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  1. #21
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    101, you stated the point I'm trying to make in my posts. Yes we do disagree about safety officer training. Whether or not you know the standard or have the safety officer course, doesn't mean you are going to follow them. And the point in my last post about some burns I've heard talked about, and have left because of unsafe practices leads me to that direction. I am also a fire service instructor and also have many of the same values that you have. However, many of the state courses, included the training 2000 curriculum the state wanted to lenghten and add modules dealing with safety and survival. Only to be railroaded with those chiefs who still only wanted a 39 hour class to call people firefighters. We do it to ourselves, I just interpreted your post as if you were placing some blame on the state. From your second post I see that your frustration lies more on a county and local level. Experience and book knowledge are the key, the amount of years whether its 5 or 10 depends on your area incident volume. I know of some guys who in 5 years see more then what some upstate firefighters won't see in 10 or 15. But everyone is different. I am an good firefighter/officer because I have experience and can lead well, I'm a excellent and efficient firefighter/officer because I have knowledge to back it up. And yes I recognize hazards/conditions and where to put a hole or stream because of my experience. So I do agree with you on that.
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  2. #22
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Als,I'll assign the problem at whatever level it exists.State,county,or local if non safe training conditions exist, it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY as Instructors to ensure the safe training conditions for our students.If the Chief has a problem with that,that's fine but the training WILL NOT continue until the problems are resolved.The State of Maine has adopted some very rigid safety procedures for live burns and the conditions that existed in Lairdsville WOULD NOT be allowed here,at least as long as a State Instructor was present.We require 11 State certified Instructors for any State sanctioned Live Fire training with several redundant safties.It appears we agree on one thing,now to get everybody else on the same page.T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 04-18-2002 at 10:24 PM.

  3. #23
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    LadyCapn: Be careful what you wish for! Though I think that it is important to get to the root cause, I don't know that everything should go the route of the court system. A proper investigation must be done and if the facts of the case warrants further action, then yes. I think that the Lairdsville incident will certainly be a catalyst for more thorough follow-ups should there be other training tragedies.
    George: I agree that there should be national standards and they should be followed. I don't believe that simply following minimum standards such as OSHA go far enough in addressing a cavalier attitude towards training by many small departments. As I have said in the past, being a volunteer doesn't give you a pass on training to the job requirements. If some vollie departments would treat it more like a job and less like a hobby, concentrate on the dangers instead of the thrills and use national consensus for training instead of "winging it as you go", injuries and deaths attributed to training will certainly decrease.
    I have read "Lairdsville: What Went Wrong" several times now and I keep going back to some statements that were made in the articles. Alan Baird III told investigators that for the exercise in which Brad Golden died, there was only to be the fire from the couch. Yet, according to Adam Croman, he states that he yelled down the stairs that he had the barrel lit. Baird was having trouble getting the couch lit, so Croman threw down the mattress to use. If Baird had not gotten the couch lit and knew, according to Croman that Croman had already lit a fire upstairs, then why did Baird go ahead and light the couch? If they were going to do search and rescue upstairs, why was a fire lit under that floor? Why didn't Baird make sure that a hose was laid and charged BEFORE he lit anything? I think I know the answer, but to a 12 year veteran(Baird).....
    In a couple of recent Forums, we have been discussing qualifications for officers, particularly training and safety officers and a comment that Baird made to investigators caused the hair on my neck to raise. When asked "why did you use live victims", Baird said "pretty much for the realism. our town doesn't have training dummies to use". Sweet Jesus! There's more. When asked "do Adam Croman and Gary Spaven have any training as safety officers or are you aware of any training they should have had to be a safety officer", Baird replied, "to my knowledge, I'm not aware of any training that is required to be a training officer". Good God!
    We have debated in a recent Forum the subject of officers being promoted by qualifications, default, the good ole boy rule, the combination of education and experience, I refer you to a quote by Douglas Whittaker, coordinator of the Fire Protection Technology program at Onondaga Community College and a state-certified fire instructor. While discussing the fact that there were no records to indicate Baird or Second Assistant Chief Gary Spaven, who was a safety officer on the scene, were qualified through training or experience to hold their positions within the department, Whittaker stated, "Unfortunately, there are some members of departments that don't have the program experience and knowledge to move up into (officer) positions, but they have to fill the void with somebody," he said. "It's very feasible for a small volunteer department to promote someone who is not experienced." I made a similar statement in another Forum. I don't agree with the practice, but I know that some departments fill positions "just because".
    I encourage all to go to UticaOD.com and download every compelling page and take it to your next training session. Better yet, email it to your legislators with the call for uniform training standards. It would be tough to argue against them after reading the articles.
    There is no doubt that the departments involved with the Lairdsville incident aren't working to improve. In this case better late than never minimizes Brad Golden's love of firefighting and his untimely and unnecessary death. The best and most appropriate way to remember and to honor his short life is to make sure that it never happens again by pushing for national training standards.
    Safety first; safety always!

  4. #24
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    Chief Reason

    Your vast reservior of resources never ceases to amaze me.

    Actually, the link was sent to me, I just passed it along.

    Rescue 101

    I have a problem with a 19 yr old Safety Officer.This is not a job for the younger inexperienced Fire Officer.It is better suited to a senior officer with years of TRAINING and Line Experience.No amount of weekend schooling will replace the lessons beat into a seasoned officer.

    Amen! (although schooling does have it's place)

    ALSfirefighter

    Nice post!

    George Wendt, CFI

    the thing that struck me most was that these were all KIDS!

    Exactly! (With the exception of Baird and Kimball noted)

    And then the commissioners in their infinite wisdom make one of the lighters (Croman) as the assistant safety officer!?

    What in the heck is in the water up there? Is Love Canal close by?

    Somebody needs to call Erin Brockovich!

    But he should not be the only one.

    Nope, at least Croman should be prosecuted and preferably Kimbal takes his lumps too.

    did anyone do an origin and cause investigation on this fire?

    The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control Arson Bureau did, it's Case #01-M48.

    I've read the narrative, pretty standard, ruling out electrical or other accidental causes.

    It does say, and I'm paraphrasing, that there is evidence of a second fire on the second floor; a 55-gallon metal drum with clothes and other debris was ignited.

    It goes on to say the fire that killed Golden "originated at points on the 1st and 2nd floor of the buildings east side apartment."

    Fourth...we need mandatory national training standards.

    To a certain extent I agree. But I can't help but wonder if and where we will find consensus nationwide?

    Some don't think we should use aquired structures and some do.

    Some believe that the apparatus should be sitting there with lines down and a secure water supply and some want to roll up and do the evolutions.

    Some will push smoothbores only, others autos and a few will even say vindicators.

    How will we decide the minimum number of personnel?

    None of us can recall the last time we went in a burning house and found a bale of hay on a metal rack or a gas burner that goes out when the float switch trips, but that's what we use most often. And some ask when you get right down to it, how realistic is that?

    I could really get behind your example in your subsequent post to LadyCapn regarding more action/standards on the state level.

    Your (for example) response district is significantly different from mine. Heck, my two response districts are significantly different. How well would a policy be applied that was designed for a two story ballon frame with a basement and hydrants every 500' when applied to a single story ranch with the nearest water all that you can bring with you?

    We also have (had for environmental reasons) a system to conduct live burn training in acquired structures that required a permit from the State.

    Would you believe Texas policy includes fire training centers?

    Anyway...

    My mind is still boggled by this incident...
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

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    Mongo

    To a certain extent I agree. But I can't help but wonder if and where we will find consensus nationwide?

    I think NFPA 1403 is a great place to start. It recognizes alot of the pitfalls of acquired structure training. It is, as is the nature of the beast with an NFPA Standard, probably not appropriate in total for every jurisdiction. But I will be watching for that document to come up for review and I will be submitting change proposals. I would suggest that you all do the same.

    Some don't think we should use aquired structures and some do.

    I think that we need to train in acquired structures. But we need to train practically and realistically. We should not be creating flashover conditions. It is too dangerous and unpredictable. It would be akin to LEO shooting at each other with live ammo for training.

    Would you believe Texas policy includes fire training centers?

    NJ's does too. It just involves a different, more permanent, process than for an acquired structure.

    My mind is still boggled by this incident...

    Join the club, brother.

  6. #26
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    OK, I'm off to start a topic about a national training standard just to get a feeler...
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

  7. #27
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default GOOD LUCK MONGO

    National standard? You have a better chance of turning me into a Cubs fan then to get a National standard passed. All your examples perfectly spell out why they wont work.
    Last edited by MIKEYLIKESIT; 04-18-2002 at 08:10 PM.

  8. #28
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    I also noticed that most of these "veterans" were just kids. It would be interesting to see the age breakdown for the whole department as well as the others that were participating in the exercises.

    I think it was Chief Raason who said that we should all download and print out the information on this incident and share it with everyone. I am all for that one! Also glad that someone else on here thinks others should "go down" for this senseless tragedy... The #$%^ with immunity for anyone. Go back and charge the City Commissioners with criminal negligence since they even stated at some point they had concerns over the qualifications but made and authorized the appointments.

    Is there a charge for "being ignorant"
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  9. #29
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    I think NFPA 1403 is a great place to start.
    I think that we look to NFPA standards as a guide but in this instance it is not a binding document. 1403 is a good place to start but like most other changes in the fire service, there has to be a punishment doled out for violations to make anything effective. This could be taken up on a local and state level but how do suppose each state would deal with it? No clear cut answers here.

  10. #30
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by mongofire_99

    What in the heck is in the water up there? Is Love Canal close by?

    Somebody needs to call Erin Brockovich!
    [QUOTE/]

    Mongo,
    Nope Love Canal is about 5 hours west of Westmoreland, and about 5 minutes southeast of me! Most people around here are fairly normal.

    As for the National consensus,I am not sure it would ever get past the planning phase. Too many volunteer fire departments in my area (mine included) have the experienced members getting burned out and refusing to take line positions. That leaves the younger book taught firefighters to fill in the void. Fortunately in my company the officers are smart enough to utilize the senior firefighters as advisors.

    I have heard through as of yet unconfirmed rumors (perhaps ALSFF can confirm) NYS OFPC is in the process of establishing minimum training requirements for officers. This I feel is a step in the right direction. And perhaps better than a national consensus for the very reason that Mongo stated "Your (for example) response district is significantly different from mine". My approximately 10 square mile response district has both the hydrant every 500 ft, and an area that requires shuttling of water. I am inclined that the state would be more, for lack of a better term, sympathetic to our situation than anyone at the national level.

    George, I agree with you that live fire training in acquired structures is beneficial. I am afraid that one day it will be possible for a firefighter to be fully trained and never have experienced being in a actual fire. Perhaps this is exaggerating, but it is not out of the relm of possibility. I hope it doesnt come to that.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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  11. #31
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    Was just catching up on this thread and it seems that there are some facts thaat have not been pointed out. You point out that they were all so young. Well its seems that there are only 13 members of this FD and that is down from about 20 in resent years. My big bitch is that Kimball was give immunity. He was the highest ranking officer there and since his people were taking part in the evolution he had a duty to act. He did not nor did his LT. that was there with him. There is no one person responsable here. They are all responsable.

  12. #32
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    No argument from me on that one. I have said from day one that the Highest ranking officer there had responsibility and should be held accountable as well as all those there in authority.

    I am glad this one came back to the top.
    Last edited by captstanm1; 04-27-2002 at 10:38 PM.
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  13. #33
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    For those of you who still check this forum regularly, if you haven't read it yet, read the forum "this just in." Just start shaking your heads now.

  14. #34
    Disillusioned Subscriber Steamer's Avatar
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    First question - When is the trial supposed to start?
    Second question - Has anyone heard whether Court TV was going to cover it? I know several posters have asked.

    I remember seeing some time ago a tape of an instructor lighting a boat up for live fire training. They used gasoline to start that fire, and they came close to seeing him on the air control radar at LAX airport.

    Then we have Lairdsville. Now another incident where they used a flammable liquid. Are there people in charge that are so isolated from the standards documents that they truly don't know of their existance? I'm not saying that ignorance of the standards is an acceptable excuse by any means. I've got to wonder though, how an instructor, training officer, or even a chief officer could possibly bend over so far as to be able to have their heads stuck that far up their own arse.

    I thought Lairdsville was an exception or an aberrancy. Now, I'm not so sure. This has got to stop.
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  15. #35
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Angry Bairds' ville revisited

    captstanm1 stated
    "...the Highest ranking officer there had responsibility and should be held accountable as well as all those there in authority."

    I couldn't agee more. When you assume an officer position, you are accountable and responsible for the women and men under your command.
    Having again read through Mr. Baird's remarks during questioning, I am convinced that none of the officers were qualified to conduct that sort of training exercise...and they are responsible for the tragic outcome.

    As for the most recent incident in Cranesville......
    "Anyone can make mistakes. Fools insist on repeating them." --Robertine Maynard
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  16. #36
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Unhappy From the Rome NY Sentinel online

    Note: I do not know when this article appeared on the Sentinel website....but it is still relevant to our thread. I hope I am not repeating a previous post.

    State probe finds 'serious' violations in fatal fire training

    The Westmoreland Fire District has been cited for several "serious" violations in an investigation by the state Labor Department of the fatal fire-training incident Sept. 25.

    In just one of the 11 serious violations noted, the fire district is cited as not having ensured that Lairdsville fire officers conducting the training were properly trained, according to the notice of violation.


    In addition, the report states that the couch fire used in the training was ignited by Gary Spaven, not defendant Alan Baird III as alleged by the DA's office.


    The 20-page review also states that the three firefighters in the live control burn were "not trained in basic essentials as required, had not received medical physicals, were never given training for respirators and never fit-tested" for breathing apparatus'." And, the narrative also includes that neither of the two officers at the scene, Lairdsville First Assistant Chief Alan Baird or Second Assistant Gary Spaven, was "qualified through training or experience to hold their positions within the department."


    The district, consisting of Westmoreland, Lowell and Lairdsville firefighters, was ordered to fix the violations by specific dates over the next couple of months or else face possible fines. There is also a process by which the district can appeal the notice, officials said.


    Nineteen-year-old Lairdsville firefighter Bradley Golden died in the live fire exercise. An Oneida County grand jury indicted former Lairdsville First Assistant Fire Chief Alan Baird, 20, of Westmoreland, on counts of manslaughter and assault. Prosecutors charge Baird was the highest ranking officer at the scene and that he was the one who lit the fire.


    The violations are noted in a Notice of Violation and Order to Comply completed by the Utica office of the Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau of the state Department of Labor.


    The notice, which also includes seven "non-serious" violations, states that the charges are violations of the Public Employee Safety and Health Act. The state agency enforces standards of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for state employees including paid and volunteer firefighters.


    Specifically, the district did not ensure Lairdsville fire officers who were in charge of the live control burn training were properly trained in accordance with recommended standards.

    How's that grab ya? No SCBA training...Good God!
    Last edited by NJFFSA16; 04-27-2002 at 11:27 PM.
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  17. #37
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    They were "sited" big deal... They indicted him...but is that a smoke screen? WE WANT A CONVICTION...AN EXAMPLE for other NOT to Follow!

    They should be convicted... Starting with the person in charge and ending with the comissioners that put him there. How about murder instead of manslaughter and how about accessory for the others!!!!!
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  18. #38
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    Steamer that incident with the boat you posted was actually a lifeguard attempting to light a fire for lifeguard training. What they actually were supposed to do I have no clue, but he is one of the luckiest son-of-a-you know I've ever seen.

  19. #39
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    Unhappy Latest posting from WRGB news site

    From WRGB-Channel 6 online site

    Sunday, April 28, 2002 5:46:53 PM

    Firefighters Injured in Drill

    Fire officials are looking into whether the accelerant is to blame for causing problems in Saturday's training exercise. The Cranesville Fire Department was using a house on Chapman Drive for a live burn when a wall collapsed and fell on five firefighters after the blaze was ignited. Flammable liquids like gasoline and kerosene are the norm, but their use in live fire training is not recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. Two firefighters remain at Albany Medical Center, and three others were treated and released from St. Mary's Hospital. Fire officials say they've been using the house for the past six weeks in various training burns, and Saturday they were planning on burning it completely.
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  20. #40
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    As most of you know, the trial of Alan Baird III was to begin today. You can keep up with it by going to the uticaOD.com website.
    I found a couple of interesting statements made in today's article posted by Firehouse.com. One was made by Baird which stated that he had a lot of support. I have to assume that he meant "local" support. I know that in the past, efforts to drum up support in these forums failed, but I know that he at least has the support of his family. Pictures of his father gets to me, because it is obvious that his father loves him very much, but I don't think Baird, Sr. understands fully the gravity of the situation. And I don't mean that it should sway his father's love. I mean that his father has chosen the same defense as his son when speaking to the media.
    The second statement that caught my attention, came from the family of Bradley Golden. His step-father has concerns that in all of this, Bradley's death will be forgotten. I don't know what would compel him to say something like that. I suppose with all of the press Alan Baird III is getting, maybe it is understandable. But I want Mr. Roberts to understand that Bradley's death will not be forgotten. Bradley paid the ultimate price for his decision that fateful day.
    Now, it is time for Alan Baird III to admit his responsibility in Bradley's death and pay an appropriate price, as well.
    The changes that have been made since the tragedy is the first step towards reconciling this needless training death. The second and final step is justice. Justice must be served and those responsible held accountable. It may start with Alan Baird III, but I suspect that it won't end there. And it shouldn't!
    Just my opinion; I could be wrong.
    God bless the Golden family and God help the Bairds.

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