Thread: I am scared now

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    Default I am scared now

    After reading the round table discussion in the latest issue of the rival magazine, I must confess I am scared.

    There are officers and chiefs around the country who feel that the incident commander should never leave his little vehicle. He should be staged away from the scene and out of the way of arriving units

    I almost threw up in my mouth when one chief, actually wrote that he should stay in the vehicle because it is, and I quote, climate controlled!!!

    There was on voice of reason however. The very last chief. This makes me feel glad I have worked where I have. It also makes me wonder and fear about the future of the fire service in this country

    I also have to confess. I had been ripping the last page out of the magaize in protest. However the little devil on my shoulder said give it one shot. So I did. It started out ok. Then somehow we went from using information to make a decision (which the author used someone else, not himself) to divorce rates of firefighters?????? HUH??? Time to return to ripping the back page out again.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    I know a chief that sits in his vehicle during the call. Sometimes, he even parks it in front of the ambulance so he can actually see the building that is on fire.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I was told and it seems to be true based on what I have seen at DCFD.com that the Chiefs in our nation's capital never get out of their vehicles or as they call them their buggies.

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    the only was to effectively manage a fire scene is be there on the grounds. how in the hell can you tell a firefighter what duties to perform if you cannot even see the structure in which you are operating at? this is 100% bull crap. whoever thought this was a good idea should be hit in the head with a tac hammer.

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    I was surprised to see some of the responses myself. Around here, I never see chiefs in their cars. They almost always set up IC in front of the building so they can see conditions, progress, and resources. And they deal with the elemets like the rest of us.

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    arent you guys familiar with the fire tetrahedron?


    You have the heat, oxygen, fuel and the white helmet.

    Removal of any one of them will extinguish the fire

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    Obviously some of them of not read Rudy Giulianiís book Leadership (or maybe they have and disagreed with it ). He believes that you must view problems firsthand, and see them with your own two eyes. I believe that great leaders (especially tactical leaders) should be on the frontlines with their troops. Lets face it, as ICís we stand there and come up with all of these plans. The bottom line is that itís our firefighters that carry out our plans, and make us look good. If things donít go very well, we take the heat, and donít lay blame. Certainly adjustments need to be made, but those adjustments are used in the next battle, because you canít put sh1t back into the horse. The men get a lot more respect for you if you lead the way, and when you have respect of the crew they work harder you. Sometimes it doesnít hurt to help them wrap up and was a little hose. I definitely know whoís going to make my plans successful, and it sure isnít going to be me

    Stay Safe

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    the only time i could ever see a situation where the IC cant be on scene is on mass destruction incidents (tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and so forth where the IC cannot be everywhere at once). but in a structure fire or even a large industrial fire the IC should always be right there with his men/women

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    DOC, I couldn't agree more. The roundtable has been pretty sad lately with 60% or more of the respondents seemingly are just fire department managers or are officers coming up in that type of culture. There are some notable exceptions of course.

    While I agree some IC's get a little to far into the incident (coughing up smoke or wearing a mask) I want the IC to be able to see whats going on, smell the smoke, hear the water spraying off the walls. It's called situational awareness and it is hampered by the heater fan or AC running in the command truck.

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    I'll be the weenie that says sometimes it's OK for the IC to stay in the car, depends on the situation. If he can't see the structure or get close enough to the scene he should be mobile. However, I can't say that I'd like him close enough to hear the fire or the water spraying, he's got enough crap to listen too without that. In a properly managed incident, he's got eyes and ears out there hopefully providing the info he needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14
    There are officers and chiefs around the country who feel that the incident commander should never leave his little vehicle. He should be staged away from the scene and out of the way of arriving units.
    This is usually the "new breed" that's coming up; I've seen some of these chiefs in "action" and they are the worst to work for. I agree that as command they should be visible and relatively stationary but they take this to an extreme. They run the fireground like it's a video game or a simulator, they all have the same habits of talking way too much on the radio, and getting ****ed off when they missed something that you didn't tell them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I know a chief that sits in his vehicle during the call. Sometimes, he even parks it in front of the ambulance so he can actually see the building that is on fire.
    I know a couple of departments that would be better off if the chief stayed in the car....

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackstepFF View Post
    This is usually the "new breed" that's coming up; I've seen some of these chiefs in "action" and they are the worst to work for. I agree that as command they should be visible and relatively stationary but they take this to an extreme. They run the fireground like it's a video game or a simulator, they all have the same habits of talking way too much on the radio, and getting ****ed off when they missed something that you didn't tell them.

    I know. Or the ones who are with their huge Stratego board and have no idea of the company running up to the fire freelancing behind them. Had that happen to us.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    jesus christ, what i am tires of is people coming along and trying to change everything the fire service is about. first trying to take the SCBA's out of the cab, saying what we can and cant do on scene, and now this IC crap. WHY do we always have to change the ways we do things.

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    I don't think the chief's buggy is good enough....now every department seems to feel the need to spec a heavy rescue or engine with a full command center inside - just to ensure that the IC will be further away and have a smaller, more limited view of the scene.....every time you have some garden apartments with a couple of rooms off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinFFVFD View Post
    jesus christ, what i am tires of is people coming along and trying to change everything the fire service is about. first trying to take the SCBA's out of the cab, saying what we can and cant do on scene, and now this IC crap. WHY do we always have to change the ways we do things.
    That is too funny. Only in the last few years did we start putting SCBA in the seats. Sonny, we change things to hopefully end up better.

    As for the Incident Commander (AKA Chief in some cases) I feel better knowing he is standing inhis little 3 foot circle. He can see all that he needs to in most cases at a distance of 75 to 100 feet. I don't want my IC activiely invloved in tactical operations, this is the man that is managing the incident. If it is a major structure fire he has to make sure that a water source is set up, adequate mutaul aid is coming in, rehab is set up, food and refreshments are on scene, crowd control and traffic control have been established. A good IC will delegate to his subordinates and will trust in their judgement.

    Last thing I want to see is my IC grabbing a hand line and going into the fire. Once that happens there is no control and no one knows if everything will come together.

    You want to talk about goofy changes. We were getting all bullock helmets that were smaller, lightweight, and new technology. Somone decided that we needed to go back to those silly Cairns helmets with the big brims and the huge emblem on top, the kind FDNY used to use. I absolutley hate the darn things. They are fine for the guys standing on the outside looking in, on the inside I find they are a hinderance. Plus after the fire that thing comes off, it isn't very comfortable.
    Last edited by HotTrotter; 04-28-2007 at 02:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    I don't think the chief's buggy is good enough....now every department seems to feel the need to spec a heavy rescue or engine with a full command center inside - just to ensure that the IC will be further away and have a smaller, more limited view of the scene.....every time you have some garden apartments with a couple of rooms off.
    What's wrong with having a command center? It isn't something that every departmetn needs but rather a county resource to be shared. It is only needed on larger incidents. Not only does it give a place to do planning and such but it also gives a place to get out of the weather when it is 10 below zero or 110 in the shade. A good IC should be able to manage the incident from a distance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    What's wrong with having a command center?
    Nothing. But having one for every podunk fire department is like having a full-blown haz-mat team running out of every station in the county. I would rather see the functionality of the individual heavy rescues and rescue-engines maintained, and - as you suggest - have a dedicated mobile command unit for a county.

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    while i believe that the IC shouldnt mask up, grab a line, and get on the attack team (staffing aside; thats a different discussion), the IC cant just stay in his (or her) little command vehicle. He (or she) needs to do walk-around size-ups of the situation (the initial size-up, as well as size-ups throughout the incident), check the conditions of the building(s), check for exposures, check for spacing to position additional towers, etc. and using that information and observations and combine that with his (or her) experience and knowledge to make affective decisions to save as many lives and as much property as possible, as well as making sure everyone goes home at the end of the day (gasps for breath). Basically, by staying in the command vehicle, you are creating a similar effect as 'tunnel vision'.
    ^and thats just for an 'ideal' structure fire!

    however, a command post is also nessicary to establish a set spot for incomming units and personal to report to, as well as (basically) making the situation more organized.

    bottem line: a command post is (in my opinion) a nessicity at a major incident, but the IC has to be 'mobile' and able to observe more than just what you can see out of the window of a car.

    ok im done now
    (steps off of the soapbox)
    First in, Last out, nobody left behind.....

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    isnt their operations chiefs, logistics, safety officers, and crap for all this stuff. Granted, not everyone has that. But, isnt that what they are for?

    Do they not report conditions to the actual IC? For a house, fire, yeah, you dont need them

    But for a high rise, do you really need him to get out? I am really asking.

    Our high rises here are 8 stories. Whats he going to do?

    Get out and look up? Cant he do that from where he is?

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    The advantage to having an IC stay in the car is that he can just as easily stay at the station and command the incident.

    If everyone starts doing this, we'll be able to outsource all incident command functions to overseas outfits that has telephone "incident commanders" reading from cue card decision trees.

    In an ironic twist, these non-english speaking telephone operators would already be well-versed in all aspects of customer service since their firm probably handles customer service calls for (insert name of Big American Company here) already.
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    Default chiefs

    in the city i work in the all hands chief is usualy inside the building.checking on progress of the interior attack. jg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighter1962 View Post
    Obviously some of them of not read Rudy Giulianiís book Leadership (or maybe they have and disagreed with it ).

    I think I just threw up in my mouth
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    isnt their operations chiefs, logistics, safety officers, and crap for all this stuff. Granted, not everyone has that. But, isnt that what they are for?

    Do they not report conditions to the actual IC? For a house, fire, yeah, you dont need them

    But for a high rise, do you really need him to get out? I am really asking.

    Our high rises here are 8 stories. Whats he going to do?

    Get out and look up? Cant he do that from where he is?
    Honestly, are you setting up Operations and Logistics sectors for every fire?? I know we aren't.

    High rises, I was always taught the Incident Commander should set up the command post in the lobby to monitor incoming units and assign them to various tasks and floors as needed.

    I gain respect for bosses who expose themselves to the same crap we do. Not saying get in there mask up and grab the line. But when its raining, They are out there with us. I have worked for a few battalion chiefs who commanded a scene just by their very presence.
    Co 11
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    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    I've got to admit that when the IC isn't also the "operations officer" to use the new lingo, it does seem to be better that he/she is remote from the immediate scene. But this is for the big haz-mat, WMD, large wildfire, etc.

    If the IC doesn't give tactical assignments then who cares where they are? They might as well stay in their office and save a few bucks on gas. But, when making the tactical assignments I want the IC to hear breaking glass, see the steam conversion, watch the lines jump when the nozzle is opened or closed, and to feel the same cold or heat the crews feel. This to me, makes for greater situational awareness and is a starting block to command presence.

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