacle of some sorts).

    I work in a department with an on-duty staffing of 5-7 FFs and typically it takes about 10-15 minutes until our back up arrives so I'm very familiar with low manpower operations, but I'm not sure how your concept fits in regarding low manpower situations.
    I don't know if he is actually making a distinction here. I think the situation dictates the search; fire stage, layout of the structure, size of the rooms, what we are searching for, etc.

    Every arriving company is short handed, even if you have a 10-man truck. The point is there are never enough hands in the beginning.


    After all of these years, I can only remember crawling maybe 20 times... the rest were mostly focussed.

    You know... the Kurt "Bull" Russell Rescue... (I jest of course)
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  5. #25
    MembersZone Subscriber tajm611's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    I don't know if he is actually making a distinction here. I think the situation dictates the search; fire stage, layout of the structure, size of the rooms, what we are searching for, etc.

    Every arriving company is short handed, even if you have a 10-man truck. The point is there are never enough hands in the beginning.


    After all of these years, I can only remember crawling maybe 20 times... the rest were mostly focussed.

    You know... the Kurt "Bull" Russell Rescue... (I jest of course)
    And in my short career, I can never think of a single time myself or another firefighter were told "we have enough guys, thanks" during suppression activities.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    Google:
    http://www.westamptonfire.org/filelo...d/file_id/4323


    Theres plenty of other sources to read up on.

    Some call it simply VES, some call it aggressive searching.
    OK, now it's a bit clearer.

    I'm familiar with VES, but have never heard it referred to anything other than that.

  7. #27
    MembersZone Subscriber tajm611's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    OK, now it's a bit clearer.

    I'm familiar with VES, but have never heard it referred to anything other than that.
    Just speaking of only my experience in discussing the difference:

    When teaching or speaking with departments around the state, if I asked their thoughts on VES, I could get a million different perspectives. When talking about aggressive searches, I use to get 50% for and 50% either against or clueless on the subject.

    By the time we left, very few were still against it. Our job is dangerous and searches are one of the most dangerous parts of what we do. You're taking on the risk of being alone/ without back up but you're also minimizing the amount of time you're in there and giving victims the highest chance of survival.

    Searches are normally (only speaking of this area) taught using the mother duck and her ducklings approach. This is something I always found to be ineffective. The yoga-pilates version of everyone stretching out and holding on to a foot or tool is even worse.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    The fact is we do not hold the responsibility for victim survival in our hands.
    .....you're kidding...right???
    "you know what the best part is? It's not knowing that your friends have got your back--it's knowing that YOU'VE got your FRIENDS' backs."

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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil321 View Post
    .....you're kidding...right???
    No, I'm not.

    There are far too many factors that have shaped the incident for us to hold any responsibility for the fate of civilaians still in the structure.

    Some of those may lay with the building owner. many of them lay with the victim themselves in terms of fire prevention and safety, preparation for an emergency, drug and/or alcohol use and the behaviors that caused the fire. Some lay with others in the building that may have started the fire. And some lay with simple timing and fate. These variables come together in varying ways depending on the incident, but one thing is always there - The fact that we have little responsibility for the incident and even less, if any, responsibility for the fate of the victims.

    Bottom line is that we often arrive very late into the incident, where in many cases, the course of the incident has long since been determined, and the unfortunate fact is that we can do nothing to reverse the outcome.

    Many times our actions will change nothing but only endanger us with no possible change in the outcome. These are the times that as professionals we need to recognize that fact and understand that our actions can only have negative effects on us, with no possible positive changes in the outcome for the victim.

    As this relates to the discussion about abandoned operations, the rural and suburban volunteer world the response time often brings us to the scene very close, at, or beyond the point where our actions can change the outcome. That is simple time and fire behavior, and we need to recognize that as a fact that we can alter. In the urban environment, that may not be the case, but for us, out here, time is often an enemy that defeats us, and if we try to fight back when there is no chance, we will be hurt or killed without any possibility of reward.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    Just speaking of only my experience in discussing the difference:

    When teaching or speaking with departments around the state, if I asked their thoughts on VES, I could get a million different perspectives. When talking about aggressive searches, I use to get 50% for and 50% either against or clueless on the subject.

    By the time we left, very few were still against it. Our job is dangerous and searches are one of the most dangerous parts of what we do. You're taking on the risk of being alone/ without back up but you're also minimizing the amount of time you're in there and giving victims the highest chance of survival.

    Searches are normally (only speaking of this area) taught using the mother duck and her ducklings approach. This is something I always found to be ineffective. The yoga-pilates version of everyone stretching out and holding on to a foot or tool is even worse.
    Yeah, that's pretty much the same way search is taught here too.

    I think I get what you were trying to say now that I understand you were referring to VES. I think using the word "circumvent" may not have been the best choice for your point and the root of the confusion.

  11. #31
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    There are far too many factors that have shaped the incident for us to hold any responsibility for the fate of civilaians still in the structure.

    Some of those may lay with the building owner. many of them lay with the victim themselves in terms of fire prevention and safety, preparation for an emergency, drug and/or alcohol use and the behaviors that caused the fire. Some lay with others in the building that may have started the fire. And some lay with simple timing and fate. These variables come together in varying ways depending on the incident, but one thing is always there - The fact that we have little responsibility for the incident and even less, if any, responsibility for the fate of the victims.
    I hate feeding into your narcism and responding... but this is such rubbish.

    A Fire Department can have a profound effect on the fate of the victims.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    No, I'm not.

    There are far too many factors that have shaped the incident for us to hold any responsibility for the fate of civilaians still in the structure.

    There may be times in which this is true, however what about those times in which we arrive and there ARE viable lives to be saved. You're an ignorant fool if you think that we hold no responsibility for the fate of those civilians.

    Some of those may lay with the building owner. many of them lay with the victim themselves in terms of fire prevention and safety, preparation for an emergency, drug and/or alcohol use and the behaviors that caused the fire. Some lay with others in the building that may have started the fire. And some lay with simple timing and fate. These variables come together in varying ways depending on the incident, but one thing is always there - The fact that we have little responsibility for the incident and even less, if any, responsibility for the fate of the victims.

    Bottom line is that we often arrive very late into the incident, where in many cases, the course of the incident has long since been determined, and the unfortunate fact is that we can do nothing to reverse the outcome.

    Many times our actions will change nothing but only endanger us with no possible change in the outcome. These are the times that as professionals we need to recognize that fact and understand that our actions can only have negative effects on us, with no possible positive changes in the outcome for the victim.

    As this relates to the discussion about abandoned operations, the rural and suburban volunteer world the response time often brings us to the scene very close, at, or beyond the point where our actions can change the outcome. That is simple time and fire behavior, and we need to recognize that as a fact that we can alter. In the urban environment, that may not be the case, but for us, out here, time is often an enemy that defeats us, and if we try to fight back when there is no chance, we will be hurt or killed without any possibility of reward.
    I think most of us would be willing to stipulate that there are some settings (specifically rural areas) in which the normal situation is to arrive to find a building far too involved to reasonably conduct interior operations or expect any victim survival. However, there are a lot of places (specifically urban areas served by staffed FDs) in which that isn't the case - something that you don't seem to get.

    So maybe to spare everyone some time in the future, maybe you could preface all your comments to indicate that you are only talking about rural and rural suburban areas and refrain from commenting on urban firefighting situations and tactics.

  13. #33
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    OK... I'm back again on this...

    I have worked in Rural Areas and most of what LA is trying to say is very true in those settings. But that has nothing to do with my point. But if his or any department feels the need to have a policy to protect the firefighters from themselves... then I guess I don't support it.

    The rare chance, or even the once in a lifetime chance to save a kid out in the boonies is still a life saved.... perhaps. All I am saying is we guarantee he will not survive if we let a policy prevent our trying. I do not leave some of my tools at home when I go to work, nor do I want you too.

    We have all seen bad commanders... at every level... Hopefully, they don't last long if they stack up a history of bad calls. One mistake can be costly, agreed.

    But

    if we don't let our young officers learn from their mistakes...

    if we don't let them explore their talents...

    if we don't let them spread their wings....

    and we solve every issue for them with a damn policy...

    we're going to end up with some very bad Leaders in the future.

    Hell, we already have that... in some areas.... I have been picking up the little scraps that a few have left behind. (Another subject for later perhaps...)

    As I said in the beginning, it appears we are returning to the same ground as we once stood on. May God help us all if we must have a document to protect us from ourselves. I guess that is what OSHA and NFPA is all about, but I don't see this as the same thing.


    I don't care if I change one single opinion with what I state... so the outcome of the debate on this really does not concern me.

    My concern is whether we try or not try to save lives. I will trust the guys in the field with making those decisions... not a policy that says "you better not, ever, ever ,ever..."







    Damn, I broke my box...
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    OK... I'm back again on this...

    I have worked in Rural Areas and most of what LA is trying to say is very true in those settings. But that has nothing to do with my point. But if his or any department feels the need to have a policy to protect the firefighters from themselves... then I guess I don't support it.

    The rare chance, or even the once in a lifetime chance to save a kid out in the boonies is still a life saved.... perhaps. All I am saying is we guarantee he will not survive if we let a policy prevent our trying. I do not leave some of my tools at home when I go to work, nor do I want you too.

    We have all seen bad commanders... at every level... Hopefully, they don't last long if they stack up a history of bad calls. One mistake can be costly, agreed.

    But

    if we don't let our young officers learn from their mistakes...

    if we don't let them explore their talents...

    if we don't let them spread their wings....

    and we solve every issue for them with a damn policy...

    we're going to end up with some very bad Leaders in the future.

    Hell, we already have that... in some areas.... I have been picking up the little scraps that a few have left behind. (Another subject for later perhaps...)

    As I said in the beginning, it appears we are returning to the same ground as we once stood on. May God help us all if we must have a document to protect us from ourselves. I guess that is what OSHA and NFPA is all about, but I don't see this as the same thing.


    I don't care if I change one single opinion with what I state... so the outcome of the debate on this really does not concern me.

    My concern is whether we try or not try to save lives. I will trust the guys in the field with making those decisions... not a policy that says "you better not, ever, ever ,ever..."







    Damn, I broke my box...
    Paladin... excellent post.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  15. #35
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    Mr. Murphy's Law will bite you right in the rear if you are not a Vigilant one.

    If a structure appears to be abandoned and unoccupied then its probably occupied. As Gonzo said pigeons, rats, and squirrels do not smoke and do not combust on their own.

    I say that there is always something that can be done, Even if conditions are not ideal.
    Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH

  16. #36
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    It's assumptions in this service that bother me. Not seeing bikes in the yard so assuming kids aren't in there. Not seeing electrical service on the side of a building so assuming no one is in there, not that its possible they simply couldn't afford to pay for it (I've personally seen that plenty of times). Assuming that if we search a house you wouldn't then we must search EVERY house.

    We're lucky that 99% of the time we pull up early enough to make an attack. 1% of the time we aren't; if conditions do not allow even us, in full PPE, to enter than its highly doubtful any one has survived. No one here has advocated for the searching of every single house every single fire. The moniker "search every time" is misconstrued to "search every time no matter the conditions of the fire and/or house".

    The facts have been provided, searching vacant buildings is dangerous but its not the serial killer some make it out to be. We are dying in occupied structures just as readily and just as quickly. To survey a scene and determine if there are viable chances of survival based on the monetary status of the occupant goes against everything I stand for, not just as a firefighter but as a human being.

    Forget any foul jokes about assumptions. Assumptions kill citizens and firefighters alike. Fighting to get us out of vacant structures doesn't stop us from dying of heart disease/ problems (48%), traffic accidents (31%), or a lack of situational awareness (21%) (which can occur in occupied structures just as readily). Give me a vacant 80 year old building over an occupied, brand new, "disposable building" any day.

    To stand your ground that "everyone must go home" yet not fight for physical fitness standards or testing nor train your guys to the utmost degree....you're feeding them to the wolves for over half of the reasons we're dying.

    Life is not a guarantee. We exist solely to give other a greater chance to survive, everything else is extra. You may never fall victim to a collapse, an apparatus accident, nor poor health but can lose your life in an infinite number of ways. To take an inherently dangerous job and assume you can make it 100% safe is dangerous to our citizens and to the very fabric of this fire service. You train, learn, and keep your self hard to kill.

    Everything else is complacency, and complacency kills.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    We have beaten this debate into the ground time and again....

    If a department feels that it can only assure safety by dictating tactics on a fire unseen, they don't understand this business.

    Does that mean no SOP's? Of course not, but SOP's with absolutes will be problematic.

    If your folks aren't prepared enough to make tactical decisions, then get them trained or close shop.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    No, I'm not.

    There are far too many factors that have shaped the incident for us to hold any responsibility for the fate of civilaians still in the structure.

    Some of those may lay with the building owner. many of them lay with the victim themselves in terms of fire prevention and safety, preparation for an emergency, drug and/or alcohol use and the behaviors that caused the fire. Some lay with others in the building that may have started the fire. And some lay with simple timing and fate. These variables come together in varying ways depending on the incident, but one thing is always there - The fact that we have little responsibility for the incident and even less, if any, responsibility for the fate of the victims.

    Bottom line is that we often arrive very late into the incident, where in many cases, the course of the incident has long since been determined, and the unfortunate fact is that we can do nothing to reverse the outcome.

    Many times our actions will change nothing but only endanger us with no possible change in the outcome. These are the times that as professionals we need to recognize that fact and understand that our actions can only have negative effects on us, with no possible positive changes in the outcome for the victim.

    As this relates to the discussion about abandoned operations, the rural and suburban volunteer world the response time often brings us to the scene very close, at, or beyond the point where our actions can change the outcome. That is simple time and fire behavior, and we need to recognize that as a fact that we can alter. In the urban environment, that may not be the case, but for us, out here, time is often an enemy that defeats us, and if we try to fight back when there is no chance, we will be hurt or killed without any possibility of reward.
    If this is your attitude about the fire service.. why even bother responding at all?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    If this is your attitude about the fire service.. why even bother responding at all?
    Because it's the only place in his life that anyone pays attention to him.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I hate feeding into your narcism and responding... but this is such rubbish.

    A Fire Department can have a profound effect on the fate of the victims.
    Depending on the community, I agree. However, as you get farther out into the more rural areas, resources, especially manpower decrease and notification and response times generally increase, so as a result, the fire department's ability to affect the outcome will decrease as well.

    I don't think that should be a debate.

    My point was that some posters keep talking about the responsibility we have regarding the outcome. The simple fact is we have very little impact on the pre-incident factors that affect the speed of the fire or the fire ignition, and we have very little impact on how citizens prepare for and respond to that fire. We as have very little if any impact on the behaviors that may have started the fire or other factors such as alcohol or drug use which affect tier ability to respond.

    Given the fact that we control very few of the factors that create and drive the incident, how can anyone say that we have a responsibility fort the incident?

    My point is that if we start attaching a responsibility for the outcome of an incident that we have very little control over, we are likely to start making decisions on emotions rather than cold, hard facts.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 07-31-2011 at 01:07 PM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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