Ricky is currently the Operations Chief for the City of Clearwater, Florida. He previously served 20 years with the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue in Fairfax, VA., A past Chief of the Department and current member of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department where he has served that county for the past 27 years. He currently is also the President of Traditions Training L.L.C. a training group that has served to help educate the fire service since 2003.
Monday, February 14, 2011
When 250 Equals 250
Recently, Traditions Training was invited to teach a program for a fire department in a “not so urban” area of the country. Being that most of our instructors come from busy urban or suburban fire companies, 250 calls a month or more for a particular station or individual unit is not uncommon. With that amount of activity comes more chances to refine and polish our craft. It also allows for more chances to utilize the “tricks of the trade” that were passed on by our senior men and our company officers. Often, in these busy companies, you find highly motivated firefighters… always looking to find the next tool or technique that will let them do the job in a more efficient manner. Or for you type “A” personalities, how they can do it better and faster than the next company.
Well, this particular fire company that we were working with runs 250 calls for the whole year.
After the first day of teaching I went out to the apparatus floor to look at the rigs. I was taken back by the way their rigs were set up and the equipment that they were carrying. Not to mention that the rigs were clean, well cared for and the attack and supply lines were flawlessly racked. Not flawlessly parade racked but “Combat Ready” racked. Looking inside the rigs, the tools and equipment were laid out in such a way that each person’s assignment was well defined and the tools were right there for quick deployment. The hand tools were wrapped, clean and ready for action. Each seated position had an assignment, pre-established tasks to be completed and a tool requirement. Each engine had a “rack” or “bundle load” of attack line ready to extend a pre-existing hose line or for the use of a three inch line to feed into it. All the companies nozzles were break-away type, thus lowering the in service time of an attack line extension. They were not using the “rack” or “bundle load” that was common for some urban and suburban companies but a “rack” that worked for their area!
This showed us that they had actually tested the concept and realized it didn’t work for their area and modified it for their community. They were not just copying a “big city” tool or technique and placing it in service because “the XYZ Engine Company that ran 250 calls last month has one,” but evaluated the needs of their response area and made the tool or technique work for them. This list of “area customized” observations could go on for a couple paragraphs.
In reality, it does not matter if your engine company in the “city” runs 250 calls a month or if the engine in your “rural community” runs 250 calls for the whole year. What matters is how you prepare yourself and your apparatus to answer youremergencies and the level of commitment, pride, training and dedication you have for your profession. You should never stand still and say “this has always worked this way” and “we should stop looking for the next technique or trend”. Seek to find those opportunities, learn about them and train with them. If you can make it work for your department, excellent… incorporate the change, lay out your expectations for your company, and train your members until those changes become second nature. Your community and fire service members will not be disappointed by your effort and dedication.
It was a great weekend teaching and learning with this group of motivated firefighters and their surrounding departments.