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  1. #1
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    Default Wheel chocks....I don't gotta show you no steeeenkeeeeng wheel chocks......

    O.K., so most of us agree what the incident at Lairdsville was a senseless tragedy. Now my question for you is...What happens if something senseless happens at your department? We are all human and mistakes like forgetting the occasional wheel chock happen sometimes. Are you covered? Does your errors and omissions insurance have enough bite to CYA? It's worth taking a look as my department just raised ours.

    Another question, how are we going to treat violations of NFPA standards in general after all this? Will we jump on every violation? Are there some things that are "still O.K." to ignore since no one has been hurt or killed yet?

    For example, NFPA lighting requirements on new fire service vehicles state upper level lights must be from the same manufacturer. So the lightbar is a Jetvector 2000 and the rear-facing lights are Blink-Blink Mach 1's, does this pose a criminal problem if the rig is involved in an accident?

    Before you attack...I agree that the incident at Lairdsville was criminal...but how many times have the rest of us been criminal too?
    Last edited by StayBack500FT; 05-28-2002 at 11:29 AM.
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    Saw video of a darn nice Ford pumper buried head-first in a burning building in OH a couple years ago...transfer line problem or something, I think.

    Difference between that and Lairdsville: Brain fart vs. brain failure. But you bring up an excellent point that micromistakes kill just as effectively as macromistakes.

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    Things to make you say: Hmmmmm.... You do bring up a good point Stayback, and it is true we all make small and in most cases inconsequential errors, or omissions. To Err is Human, or so the "Experts" say. Unfortunately it is also true that even a very small mistake can get someone else hurt or killed.

    Certainly it is something to give consideration to.

    On a slightly different bend in thougth here Stayback: Just how Deep into the Ministry of Transportation are you?
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    Malahat -- By answering that question, I could see the following in my future....


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    YOU MEAN TO TELL ME ROOKIES DONT BELONG IN FRONT OF THE TIRES AS A WAY TO STOP IT FROM ROLLING AWAY???????
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    If we used rookies/probies as tire chocks two things would happen:

    1. We would need more trucks
    2. We would need to find someone else to do traffic
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Originally posted by Malahat Two-7
    Unfortunately it is also true that even a very small mistake can get someone else hurt or killed.
    And if this is a minor infraction of NFPA guidelines is the responsible party guilty of Criminally Negligent Homicide?

    OR------------ Is there such a thing as a "minor infraction" anymore?



    And furthermore... The department in rural New Mexico that can't afford NFPA approved equipment, do we make them close their doors? Do we wait until they have a LODD and hang their officers for not providing the proper protection?


    Again, what Baird did was clearly wrong...but now we must draw some difficult lines in the sand here.
    Last edited by StayBack500FT; 05-28-2002 at 12:22 PM.
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    Probies as wheel chocks!?! That explains the marks on my back! My guess is that even thought there has been alot said and done in this case, there will be little change. I have actually heard a fire chief say that it is not possible to follow all the NFPA regulations and they just follow as many as they can within the budget. Some states are not even NFPA states but are under OSHA or EPA regulations. What I think we will see is business as usual but officers will be more aware of safety as they dont want to end up in a jail cell.
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    Originally posted by firefighter_632
    My guess is that even thought there has been alot said and done in this case, there will be little change. I have actually heard a fire chief say that it is not possible to follow all the NFPA regulations and they just follow as many as they can within the budget.
    So what happens to this guy when things go wrong. How will we, the fire service, react? Will we look in the mirror and recall the times that we've bent rules or guidelines? Will we look the other way and listen to the Baird family scream for equal treatment?


    Please keep in mind...I believe Baird was guilty, but these are legitimate questions we will have to face at some period in the future.
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    StayBack154.2 - In my opinion, all we can do is try our best. Not only in running safe drills, but in learning. We can try to learn/remember/review standards and guidelines and we can try to apply what we have learned/remembered/reviewed to the best of our abilities. Not one of us is perfect, but we must believe in what we are doing.
    In firefighting and all that is part of it, "winging it" just does not work. We need to plan, we need to critique, we need to be able to accept responsibility, we need to recognize our weaknesses, we need to accept help and we need to offer help. We need to have an open mind and accept those who disagree with us.
    We need the curiousity of Station7Cadet, the crust of all IACOJ, and the reasoning of Chief Reason. We have to be willing to change.

    Good Luck to all of us.

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    Stayback, your questions and points are very valid but the sad part is - there are no "hard straight" answers to them. I really hate saying that, but those are the words I have to work with.

    I think Bones has the meat of it though:

    "We can try to learn/remember/review standards and guidelines and we can try to apply what we have learned/remembered/reviewed to the best of our abilities. Not one of us is perfect, but we must believe in what we are doing."


    And of course these next words are immortal:

    "We need to have an open mind and accept those who disagree with us."
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    So what happens to this guy when things go wrong. How will we, the fire service, react?
    I pray that we don't ever have to find out! I think we lost enough firefighters that we should learn. But if God forbid it does happen then I hope that they are held accountable for their actions. But what we have learned from Mr. Baird is that they will just claim stupidity and and lay the blame on someone else for not seeing to safety. I hate to be a pessimist but it seems recently that is all people do. It is easier to blame the govt. when you screw up (or someone else does).
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    Talking Metro Wheel Chocks

    Wheel Chocks? You mean those things sometimes worn by Firefighters known as "Metro Style Helmets"? I figured they were NFPA approved for some reason other than firefighting.

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    Drkblam

    Good point on the lights, but the crucial question would be "could the mutt see an effective APPROVED early warning device suitable to the size of the vehicle."

    I guess that should be the determinant point on any issue.

    Now a question for you all. Would an approved action under NFPA violate an EPA or OSHA regulation?

    I mean S#$t happens at a scene, You were conforming to station SOP's and NFPA, but you get hammered under an obscure OSHA clause.

    Geez, my head hurts trying to figure the ramifications under that sort of mess.

    Ever noticed that when Murphy rears his head once, then all his relatives start showing up in increasingly faster numbers, until someone is over Murphyed.

    If we went around conforming to every OSH wish, we wouldn't even climb in the bloody truck, because you might slip on the big step getting in and hurt yourself.

    We had OSH try and say that involved structures should only be attacked externally as it was dangerous for a firefighter to enter a burning building.

    That was laughed out of the window.

    How would you go when you do a snap rescue and save a person, then get charged under OSH regs because you went in to a dangerous place.

    Now if I turned around to a probie and said "Lie down in front of that wheel to stop the truck moving" and he did it, there is NO WAY I would ever enter a structure with that puppy in the future if he did it. His sole job in the future would be "hey CHOCKY do your job".

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    I think the bottom line is, that you owe it to yourselves, other firefighters around you, and yours and their familes and friends,NOT to allow this to occur again.

    Fot it to happen once is what has been called a tragedy, to happen a second time could be viewed as not caring for the outcome of negligent acts. If the rules have to be changed to accomdate Lairdsville, then so be it, and those rules, when you are playing with fire and peoples lives, will have to be adhered to. Bear in mind that as firefighters we undertook to protect and help other people. What will it look like in your town or city if people don't believe you can do that because you can't even look after your own?

    If it takes the fact that you are looking at the type of lights on trucks and wondering if they all conform to the same traffic law, so what?

    I usually find that when the little things are left to slide, the big things soon follow.

    Things like this will happen again and again and again if the people involved do NOTHING to prevent it.
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    Kiwi, just thinking about your last paragraph:

    Now if I turned around to a probie and said "Lie down in front of that wheel to stop the truck moving" and he did it, there is NO WAY I would ever enter a structure with that puppy in the future if he did it. His sole job in the future would be "hey CHOCKY do your job".

    I'm not so sure that I can totally agree with you about not taking him inside with you. Point here is: he did what he was told to do. Now if he listens to what is told to him and follows those instructions, isn't that what you want? At least most of the time anyway.

    Of course on the other hand, if he actually did lie down in front of a moving truck then there probably wouldn't be much cause to worry about him getting into a burning structure, cus I think his new name would be "TP" (that's short for TREAD PATTERN).
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    Two-7

    I see your point. and he would be usefull I suppose.

    At the next locked door, we just slide him underneath to open it from the inside.

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    Kiwi: I RLMFAO on that one! Almost put me in tears That would be a new description for "forced entry".
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Originally posted by Stayback500FtThe department in rural New Mexico that can't afford NFPA approved equipment, do we make them close their doors? Do we wait until they have a LODD and hang their officers for not providing the proper protection?
    I mentioned this in another post, but I'll do it again here. What happened to all the Federal funding the US Gov allocated to the fire service this year? If a small dept doesn't have the necessary resources to equip and train their fire fighters adequately, then the Gov, be it state, provincial, or federal should step in and provide the necessary funding. Isn't it enough that these small depts are generally manned by volunteers, who willingly put their life in danger, but we ask them to do it without adequate training and equipment. Something is seriously wrong there.

    I understand that some might say that isn't fair to other parts of the fire service who don't get the funding. In those other parts of the fire service, salaries are paid, equipment is purchased etc, through municipal tax dollars. If there isn't enough funds to go around then there is nothing stopping any of those depts from applying for the same funding. Priority should go to depts that are running vehicles with questionable breaks, faulty pumps, outdated SCBA's and turnouts etc. It doens't make a rip bit of difference how much training you have if you can't get there cause your rigs crashes on the way, you can't pump water (maybe they want them to use buckets???), your SCBA fails, or your turnouts incinerate WHILE you are wearing them.

    Please understand in Canada we are having a major problem trying to get WMD training, when to educate the entire fire service up here, would only cost $500,000 (Canadian... about $10 US) annually. Hopefully with the new terrorist threats that have been released by the FBI, our federal gov will take another look at it.

    Bottom line is the fire service MUST educate the public. If the people in communities around the country start raising a stink about how inadequate equipment, training etc is then HOPEFULLY the gov will be more willing to part with funds. I don't believe it is enough just for fire fighters to stand up and say "This isn't good enough!" The powers that be don't listen as it is to what fire fighters say, if they did building codes would be different, and light weight truss construction would be a thing of the past. The 'voice' needs to be louder, and the only way that is going to happen is if the public is educated.

    I'm afraid the only way the public will truly be educated is to make a spectical out of trajities that happen in the fire service. If the majority of people in the fire service aren't aware of incidents that happen outside of their own jurisdiction, how is the public supposed to know?

  20. #20
    StroutKristen
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    Unhappy CRIMINAL????

    I'm sorry....I don't mean to be a "smart ***" but doesn't "criminal" relate to the Penal Code not NFPA Standards? So........I guess.....not?

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    Default Re: CRIMINAL????

    Originally posted by stroutkristen
    I'm sorry....I don't mean to be a "smart ***" but doesn't "criminal" relate to the Penal Code not NFPA Standards? So........I guess.....not?

    Yes, but if you are negligent according to those standards and someone dies because of those negligent actions...well...then...it's criminal.




    Temptaker -- I agree totally. Until these departments are provided for, what happens if there is an accident? Can we seek justice using NFPA standards as our guide? Can common sense allow us to deviate or has there been a precedent set here? What is fair, legal game?


    martinm I agree, this particular incident must never be allowed to occur again...but what do we now do with other non-compliant behavior when it comes to the courtroom?
    Last edited by StayBack500FT; 05-29-2002 at 10:03 AM.
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    Default Re: CRIMINAL????

    Last edited by StayBack500FT; 05-29-2002 at 10:01 AM.
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    DUH!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I didn't know the first post went through.
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    Default Thoughts (long)

    1. I think that many people have a general misunderstanding of what the NFPA is and what it can do and can't do. Although many of us are members of the technical committees and understand the way the system works, it is apparent that many have no clue.

    First, the NFPA is a BUSINESS, National Fire Protection Association Inc. In the 2002 NFPA Directory, it states "The mission of the NFPA, which was organized in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education."

    "NFPA is an independent, voluntary-membership, nonprofit (tax-exempt) organization. A board of directors has general charge of the affairs of the association, which has a staff of 203 professional men and women plus 128 support personnel".

    The Articles of Organization state: "The Association is a membership corporation not organized for the purposes of realizing pecuniary profit or gain to it's members, but the Association may pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and may indemnify the directors, officers, employees and agents of the Association ..."

    This corporation makes money by selling the documents it writes, selling subscriptions to it's periodicals, selling memberships to the organization, selling seats at seminars, and selling other products produced by the NFPA. No where has it ever said that it is a philanthropic organization. The people who work there do not work for free. They do not recieve external funding.

    I say this because on another thread, people are saying that the NFPA has a moral obligation to provide FD's with free service. This is a ridiulous idea. The NFPA provides a myriad of services for the fire service that require financial commitment. It is only right to expect the people who benefit from the materials to pay for them. Would you work for free at this level?

    Secondly, the NFPA publishes many types of documents under the umbrella of the National Fire Codes. There are codes, standards, guides and receommended practices. Only codes and standards are published in a format that can be adapted as law. However, the other documents are frequently adapted by reference in other regulations. Certainly not all codes et al are applicable to every FD. There will only be a very few applicable to all.

    The NFPA is not a governing body. As such, they cannot promulgate law. It is up to the various governing bodies to do that. Where the NFPA document is adapted as law, then it has the power to be enforced. When it is not, it is but one standard that a person can be judged against when they commit a potentially criminal act. NFPA 1403 is so frequently cited in the Lairdsville case because it is, as far as I know, the only standard on live fire training out there.

    2. Is any state an "NFPA State"? If not, can we please stop saying that.

    3. Of course Lairdsville will happen again. How many times has it happened since Boulder and Milford? The fire service establishment in general doesn't care. The same way it doesn't care about fire fighter LODD, or fire fighter arson. If they did, organizations like the USFA and the NVFC would be jumping on this bad boy. But they aren't, and they don't.

    4. The FIREAct Grant program is misguided. Why shouldn't we first take care of those rural departments who are wearing raincoats and aluminum helmets, then take care of the urban departments in tremendous finanical trouble, then deal with the other FD's. I listened to some people talk about how their departments had to try and try and try to come up with an idea to apply for funds for, becuase they had everything. If we don't get the tools to those in rural US, is it right to pay for things like health clib memberships under the guise of a physical fitness program? It doesn't make sense.

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    I'm sorry....I don't mean to be a "smart ***" but doesn't "criminal" relate to the Penal Code not NFPA Standards? So........I guess.....not?
    In addition to stayback's comment...

    As an example for you: even though I am a trained nurse, in good standing with my board, if I responded to a call and operated outside of my scope of practice as a "first responder" I could be named in a lawsuit. Medically my training far surpases that of first responder, for department liability reasons I am not allowed to perform at a level higher than first responder, if I did could be pursued criminally not to mention in a civil suit. If I was driving down the road, saw an accident and responded, the liability lies directly at with me, therefore I could do ANYTHING that I have been trained to do without the risk of a lawsuit, if something happened to the patient it would not be considered criminal because I practiced within my scope of training.

    What does that have to do with NFPA.... the standards are set up to ensure a safe working environment within a dangerous profession. If you show up at a fire and you ARE NOT on duty, and something happens to get you killed, no one can be pursued criminally, even if NFPA was not followed, because the liability rests with you. If you show up and you are on duty, and something happens to get you killed which specifically relates to the lack of NFPA standards being followed, then criminal charges can be applied because the liability rests with the dept.

    You are correct that 'criminal' relates to the penal code. When actions or better stated inactions regarding predetermined standards are taken, results in the death of a member of the dept considered to be on duty, then the actions of the dept are criminal.

    I agree totally. Until these departments are provided for, what happens if there is an accident? Can we seek justice using NFPA standards as our guide? Can common sense allow us to deviate or has there been a precedent set here? What is fair, legal game?
    Stayback... and here lies the problem.... what to do UNTIL these smaller depts are brought up to national standard. Keep in mind I am thinking life over limb here...

    1st... I would say no interior attacks. (not for every dept, just those that KNOW their equipment is substandard) If you know your turnouts are substandard, your SCBA is questionable etc, then don't go inside. It's better to lose a building then to lose someone's life, or more than one life because RIT has to go in with the same substandard equipment.

    2nd... Do the preplans, know what you are going to before you ever have to go there.

    3rd... Get on city counsels case for funding

    4th... approach local business regarding sponsorship of the dept. ie. mechanical repairs to the rigs etc. (Not bubba's fix it...) go to a Vehicle dealer in a neighbouring city if you have to and talk to them about the dept, let them know about the lack of funding, and see if they would be willing to make the repairs to the vehicle. They can use it as a TAX right off... charitable donation and all that.

    5th... Small depts should approach the manufacturers of departmental gear to see if they can get sponsorship there.

    6th... Smaller depts should approach larger depts about having someone come out and do training evolutions with them. There is a group of fire fighters in Vancouver that do training for Vol depts here, run through the Justice Institute. The fire fighters go out to the Vol dept, spend the day, answer questions etc, before the evolution ever begins. They make sure they know who has what training, and how proficient they are at what they know before anything ever gets lit.

    7th... Maybe some of the people who work for both Career and Vol depts could approach their command officers (in both depts)and mention doing this type of training. I don't mean it as an insult to vol depts, only that there is more funding for career depts, the training if more readily available. I'm sure if NYC had been approached about doing this training evolution, at the very least they would have said DO NOT USE LIVE VICTIMS. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or the opinion of other people on the job.

    8th... If there is a vol dept that has the necessary training and they are situated near one which does not, then the two should work together until the second dept has it's members trained adequately.

    9th... Have smaller depts approached fire academy's or state certified training facilities for sponsorship of their 'volunteer' members?

    I have heard a lot of mention about how much money everything costs, but you would be suprised how many businesses would be willing to part with something if they think they can get a tax deduction or good publicity out of it.

    We have to think safety of members here, BEFORE safety of the public. You can't help someone if you can't help yourself.

    Justice using NFPA standards, unfortuneately we may have to. I would like to think that something like this would NEVER happen again, however I don't honestly believe there was enough publicity for that to happen. Who will inforce it? Is there a policing body in the states that is there to ensure NFPA is being followed? What happens when they come to a small dept that has umpteen violations, who do they fine? Personally I think it should fall in the lap of city counsel. If they want fire protection then they are going to have to go to bat for the dept., it doesn't fund itself.

    A considerable amount of NFPA is common sense, I still don't understand how anyone in their right mind could run an evolution like Lairdsville. Deviation within reason... ok... but who decides what is reasonable? Maybe the standards need to be looked at again, to be sure that a variety of senarios are taken into consideration. If that happens, then perhaps penalties should be put in place for deviation of the standards seperate from the criminal code. I don't mean a $500 fine or something like that. Suspensions, demotions etc, stuff that will get the command officers to wake up and take notice, that if they don't follow acceptable standards there are consequences.

    I do think there has been a precident set here, it is not a pleasant one, unfortuneately it may have been necessary. Maybe if they realize there are criminal consequences to their actions more consideration for the safety of members will taken.

    What is fair legal game, that is interesting. If you were my commanding officer, and you told me to go into a fire building without SCBA, I'd tell you to **** up a rope. For the sake of argument we'll say I went in instead. If I end up with burns to my lungs, it is no ones fault but my own, because I went in KNOWING that I should be wearing an SCBA. If you don't throw ladders up, when they should be there, and I go in and get trapped because I have no means of escape, it then becomes your fault. It all depends on the knowledge and experience of the people involved. You being outside of the structure have a better overview of the situation then I do. If you realize that it is a real cooker and aren't comfortable being in the command position then you better call dispatch and have a higher ranking officer sent down to take over, because ultimately you will be the one responsible for the safety of me and anyone else attending the structure. Back to what's fair game... if you know to do it and you don't do it, then it is fair game.

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