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Engine Company Emergencies!


The link to the above video is something that the fire service has been passing around for years. It shows a company stretching a line into a garage, and at some point for some reason(the reason has been debated) the garage door comes down trapping the crew on the interior and trapping the hose line (probably reducing its flow). Now there are obvious deficiencies in training, situational awareness, etc. In fact you can go on and on about what these guys did and did not do.

I am gonna approach it from a  different angle. A lot of times we focus our training on our basic skills, and our worst case scenario training is typically limited to getting firefighters out of buildings (be it ourselves or one of our brothers). We practice drags, bail outs, wall breaches and transfilling but do we practice how to free a hose line? Do we practice on what to do if we stretch short of the objective?

I am a huge Mixed Martial Arts fan and have trained in Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The training regimen actually translates a lot to the fire service. You learn your basics first and as you gain tenure and experience you move on to more advanced moves, maybe even competition. One thing that stands apart however is that in martial arts they do “worst case scenario” training. They put you in a corner with someone in a dominate position and say “ok get out”. They do this because they know that one day you might be in this position and this is what you will think about, and what you learn from it now will dictate your success later.

The fire service needs this type of training as well, because quite frankly we make mistakes. I try to remember to chock every door I go through but sometimes you forget, or you just don’t do it. It happens all over the country, but what doesn’t happen is training for what to do when this happens. As we know from countless mayday reports, and studies hitting your emergency button, calling your mayday, and activating your pass alarm a lot of times just satisfy you local policy they do not give you much on the actual operational end of things. Even if an RIT is activated and comes to help will they know how to help you?

What kind of skills and drills are you working on in your department to combat this? Share your thoughts in the comments section, and as usual spread the word to your friends.

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