1. #1
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    Default save the baby or save the fireman?

    "You are ordered to go into a burning structure and bring out anyone inside, you come across a fellow firefighter, and a two year old child. You only have time to rescue one, the other one will perish...which do you choose to save? Why?"
    Last edited by exsilio; 07-08-2002 at 02:59 PM.
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    Hope I'm never in the situation.

    I would like to think that if I was the guy laying on the floor, that I would want my partner to take the child out first. I would expect the same from other firefighters.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Save the one that will live
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    Lightbulb

    Boy, what a question.

    I hope to never bwe in that situation but, i would do my best to save them both. Seeing that the average 2 yr old wieghs in at about 30 lbs9 I know cause I have one) and that is not too much I would say go for the gusto. Try to save them both. Dont be stupid though if you can get them both close enough to the door lweave the fireman and safe the child. THe firefighter has lived out some of his life and knows he may die doing his job. The two year old will hopefully grow up and take his place.

    Dont ask these questions you are making me think.
    Everything that I post is my opinion only, none of this should be taken as fact.

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    Gotta go with Brian (Silver City 4) on this one.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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    Where did you dig up this interview question, because that is what it is. The correct answer is the fire fighter according to the official books.

    My answer is the fire fighter its really quite a simple choice. The order to the public is LIFE, PROPERTY, ENVIORMENT when in all actuality and in the real world is ME, MY PARTNER, EVERYONE ELSE Now I will field all comments about me being a cold cruel S.O.B.
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    Not a nice thought for first thing in the morning, but here goes.

    First answer, I agree with SilveCity, mostly. Grab the one who is most likely to live.

    However, there is a second answer: if there could be a way to tie the two of them together, then I will attempt to drag them both. Hopefully they are co-located to begin with.

    I hope I never come to have to make that kind a of a decision though, cuz I think it would haunt me forever after that. "Did I do the right choice?"
    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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    Angry

    First of all Motown88 Im not going to call you a bad person cause you wouldnt save a 2 yr old. I am just curious of why you would not try to save them both. I know that when the adrenaline is there not much can get in the way. Maybe you need a boost of it. Go for the gusto save them both man and have a beer with your brother later. I have to agree it makes sense to safe the one who will live.
    Everything that I post is my opinion only, none of this should be taken as fact.

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    I am just curious of why you would not try to save them both.
    Im pretty sure the answer to that is right in the question:
    You only have time to rescue one

    I have to say, it certainly is a tough call either way.

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    First of all this is a well used interview question. They are trying to see the "hero" mentality you possess, the trick is you cannot save both. You have to fully understand the question. If you answer "both" you have just lost the question.

    MOTOWN'S take on this, the same reason I will step over civilians on the ground to get to the cop who was just shot or walk past burn victims to get to the brother who collapsed in the front yard HE'S MY BROTHER, HE'S A FELLOW FIRE FIGHTER, HE'S WEARING THE SAME UNIFORM.

    I know the pain that is involved in losing a 2 year old in a fire and I know the pain of losing a brother, given the choice I will take the pain of a 2 year old.
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    Hmmmm. What a tough situation that would be! I honestly don't know what I would do; I am tempted to go with Silver on this one, but I could never give a definite answer, having never actually been put in that spot. Two things that popped into my head:
    1.) You save your fellow firefighter and let the baby die. What kind of public reaction would you receive?? Seems to me the media would probably have a field day with that one. It could have a negative effect on your department...who knows?
    2.) You save the baby and leave the firefighter behind. How would everyone in your department react? You may face some adversity from them. What kind of effect would this have on your job? Your morale? Your mental state? Etc, etc, etc...you get the point.
    Just something to think about.
    Jen, EMT-B
    "I got lost in thought...it was unfamiliar territory."
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    First choice (not interviewing) would be both. Second choice would be firefighter. Reasoning - the baby has already been in the bad environment before FD arrival and chances are it's in worse shape if not gone already. Firefighter (hopefully) has not been in area as long and has better chance of recovery. I would not want to leave a "recoverable" firefighter behind to rescue a "nonrecoverable" victim. I will now go hug and kiss my 21 month old very much and hope to never have to make this choice for real.

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    Firefighter. Chances are if you have two collapsed people, a fit firefighter in full turnouts and a (comparatively) weak child in street clothes, the one with greatest chance of survival is the FF. Of course, the emotions involved with kids are hard to overcome. Just look at our three lost brothers in NJ...

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    Gotta agree 100% with Motown on this.

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    I would call for HELP and save the one that was most likely to survive. You don't give much information here.... But that is my take.

    It would be hard to leave either one. But...as someone said...the firefighter is better protected...(assuming the reason he is down is not cardiac arrest)...he may have more chances to survive.

    However, even though you say I could only get one out....if they are both in the same area.....I can almost bet you that my adrenaline would let me get em both!
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    Maybe this is why I seem to have so much trouble with the interview part of the selection process...

    What makes this question interesting is the assumptions that each of us made.

    I assumed, as I think everyone else has, that the "fellow firefighter" is someone who came to the call with you and is in protective equipment. I also assumed that we are rescuing the victims from the heat, smoke and fire in the structure.

    It could very well be an off-duty firefighter's house and his 2 year old child. It may be a collapse in another part of the structure. Anyway, not trying split hairs here, just thought it was interesting that we all seem to be thinking of the same situation.

    I agree that "both" is the wrong answer. It's in the question that you only have time for one. And yes, it is me, my partner and everyone else...tough choice you'll have to live with either way. I hope no one is ever in that situation.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  17. #17
    iceman4442
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    MOTOWN nailed it - the public doesn't really want to hear this, but it's a progression:

    1. Me,
    2. My partner(s),
    3. Other FF's / Emergency Services personnel,
    4. Civilians.

    Wouldn't be popular in public circles, but other points brought out above factor in also - FF in turnouts & hopefully SCBA vs. baby unprotected; longer exposure for the baby, etc.

    I think any FF would try and save both given the chance, but the question spelled out that you can only save one. Not an easy or good choice!

    WAY TO GO WINGS!

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    Agree with Mowtown, Partner first, sound the PASS or DSU, if you have got a length of personal line, tie the baby on to partner and go.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Default Here's a thought...

    Real life or not...
    I don't go in without a partner...
    Think about it!
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    Sorry, I think it's a stupid question. They're both coming out unless there's only two of us there to begin with. Given no choice at all. The brother comes first.

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    I agree with Motown. The way I see it, MY BROTHER comes before civilians. The only thing is, in this type of situation (not having actually have been there myself) you wouldnt have time to think about which one you would save. Trying to guess "which one would survive" would put you in increasing danger while you sat there trying to figure it out, not to mention if the one you did carry out didnt make it anyway. I know we're "public servants" but I believe we have a duty to ourselves first, then our brothers and then the public.
    "Save a cow......eat a vegetarian"
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    MOTOWN posted:
    Now I will field all comments about me being a cold cruel S.O.B.
    Yeah, but what's that got to do with the question?

    I gotta agree with ya, bro. Everybody goes home, one way or the other. I'm taking my brother. Real world though, If I'm dragging an adult out, what's another 30lbs.? Especially when I've dumpped about 1.5 gallons of adrenaline. I wouldn't want to waste it.
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    This is a real question from many real oral boards...there is no evasion of the true question...put simply, what would YOU do and why? Not, "I would take both", or "I would have a partner". This is an ugly situation no question...but you have to make a choice...how would you decide? And what would be the consequences of your action?
    Last edited by exsilio; 07-08-2002 at 07:26 PM.
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    Why not both? Lay the child on top of the firefighter (if the FF is concious have him hold the child) then drap both out at the same time!
    IACOJ Agitator
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    Question Test Questions

    Real life should not leave you with this choice.
    You should not be it a FIRE/COLLAPSE area alone.
    The word team should come into play here.

    Test questions don't leave you with alturnitives,
    as 13 year vet of the fire service, I can say that
    I have never been in that situation(and hope never to be)
    that situation. I have been running for an exit one
    or twice. I have always found a sulition to the problem.
    Most vets know the risk and why they went into this line
    of work.
    This is food for thought.

    Why did you become a Firefighter.

    All hearts ache when we lose a brother or sister!
    Let pray we don't have to use our badge covers
    again in the near future.

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