I have always thought it is important to review every incident for areas I can improve on, because contrary to what you may read on social media NO ONE IS PERFECT! Not only that no one has it all figured out, and no one has all the answers memorized. I often wonder how many of these tweets or blogs are researched for months to give the impression of being “all knowing” but that is a topic for another time.
The following are some lessons I learned from a recent fire, hopefully they can help others from making the same mistakes.
1. I need more time in our new air pack: My department just switched over to the MSA G1 pack. It is a great pack but it is heavier, and in my opinion a little bulkier. This makes it harder to maneuver for me in places I used to not have issues, it is also harder to pack up while seat belted, and rapids shoulder fatigue. I like to work out in my pack, but I need to up the game a little bit so that I can be even better.
2. I need more time using our new radios: We just upgraded our radios to newer Motorola radios. I found in initial training that the button on the lapel mic was hard to push with a gloved hand (at least for me). I have been practicing with it, but need even more.
3. THE TIC!: This is a big one, I have been making o conscious effort to get better at utilizing the TIC. I have had a litany of excuses on why I didn’t use it. To big, to bulky, to heavy, always whites out, etc. But recently I have been making an effort to take it out on every structural related call, and even in training but for some reason at this fire I left it in the engine. It’s a big deal because on this fire it would have helped me find the fire FASTER! The smoke conditions made it difficult to locate the seat of the fire, but with a TIC what took minuets would have taken seconds. I need to redouble my efforts to ensure I am utilizing the TIC on size up, and inside.
4. Lastly which leads to even a bigger topic is Engine Company search: For the last few years I have been in a 3 company house (engine, squad, medic) so when we arrived at the same time the squad would default to search and the engine would stretch the line. Now at a two company house (engine and Medic) often I am waiting on a special service company, or another company in general to perform that search. I still believe that when an engine company arrives the best thing it can do for victims, firefighters, the incident etc. is to put the fire out, delaying that only makes things worse. Obviously there are exceptions to everything, but for 99% of the time engines need to put out the fire first. However, that does delay searching for the occupants, thus engine company search. We only ride with 3 (driver, officer, firefighter) so this can prove to be difficult. I have a plan in mind on how I want to accomplish this but like anything else its going to take training on it first in order to make it successful on the fire ground….stay tuned.
Those are the biggest lessons learned from my most recent fire. Even when things go well, there is always something we can do to make it even better the next time. That’s why athletes watch game film, and record practices. We too must analyze our performance constantly to make sure we are hitting the mark, and when we are not up our training, and education. Waiting for the next fire (experience) to try to change is too late!
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!