1. #76
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    More random thoughts:
    5. Turnout gear does not cause heart attacks. A FF who is out of shape or has cardiac disease under the turnout gear causes heart attacks.
    I think recent studies have also identified rapid dehydration and consequent loss of stroke volume as a major contributing factor in athletes and firefighters. Add in the genetic/health issues and you have some bad mojo working against you.

    Personal responsibility: eat right, lots of fluids all the time, strength and cardio training, no tobacco use.

    Management responsibility: adequate staffing so as not to overwork your firefighters, mandatory rehab of sufficient quality and duration to reduce core temperature and rehydrate, a personal and organizational commitment to the items I listed under personal responsibility.

    Up for debate: at what point should a firefighter ask for (or be forced into) reassignment based on known cardiac health problems?
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    Default Re: Some real problems with real simple solutions

    Originally posted by FFFRED

    When officers are allowed to standback and suppervise, when Battalion Chiefs are allowed to focus on the strategy . . .because they don't have a chiefs aide, when promotions are based on experience and relevant job knowledge then and only then will you see an reduction in injuries and deaths.
    I would agree that all fire departments could use some degree of management reform (ranging from a little tweaking to outright lynching, depending on the department), but I don't think we can blame management for all our ills. At some point there has to be personal responsibility as well.

    Exercise is a personal choice. Seatbelts are a personal choice. Not smoking is a personal choice. Not responding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a personal choice.

    If we honestly believe that management bears the sole responsibility for reducing LODDs and injuries, then we are part of the problem. That's what they meant when they said there must be a cultural change.
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Add the fire fighters killed during training and it brings it up to 86 preventable deaths
    George is 99.9% correct on this one. For example:

    Training deaths, such as those in Osceola County, Florida, were the result of non-compliance with the live burn standards contained in NFPA 1403. Preventable! Ron Golden's death in Lairdsville, NY was the result of non-compliance with the live burn standards contained in NFPA 1403. Preventable!

    Other incidents may not be completely preventable. The 2 FF's below, may have died regardless of recommendations by NIOSH....but the odds would have been greater for survival if standards were modified at the training facility.

    NIOSH REPORT-Texas FF Training Death, February 12, 2003

    On February 12, 2003, a 46-year-old male career Fire Fighter Recruit was performing the tower climb portion of his fire fighter recruit training. After reaching the sixth (top) floor of the training tower for the third time that morning, he began to have leg and neck pain. The pain was severe enough that crew members carried him down the stairs and onto the sidewalk. Shortly thereafter, he lost consciousness. Crew members assessed him and found him to be unresponsive, not breathing, and pulseless. Approximately 37 minutes later, despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support (ALS) administered on-scene and at the hospital, the Recruit died. The autopsy revealed "cardiac hypertrophy," "biventricular dilatation" and "cardiomegaly." The death certificate listed "cardiac hypertrophy" as the immediate cause of death.

    Recommendations by NIOSH

    1. Consider incorporating exercise stress tests at part of the Fire Department’s medical evaluation program.

    2. Equip training instructors with portable radios.

    3. Ensure defibrillation equipment is readily available for emergency use during training.


    The Complete Report and Recommendations

    Fire Fighter-Paramedic Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death While Performing Physical Fitness Training – Washington

    On November 17, 2003, a 35-year-old male career Fire Fighter-Paramedic (FF-P) had just completed a two-mile run on the fire station’s treadmill when he suddenly collapsed. The collapse was witnessed by a crew member (Lieutenant) who called Dispatch for assistance. Approximately 30 seconds later, the FF-P had stopped breathing and became pulseless. The crew member retrieved the station’s automated external defibrillator (AED) and defibrillated the FF-P while beginning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Other advanced life support (ALS) began to arrive at the fire station and resuscitation efforts continued for an additional 22 minutes. Unfortunately, there was no change in his status, and the FF-P was pronounced dead at the scene by the Medical Examiner. The death certificate and autopsy, completed and performed by the Medical Examiner, listed "occlusive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease" as the immediate cause of death.

    The following recommendations address some general health and safety issues. This list includes some preventive measures that have been recommended by other agencies to reduce the risk of on-the-job heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters. These selected recommendations have not been evaluated by NIOSH, but represent published research, or consensus votes of technical committees of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or fire service labor/management groups.

    Although unrelated to this fatality, the Fire Department should consider these recommendations based on health and economic considerations:

    1. Provide pre-placement medical evaluations to ALL fire fighters consistent with NFPA 1582 to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others.

    2. Provide mandatory annual medical evaluations to ALL fire fighters consistent with NFPA 1582 to determine their medical ability to perform duties without presenting a significant risk to the safety and health of themselves or others.

    3. Perform a pre-placement and an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation for ALL fire fighters to ensure they are physically capable of performing the essential job tasks of structural fire fighting.

    4. Provide adequate fire fighter staffing to ensure safe operating conditions.


    The recommendation highlighted in RED is consistent with FFFRED's observations in an earlier post. Staffing DOES affect stress levels on the fireground. Yet many career fire departments around our country, flirt with dangerously low staffing of the stations. Budget/Financial concerns? Most definitely. Volunteer departments struggle with recruiting personnel. The question remains as to how we overcome this ever increasing fact.

    George's thoughts, that training deaths are preventable...hold true for all but a few circumstances. If we could prevent 99.9% of training related deaths....it would be a considerable reduction in the overall causes of LODD's. Lower numbers that more of us could live with! Training deaths such as Osceola and Lairdsville...are unacceptable.
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    Originally posted by ullrichk


    I think recent studies have also identified rapid dehydration and consequent loss of stroke volume as a major contributing factor in athletes and firefighters. Add in the genetic/health issues and you have some bad mojo working against you.

    Personal responsibility: eat right, lots of fluids all the time, strength and cardio training, no tobacco use.

    Management responsibility: adequate staffing so as not to overwork your firefighters, mandatory rehab of sufficient quality and duration to reduce core temperature and rehydrate, a personal and organizational commitment to the items I listed under personal responsibility.

    Up for debate: at what point should a firefighter ask for (or be forced into) reassignment based on known cardiac health problems?
    Two excellent points about responsibility.

    As for the debate, when a Doctor says so. Many people(myself included) have known Cardiac conditions that do not inhibit their ability to do the job at hand.

    Ultimately only a Doctor can decide when is when......

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    2. Fixing the leadership vacuum won’t “help you tonight” either. The civil service system allows gutless, spineless, wimps with poor tactical knowledge to be promoted. It always has and it always will. It will take as long to change that fact as it will to change the fire service culture.
    George I think you are way off base here. I spent years working in non civil service depts where basicly if you took alot of BS NFA classes, and could BS the chief and he liked you and didn't view you as a threat...he would promote you. Any tests were just an excersise in charades to make you think there was some objectivity to the tests. There was no requirement you had to know any realworld tactics or strategy. And sometimes it showed.

    Now today I work accross the Hudson from you. Where one has to spend years studying the procedures and policies. Hours each day are spent for years just so they can hopefully pass the test.

    While it has occasionaly promoted some dopes, they still had to memorize the policies and procedures.

    Is this system perfect...does it allow some idiots to promote?...sure a few, but as was seen in Chicago it is much more preferable to have a system that promotes on tactical knowledge than croynisim.

    Also I don't know what your experience has been but My dept culture doesn't allow such gutless, spineless, wimps to last in company officer spots, at least where I work...I'm sure there is a place for them but I've never met one. However in my past dept that promoted whom ever the chief decided on, had guys who were sometimes a little less than enthusisastic about going into a fire and one could tell some of them knew little about what they were doing.

    In addition once you are tennured in a spot here in the civil service system you have protections which leads to having guys who aren't afraid to speak up because there is no argument or no person who has a grudge against you, nothing that will prevent you from attaining the next rank.

    Fixing the leadership vaccum will help alot sooner than trying to convince the gerneral populous to put sprinklers in thier house...considering almost all of them don't think it will happen to them.

    FTM-PTB

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    ullrichk,

    By my quote I am not blamming management...

    I am saying we should have adequate staffing that allows a company officer to do what he is paid to do, supervise and provide for the safety of the members under his command.

    Your Battalion Chiefs should have chiefs aides to handle all the day to day simple admistrative paperwork and at fires let the Chief focus on where the fire is, where is it going, where are his men, are current operations having any positive effect...meanwhile the aide could be gathering info from the dispatcher or taking note of what companies are there or perhaps assigned to the 2nd alarm the chief just called for.

    But on the otherhand I think it is much more management than us...just read FH and FE and the IAFF then look at FireChief Mag and the IAFC...and see where thier respective loyalties lay. You have the IAFF and FE championing NFPA 1710 meanwhile FC and IAFC is providing articles on how you really don't need 4 men on a rig with some creative interpretations. Read the letters to the editor for each and see what the readership is thinking. Then you'll see who is really your friend and who really isn't. Who really wants to solve the problem of FF deaths and injuries and who doesn't.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 07-10-2004 at 12:35 PM.

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    In Michael Terwilliger’s article “Leadership Thoughts From a Military Icon”, he makes some excellent comparisons to the fire service, drawn on philosophies that are taken from none other than General George S. Patton. I think that some applies to what we are discussing.
    For instance; “A good solution applied with vigor NOW is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later”.
    When you think about how quickly a fire can grow, waiting until you can come up with the PERFECT plan might be too late. We need to be less analytical and more practical when mitigating fire hazards. How many firefighters have died because we waited to inject them into the situation? How many firefighters died because a decisive action wasn’t taken early because we were afraid that the people hired to have the PERFECT plan would suffer irreparable damage to their egos? To quote Terwilliger, he said, “…Fire grows while all the procedural matters are addressed-most of which are irrelevant to developing and implementing tactics”. I couldn’t agree more.
    We all have the perfect answers…in hindsight! How many times have we solved the world’s problems by waiting until after the catastrophic event? The 9/11 Commission is the perfect example of that last thought. If we had had the benefit of their hindsight, there would have been no terrorist attack. If Clinton had done his job, if Bush the Senior had done his job, if the intelligence community had done its job, if the fire department had bought different radios...
    Another man that I admire is Colin Powell. He said, “ ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms. It is a mindset that assumes or hopes that today’s realities will continue tomorrow in a tidy, linear and predictable fashion”. How many times have we heard that one? How many times have we SAID that one? I have. I admit it, but I never thought about it in terms of Colin Powell’s thoughts on it and you know what? He’s absolutely, 100% correct. The point that I was trying to make with my first post here was that, though we have a wonderful and glorious history in our fire service, it isn’t history that is killing firefighters. It is tradition that is killing firefighters, because so often, we are not willing to entertain new ideas or try new products because what we have works. Well, what’s wrong with trying something or using something that might work better? Why do we have to wait until someone dies to look at a better way or a better product to reduce the likelihood of serious injury or death? Is there a mindset out there that wants to believe that 100 firefighters dying each year isn’t bad when compared to the risks that are taken? Are we talking an acceptable BODY COUNT? God help us, if that is the case.
    And my last thought comes from the General. He believed that “it’s the unconquerable soul of man and not the weapon he uses that ensures victory”. Think about how many threads have been spawned discussing the new technology to battle Fire. What we know is that it takes a certain flow of water, properly applied to extinguish fire. We used to use buckets, for god’s sakes. Getting water on the fire is still the objective. Whether that is done with a straight bore, combination nozzle or an air-aspirated nozzle isn’t as important as teaching our firefighters fire behavior, building construction, air consumption and suppression tactics. When the dynamics of fighting a fire are outweighed by the politics of selecting a certain manufacturer’s product because he is related or is offering free hats with every purchase, then fires will continue to burn and will continue to kill our firefighters. Because let’s face it; there are some out there who only care about the almighty dollar.
    As in war, if you don’t have the weapons to fight and win the battle, you have to change the strategy or the enemy will win. You have to recognize very quickly what resources you have and apply them. Your call for assistance has to go out early and often. You have to error on the side of “better safe than sorry”. How many fire departments have gotten upset because they were called and not used? Well, they might have gotten upset, but they didn’t question the call for assistance because everyone went home that day.
    I guess the point is that: teaching our people to make better decisions will level the playing field when it comes to believing that we must have every piece of NFPA compliant equipment on-scene BEFORE any significant action can be taken. Bottom line? You don’t risk your people on buildings that will burn down anyway or on a victim recovery operation. And our tactics should reflect that, regardless of “how it looks”.
    There is a saying that says, “You never lose unless you admit it”. Well, I believe that the fire service loses with each, new firefighter loss. I believe this because I also believe that we have the ability to change it, but as long as we believe that “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”, if we wait for the “perfect solution” and if we wait for the technology to save us, then firefighters will continue to die. It has to change one firefighters at a time…times ONE MILLION.
    Just my opinion and we all know about opinions, don’t we?
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    Originally posted by FFFRED


    George I think you are way off base here. I spent years working in non civil service depts where basicly if you took alot of BS NFA classes, and could BS the chief and he liked you and didn't view you as a threat...he would promote you. Any tests were just an excersise in charades to make you think there was some objectivity to the tests. There was no requirement you had to know any realworld tactics or strategy. And sometimes it showed.

    Now today I work accross the Hudson from you. Where one has to spend years studying the procedures and policies. Hours each day are spent for years just so they can hopefully pass the test.

    While it has occasionaly promoted some dopes, they still had to memorize the policies and procedures.

    Is this system perfect...does it allow some idiots to promote?...sure a few, but as was seen in Chicago it is much more preferable to have a system that promotes on tactical knowledge than croynisim.

    Also I don't know what your experience has been but My dept culture doesn't allow such gutless, spineless, wimps to last in company officer spots, at least where I work...I'm sure there is a place for them but I've never met one. However in my past dept that promoted whom ever the chief decided on, had guys who were sometimes a little less than enthusisastic about going into a fire and one could tell some of them knew little about what they were doing.

    In addition once you are tennured in a spot here in the civil service system you have protections which leads to having guys who aren't afraid to speak up because there is no argument or no person who has a grudge against you, nothing that will prevent you from attaining the next rank.

    Fixing the leadership vaccum will help alot sooner than trying to convince the gerneral populous to put sprinklers in thier house...considering almost all of them don't think it will happen to them.

    FTM-PTB
    You make several valid points. My post would have been more clear if I had used the term "civil service mentality" in place of "system".

    I do not know how a dept. really weeds a wimpy, gutless officer out. I can think of two LODD incidents here in North Jersey where a poor knowledge and application of strategy and tactics are arguably the direct cause of the death. But I find it hard to believe that any dept. is free of the goober-smooching, book-smart but gutless officer. In fact, in some depts., they seem to thrive.

    The civil service system can make an officer inafraid to speak his mind. But you know as well as I do that once you are tenured, there is almost no way short of a prison term that can get that person out of that seat.

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    George,

    I don't want you to think I'm saying there aren't any guys who aren't wimpy or gutless. I'm sure there are a few but there are places for them. And it isn't in busy companies in heavily urban areas. You aren't rewarded for lazyness or cowardice with a choice assignment.

    No place is perfect but in every dept I've worked in..one with 50 men, one with 100+men and now one with 11,000 members there are a few bad apples and each one of them more often than not, were placed in "appropriate" assignments.

    Perhaps our size allows us to place such individuals in not so visible places...however our culture doesn't breed that sort of individual and therefore is typcially rare.

    If there is a dept where such officers thrive then of course there needs to be a cultural change at the bottom and top that doesn't condone cowardice, and medocrity.

    Now if only someone knows how that can be done.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 07-10-2004 at 12:41 PM.

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    This is a subject that causes me a great deal of concern as an outsider looking in with a great interst in the US Fire Service.

    There is a plain fact that I do not wish to undermine or insult anyone with. I don't remember where I saw this but one previuos report into US LODD's stated that a US Firefighter was 12 times motre likely to die on duty that his British Counterpart. Frank Montagna passed me the report a few years ago but neither of us remember exactly what or where.

    I recognise most of the points on the list of 16 as having been part of British Fire Service Culture since the 50's...when we were losing too many Firefighters.

    However lets balance the books a little more before we run off with this '12 times more likey idea'

    The UK is a lot more urban that the US. Of the 60,000 Firefighters in the UK about half of them are wholetime career Firefighters. Even the other half belong to a Full Time Fire Department but respond part time from quieter towns, they are trained and covered by the rules and regulations covering every Firefighter in the UK.

    Before WW2 there were 1000's of Fire brigades in the UK, down to each town & Village. This changed under 'Nationalisiation' in WW2 and after the war the Brigades were organised into much bigger county Brigades, therefore everyone conforms to a National standard for appliances or equipment. Every Brigade, even theose with a majority of Part Time Stations have experienced career Chiefs who have come up through the ranks..often spending time in Big Brigades such as London or Manchester.

    So straight away fitness is much better, Heart attacks are very rare for us and although they do happen they are not counted as pure LODD's. Driving is also another factor, the UK being mainly urban is constantly gridlocked (Remember I mentioned somewhere there are 60,000,000 of us in an are the size of Oregon) the Police manage to lose a few each year in RTA's (MVA's) but then they are driving around in 150mph BMW's etc, we are not. I cannot think of a LODD caused in a Fire vehicle in the UK for well over 5 years.

    So that covers quite a few of the '12 times more likely figure' (maybe someone can do the Maths...) But the fact still remains the UK's Fire Service is one of the busiest in the World, based on its large crowded urban expanse. 60,000 Firefighters fighting around 900,000 Fires per year. But our annual LODD rate is 1 or 2 on average.

    I Think a good example is the comparison between the 2nd and 3rd Biggest Fire Departments in the World London & New York.

    FDNY has 12,000 Personnel protecting 11,000,000 people in an area of approx (correct me if I'm wrong Ray) 380 Square Miles. They attend approximately 400,000 non medical runs of which 50,000 are fires.

    LFB has 7,000 personnel protecting 10,000,000 people in an area of approx 680 Square Miles). We attend over 300,000 non medical calls of which 50,000 are fires.

    Both cities have a simialr amount of People of every size shape colour and creed, clearly New York is much more densly populated as London covers a much bigger area. Knowing both cities London is more like Lower Manhattan in the middle with a large inner city area surrounding the middle and a vast suburban area surrounding that. Nowhere in London is as dense as Manahttan over such a large area.

    Apart from density then the cities demography is pretty similar (as a londoner I am more at home in NYC than anywhere else in the World)

    We have a similar amount of Fires although we tend to respond with 8-10 Firefighters on 2 Pumpers, multiple calls and working jobs double this attendance; Known as a 4 Pump Fire. resources are increased as required but usually in multiples of two, so instead of requesting a 2nd alarm we would make pumps 6 3rd alarm make pumps 8 and so on.

    The Brigade sees several 4 Pump Fires most days with 6 a few times per week, an 8-10 pump fire every week or two and 15 to 20 Pumps (5th alarm plus)run at about 10 each year (although there were 7 of these in London in one month last October)

    So, we have established the LFB is a very busy Fire Brigade, attending with fewer resources than a similar city (NYC) but we haven't had a LODD (Thank God) since 1993. Although today strangely is the 13th anniversary of two brother Firefighters Dying in a Warehouse Fire near my Station in circumstances similar to the Worcester Job. (may they rest in peace)

    London Firefighters are no more or less intellegent, courageous, stronger, dedicated, trained or anything else than our FDNY Counterparts. (In fact having made several visits to FDNY Training academy, I am sure FDNY have a far better disciplined training regime than in London where shall we say 'Polictical Correctnes' has taken the edge off of the old Militaristic training style)

    So, what gives us such good LODD figues? 80% of our Firefighting is internal so its no as if we stand across the street throwing water at a building.

    AS I have said, many of the 16 points are recognised by us as well established systems of work, these include
    1.Full accountablilty on the Fireground
    2.Full SCBA entry procedures
    3.Firefighting Crews are given 'ownership' of Firefighting, Junior (Company) Officer's play a far bigger command role. From early days the importance of an effective system of Command and Control is hammered into UK Firefighters.
    4. Dynamic Risk Assessment on the Fireground
    5. Greater use of De-Briefs and lessons from incidents being shared across the brigade
    6. National standards of equipment & Training

    Not the whole picture but as one who knows Firefighting on both sides of the pond, this is my assessment.

    I am by no means criticising the great US Firefighting tradition. I have the utmost respect and love for my US brothers, some of what you do cannot be matched by anyone...including us...but the facts speak for themselve here gang. Something needs to change, it is never Black and White, Firefighters will always die by the nature of the job we do. But we owe it to ourselves and our families to come home at the end of each shift.
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    Steve, I think a significant number, I dont have the stats to check right now, of vehicular LODD and accidents in the fire service come from the rual fire services in the US.

    Lots of ground to cover, long crapy roads in some cases, and volunteer firefighters that dont get to drive those tenders and such every day...

    Adds up to a danergous situation.

    For instance my county in Montana has 2 fire districts, one 730 square miles, one 940 square miles. The 2 fire halls are located pretty much center of each district. Some of the farther corners of the district are a 1 hour drive at best speed on winding rural gravel roads that vary in condition with the weather, and emergencies don realy benefit from weather!

    We have had no major apparatus wrecks yet, but there have been close calls, by experienced fire fighters, driving adequate apparatus, in decent conditions, who were put in near miss situations by a number of factors far beyond the control of the fire service...

    Like cows, elk, wash outs in the road, jagged rocks and blow outs...

    I guess what I am saying is that the environment in much of the US is far more conducive to appparatus accidents then some other parts of the world. The environment that that the apparatus operates in cuases accidents for all kinds of vehicles for a huge number of reasons. There are far to many variables to control, you can only hope the guys are buckled up, driving under control and at a prudent speed for the conditions, and that luck is on your side more often then not.

    And still there is going to be something that can jump up and bite you.
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    Steve-

    Thanks for what is obviously a well-informed comparison of US and UK firefighting.

    Can you comment on similarities and differences in building codes/construction, fire prevention, and health/fitness issues?
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    Steve

    Here in New Zealand we were originaly modeled off the LFB style during WWII. With districts running Brigades, something like 22 seperate Brigades.

    In the early 70's this was reorganised into the New Zealand Fire Service, with a national structure.

    Currently we have approx 12,600 firefighters, 1,600 Permanent, 8,000 volunteer, and 3,000 Rural. (Rural do vegetaion mainly).The land mass is slightly larger than England, Wales, and Scotland combined, but with just over 4 million people. 1 million of which are in Auckland City.

    Statistics for 2001.

    64,993 incidents were attended by the Fire Service in the year ended June 2001. This includes such things as fires, motor accidents and chemical emergencies.

    22,290 fires were attended by the Fire Service in the year ended June 2001, including 3,570 house fires.

    4,834 vegetation fires in the year ended June 2001.

    There were 41 fire deaths in the year ended June 2001 (22 subject to coroner's inquest).

    We have lost 40 Firefighters since 1872. Go to
    UFBA and click on Roll Call for the stats. 16 were at fire scenes.

    I have always felt that the merits of a larger structure would have huge benefits for many smaller stations in America. 20 to 30 small stations combining into a regional service would have greater training ability, command and control would be easier, and purchasing prices would lower due to bulk purchasing.
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    UllrichK,
    That is a very good question...

    By far one of the biggest differences between US & UK Firefighting has to be Building Construction...

    Generally there are a lot of similar Buildings, large old City Building made of Concrete & brick with timber floors, Modern Steel & Concrete High Rise Buildings, Lightweight construction Industrial units...

    But the big, big difference in in the Housing stock. Most UK Houses are Built of brick and Concrete with wooden floors and pitched roofs. Compartmentation is usually high quality and relatively fire proof. Most terraced Building have seperate lofts which prevents lateral extension.

    Almost every multiple occupancy residential Building (Apartment blocks/Projects) are made of Concrete... remember the pictures on here of the 5th Alarm Apartment block fire in Brooklyn a few months ago?? I had to make a telephone call about that, we have almost identical (looking) blocks...no way the fire could burn like that... It was explained that this building did not have concrete walls and floors, that is how it spread to involve most of the block

    It is a fact that after the great Fire of London in 1666, King James the first laid down building codes that have been improved ever since. This is where the seed of our 'Fireproof' Building construction comes from...with streets packed as tightly as they are in many of our older cities ther is no option.

    Fire Preventions codes also play a large part. There are very few fires in occupied commercial Buildings (apart from Ghetto sweatshops etc) Acts such as the 1971 Fire precautions act, 1997 Workplace regulations and so on make workplaces very secure.

    The majority of our lively call rate tends to be in the inner city ghettos accidental residential fires caused by poor housing/education, old electrics, poor education, overcrowding, this is very prevalant among the foreign communities.

    The other thing is arson...this is almost epidemic in certain areas...the UK seems to be suffering a big breakdown in law and order lately...violent and armed crime is on the increase, gang warfare, there are so many places that are like some US inner cities in the 60's and 70's. I mentioned on another post, firefighters in some cities are seeing well over 10 structure fires each day...the saving grace for London is that Real Estate is so expensive Buildings are rarely empty long enough to be burned out. London was the real real busy Fire Department in the 60's to 80's... things have calmed down in London...places like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds etc are where things are fast getting out of control.

    So Fire prevention seems to look after Firefighters in Commercial premises...Most of our recent LODD's have been in either derelict Buildings, Residential Premises or other accident such as a Firefighter drowning during an ice rescue. Many older LODD's were caused by things that still kill Firefighters in the USA, these incidents usually point directly to a procedure adopted Nationally in the UK; deaths caused by lack of accountability, no SCBA entry control procedures, collapsing Buildings, lack of Command structure... are all now 'covered' by nationally used SOP's...not saying they cannot happen again but they shouldn't if everthing goes as it should.

    As far as fitness is concerned, in the UK Firefighters have to have a medical/fitness test every three years and then every year over 40, we have to retire after 55 (Senior Officers 60). An Officer is able to send a Firefighter who appears unfit for a medical or fitness test the Ff will remain Light Duty until fit. (I remember an obese Firefighter in London who was placed Light Duty for three years and eventually retired over his weight). Maybe this is where the fitness angke improves things.

    I read with interest some of the distances run by rural US Fire Crews. Most of our inner city attendance times are a max of 5-8 minutes, 20 minutes is the lowest National Attendance standard forthe most extreem rural area. With areas the size Samson mentions obviously MVA's are a major issue. I don't think I run that many miles in all the calls I attend in a year!!!

    Kiwi, it seems most places the British ever had an influence have some element of UK Firefighting; NZ, Australia, Hong Kong we all work along similar lines with similar rank structres etc, although things are changing as the sands of time tick by...

    Don't forget we also do not see Wild fires like you guys...we have quite a lot of grass/forest fires in the summer, especially up on the moors or in Wales and so on, but nothing like you Guys get...no Dedicated Wildland Firefighters, no one up in Choppers or areoplanes, the diversity of the US makes it very difficult to 'Standardise' as we do in the UK'
    Last edited by SteveDude; 07-10-2004 at 03:19 PM.
    Steve Dude
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    Originally posted by FFFRED
    No place is perfect but in every dept I've worked in..one with 50 men, one with 100+men and now one with 11,000 members there are a few bad apples and each one of them more often than not, were placed in "appropriate" assignments.

    Perhaps our size allows us to place such individuals in not so visible places...however our culture doesn't breed that sort of individual and therefore is typcially rare.

    If there is a dept where such officers thrive then of course there needs to be a cultural change at the bottom and top that doesn't condone cowardice, and medocrity.

    Now if only someone knows how that can be done.

    FTM-PTB
    You know Fred, you raise a great point. How is it done?

    Take a Department with say 1 officer, not up to the task, and no where to hide him. Its a problem faced all to often, and I have to wonder if that isn't the reason for the unsafe act issue. My question is this? Do we allow every guy on the fireground to control what happens? Unsafe act in who's opinion?

    Dave

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    Thumbs up from the quiet observer

    I just wanted to thank all of you for sharing your knowledge here. This thread is incredible. I have made firefighter safety a primary focus of every paper I have written for my classes but at the end of the day, I am still on the outside looking in. I wanted to let you know someone out here in "civilian land" is reading and taking notice. I will find a way to use what I am learning but in the meantime, keep this thread going.

    Cheffie

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    I just wanted to thank all of you for sharing your knowledge here.
    I agree. I also wonder where all the "tailboard riders" are hiding during this discussion. I'm of the mind that a big problem is young firefighters coming up in departments in which senior members pass off unsafe and reckless behavior as the norm. Senior guys out there that put "tradition" before the safety of their younger members should be ashamed. Newer firefighters may not be exposed to the importance of safety and wellness early in their careers and, as a result, become complacent (if not hostile) towards the idea. As a young man growing up on a farm, I was subjected to the dangers of machinery and angry large animals on almost a daily basis. My father, however, had a good sense of safety and proper maintenance of equipment; he refused to take needless risks. I noticed that many of my father's friends did not consider this very important; therefore, many of my young friends acted the same way, and evolved into younger versions of their fathers, laughing away any sense of caution offered to them by others. My point is this: New firefighters emulate the senior guys they come up with. Senior people have a responsibility to their younger firefighters. We can't drop the ball, and must "practice what we preach", so to speak. Some older guys are a waste of time; they will never change. And, they will make damn sure they corrupt as many young people as they can with their unsafe actions and war stories before finally leaving the service. It is of upmost importance that we, the responsible firefighters, do our very best to pass on basic firefighter safety and fitness as something that is at the core of what we do, not something to be scoffed at by the old guys. The more we do this, the more things will change for the better in the long term. Lead by example. If you have a new firefighter who is being sold the "tradition" nonsense by an older member, redirect them. That really ticks me off; I don't care how many tailboards you've ridden, or how much smoke you've eaten, or how fast you used to drive to a fire with ol' Sparky riding the running board...keep it to yourself and quit corrupting our FNG's with stupid, arrogant notions.

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    Once again for those who missed it...

    Certian practices might have been traditional...
    Certain practices within that tradition might need to be discontinued...

    Tradition is NOT the problem.
    Tradition is what has held societies together for eons...and it is what holds your fire dept culture together.

    Tradition isn't "nonsense"...ignorance is.

    The campaign to demonize "tradition" needs to end. I've seen too many fireground actions get labled "traditional" and as such are viewed as dangerous.

    Such as:
    Searching without a handline...
    Venting windows...
    VES...
    Stretching dry to the point of operation...

    All of these and more have been at one time or another during my career been explained to me as dangerous and is only that traditional s@$% that big cities do.

    I know first hand of many supposed experienced Chief Officers that demonized just about everything my current dept does. I know that many will read into this list and see themselves as the good guys.

    I know many officers who are long on ICS table top excersize experience and short on actual firefloor time will claim the culture of anything that didn't come out of Phoneix or Firescope is what needs to excised from the fire service.

    And then you'll have the other side that would like to see all the cowards that hide their inexperience behind almost meaningless credentials removed from the fire service altogether. You know the type, the ones who rocketed to the top ranks, often skipping a few and now find themselves trying to impress everone with their EFO certificate and ICS vest. This all despite the fact, they don't know what it requires to force a door, perform a search or make a push into a cellar with a 2 1/2". Their ignorance leads to fear and fear leads to cowardice and thus deriliction of duty.

    Tradition isn't the problem...ignorance is.

    FTM-PTB

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    Originally posted by ThNozzleman

    I also wonder where all the "tailboard riders" are hiding during this discussion. I'm of the mind that a big problem is young firefighters coming up in departments in which senior members pass off unsafe and reckless behavior as the norm. Senior guys out there that put "tradition" before the safety of their younger members should be ashamed. Newer firefighters may not be exposed to the importance of safety and wellness early in their careers and, as a result, become complacent (if not hostile) towards the idea.
    what is worse is when you see a small department trying to emulate a big department, and sometimes adopting their bad habbits as their own.

    for example, one urban department in upstate NY doesn't require FFs on the room to wear air packs when doing roof ops. it's left up to the officer's discretion to require it or not. or how sometimes seinor FFs from that same department will not wear nomex hoods, because it prevents them from "feeling the heat", or officers who don't use all the straps in their SCBA for reasons that are beyond me. and when the smaller suburban dept and the farther out rural ones that want to be like the "big city," they then adopt these bad habbits because that's what the pros in the city do.

    Or take departments that use flip downs as their primary eye protection. or where career staff / experienced officers don't wear full PPE or go on air to fight a car fire. or my personal fav, where the dept is at a working fire, and all members are wearing full turn out gear, and the chief/IC is running around with his chief's hat (not helmet, hat!). or even better, where the chief is doing the initial investigation of an AFA, wearing his chief's hat only, and all other responding FFs enter the building with full gear and packs on their backs.

    Personally, I like tradition, but you can't let tradition impede progress. I like leather helmets, I like black turnout gear, I even like having a bar in a volunteer firehouse (I know alcohol and firefighting don't mix, I just like the social atmosphere, not having drunk firefighters responding to alarms) and I like white fire trucks with red and gold striping. But progress means adding reflective stripping on black gear, replacing a helmet that costs $450 to wear with one that costs $150 and protects you the same or better (I know it's an argumentative statement), and the changing opinion that bars have no place in a volunteer fire station. and real firetrucks are white

    Progress also means using thermal imaging cameras to do a search, using a 45 minute composite air pack, pulling a 2 1/2 for a fire instead of a high preassure line, having FFs designated just for RIT, better radios, and more effecient use of autonomic and mutual aid. It might also mean if you have an extremely overweight or 65 y/o guy on the line, you need to rethink if you want to keep him on active duty.

    Tradition isn't a bad thing. letting tradition impede progress is. and maybe those in charge and who are considered the best and professionals should keep in mind that those striving to be just like them will pick up 50% of their good habbits and 100% of their bad ones.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Dave nails it on the head.

    Take a Department with say 1 officer, not up to the task, and no where to hide him. Its a problem faced all to often, and I have to wonder if that isn't the reason for the unsafe act issue. My question is this? Do we allow every guy on the fireground to control what happens? Unsafe act in who's opinion?
    That presents a compeling reason for multiple small departments to be combined into one larger regional organisation. Mutts like that will not survive, or will be pulled up to standard damn fast.

    Like Steve Dude we have a simple rule down here, "Follow orders unless they are A. Unsafe, B. Unclear." If A then the FF can say "NO BOSS.", if B. seek clarification, its your butt on the line.

    We work bush fires and dwelling fires, MVA, Hazmat, the whole nine yards, as the first due crew for our area, but we can pull on local/nation wide resources if we need to, and there is no dicking around over "mutual response agreements."

    I like the idea that no matter where I am in my country I can show I am a FF, and be accepted on the spot to help at the incident. Because my standards are their standards.
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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    what is worse is when you see a small department trying to emulate a big department, and sometimes adopting their bad habbits as their own.


    Bad habits are bad habits. No matter where they come from. Don't turn this into a "Big City vs Little Town" discussion. That ain't the problem. There are Departments acroos this Country that do unsafe things all the time......otherwise we wouldn't be here, tallking about this.

    and when the smaller suburban dept and the farther out rural ones that want to be like the "big city," they then adopt these bad habbits because that's what the pros in the city do.
    Certain places perform certain ways based on their manpower and demographic area. Obviously some of these same tactics don't work in a one man engine company enviroment.

    Tradition isn't a bad thing. letting tradition impede progress is. and maybe those in charge and who are considered the best and professionals should keep in mind that those striving to be just like them will pick up 50% of their good habbits and 100% of their bad ones.
    Doc.....you are painting with the broad brush that those that adhere to Tradition are full of bad and unsafe habits. We can't forget where we came from. As George said, all to often we fail to learn from our past mistakes. Also remember that some new ideas are as full of pitfalls as some old unsafe practices. Like for example 45 min or 1 hour cylinders and the hazards of working that long.

    Dave

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    On the issue of safety. "Empower any member to stop unsafe practice". Our department has recently went away from a safety officer due to conflicts with some of the members that were safety officers. We decided that each officer shall be a safety officer and we encourage each member to stop any unsafe practices. We defined "unsafe" practices as most using common sense.

    Auk

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    Originally posted by hfd66truck
    Don't turn this into a "Big City vs Little Town" discussion. That ain't the problem. There are Departments acroos this Country that do unsafe things all the time......otherwise we wouldn't be here, tallking about this.
    Dave, I'm not trying to. But be honest, when was the last time you saw FDNY guys say "Hey, I hear hicksville FD does this on calls, so we should do it to"? Now compare that with a small department saying "Hey, FDNY does it this way, we should do it too." bad habbits are bad habbits, but remember, little brothers tend to want to emulate big brothers, not the other way around.

    oh, and I don't think tradition is a bad thing. that paragraph you quoted should have probably be broken down into two seperate paragrahps.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    Originally posted by ThNozzleman

    I also wonder where all the "tailboard riders" are hiding during this discussion. I'm of the mind that a big problem is young firefighters coming up in departments in which senior members pass off unsafe and reckless behavior as the norm. Senior guys out there that put "tradition" before the safety of their younger members should be ashamed.

    If you have a new firefighter who is being sold the "tradition" nonsense by an older member, redirect them. That really ticks me off; I don't care how many tailboards you've ridden, or how much smoke you've eaten, or how fast you used to drive to a fire with ol' Sparky riding the running board...keep it to yourself and quit corrupting our FNG's with stupid, arrogant notions.
    Damn right.

    This fits under initiative 1 to a T.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Originally posted by DrParasite



    Personally, I like tradition, but you can't let tradition impede progress. I like leather helmets, I like black turnout gear, I even like having a bar in a volunteer firehouse (I know alcohol and firefighting don't mix, I just like the social atmosphere, not having drunk firefighters responding to alarms) and I like white fire trucks with red and gold striping. But progress means adding reflective stripping on black gear, replacing a helmet that costs $450 to wear with one that costs $150 and protects you the same or better (I know it's an argumentative statement), and the changing opinion that bars have no place in a volunteer fire station. and real firetrucks are RED.

    Progress also means using thermal imaging cameras to do a search, using a 45 minute composite air pack, pulling a 2 1/2 for a fire instead of a high preassure line, having FFs designated just for RIT, better radios, and more effecient use of autonomic and mutual aid. It might also mean if you have an extremely overweight or 65 y/o guy on the line, you need to rethink if you want to keep him on active duty.

    Tradition isn't a bad thing. letting tradition impede progress is. and maybe those in charge and who are considered the best and professionals should keep in mind that those striving to be just like them will pick up 50% of their good habbits and 100% of their bad ones.
    Right on! even the part aboutRED trucks!!!

    I dont think the equipment and technology issues will sovle themselves, but it wont be soon enough.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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