In everything we talk about here on this blog, and all of the articles you read on the various other fire service websites, and blogs it all comes down to trying to accomplish one thing. We are trying to decrease our Zero Impact Period or ZIP at an incident.
Zero Impact Period is defined as the time from your arrival at an incident to the point were you make a positive impact on the fire. Simply put just because you stretch a line, and are attacking the fire if the line is undersized and not extinguishing the fire you are still not making a positive impact.
Several factors influence our ZIP. Staffing, training, experience, apparatus placement, district knowledge, building type, building stability, fire conditions, occupied, not occupied and a host of others. All of those factors can be improved by taking the time to perform a self assessment on your department and or company.
Your not good at pulling lines? Go out and train on it! You are unfamiliar with a building in your district? Go walk through it and take pictures to share with the other shifts/members. Your not good at reading smoke? Take a class, and watch a ton of video so that you can improve those skills.
The only thing we can not influence is how many people we bring to a fire, however we can adjust our operations, and train with a realistic compliment of firemen for our department in order to maximize the efficiency of the firemen we do have arriving on scene. If you only arrive with 4 firemen at a fire then make sure that you are the best, most efficient 4 firemen crew that you can be. This will decrease your ZIP significantly.
Some things you can do to decrease you ZIP today are:
1. Train every day
2. Show up at every call ready to work (proper PPE, carrying tools, etc.)
3. Physical fitness (no excuses start today, you not only owe it to you, and your family but the families of your crew and the citizens you serve)
Like I said you can start doing these things today and it will severely decrease your ZIP and increase your efficiency.
Also take a look at the video, and analyze it. Is there anything they should change to decrease their ZIP? What did they do good/bad? Would your company be this fast? If not is it a staffing issue or a training issue? How can you fix it?
Bottom line is fires are burning faster with higher heat release rates, buildings are falling down faster, smoke is more toxic than it has ever been, and we are always doing more with less. We have to look at every aspect of our operation and figure out how to improve out efficiency to decrease the time from our arrival to our positive impact. Our preparation, our knowledge, our fitness, our skill level etc. is one of the factors we can control let’s make sure we do.
Feel free to leave some of your thoughts on ZIP or anything else in the comments section, twitter www.twitter.com/averagejakeff , or via email.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!