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    Default Resistance To Change

    I wanted to throw this out there and see how everyone dealt with this. As rescue technicians we cover a lot of disciplines. Trench, Shoring, Confined Space, Rope Rescue and let's throw MVX in there as well. I find especially Rope Rescue that guys are resistant to change. What I mean by that is new gear or techniques are shunned because It's not how they were originally taught. Unfortunately I think the number of complacent guys out numbers us progressive ones. Because of this I think teams and individuals are slow to advance their skills. To be honest with everyone It really frustrates me on many levels. How do you handle this or feel about it...
    -Mike Donahue-
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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    Sure it's frustrating, but I think there are a few things an instructor has to realize. The first is that not everybody cares about rope the way you might. They've got a set of workable skills that are safe, maybe just not efficient and learning new skills won't make them THAT much better than before. Obviously these incremental improvements add up over time, but it's hard to argue that in the moment.

    The second point, and the one I've dealt with most often in my department, is kind of like the "Crying Wolf" syndrome. So much new equipment has come in over the years that was supposed to save the day and make everything easier, but now sits unused in a bag because of flaw X in the system. Whatever you're showing them now is just the latest in a long line of stuff that will eventually end up in a bag unused, is what they're probably thinking.

    Last, that resistance is actually a good sounding board for your ideas, if you assess it honestly. Those guys have no dog in the fight and they're anxious as heck to prove you wrong so they can go back to their old ways. Maybe they're right. It's happened to me a few times; I got the latest widget that was going to cure all of our woes and the guys crushed me on it when it didn't. That's OK, they were right to want to use the old way then; and I learned to make sure all my ducks were in a row before REALLY going all in to push a new way of thinking, piece of equipment, etc... It was a good lesson.

    What I think a person in your position needs to do is make sure you have honestly assess why this is a better technique, widget, whatever and then be able to prove it to them in use. Do it head to head with them operating both the old and new system. If they're not blown away, quicker, or impressed, go back to the woodshed and hone your arguments a little sharper for round two.

    Oh, and don't lose your cool just because it's guys you work with and you can; it'll take a LONG time to recover from that. Ask me how I know this
    I used to be DCFDRescue 2. Forum changover locked me out.

    www.rescue2training.com

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    Rescue2- Great post.

    With all the new devices comming out, still vet them against the standard, old school method. If they do it better, safer, or are more efficent then we take a harder look at them. Most of the time we relize that for the price, extra gear or loads of training to become good with them that we'll stick with the old way.

    That said, 3 years ago we started SRT (single rope technique). Most, myself included, were addimently against it. It violated so many of the "industry standards" that we were raised on. But once we started training on it, a lot, we all became very comfortable with it. SRT has actually changed the way we operate. One person can make patient access within a minute, litter tend without riding the basket, or really edge tend by downclimbing to where the basket is going to have the most problems.

    That said, there are a lot of "industry standards" people quote becasue it was taught to them that don't hold up in practical use. How many times have you heard that our systems are built with a 15:1 SSF? Tie any knot into a 9000lbs rope, now minus the efficency loss, is it still a 15:1 for a 2 person load?

    Too many people are looking for the next great thing. Products roll out and some people flock to them because they are new. Our job is simple. Technical rescue is a medical call with technical skills intervention. Why reinvent the wheel when the system you are using is tried, true and effective?
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    Great responses guys. My problem is that It sometimes feels like your running in place going nowhere. I'm a thinker and the attitude seems to be "don't make it to hard for these guys". I believe and understand the whole KISS theory but it a situation arises that the skills they know wont handle then what. I'll keep pushing and introducing new gear I think will benefit us but you can't always win.
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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    I do know how you feel, but the other guys also had some very good points. Those of us that keep our minds open for new equipment and techniques have to keep the whole team in mind. I find it difficult just to have most people keep up the skills they do have, without introducing new things. We are ever tasked with more and more work with less and less people. We also have shrinking budgets that do not allow for equipment purchases at all, let alone new stuff. There are some that feel there is a "right" way and a wrong way to perform tasks, but the truth is there are a number of options that get the tasks done in a safe manner. We tend to stick with what we know and were taught. We definitely still need to be progressive and try to improve what we do. Our circumstances don't always allow for that to happen as much as it should. Keep working on it and stay safe!

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    Thanks for the post and I agree with you. I know not everyone is open to change and they may be happy doing things the way they've always done things. I do believe however that as a professional you do have some kind of responsibility to expand your knowledge on whatever discipline you're tasked with providing. As we've all heard a thousand times every rescue operation is different thus the need to know beyond that basic skill set your initially given. I'm a firm believer you learn a lot with an open mind. As an instructor though I like the challenge of taking a closed mind and making it open.
    -Mike Donahue-
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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    First, great posts; Second, great topic.

    I agree that there have been some advancements in equipment and technique since I began this journey 20+ years ago. I do find myself relying on the tried and true technique's that have kept me safe over the years. Not that I am reluctant to use newer gear, but $600 for an MPD is a little crazy if you ask me.

    We teach on a PACE methodology; Primary, Auxillary, Contingent, Emergency. Essentially we like to show 4 ways to accomplish mission critical tasks. For instance with anchors...Single point, LSA, LDA, Counter balance or meat (people). This is where I think our industry is failing. We become so focused on the next best thing that we lose sight of the fact that the next best thing may get left on the rig, not be packed, or be broke. I did a class for a department that wanted to soley use a 540 for belay training; we refused to do that and guess what? We found a 540 that was broke!!! I guess my point is, we are dumbing down "technician". Our younger generation is so used to technology to fix problems; my generation relies on critical thinking and organic assets. (I'm not bashing the younger crowd; there are some great ones out there and out own MichaelXYZ is well on his way to success) "Here, turn this handle and watch the load go down" isn't adequate instruction to understand what is happening in a rope system. I lean more towards new gear that is innovative (a better mouse trap) vs gear that is inventive (a new mouse trap).

    Let me just add, if you have the chance to get a class from a Reed Thorne, Pat Rhodes, Bruce Smith do it. There are very few of those guys around anymore.

    While I'm on my soap box...I also think there is a lot of great gear on the market that is not NFPA 1983 stamped. It pains me to think a rescue service is so focused on NFPA that they don't realize that Rock Exotica, Petzel...make some awesome gear that is very practical and applicable. If you've never used a Petzel ASAP, get one. Great for edge management, fall protection and as an SRT autobloc. Rock Thompson will probably never get his gear certified; I trust it with my life and my student's lives. (If you have RE gear that is certified it's because the vendor chose to have it done. Sterling has done this with the biners used in the AZTEC.)

    Drew - You're spot on with SSF. While that topic is out there, how safe do we need to be? An airplane flies with a 1.5 to 1. I'm not condoning "Safety Third", but we can do just as an effective job with minimal equipment and lower diameter rope. Some will say we increase the SSF because guys may not really know what they're doing...that's a load of BS!! They shouldn't be touching the equipment if that is the case!! OR the other I hear is, the SSF is there because we can't see damage to the equipment...if you're not inspecting your gear and replacing it at appropriate intervals your playing russian roulette; it has nothing to do with SSF.

    That should be enough to keep this thread going for a little while. If there are any typos or I have offended anyone please take pitty...my daughter keeps playing Gangam Style over and over again and its driving me crazy!!!

    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post
    First, great posts; Second, great topic.

    I agree that there have been some advancements in equipment and technique since I began this journey 20+ years ago. I do find myself relying on the tried and true technique's that have kept me safe over the years. Not that I am reluctant to use newer gear, but $600 for an MPD is a little crazy if you ask me.

    We teach on a PACE methodology; Primary, Auxillary, Contingent, Emergency. Essentially we like to show 4 ways to accomplish mission critical tasks. For instance with anchors...Single point, LSA, LDA, Counter balance or meat (people). This is where I think our industry is failing. We become so focused on the next best thing that we lose sight of the fact that the next best thing may get left on the rig, not be packed, or be broke. I did a class for a department that wanted to soley use a 540 for belay training; we refused to do that and guess what? We found a 540 that was broke!!! I guess my point is, we are dumbing down "technician". Our younger generation is so used to technology to fix problems; my generation relies on critical thinking and organic assets. (I'm not bashing the younger crowd; there are some great ones out there and out own MichaelXYZ is well on his way to success) "Here, turn this handle and watch the load go down" isn't adequate instruction to understand what is happening in a rope system. I lean more towards new gear that is innovative (a better mouse trap) vs gear that is inventive (a new mouse trap).

    Let me just add, if you have the chance to get a class from a Reed Thorne, Pat Rhodes, Bruce Smith do it. There are very few of those guys around anymore.

    While I'm on my soap box...I also think there is a lot of great gear on the market that is not NFPA 1983 stamped. It pains me to think a rescue service is so focused on NFPA that they don't realize that Rock Exotica, Petzel...make some awesome gear that is very practical and applicable. If you've never used a Petzel ASAP, get one. Great for edge management, fall protection and as an SRT autobloc. Rock Thompson will probably never get his gear certified; I trust it with my life and my student's lives. (If you have RE gear that is certified it's because the vendor chose to have it done. Sterling has done this with the biners used in the AZTEC.)

    Drew - You're spot on with SSF. While that topic is out there, how safe do we need to be? An airplane flies with a 1.5 to 1. I'm not condoning "Safety Third", but we can do just as an effective job with minimal equipment and lower diameter rope. Some will say we increase the SSF because guys may not really know what they're doing...that's a load of BS!! They shouldn't be touching the equipment if that is the case!! OR the other I hear is, the SSF is there because we can't see damage to the equipment...if you're not inspecting your gear and replacing it at appropriate intervals your playing russian roulette; it has nothing to do with SSF.

    That should be enough to keep this thread going for a little while. If there are any typos or I have offended anyone please take pitty...my daughter keeps playing Gangam Style over and over again and its driving me crazy!!!

    Jeff
    Great post Jeff...I feel for you. These days Barney and other "Sprout" tunes play on a loop in my head.
    I love what you said regarding fear or acceptance of gear that doesn't have that 1983 stamp on it. I had a chance to Meet Rock and tour his facility and boy what a great mind he is. If you should present a piece of gear to someone or a team and it isn't 1983 rated it's shunned due to fear of using it or simple because 1983 had been instilled in our brains since day 1.
    The "old school" methods (for lack of a better word) are the needed foundation to understand and appreciate what todays new technology provides us. Better doesn't always work. Any good rope guy has multiple ways of completing a mission and the ability to create on the fly.
    -Mike Donahue-
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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    Great post. And to Jeff, thanks for the nice words, but I wish to interject about using the NFPA 1983 approved gear. In one of my classes, we discussed laws and standards. Laws we must follow and standards are just recommendations. My instructor brought up and emphasized that (heaven forbid) there is an accident with injuries, an inquiry will be made and they will go up certain orafices with a microscope. He further went to say, if it were found that we were using non NFPA standard approved methods or equipment that we may be found liable. This was for apparatus operator/driver class, but I am sure it applies to all aspects of the job.
    This was enough to convince me to always follow our standards. Your thoughts?
    Last edited by MichaelXYZ; 10-18-2012 at 09:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelXYZ View Post
    Great post. And to Jeff, thanks for the nice words, but I wish to interject about using the NFPA 1983 approved gear. In one of my classes, we discussed laws and standards. Laws we must follow and standards are just recommendations. My instructor brought up and emphasized that (heaven forbid) there is an accident with injuries, an inquiry will be made and they will go up certain orafices with a microscope. He further went to say, if it were found that we were using non NFPA standard approved methods or equipment that we may be found liable. This was for apparatus operator/driver class, but I am sure it applies to all aspects of the job.
    This was enough to convince me to always follow our standards. Your thoughts?
    As an offical self appointed firehouse lawer, and I watched an episode of Law and Order once, a qualified third party testing that meets or exceeds NFPA 1983 should hold up in court. Really is dependent of working in a NPFA state, or what standards your state has adopted.
    ~Drew
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    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    Well, if it meets or exceeds NFPA then I would be expected to have documentation to verify this, no? I got my law training from NCIS

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    Any legal action has to be based on precedence. There has not been a hardware failure that lead to injury in our industry that I am aware. Again, I say using a reputable manufacturer is the key.

    If you were to get sued over not using an NFPA piece of gear, I assure you the equipment manufacturer will scrutinize the case. How was the piece used? Was it overloaded? Inspection? Age?

    I guess the point of my post with regard to this topic is that rarely, if ever, does our gear fail us.....We fail the gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmatthe2 View Post
    Any legal action has to be based on precedence. There has not been a hardware failure that lead to injury in our industry that I am aware. Again, I say using a reputable manufacturer is the key.

    If you were to get sued over not using an NFPA piece of gear, I assure you the equipment manufacturer will scrutinize the case. How was the piece used? Was it overloaded? Inspection? Age?

    I guess the point of my post with regard to this topic is that rarely, if ever, does our gear fail us.....We fail the gear.
    Great ending to that post Jeff...Well said.
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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