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Thread: Exterior officers?

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    Here is the condensed version:

    Until we have enough membership and we have officers that can be strictly 100% full time volunteer fire officers, there will be responses where there are no officers.

    So my question to you is, what policies would you recommend. I am not against adding policies and procedures, just that they have to make sense to what we see.
    The policy I recommend is one that has an officer, a real officer with training as an officer (and eventually experience as an officer), respond on every incident that requires members to operate in an IDLH atmosphere. I'd prefer it on every response but clearly some departments feel they cannot make that happen.
    Maybe more guys should be trained as officers. I would do everything possible to get that done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    What makes an officer an officer?

    Is it not a high level of training?
    Training as an OFFICER. Not the same thing as training as a firefighter.
    Nick_Miller likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    captnjak, don't get the impression that its just a bunch of guys running around doing what they want.
    Then what is it exactly? Earlier you described a fire scene with no officer and said everyone knows what to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    The policy I recommend is one that has an officer, a real officer with training as an officer (and eventually experience as an officer), respond on every incident that requires members to operate in an IDLH atmosphere. I'd prefer it on every response but clearly some departments feel they cannot make that happen.
    Maybe more guys should be trained as officers. I would do everything possible to get that done.
    The problem is in many volunteer and POC FD's the officers whether elected or appointed work out of town and are not available at certain times of the day. Does that make sense? Not in the least, there should be at least one officer available 24/7 and if it means changing the way officers become officers to afford better coverage then the change must happen. The corrolary is, as you state quite clearly, TRAINING on how to be an officer is imperative. Giving orders and directing people to do things is a different world than doing them yourself. Making proper tactical and strategic decisions QUICKLY canmake or break an emergency incident. More in depth training on building construction, strategy, tactics, fireground safety, human relations, command, fire behavior and so much more. The simple truth is a good firefighter doesn't always make a good officer.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    capjack -- while it may not always be the case -in small departments , even if there isn't an official officer. There is usually a leader that takes charge. Is it as good as having an official officer that is also a true leader ? no way, but many times that is the way it is.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    Then what is it exactly? Earlier you described a fire scene with no officer and said everyone knows what to do.
    What is it? Guys following our policies and procedures.

    Senior guy on an vehicle steps up as officer of that vehicle. Engine guys know to get a water supply and stretch a line. Truck guys know to do interior search and ladders/ventilation. If a guy, yes any guy, sees a dangerous situation they radio that information.

    Shouldn't every firefighter on the scene know this?

    Shouldn't every firefighter on the scene be able to do these functions?

    Why should they need to have an officer tell them to stretch a line? Why should they need an officer to
    tell them to force a door and do a search?

    You show up to a 2 1/2 story house with smoke coming out a window...do you need an officer to tell your guys what to do? We don't. Truck makes entry and searches, Engine pulls a line. Will the line be charged? IF the truck guys find fire and report that, the line gets charged.

    We get an alarm call at a residence. Truck goes in and investigates. Engine stands by at closest hydrant. Should I need officers to determine that once we get to the scene?

    Are there times where things happen and decision makers need to make decisions? Yup, no doubt, no question. Majority of the calls....nope.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    What is it? Guys following our policies and procedures.

    Senior guy on an vehicle steps up as officer of that vehicle. Engine guys know to get a water supply and stretch a line. Truck guys know to do interior search and ladders/ventilation. If a guy, yes any guy, sees a dangerous situation they radio that information.

    Shouldn't every firefighter on the scene know this?

    Shouldn't every firefighter on the scene be able to do these functions?

    Why should they need to have an officer tell them to stretch a line? Why should they need an officer to
    tell them to force a door and do a search?

    You show up to a 2 1/2 story house with smoke coming out a window...do you need an officer to tell your guys what to do? We don't. Truck makes entry and searches, Engine pulls a line. Will the line be charged? IF the truck guys find fire and report that, the line gets charged.

    We get an alarm call at a residence. Truck goes in and investigates. Engine stands by at closest hydrant. Should I need officers to determine that once we get to the scene?

    Are there times where things happen and decision makers need to make decisions? Yup, no doubt, no question. Majority of the calls....nope.
    My biggest concern is not about guys knowing what to do. It's about knowing what not to do. It's about knowing when to do it. And when not to do it.

    There is no way a group of firefighters will all be on the same exact page at an incident. There has to be one person in each group who has final say. There has to be an IC who has final say over the groups.

    Why do the most active fire departments in the country have officers? Those firefighters are well trained and highly experienced. According to you, they don't need supervision because of this.

    You say that a firefighter who sees a dangerous situation will radio that information. To whom? Everyone? Does he/she then contact each firefighter individually to make sure they received it? Who decides what to do with that information? Everyone for themselves? Who decides if a tactical change is necessary? Each individual? Some decide to withdraw and some decide to stay interior? Which side wins out? I've said it before and I'll say it now, decision-making on the fire ground is not and cannot be a group activity. That may work in other activities. Low risk activities. High risk activities such as firefighting require supervision and a workable span of control in order to be done safely and efficiently.

    You say that on the majority of calls you don't need decision-makers. I disagree with the statement; routine calls can become dangerous very quickly. You must do predominantly low risk calls. So you're responding to high risk calls relatively rarely. This makes the need for good supervision even more critical.

    IMO, departments that operate this way are heading for trouble. They are getting by on luck to some degree. They should re-evaluate now instead of reacting to the eventual but inevitable life changing injury or fatality. I'm sure all departments who have experienced this thought their procedures were fine up until it happened.

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    There is always an IC / command. But it may not always be an officer, it may be a senior guy stepping up.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Sometimes the guys that should be officers are smart enough to know a train wreck when they see one and know things aren't going to change. Sometimes it is just easier to be a troop and fight the good fight than be a progressive, forward thinking, educated, and trained officer, in a department where all you get for it is a concussion from beating your head against the wall.

    After about a 6 year absence from being an officer I am back as a lieutenant on one of my POC FDs. I left being an officer because it was pointless to try and effect change at the time. Things have changed and we have guys that want to learn and care about the fire department and its reputation. So I am back, so far no concussions, though they may re-occur at some point!
    As a former Charleston, SC firefighter, I can understand the frustration that comes with change....needed change, and wanted change (that will be a different thread in the future). It took 9 of our guys to die in an LODD before the positive changes started taking place, and it started from the bottom...not the top. A BIG sacrifice by our brothers, but not one in vain. Policies, Regulations, and Procedures are in fact instituted to prevent this very thing from happening again, and in reality....does occur over and over and over....due to complacency and other factors. Even the most highly trained and experienced officer can still get complacent and make mistakes that kill one of our own. So what separates an officer from a firefighter? Here's the answer....follow these attributes:

    1. TRAINING
    2. EXPERIENCE
    3. PROGRESSIVE THINKING
    4. AUTONOMOUS (Think outside the box)
    5. STRATEGIC PLANNING/THINKING
    6. INITIATIVE
    7. PERSISTENCE
    8. OUTGOING/GREGARIOUS/MOTIVATOR
    9. GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS
    10. ABILITY TO SEPERATE "LEADER" from "FRIEND"

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