Voice, Visual, Touch

This week we will look at Lack of use or failure of accountability.

For review I have listed the five common factors in LODD factors below:

Five major common factors among line of duty deaths are:

Lack of use or participation in Incident Command

Lack of proper risk assessment.

Inadequate communication.

Lack or failure of SOPS

Lack of accountability.

Firefighters must stay within Voice, Visual, or Touch Contact.

This week I was told that radio counts as voice contact. I am a ham radio operator. Last week my “partner” was in Lithuania. I was in voice contact with him. I am not sure I could have helped rescue him, and I am not sure of exactly where he was if I had to rescue him, but I guess we were in voice contact, so I must have met the standard.

I show this absurdity because the actual intent is to maintain crew integrity and be able to help if someone is in trouble. Does radio count….sure it does if you are able to immediately come to the aid of someone in trouble. If you will immediately react when they don’t answer. If you are in a position to help.

If we are in a medium to large sized room and in actual voice contact, and you yell hey Pete are you OK through your SCBA facepiece and I do not respond within one or two calls you are going to react. If I am on the C side of a building and you call me on the radio and I don’t answer, you will try a couple times, curse your radio, check with fire alarm or command, and then maybe walk around the back. I submit it is a little too late.

On a ranch house, this might be fine. A supermarket or warehouse? I think not.

The conditions of voice visual or touch should become more enforced as conditions that you are operating in change.

Alarm investigation, little or no smoke or food on the stove, = voice or visual contact.

Moderate smoke condition, no heat = voice contact visual not available. Not by radio!

Heavy smoke, high heat = Touch contact or able to reach to solve an emergency.

Firefighters must use the system in place in their department.

Officers must enforce and require discipline and mandate participation.

Chiefs must research and provide an adequate system.

On scene duties:

Firefighters must stay as a crew and know where your partners are at all times. You must be in a position that allows to you to immediately assist your partner and correct any life saving issue. Know who you are reporting to.

Officers must know where their crews are operating, that they are in fact intact. Officers must check crew integrity every 15 minutes by some mechanism. Officers should know who they are accountable for and to.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Fire in a bowling alley

This week we are looking at an occupancy that is common to much of small town America.

1.) What do we know about these structures in general? (Think large open spans)

2,) What is the potential occupancy number on certain days of the week and league nights?

3,) Is there a restaurant / kitchen facility on site? What potential problems could arise from that?

4.) What is your plan of attack for the scenario shown?

5.) Have you pre planned similar facilities in your area? Have you reviewed machinery on site to talk about rescues of persons with hands in machines?

Stay Safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Gone Fishin’

This week I am recounting four principles of the workplace that come from a very unlikely source. Can we apply the principles that they made famous to the fire service.

The folks at Pike’s Seafood in Seattle WA. These folks at the local fish market did some remarkable things in their own small fish business that have not only made them famous, but have led them to become speakers for major corporations on how to improve the workplace and morale.

Since morale always seems to be an issue in the fire service I feel that we can apply these basic principles to us! Here goes:

Principle # 1 – Play!

Now I fully understand there is no room for horseplay at an emergency scene, I do believe that people should be able to have safe reasonable fun at work, while maintaining productivity. If your personnel want to come to work and genuinely have fun, then that attitude will show when they contact other firefighters, and members of the public.

Principle # 2 – Make Their Day !

It should be your prupose to attempt to “make the day” of all those you contact. This also includes co-workers, and members of the public. In our profession it is very difficult to make someone’s day after some terrible circumstance such as a fire and or medical emergency. Now, while these are difficult, they should be our goal. In addition, there are many folks we meet in the course of a day, during a routine non-emergency transport, fire inspection, and other contacts where this works just fine. Would’nt it be nice if people looked forward to dealing with you as opposed to dreading having to talk with you.

Principle # 3 – Be There

Really connect and be present when you deal with others. Be an active participant, team player, that everyone knows “is there.” We have all spoken to people who appear that they are merely existing, and we seem to be bothering by our very presence. Be present, enthusiastic, and a valuable member of the team!

Principle # 4 – Choose Your Attitude

I saved the best and most important for last. Each morning before work, choose the attitude that you will present to others for that day. While life’s circumstances effect us all, choosing the attitude you present to others, is solely your responsibility. Attitudes are contagious as well. If all we do is sit around and complain, then those around us will complain, and pretty soon we say, “see everybody feels that way, it’s not just me”. The question is, did it start with you? Wouldn’t you like to be the cause of positive morale and good performance on your job?

Don’t blame anyone else for your attitude.

For four guys in a fish market these four principles really make some sense, huh?

There is a book called FISH that you may want to pick up that further explains this whole concept in much greater detail, and there is a web site also called Fishphilosophy.

Check it out, and then you will know why I am now “gone fishin” for a new way of doing business!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

The Final Exam (Repost from previous)

The class was over, and though it was tough,
They continued to teach us as it were never enough.

Some had said the final was not the last,
They spoke as if they knew this from their very own past.

They spoke of a jake, who thought he was done,
When training was over he could begin to have some fun.

It was late at night, some five years from then,
The jake was startled from sleep, by a still for engine 10.

It’s always been false, and I’ll be right back
He put on most gear, but not an airpack.

As 10 rounded the corner, the Lou said fire showin’, fill out the box,
The jake was not ready, he had no tools for the locks.

The people were screaming, screams he won’t forget,
It’s that he was not ready, is what he regrets.

The people were lost, in this tragic fire
He was burned pretty badly, and had to retire.

He doesn’t sleep well, his nightmares are great
He hope new recruits will listen before it’s too late.

Never stop learning, try to do more,
You don’t know what will greet you when you leave the bay door.

The learning doesn’t end, until you retire
Make sure you are ready for your next fire.

Your training was tough, and pushed you , your instructors were fair
After years on your job, you might wish you were back there.

Stay safe, stay healthy, look out for one other
It wasn’t your last exam, I’m sure there will be another,

Be prepared, stay sharp, for you, your family and your sisters & brothers.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013