1. #1
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    Default Lairdsville Revisited

    A short post from me on Lairdsville, what's the world coming too?

    Interesting readin' if you're so inclined...

    http://www.uticaod.com/news/lairdsvi...ille_index.htm
    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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    Thanks Mongo. Will read it with much interest.

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    Default A few more tidbits

    Just finished reading the entire article. There were a few more tidbits of information that hadn't previously been available, but it was nice to see more about those involved. Puts more of a human face on the issue.

    When all is said and done, when all the reports are compiled they should be sent to every Department in the Country. There is no excuse for this to happen again anywhere.

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    Lightbulb What a concept!

    I agree with Ladycapn...This horrible act of negligence and irresponsible actions should be shared with every department nationwide in great detail.

    I read the entire thing with hair raised on the back of my neck. Seems like a lot of finger pointing and "he said", "she said", "he did it", "no he did it", "I didnt realize".....on so forth.

    If someone does not take the heat for this then we are doomed for it to happen again. It is an unspeakable horrible act that occurred. And for them to even say that they did not realize there was any training for a "Safety Officer" is outrageous. They have been in business since 1949....Are they living in a glass bubble? If so...I think it may have just broke!!!!!

    Ok...off the soap box now. It is a chilling story to say the least.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    "If you don't know history, you are doomed to repeat it." Paraphrasing just a little.

    The most distressing part of this is that it has happened before and still, we have it occur again. Milford was an example, but for naught. Lairdsville will suffer the same fate if the fire service fails to look at itself with a critical eye. Distributing a report would be a good idea. I wonder though, how many would see it and say "That doesn't apply to us". However the effort should be made because one department might see it and change the way they do business with respect to training.

    Swift prosecution is in order. Here is hoping it is carried out with resolve.

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    Interesting to me were the references to statements made on Firehouse.com....

    Hmmmmmm......
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Default Real people

    God Rest the soul of Bradley Golden.

    God help the souls of those who are involved in this unspeakable tragedy.

    I also had the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I saw the pictures of Brad and all the others involved.

    Let's all commit to do the most we can in our communities to make sure this doesn't happen in our back yards.

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    Default Some changes in ny

    Just a point of interest to all who have read this artical so far, I know that it was mentioned that the individuals did not know that there was any formal safety officer training. before i finish let me say that in no way do i agree with what was done or am sticking up for anyone here just pionting out a couple facts that i think should have been mentioned. Having been a member of a fire dept in oneida county for over 7 years now, i can say that there has never to the best of my knowledge been any formal saftey officer class offered by the state, but low and behold there are 2 classes being offered, from what i am hearing these are newly created classes that were created as a result of the incident and a class on on conducting live fire burns is also being put together, but the instructers need to be trained first. How convient that they leave out this fact, the Utica OD is a very one sided paper, but it is the only one we have here.

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    Mongo:
    Your vast reservior of resources never ceases to amaze me.
    Thank you for the link.
    Mind-boggling; just mind-boggling.
    Wow. Truly sad. Damn!

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    Be that as it may,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.Fire behavior,Ops,building construction and occupancy,and a whole hosts of other concerns are at the top of a properly prepared SO's thought processes.Plus the placing of the so-called Safety officers at this incident virtually guaranteed they could not perform their duties properly.Safety is EVERYBODYs business.T.C.

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    Funkyfire,

    There is a incident safety officer course that has been around for a while that is offered at Montour Falls and the annex at Camp Smith. There is also a listing for a "Safety Officer" certification if you get a course catalog from the academy. It also spells out the other certs and their requirements. And yes the state has developed 2 classes that specifically deal with live fire training. I received them at the last instructors conference at the end of Feb. I do not understand what point you are trying to make that the paper left that fact out. This was not a state issue. There were no state fire representatives or instructors on-scene. Furthermore, I applaud the state for responding to the incident by quickly putting that package together. It is not an acutal "certification" however, it is used to spread the word that the state follows NFPA 1430 for training burns, and hopefully this won't happen again. At least for those of us who are certified instructors. The state didn't light those fires, didn't put those kids on that second floor. They decided to do a "routine" (there's that word again) training fire, and tragically it went from routine. We all need to step back and learn from this (again). This is exactly why on another forum a year ago, I argued the point against live fire evolutions in acquired structures. Life like is nice, but not when it comes to putting our guys at risk. I've seen depts. do training fires that in a real scenario would be a defensive attack, but because we need "real training" they light the place up like they used napalm and send newer members in there. Risk vs. Benefit doesn't apply only to real life. The state isn't mentioned because it wasn't a state drill, remember NY is a home rule state, and that fire department was the (he comes that magic NFPA word) the AHJ, or the authority having jurisdiction.

    Rescue101 and JTL, and my boy Mongo, ditto ditto ditto. I cannot see myself partaking in an exercise or being part of a 19 year old volunteer asst. chief and safety officer. And that's not a bash either, just my opinion.
    God bless brother Golden. My sympathy to that dept. and community.
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    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

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    My you rest in peace my Brother along with the thousands of other Brother's.

    GOD Bless FDNY and ALL of the lost Brother's and their families.

    FTM, PTB, RFB

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    The standard for live burns is 1403 I believe...
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Default ALSFire

    My point is that there is a lack of training on the state level at least in oneida county, I agree that there are classes at montour falls and places like that, but here comes a couple other magic words for u...fire commisioners, first u need to find some in this damm county that are willing to spend some money and send members to these schools, theres another word money, i know i sure dont have any extra cash laying around to foot a triaing bill untill i can get reim bursed. There are state classes held all the time in the county and like i said now they are offering this safety officer course, and would u believe that both classes are filled already. The only problem here is that these are all head on weeknights so anyone that works nights is SOL here. I think that the paper should have put alittle more effort into what types of traingin these guys should have had and what is available.

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    Looks like it might be time for whoever deals with the "commish"to grow a set and adress some issues.Being a fire officer today is or a least should be a awesome responsibility.I have seen very few 19-21 yr olds with enough training and experience to assume this role.Again,as others have stated this is not a "slam"just a grim reality.Some people never do make it to officer capable status.It has been our experience that it takes about 7-10 yrs of line experience to be able to "read"incidents well and make proper decisions.At 21,I thought I knew it all about Fire.Now some years later I've had some very somber reminders that I don't.Officership is a ongoing process of learning that continues throughout career,applies to firefighters as well.T.C.

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    Thanks Capt for picking up on the typo, I type to fast for my own good sometimes.

    Funky,
    I understand what you are trying to say, without a doubt. Many people are in your shoes, and can sympathize with you. However, with anything, it all cost money. Here in Westchester they also offer state courses at the county fire training center on weeknights for the volunteers. They have recently addes the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced classes occassionally during the day. But there are more people who work days then nights. At Camp Smith, they had to add night courses because the all day courses sometimes couldn't get filled or were all career guys. Even from there, you still can't twist peoples arms to get them to the training. And there is still nothing to say that this wouldn't have happened if there was a safety officers class, and if they were able to attend it. If there is a problem with state courses you need to call OFPC and talk to Tom Wutz, you have to have at least 1 SFI in your county, and if all else fails work with your dept to get an experienced person to work towards becoming one. The thing you have to remember is there are a designated number of what they call residential "outreach" courses that are done on a county level. Others are only done at Montour and Camp Smith, for numerous reasons. Again, the new "courses" they developed are not courses in which a state certificate is issued. It is to teach and advise municipalities and such of NFPA 1403 ( Capt) and other members of the AHJ, so they are aware that there are standards in place. It also gives those who are granted permission by the AHJ some instruction on the standard and then makes them (here is the biggest point) responsible if any injury or death occurs during their burns.

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    mongo, thanks for the excellent resource. I have some thoughts.

    First...the thing that struck me most was that these were all KIDS! They were babes! How in the hell can a 19 year old be a Chief and a Safety Officer? When I was 19 I was lucky if they let me ride the engine!

    Second...I understand why Baird is taking the hit on this. I think it is clear that he was running the show and had no idea what he was doing. He is clearly responsible. But he should not be the only one.

    Third...did anyone do an origin and cause investigation on this fire? It seems odd that there can be a discrepency about how many fires there were. Somebody upstairs is lying through their teeth.

    Fourth...we need mandatory national training standards. Whether they come from NFPA, IFSTA or WalMart, we need them bad.
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 04-17-2002 at 09:46 AM.

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    George, good points.
    As for training standards, what is the point of having them if no one will follow them. Standards for almost every aspect of the fire service already exist. If no one uses or follows them they are useless.
    What we need is to force more tragedies like this to go to inquest or through the criminal justice system. Set legal precedant. Maybe then people will listen.

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    Lady, the incident that occurred in Parsippany, NJ went to a Grand Jury. The GJ elected not to indict anyone, but they issued a Presentment which called for the complete overhaul of the training system in NJ. It, for the most part, happened. We now have Certified Programs, Facilities and Instructors. We also have (had for environmental reasons) a system to conduct live burn training in acquired structures that required a permit from the State. This was all as a result of that horrible training incident.

    I've edited the post...mandatory was implied, but now I said it. Thanks.

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    ALS,I beg to differ on the point that this could have happened even with SO training.Not if the SO's were trained to standard and not if you were following 1403 because you wouldn't be using petrochemical fuel as was the case in Lairdsville.It is important for EVERY FIREFIGHTER to recieve firefighter safety and survival training along with some safety officer basics.Secondly a true Safety Officer needs to be enabled to NFPA for total scene control and needs enough training and EXPERIENCE to know what they are looking at and how to control it.This counts people with less than say 10 yrs OUT.I've been in this trade very close to 35 yrs and stuff can still sneak up on you,but I still indentify problems quicker than anyone else on the line (average line age 34).Why? One word,EXPERIENCE!This cannot be taught,it must be earned.Education is a wonderful thing,but it cannot and will not replace time and experience.Losses on the training ground are NOT ACCEPTABLE.Fire service educators must constantly train and improve their skills so students are taught SAFELY and correctly.Proper training lasts a lifetime and that should be considerably longer than 19 years.Pardon my attitude,but as a trainer this is my focus and my directive.I WILL train my students to react quickly and properly to crisis or they WILL NOT leave my program as qualified.I will impose safe "disasters"to teach proper reaction.I owe my students no less. T.C.

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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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    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.

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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!

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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.

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