Average Jake Firefighter Blog

Read it, Learn it, Use it!

FDIC 2014 Wrap Up!

Posted by hdf561 on April 15, 2014

WOW what a great conference FDIC2014 was. If you wonder where the brotherhood is then look no further than FDIC! This year the classes where once again great, as well as the opening ceremonies with Chief Bobby Halton and Eric Rohden, but everyone knows about that in anything you read you hear about the education you get from going to FDIC and it is by far second to none, so I want to focus on some other things in my FDIC wrap up.

I will however as usual give a shout out to the best class I took at the conference and that was Reading Buildings: The Rapid Street Approach. it was taught by Dave Dodson of Reading Smoke fame, and Chief Jon Mittendorf who has been a staple in Truck Company Operations for decades. They are taking a new look at how to identify buildings to enhance fire ground operations. They have a book coming out through Fire Engineering Books and Video and I will no doubt be buying it.

During the conference I got the chance to meet some people who I have only interacted with over social media, one of them was Kerry Falzone from Plymovent she gave me the chance to be part of a program I really believe in called #HOOKUPTHEHOSE if you have not seen it here is the first PSA!

I regret that I did not get a pic with me and Kerry but she is an awesome person and so passionate about protecting firefighters from the dangers of cancer caused by vehicle exhaust no matter the product they use. It was great to meet her!

Another person I got to spend some time with was Andy Starnes. Andy is a Captain in the Charlotte North Carolina Fire Department. Andy is involved in the Kill the Flashover Project http://www.killtheflashover.com , and writes for Firefighter Toolbox http://www.firefightertoolbox.com . On top of all that though Andy is a top-notch person. We ran the Courage and Valor 5k together and climbed the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb together as well. The whole time he was encouraging and even stated we started the climb together we will finish together.

pic5

Here is my brother, Andy, and I getting ready to run the 5k. It was awesome to meet Andy, he is one of those people who has never met a stranger in his life, because within minuets you are his friend.

Another person who I had met before but got to spend some more time with was Andrew Catron from the Model City Firefighter Blog http://www.modelcityfirefighter.com/

pic4

Andrew is a blogger, and firefighter in Kingsport TN. He is also a Ride Backwards http://www.ridebackwards.com sponsored athlete! He is usually seen hanging around Capt. Wines and Rhett Fleitz (Ironfireman and Fire Critic). Andrew also ran the 5k and participated in the 9/11 memorial Stair Climb both while wearing his TECGEN http://www.tecgenxtreme.com/ gear!

On Friday I got to climb in my 4th 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb but first at FDIC climbing this time for Battalion Chief Orio Palmer

photo 3

I am huge supporter of the 9/11 Stair Climbs, a lot of people talk brotherhood but by doing a climb you LIVE IT and FDIC was one of the best climbs I have done by far. The stadium configuration makes it a tougher climb but the camaraderie was so much more during this climb as you are constantly passing people on the stairs. I found myself fist bumping and encouraging others, and others doing the same back to me! It was something I had never experienced before during a climb.

You can see the emotion, the Brotherhood that was present during this climb. It was truly an honor to share the stairs with my brothers and sisters, and also my wife Karen who has done every climb with me!

photo 5

While there I also got to participate in the FOOLS BASH, and Firefighter Turnout hosted by the First Arriving Blog Network that hosts a lot of popular blogs like Fire Critic, Iron Firemen, First Due Tackle, Boron Extrication, Statter911, Model City Firefighter and a host of others! I was able to interact with Paul from First Due Tackle http://www.firstduetackle.com during several events and he even gave me his challenge coin! The Firefighter Turn out was AWESOME! There was gaming, good food, and of course BROTHERHOOD! I do not think it could have gone better, and I hope it is not the last time.

Lastly I did get to meet one other special person…

photo 2

Chief Fire Wife Lori Mercer! Lori runs the website http://www.firefighterwife.com which is a group determined to make fire marriages work. Lori works tirelessly with other fire wives giving them support in a multitude of different areas of life in order to improve relationships with their firefighters! My wife is a member as has become extremely active in the sisterhood even becoming a moderator and poster in the Fit Fire Wife subgroup. Lori may be the most sought after and popular person at the conference as she was always in demand. She is doing great things for firefighters and their wives, it was great to meet her!

Again too many great things happen at this conference to confine it all to one post, I couldn’t come close to listing all the people I met, or the impact things had on me. I just know that FDIC is the greatest fire service conference on the planet no matter how you slice it. I love going, and I want to go every year! That may not always be a possibility but I know what the conference has done for me and my passion. If you have never gone then you are missing out. Save your money, sleep on a floor in your buddies hotel room, do what you have to do to get to go an experience this event!

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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THE SECRET OF THE FIRE SERVICE!!!!

Posted by hdf561 on April 4, 2014

In just a few days I like many of my fire service brothers will be heading to the greatest fire service conference on the planet FDIC!

While there we will take classes, walk around the exhibit floors, network, and enjoy the brotherhood that is hanging out with 40,000 like minded people.

The one other thing people will be doing is searching. Searching for that tid bit, that trick, that “secret of the fire service” .

Well I have figured it out! No it’s not RECEO, SLICERS, DICERS, SLAPCHOP, UL or NIST Studies those are all tools that we have at our disposal.

The secret of the fire service is THERE IS NO SECRET!

There is no one end all be all solution. The fire service is too fluid to have the one and only plan, and fire departments themselves are too dynamic and different to adhere to one set of tactics.

So when you go to FDIC next week (or any other class or conference for that matter) keep an open mind. Do some preplanning and research before going and take classes that apply to the position you are in, or trying to get to in your career. Take what applies to your department and leave the rest. Then go home and apply some sweat equity to your new found tactics and see what really works for your department.

The saying of “there is more than one way to skin a cat” holds true. The current cat the fire service faces is not a baby kitten, it is a fully developed mountain lion seeking to kill us! To pigeon hole yourself to one style, one idea is borderline negligent!

be water

The above quote from Bruce Lee speaks volumes about how we should approach our fire service problem. We already use water now we must act more like it, not dismissing ideas, but being open to multiple forms and using the one that works best despite our tradition, culture or ego.

I hope to see you all at FDIC and be sure to follow me on twitter @averagejakeff

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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Averagejake’s Rules of the Fire Service!

Posted by hdf561 on March 25, 2014

With all of the acronyms, studies, and science being brought into the fire service today, I often hear of people clamoring for a simpler time. A time when the job was what they describe as simpler. Even as a believer in a lot of these different studies, and I feel that the fire service should be an educated fire service, but at the core of our job what we do everyday has not changed. A lot of these concepts are not even “new” if you are familiar with any fire service history. I learned about “transitional attack” back in 1996 when taking my first firefighter 1 class at the ripe old age of 16.

However I realize that young firefighters out there making their way into the fire service all over the country can be bogged down with some of this new information, and or tactics. I have had to utilize my college degree more than once to decipher some of the nuances of these studies. So in that spirit here are Averagejake’s rules of the fire service!

Always wear you PPE!

No matter the call, no matter the building, no matter your years of service ALWAYS wear your personal protective equipment! Or even simpler wear the things designed to protect you! This begins with your seat belt while responding to and returning from responses. If you are going to an EMS run, put your gloves on. If you are going to a building or car on fire put on your turnout gear and SCBA. If the EMS call requires a mask, eye pro, or gown then put it on. If the fire requires you to be on air due to smoke exposure in the front yard then put it on.

If you are on an Engine Company, Always have something that can put a fire out!

Tool selection is a big topic in almost any firehouse in America. Everyone has a preference on what they like to carry, and most have a ton of merit based on individual likes, and district needs. What cannot be up for debate is that the primary mission of an Engine company is to extinguish fire. Therefore if you are responding to a fire alarm, building fire, car fire, etc. you must come off the rig and grab some sort of extinguishing device. This can be a water can, hose pack, pulling a line, ABC extinguisher, or Indian Pack. I like to carry a water can when investigating residential occupancy, and a hose pack when investigating multi-family and commercial occupancies. This way if I find a fire I can either hold it in check with the can, or isolate the fire by closing the door and back stretch the line back to a water source (engine, leader line, standpipe).

If you are on a Special Service Company (Truck,Squad,Rescue) always have something that breaks stuff!

Yes search and rescue is a primary function of Special Service companies, and I do not want to down play that. However a majority of what companies do is open the building up. They force entry, they ventilate, they overhaul all of these things require tools! When I was assigned as a truck firefighter I carried a 6 foot NY Roof Hook and 30 inch halligan pro bar. This allowed me to open doors, break windows, pull ceilings, open walls, open floors, and just about anything else you can think of. Again people have preferences on which tools they like to have and that is fine, just know the buildings in your district and choose the ones that best fit them.

TRAIN EVERYDAY!

This one should be self explanatory but sadly it is not. Good enough is not good enough when it comes to our job. We should be striving for excellence in every aspect of our job. Training our fire skills, EMS skills, and our physical fitness to elite levels is the secret of fire service success. The funny part about it is that it is the worst kept secret ever! Everyone knows it, yet seem to shy away from it. I do not know if it is laziness, apathy, or uncaring. However no one forces ANYONE to be a firefighter, we all chose to be here. So if we are going to be here, and lives are in our hands, then we have the responsibility to be the best at it we can be. So spend an hour in the gym, and an hour working on fire skills every shift day. When your off read at least one fire related article a day. Just that little bit of work will take you to elite levels of firefighting.

 

I do not mean to trivialize the complexities of our profession. We operate in highly dynamic environments, and have to have tremendous skill sets in order to mitigate emergencies. Never stop seeking elite levels of the fire service, but if you get lost or have a brain lapse remember to wear your gear, have something that puts fires out, have something that breaks stuff, and train every day. That should get you through until you get back on track.

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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Ray, Eddie, and Bobby Google Hangout

Posted by hdf561 on March 9, 2014

I finally got the chance to watch this hangout the other day, and I feel overall it is very good and the message overall is relevant.

Eddie hit a lot of points that I think needed to be said and that a lot of us have been arguing over. The biggest misconception of SLICERS is that it is an exterior fire model. That simply is NOT the case and Eddie spoke on that very well. He also stated that RECEO and SLICERS match up and I TOTALLY agree with that statement. When I first read SLICERS I thought it was a great engine company acronym and that RECEO still had a very good place for the incident commander, so I am glad that person’s way smarter than me see that.

The topic then shifted to tactics when one of the questions was asked about no one can compare to the FDNY because of the staffing levels. Ray in my opinion and with all due respect still does not see the truth in this, even making the statement that in the FDNY the hose stretch is made by a pipeman, officer, back up man, and someone at the door which is a small number of people. In order for me to get that many people on the hose line it would take 2 engine companies! Some other departments it would take even more. I agree with Eddie that we all need to know the same “skills” (forcing doors, stretching lines, venting, searching) I would even argue we need to know them a little better as we often operate with lower numbers and minimal back up. However the “tactics” are not and can not be the same! We must approach our fires differently based on the staffing levels.

When I worked part-time in a department where I was a driver only (alone on the rig),  making entry was not an option, while I still needed to stretch a line, pump the truck, and vent the window closest to the fire area skill wise the TACTIC used was much different that the 4 person hose team would have been able to accomplish.

One thing I did agree with Ray on is that there are certain construction types an exterior hit may not work, which is why he initially came up with DICERS. I couldn’t agree more, and I do think that is a portion that the SLICERS model may have missed (even though size up is the first letter) the building is still something that plays a huge role in how we do what we do.

This in my opinion was a very good discussion with respectful opinions brought forth, which to be honest I did not expect as Ray often (again my opinion) comes off condescending and narrow-minded when expressing his opinion. No doubt Ray is smart, experienced, and one hell of a fireman but I have always found his brand of expression a bit insulting, yet informative it is a very weird dynamic I have with his writings and opinion. One minute I am emailing everyone I know a great article he has written the next we are arguing on twitter about something he wrote or said.

Give this hangout a watch and make sure you always keep your department in mind whenever you learn a skill or tactic.

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!

Posted by hdf561 on March 8, 2014

29 days until the biggest, and best fire conference in the entire world FDIC!

If you have never been to FDIC then you are missing out. Words alone can not describe the experience that is FDIC. This conference is something near and dear to me, it is one of the few places on the planet that I feel entirely comfortable. 35,000 firefighters all together for one reason, to get better at being firefighters!

It is without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year!

One of the best parts of going to FDIC is getting to meet other bloggers, firefighters, and fire service mentors. FDIC does a great job of making these chances more plentiful, and other groups do as well. Here is what I have on tap:

Arriving Sunday afternoon

Monday: Nothing planned

Tuesday: Pre Conference Workshop 8am-12pm Reading Buildings: The Rapid Street Approach

Pre Conference Workshop 1:30pm-5:30pm Extrication Zone: EMS Aspects

Wednesday: Opening Ceremonies

Classroom sessions

INDY Metro Fools Brotherhood Bash (Jackson and Meridian St)

Thursday: General Session

Classroom sessions

Courage and Valor 5K https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=9996

Stop Drop and Rock and Roll (possibly) http://www.stopdroprocknroll.com/

Friday: Classroom Sessions

FDIC 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1428580

2014 Firefighter Turnout (hosted by some of your favorite fire service bloggers) https://www.facebook.com/events/231623773695739/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Additionally my wife Karen (@stickysidedwn) will be teaching a pre conference workshop on Tuesday titled, The Role of the EMS provider in large-scale incidents. She will also be at the Fire Engineering book store booth on Tuesday from 1-2 signing her book “Incident Command for EMS” http://www.pennwellbooks.com/inmaforems.html So if you are a company officer, EMS supervisor, EMS provider, or firefighter then go see Karen’s class, and go buy the book.

Lastly I will be live tweeting the conference, if you want to know where I am at, what I am doing and what is going on then follow me on twitter @averagejakeff. Make sure you also follow your other favorite bloggers, and FDIC itself. Make sure you follow the hash tag #fdic2014

If you are going to FDIC come say hi, if not follow along!

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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Deck of Pain Workout!

Posted by hdf561 on March 2, 2014

This is a great workout you can do at the firehouse on duty or even at home if you’re looking to change things up a bit.

You can use equipment such as free weights, kettle bells, jump ropes etc. or just do body weight exercises.

First you start out with a deck of cards.

deck of cards

You assign a workout to a suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades)

Example:

Diamonds: Push-ups

Clubs: Squats

Hearts: Burpees

Spades: Crunches

Then simply start drawing cards the number on the card indicates the number of reps of the exercise you do. I usually do Aces and Face Cards (King, Queen, Jack) as 10 reps.

So if you draw the 5 of Diamonds you would do 5 push-ups, draw the Ace of Spades and you do 10 crunches.

Having done this workout I can tell you it is a good one, especially on duty when your time or even equipment may be limited.

Below is an example video of how it works

As always make sure you get a good warm up prior to any exercise and afterward get a good cool down and stretch.

What are some inventive workouts you are doing in your firehouse? Post them on twitter, or in the comments section!

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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Hose Line Kink!

Posted by hdf561 on February 23, 2014

Since the weather has been getting warmer it is allowing more time to train outside and get some real good engine work in. Been practicing a lot of moving lines up stairs. With a 3 person engine it makes it difficult especially in a district with large 3 story homes.

One of the most popular ways I have seen to move hose is the loop and roll method, here is an example of the loop and roll method

It is something that is taught pretty wide-spread around here and as already said is very popular. While doing some recent training this method was being used to move hose to a third floor landing with only 2 firefighters. The below video is the result.

The malfunction was flipping the roll into the room before actually being in the room, causing a major kink, instead of maintaining the loop. The kink was so bad it caused a catastrophic gpm flow problem at the nozzle rendering the line useless.

This happened in no smoke, no heat, and in good visibility. Will this happen every time? I do not think so, but it is a possibility and heat, smoke, etc. can only contribute to the difficulty.

Finding things like this only enhance our fire service, the sharing of ideas, and even failures only makes all of us better. Much like the campaign for terrorism prevention states “if you see something, say something” apply the same message to the fire ground and our training. If you see something that works say something, if you see something that doesn’t work SAY SOMETHING! Do not hoard ideas, share them! Also embrace your failures!

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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The Fire Service Real World

Posted by hdf561 on February 17, 2014

Editors Note: This is a post from my brother Danny who serves as an Urban firefighter in the Capital City of Virginia. He has an extensive experience in working in career, combination, and volunteer fire departments. He is assigned to a Rescue Company and is a member of the Central Virginia Technical Rescue Team, along with being a medic. Simply put he gets it!

What do you get when you put 7 stranger firefighters from different areas of the country and different types of departments in one station during a busy fire season???? You get the new hit reality TV show “The Fire Service Real World.  Now of course this is totally fake and not ever going to happen due to liability issues but think of what TV gold that would be!!!!  You could take some of the greatest minds in the fire service old and young and make them rotate positions every shift I.E. driving 1 day, the next day you’re in charge, day after that you’re the nozzle guy.  Throw in an ambulance (80% of what we do), some everyday fire department living and some good fires and only then could we really see how different or how alike our fire service is.

 

This idea came to me after seeing all the discussion over the past week about Urban vs. Suburban vs. Rural departments and how the tactics all differ.  I myself am a mix of all 3.  Where I work is all urban, where I volunteer is both suburban and rural within a few miles of each other.  I would love to be able to just take what I learned from the suburban environment where I started and take it into the city but it just isn’t going to work.  When all I did was volunteer we went from having 2-6 people on a first out engine. At work we have 4 all day everyday.  In my first few years at my urban department I had to adjust, adapt to “their” way and come up with my new ideals on how I was going to do things.

 

I was always taught RECEO VS not as a list of tactics but as a strategy, they are the priority of things that should get done at every fire.  I was taught LOVERS U for Truck Company and Specialty Company TACTICS.  I can’t recollect ever being taught an acronym for engine operations, was just always told “Right Line, Right Location, Right GPM” puts out fire every time.  Now we have SLICERS and as of today we have DICERS, could this be the new way to do engine company operations it’s very possible.  Will it work in every situation? Only time will tell.  I disagree with the fact that any of these should be marketed as a “blanket solution” to today’s fire problem.  This is a disservice to all of us thinking firemen.  You have to have some flexibility built-in to any policy especially for today’s dynamic fire ground.

 

All of these ideas are “Tools for YOUR toolbox”.  Take what you like and what your departments do and implement them into your companies operations.  DO the research, DO the right reading, if you’re from Small Ville, USA you’re probably not going to learn much tactic based stuff from Big City Firefighters and vice versa, if you’re from Big City FD there’s not much sense in my opinion being that proficient in Rural Water supply.  Now I will say the basics are the basics no matter where you’re from but you should focus on mastering the skills that will make you the best you can be in your environment.  Make yourself what I like to call “Knowledgeably Aggressive”.  There is a big difference between being “aggressive” and knowing when and where is the right time to be aggressive; only your department, your crew, and your ability can determine that.

 

Bottom line is we shouldn’t be bashing each others opinions; this is a brotherhood that has always thrived in learning and listening to everyone’s opinions from the new rookie to the 30 year veteran to the retiree.  Actually we are all already living the “Fire Service Real World” reality series so let’s make this season the best yet!!!  Do your part and partake in the conversation, and stand up for your beliefs, share your opinion but in a respectable manner.

 

 

Thanks for reading and stay safe!!!!

 

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Urban Opinion

Posted by hdf561 on February 15, 2014

This one has been in the back of my mind for a long time, and it is meant as no disrespect it is just some thoughts and opinions.

I remember getting into the fire service at age 15 and getting introduced to some of the older guys a lot of whom worked for various fire departments around the area some worked in the Urban city but most in the suburban counties. Both had differing opinions on how the best way to do things was.

Then I remember going to college and meeting firefighters from all over the country, getting to go to FDIC and getting to take classes from guys like Mike Ciampo, Mike Dugan, John Newell, Jon Norman and other heavy hitters in the fire service world. While it was a great experience one thing has always stuck out to me. While I was in one of the Hands On Classes  another class was being taught in close proximity. One of the skill stations was how to ventilate hurricane proof glass. As they where utilizing a saw to do this skill one of the instructors of my class (from a large urban department) said “that’s the dumbest $%&ing thing I have ever seen”. That struck me funny especially at a conference that was supposed to be about learning and idea sharing, but I was an 18-year-old kid with 3 years in the fire service so I went along with it.

Fast forward to now and the Urban vs. Suburban tactical debate is as hot as ever, especially with a lot of the new information coming out of the UL and NIST studies. I have seen a lot of push back on social media and blogs, and I just do not get it.

Let me say that the knowledge and fire duty of most urban fireman is phenomenal I have learned so much from so many of them to dismiss that would be idiotic. I also learned a long time ago that some of the things they do, did not apply to me and my fire department wherever that was at the time. I remember being in Charlotte NC taking a weekend Engine Company operations class. The instructor was showing the class how they utilized the 2 1/2 with 3 people. My friend and I attending the class asked if we could do the evolution with 2, when asked why we simply stated that we do not have three people and if we cannot do this technique with 2 then it would not be able to be done in our department.

For far too long in the fire service we have taken the opinion of the Urban firefighters as gospel when in reality a majority of what they do does not apply to the majority of the fire service!

Firefighters (2012)

  • Estimated number of firefighters: 1,129,250 (career:      345,950, volunteer: 783,300)
  • Firefighters by age group: 16-19 (3.3%), 20-29 (21.1%),      30-39 (26.3%), 40-49 (25.3%), 50-59 (17.3%), 60 and over (6.7%)
  • Seventy-two percent of career firefighters are in      communities that protect a population of 25,000 or more.
  • Ninety-five percent of the volunteers are in      departments that protect a population of less than 25,000 and about 50      percent of the volunteers are located in small, rural departments that      protect a population of less than 2,500.

Source: National Fire Protection Association, U.S. Fire Department Profile Through 2012

The 2012 statistics show the number of volunteers far outnumber the career sided folks, and that 95% serve in rural or suburban areas based on population. Not to mention the resource and staffing differences. Simply put the Urban mindset may not apply to YOUR DEPARTMENT!

I have worked in departments with 2 firefighters assigned to an engine, and no other engine in the county. Would making the interior fire attack with 1 firefighter pumping and 1 firefighter on the line make sense? I have been on an engine overnight in a part-time department and volunteer department by myself with little to no back up from other companies, should you stretch the interior in that situation? The problem is there is some young kid reading the FDNY operations manual, or listening to some of the rhetoric out there about how transitional attack is whack, and they are going to go to a fire tonight with two people and stretch in because the guy on the internet said so!

Am I saying you can learn nothing from the Urban Mindset? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Robert Morris from FDNY taught me more about forcible entry in 8 hours than I have learned in 16 years, Mike Ciampo has been my truck company god since FDIC 2001, I could go on but the point is you can learn a ton from these guys but do not let the Urban opinion skew you as to what you can and cannot do in YOUR DEPARTMENT! I always try to take the things that apply to my district and department and then forget the rest. Make sure you are spending some time in your district, training with your firefighters, you may just discover something no one else has.

It is far past the time that those that serve in a rural or suburban setting need to stand up and not let the Urban firefighters define our fire service! Or define what is and what is NOT a firefighter. Whether you go to 1,000 or 1 fire a year doesn’t matter it is how ready you are for that 1 fire that is. That’s what makes you a professional no matter the pay check. It should not be the URBAN WAY or NO WAY, it should be the BEST way for your department and for the fires YOUR department fights. We should not be dismissing things like transitional attack, SLICERS, and the like because someone in with a 5 person engine and 30 firefighters on an initial alarm says its “dumb”. Perhaps it does not apply to them, but it may apply to the 6 person fire scene! Staffing, and fire conditions should dictate our actions not opinion.

Again this is not meant to be insulting, or anything of the like. It is meant to influence learning from multiple schools of thought, and put sweat equity into finding out what works for YOU, and do not just blindly follow along with the opinions of someone just because of the department they work for. Do not just read one book, read all the books and then find out what works for YOU.

As usual, thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

 

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SNOMAGEDDON!

Posted by hdf561 on February 13, 2014

Well the snow and other winter weather has hit us here in Virginia and most other southern states hard once again leaving a lot of our fire companies looking like this!

Even on shift last night in the initial stages I had to do a little shoveling in order to get back in the bay, and to clear steps and side walks on EMS runs.

I thought this would be a good time to rehash some older posts I have written about working in the snow and wintry conditions

http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/winter-operations-the-engine/ This one is preparation for your engine company. We all know that we use water to fight fire, however water can be our enemy in winter weather conditions. We have to make our engine work for us rather than against us.

http://averagejakeff.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/winter-operations-the-firefighter/?relatedposts_exclude=1440 This post details some things you can do to be better prepared from the firefighter perspective. Extra gloves, moving your shovel out of the “crow’s nest” etc.

I hope you take time to read some of them, and I hope they can benefit you in your winter operations.

Additionally I know most rigs that have even a remote chance of winter weather have some sort of automatic chain system. Most of these systems are similar but can be a little different based on the manufacturer. I am most familiar with Onspot, but there are other brand names. Below are links to a few of those companies take time to review what your automatic chain system can and can not do, and when it may be time to switch to a full tire chain. Make sure that if you are unsure if you need the full tire chain you put them on the rig with you, that way you can attempt to install them if you get in a bind out in your district.

Onspot: http://www.onspot.com/

Insta-chain: http://www.insta-chain.com/Safety.php

ROTOGRIP: http://www.rud.com/en-us/products/snow-chains/rotogrip.html

Superlite: http://www.superlitechains.com/auto/index.html

Again make sure you find out your brand of automatic chain your department is using to find out what they can and can not do!

Lastly these weather conditions change everything. Our response is slower, our movement on scene is slower, our deployment is slower. This means that the routine chest pain call could be a STEMI, the asthma attack could become the respiratory arrest, and the room and contents could become the post flash over structure fire that could lead to collapse. Make sure we adjust everything we do and set ourselves up for success.

If you have any other valuable tips for winter weather operations please share on twitter @averagejakeff or in the comments section.

As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!

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