# Thread: When did it become okay to say no?

1. Originally Posted by scfire86
Neither did I. Unless the building was fully involved (meaning top to bottom and side to side) we went interior to look for victims.

There is a certain art to doing this job. The primary component being that one has to be willing to do it. Something lacking in our self acclaimed statistician.
But even with a fully involved... did you ever think in terms of a number? Or just, no way we are getting in there.

I just didn't think it was numbers.

Recognition Primed Decision Making is what you and I are referencing. I've seen something like this and "X" happened or I think that this will lead to THAT which I have seen before.

2. I have been laying in the weeds on this thread until now.

Plain and simple, you cannot have a rule that applies to every situation. Stick with the basics:

Risk a lot to save a lot
Risk a little to save a little
Risk nothing to save nothing

Each situation is different and goes by it's own set of rules.
Common sense is not common.

3. Originally Posted by ChiefKN
Recognition Primed Decision Making is what you and I are referencing. I've seen something like this and "X" happened or I think that this will lead to THAT which I have seen before.
Recognition Primed Decision Making (RPDM) has been around along time and has been used either knowingly or unknowingly by fire commanders as a method of defining criteria to base their decisions.

In my experience, the commanders that have no formal RPDM training but vast fireground experience usually are capable of making quicker decisions than the ones that have formal RPDM. Perhaps it is a knee jerk or gut reaction to known or unknown factors that makes their senses keener.

The commanders that have formal RPDM tend to take an extra step to analyze and then re-analyze the known or unknown factors. I won't say one is favorable over the other. Both tend to be right more than wrong.

The three RPDM models that we recognize are factor and action based, in a nut shell nothing more than an IF... THEN... Statement or Function.

1st Model:

IF (this event happens or we see this) THEN (we will take this action)

This is the most typical of RPDM situations. We have seen this situation and we know our action will be effective. We use this method in everyday situations without thinking about it. "If the light turns red, I will stop the car."

One of my past professors refered to this model as the basic primal response mechanism. You don't really have to think about going to the bathroom when the urge occurs. Conditioning, or training, initiates and causes your actions to be carried out.

**This model does not apply to kids when you're on vacation.

The 2nd and 3rd RPDM models are implemented when unknown factors or unknown actions are involved. Both tend to require the subject to probe, test or guess as to the action.

2nd Model:

IF (we really don't know what is happening) THEN (we can try one of these actions: Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc...).

Experienced Commanders whether they have formally trained in RPDM or not, usually determine the action based on their experience. What a novel idea. While at times it may be a best guess, sometimes it is nothing more than a probing action to gain knowledge about the factors, which is followed by another IF/THEN because the missing factor becomes known. At this point the RPDM moves to the first Model.

3rd Model:

IF (this event happens or we see this) THEN (we can try one of these actions: Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc...).

In this Model the commander knows what is going on, but unsure as to the correct action to take. Again, we find the commander having to take an action based upon what he thinks will work. This model is based on the premise that we really do not have any idea what might happen when we try to take an action. It is important to understand that one of the possible actions might be... No action.

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Going back to the original Policy Debate for a moment...

None of the Models apply when the person in charge has no experience in decision making and:
1) has no idea what he is looking at
2) has no idea what course of action should be taken
3) has no idea what kind of reaction the selected action may initiate

This becomes even more troublesome in Models 2 and 3.

So in this context, a policy designed to prevent a person from screwing a situation up, thus making it worse, might be a damn good idea. But if someone is bent on doing something, (whether there is a policy or not), they will.

Enter -> Murphy's 2nd Law: If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.

This should not be confused with Murphy's 9th Law: The size of the catastophie is not directly proportional to the punker factor involved. Pucker pressure can not be measured due to its tendency to become unstable as the catastophie either escalates or subsides. However, the amount of mass the pucker factor has directly impacted can be measured by the size of the debris field left behind.

So I suggest that we write a policy to prevent Murphy from interferring with our departments. If the policy is successful, we no longer have to worry about the dum3@\$\$ that will otherwise arrive on the scene and screw it up.

And above all... If all else fails... it is a good time to quit trying to do anything...

Dickey: the weeds might be the safest place to lay low my friend.

Dickey: the weeds might be the safest place to lay low my friend.
Ok, back I go.

Carry on, Pretend I was not here!

5. Originally Posted by Dickey
Ok, back I go.

Carry on, Pretend I was not here!
Won't tell a soul.

I am removing the evidence now.

I do want copies of the photos you captured, for the file of course...

6. Originally Posted by FyredUp
I guess my RURAL POC FD is once again atypical.

We carry the Irons on all of our engines and tanker. We carry multiple of flat head and pick head axes on those same rigs. Our 2 engines carry various lengths of New York roof hooks, various lengths of pike poles, Boston rakes, LA rubbish hooks, a San Francisco pike, and sledge hammers. We buy tools that work for us and believe a variety because of the varied construction is our best choise. We also carry saws on both of our engines.

We don't have a Rabbet Tool. Not because we think it isn't necessary, but because it isn't in our budget.

Buy what works and don't avoid buying because it is a "Big City" tool.

We do not have a need for a wide variety of forcible entry tools as 99% FE is a very simple process. Folks here simply do not fortify their homes. We also carry a wide variety of overhaul tools, but they are carried on the Rescue and the service trucks, not the engines.

And above all... If all else fails... it is a good time to quit trying to do anything...
Thereby reinforcing the axiom, "When in doubt, pull em out".

Won't tell a soul.

I am removing the evidence now.

I do want copies of the photos you captured, for the file of course...
Why do I smell cheese and wine????

9. It seems the crux of the debate centers around how blanket policies are being written to "protect" us but at the same time take away many of the strategies an IC may employ.

Is it better to have a base set of blanket polices that you know the guys will ignore if needs be (as in PK's examples), or policies that provide guidance but leave the actual decisions to the IC based on on-scene factors?

Even if you ignore the heart of the matter, having a policy that guys will ignore probably means the policy needs to be rewritten. Having the default view on policies to be "ignore when necessary" is a slippery slope. Better to have the policies written so that they're not absolute and don't need to be ignored.

10. ## Just say "NO"

I'm with Dickey on this....."In the Weeds" I have always said "All S.O.P's are S.O.G.'s" nothing is written in concrete. You have the ability to go with the flow during fire ops. You and I know than everything goes out the window when your on the fire ground as changes dictate changes....relax and just go with the flow and remember " There's NO Building worth saving if even one life is lost." "Surround and drown."

11. I like the term "best practices."

To me that indicates that, given 'normal' circumstances and based on our experience, this is how we'd like to do it.

I know, there's no such thing as 'normal' in the fire service.

That said, there are things we try to do the same way, day in, day out. First engine here, truck there, second engine somewhere else, etc.

There's no reason that shouldn't be documented - that way that "young" fire department has the advantage of the years of experience. A new guy can learn how the department operates long before the old heads get around to telling him. And everyone is working from the same reference point - there's a lot less "I though we did it this way."

12. Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
We do not have a need for a wide variety of forcible entry tools as 99% FE is a very simple process.
That right there proves to me you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

13. Originally Posted by tajm611
That right there proves to me you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.
Really?

In the almost 10 years I have been on this department we have had to force entry once ...... once ... and all that took was a quick pop with a Halligan bar.

The fact is people here do not fortify thier residences. I'm sorry that you seemingly live in a crime ridden area where folks need to do that, as the idea that forcible entry is a very quick, simple procedure in our area is such a forgien concept to you.

Are the businesses secured? Sure, but with the exception of the 2 pawn shops in the district, once again, the security measures taken by the local businesses are fairly low-tech, and hence, the forcible entry required can be accomplished pretty quickly and easily with a few basic tools and a few basic techniques.

I have no idea why you seem to feel that forcible entry needs to be such an issue. It may be in your area, but here, it's pretty uncomplicated.

I'm really getting pretty sick of these running gun battle.

14. Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
Really?

In the almost 10 years I have been on this department we have had to force entry once ...... once ... and all that took was a quick pop with a Halligan bar.

The fact is people here do not fortify thier residences. I'm sorry that you seemingly live in a crime ridden area where folks need to do that, as the idea that forcible entry is a very quick, simple procedure in our area is such a forgien concept to you.

Are the businesses secured? Sure, but with the exception of the 2 pawn shops in the district, once again, the security measures taken by the local businesses are fairly low-tech, and hence, the forcible entry required can be accomplished pretty quickly and easily with a few basic tools and a few basic techniques.

I have no idea why you seem to feel that forcible entry needs to be such an issue. It may be in your area, but here, it's pretty uncomplicated.

I'm really getting pretty sick of these running gun battle.

That's not what you said, "as 99% FE is a very simple process."

So if one day some one decides to use a little more of a secure door and you have to force it, what then?

Do you mark it down on your notebook "if a few more do this, we'll have to discuss actual forcible entry"?

Get real, even you can't believe you're doing your job to the fullest.

15. Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
Really?

In the almost 10 years I have been on this department we have had to force entry once ...... once ... and all that took was a quick pop with a Halligan bar.
2-3 fires a year tend to do that, which is why you should keep your mouth shut when people with more experience are talking.

Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
The fact is people here do not fortify thier residences. I'm sorry that you seemingly live in a crime ridden area where folks need to do that, as the idea that forcible entry is a very quick, simple procedure in our area is such a forgien concept to you.
I really wish you'd take an ESL class. Crime ridden areas aren't the only places that have doors or openings that require forcible entry. Forcible entry is a fairly straightforward yet intricate skill that requires knowing your district and knowing proper techniques. You have proven you have little knowledge of either.

Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
Are the businesses secured? Sure, but with the exception of the 2 pawn shops in the district, once again, the security measures taken by the local businesses are fairly low-tech, and hence, the forcible entry required can be accomplished pretty quickly and easily with a few basic tools and a few basic techniques.
Until you encounter something different. Then you'll sit and say "well this isn't a crime ridden area, it's their fault for doing this"

Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
I have no idea why you seem to feel that forcible entry needs to be such an issue. It may be in your area, but here, it's pretty uncomplicated.
Forcible entry is a FF1 and FF2 skill, something you don't feel the need to teach.

Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
I'm really getting pretty sick of these running gun battle.
You invited yourself into this with your hypocritical statements, you can leave at anytime, we were having a wonderful conversation until you came and we'll have a wonderful one when you leave.

16. Originally Posted by ChiefKN
But even with a fully involved... did you ever think in terms of a number? Or just, no way we are getting in there.

I just didn't think it was numbers.

Recognition Primed Decision Making is what you and I are referencing. I've seen something like this and "X" happened or I think that this will lead to THAT which I have seen before.
Absolutely correct. Never thought in terms of numbers.

I'm sure you're old enough to remember Robert McNamara. He was a statistician by training and a high ranking exec at Ford Motors before being appointed SecDef. IMO he was single handedly responsible for the debacle in Vietnam because everything in his mindset was dissolved to a single number.

Same with our friend in LA. We are not in a business where quantifying an outcome that involves life is a 100% correct way to make determinations.

17. Originally Posted by tajm611
That's not what you said, "as 99% FE is a very simple process."

So if one day some one decides to use a little more of a secure door and you have to force it, what then?

Do you mark it down on your notebook "if a few more do this, we'll have to discuss actual forcible entry"?

Get real, even you can't believe you're doing your job to the fullest.
I think that it was pretty obvious that I was referring to the FFE within my district as the entire post was referringing to FE within my district.

If we see a trend, we'll adjust our training.

18. Originally Posted by tajm611
2-3 fires a year tend to do that, which is why you should keep your mouth shut when people with more experience are talking.

Now who's the one with reading comprehension issues? I stated we run to 2-3 fires in abondoned structures per year. We run to 16-20 structure fires per year. Still not much, which is a good thing as we have seen a 30% reduction in structure fires since I took over pubed. And it looks like we'll see another reduction this year if the current trend holds.

I really wish you'd take an ESL class. Crime ridden areas aren't the only places that have doors or openings that require forcible entry. Forcible entry is a fairly straightforward yet intricate skill that requires knowing your district and knowing proper techniques. You have proven you have little knowledge of either.

We know our district. We pre-plan every commercial building and we update them every year so we see how they are being secured. Honestly, we don't need an ESL class to know what's in our district and what tools and techniques are required to force entry.

Until you encounter something different. Then you'll sit and say "well this isn't a crime ridden area, it's their fault for doing this"

If crime increases, we'll likely see an increase in security, but in this area that's not an issue. In fact, crime here is dropping and folks are simply not securing thier properties. In fact in the more rural areas there are folks that still don't lock the doors. As most of our members are volunteers and live in the community, we have a pretty good handle on what is happening in the community.

Again on the commercial side, when I do a pre-plan for a new structure I make notes about how the building is secured and take a picture if it's something new.So we do a pretty good job of keeping track of changes in how our buildings are secured. In addition, we have apretty good working relationship with the Sheriff's Office, who also keeps us up to breast on such matters.

Forcible entry is a FF1 and FF2 skill, something you don't feel the need to teach.

Exactly. It is something that does not require the time that FFI devotes to it in our district. Most of the tools covered in the chapter we don't own, and likely never will, and many of the doors and window types are not found in our district. We cover the basics found in our district with our very limited FE tool stock. If a member chooses to take FFI, they obviously get the full speal regarding FE. We also do hands on training during daily and/or weekly training when we get a building.

You invited yourself into this with your hypocritical statements, you can leave at anytime, we were having a wonderful conversation until you came and we'll have a wonderful one when you leave.
We're still having a great conversation. You were the one that decided to drag FE into a conversation reagrding the need to operate in abondoned structures, which we disagree on even, and you seem to insist every department should do even though the potential for occuopany differs greatly depending on the area.

Now I see why you feel that a department should operate in abandoned structures, as your emphasis on FE reinforces my conception that wherever you work full-time obviously has a crime issue, which also ties into abondoned structure occupancy.

I feel sorry for you.

19. Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
I think that it was pretty obvious that I was referring to the FFE within my district as the entire post was referringing to FE within my district.

If we see a trend, we'll adjust our training.
So what constitutes "fortifying their residences?" Does it include removing those cheap *** 3/4 inch screws in the hinges with 2 1/2 or 3 inch scews that bite into the rough framing for the door? Or replacing those very same small screws in the keeper with those same 2 1/2 or 3 inch screws driven into the rough framing? Or does it include having the normal door knob lock and a dead bolt? Because if it does, MY house is fortified. Or actually, it has done to it what any smart home owner does.

20. Originally Posted by FyredUp
So what constitutes "fortifying their residences?" Does it include removing those cheap *** 3/4 inch screws in the hinges with 2 1/2 o 3 inch scews that bite into the rough framing for the door? Or replacing those very same small screws in the keeper with those same 2 1/2 or 3 inch screws driven into the rough framing? Or does it incluse having the normal door knob lock and a dead bolt? Because if it does MY house is fortified. Or actually, it has done to it what any smart home owner does.
...Thank you...

21. Originally Posted by tajm611
...Thank you...
You're welcome!

22. .... And there are those who complain about my efforts to seemingly impose my standards into another's area.

23. Originally Posted by FyredUp
So what constitutes "fortifying their residences?" Does it include removing those cheap *** 3/4 inch screws in the hinges with 2 1/2 or 3 inch scews that bite into the rough framing for the door? Or replacing those very same small screws in the keeper with those same 2 1/2 or 3 inch screws driven into the rough framing? Or does it include having the normal door knob lock and a dead bolt? Because if it does, MY house is fortified. Or actually, it has done to it what any smart home owner does.
Same here, and I live in a very rural area.

@ LAFire
You can't wait to change your tactics on forcible entry just because you say you don't have that issue. Do you personally go and check every house in your coverage and see what the setup is on their doors? There is always the chance of that one house, with that one lock, that you can't get through because you only carry that one tool.

24. Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
.... And there are those who complain about my efforts to seemingly impose my standards into another's area.

Asking you to do the bare minimum is imposing standards?

Don't feel sorry for me, feel sorry for the guys who have to put up with you.

By the way, ESL is english as a second language. Your spelling and reading comprehension are on par with your fire service knowledge.

25. Like I stated earlier; LA will make a comment under the guise of a busy urban firefighter, but as soon as he is called out, or needs to defend his position, it's right back to, "well in my area". What a joke.

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