The Firefighter Training Podcast – Evaluating your training with NFPA 1410

This week we discuss using the NFPA 1410 Standard to evaluate a variety of water supply and initial attack line deployment. The discussion will review hydrant systems as well as drafting and portable water sources.

We all believe we are doing it correctly but how do we measure that and test ourselves against the minimum standard.

Even if you do not meet the standard the first time you try it, you should use it as an operational goal.


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Sunday Night live event!

Sunday November 10, 2013 at 8:00 PM Eastern time I will be broadcasting a live discussion of our Firefighting Roundtable discussion.

This week we will be talking about how to start a SWOT analysis on your own organization. (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)

The event will be able to be viewed on YouTube and folks will be able to comment and interact with the panel.

You will also be able to view it on a special page setup at at 8:00 PM.

Come and take a look and join us if you like!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Victorian Wood Frame Fire

This week a look at an old Victorian wood frame fire.

1.) What would you estimate the age of the building is? What effect will that have on your strategy and/ or attack?

2.) Is your department’s first alarm assignment capable of handling this? How would you deploy your resources and any additional personnel needed?

3.) How many attack lines would you use, where and in what order?

4.) Based upon your vantage point of view how long a line will you need to reach the seat of the fire?

5.) List any other considerations you might have about this incident.

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Maintaining Realism in Training

A few months back I received an email from a battalion chief who had just witnessed and participated in a large scale disaster mock exercise. His comments were sent to me a while ago but I chose to list them and work with them here today. His comments as submitted are here and highlighted and then I will make some additional comments after.

TRAINING. Are we training for real? Do we train as if it is the real thing or are we training and trying to cover our asses? I think that there are a lot of good training courses out there but when it comes time to be put to the actual test, we are not doing what we would normally do in the real emergency. I think that the time frame is totally lost during a training exercise. Train like you are going to the real thing and then critique yourselves. I think that you will get more out of that then faking the training and pretending that you are doing it properly. I am not against training at all, I just think that there needs to be more realistic time frames in what we do.

The training session and exercise that he witnessed had elaborate times and procedures which really did not make it realistic. Are your training sessions “real” or do you just go through the motions.

There are some significant issues that must be discussed and considered when doing training simulations. Some and many of those may hinder the operation but are absolutely necessary to provide safety to the incident and members participating.

* Paramount is the first thought that must be given when originally designing the exercise. What is your objective? Is it the purpose of this exercise or simulation to teach a procedure? Is it your intention to test a procedure? Those are really two different objectives and often times we confuse our original objectives.

* We should consider all aspects of responder safety as well as spectator and civilian impact. This would include but not be limited to civilian exposure by having apparatus respond vs. being staged close by.

* If live fire, smoke or simulated smoke is used, make sure there is adequate PPE provided.

* Make sure there is a medical EMS provision for the “actors” or participants should there be a real life emergency on scene.

* Make sure that the scenario is complicated enough to get the issues you want surfaced, but realistic enough to be believable. If your personnel don’t believe this is a real event they will not participate appropriately and then no learning will take place. It will only be an “act”, not a drill.

Think back on all of the “disaster” drill and mock exercises you have participated in. They don’t call them disaster drills for nothing!

Lots of planning should go into the mock simulations whether they are tabletop or full scale field drills. The amount of planning and thought that goes in up front will yield the results that come out the other end.

If anyone has any ideas they would like to share with the group about successful ways to provide realistic training, please feel free to submit them and we will share them here.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

The Firefighter Training Podcast – Fire Officer Problem Solving

This week a look at some information on problem solving and conflict resolution that is not only good in the firehouse but also good in life in general.

The problems and conflict resolution we see in the firehouse are often greater than the challenges we face on the fireground.

One of our greatest commodities is our people but they also bring us some of our greatest challenges in leading an organization and keeping it focused.


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Two Vacant dwellings

This week we have an urban fire problem of two vacant dwellings with some tactical questions.

1.) Consider your department’s first alarm response and within the first thee-four minutes 2 pieces of apparatus and a supervisor show up first. How do you deeply them?

2.) Which house gets checked first and why?

3.) What are the hazards that can be found based upon your view of this scenario?

4.) Have you and your department defined for everyone in your department the difference between, vacant, unoccupied ,and abandoned ? Are your procedures any different for the different definitions.

5.) In an urban department this might be routine. In a small suburban department it might not be so common. Train for it, prepare for it, and remember that you might have to conduct a “protected search”. I am using the term protected search because the rescue profile exists but it is low, and your crews should be protected by a hose line. The life of your firefighters must be protected.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Radio Problems and Communication

For several years the Fire Service has been conducting extensive testing to identify the cause of intermittent transmission quality problems. As many of you know at times transmissions are garbled or have static that makes communications difficult if not impossible.
Until the problems are corrected, personnel need to keep in mind some steps that can be taken to maximize the ability to provide clear communications.

Companies shall “Repeat back” tasks assigned via the radio.
In most cases the person sending the transmission will not know the
transmission quality. The person receiving the transmission needs to inform the sending unit their message is ” Unreadable “. The sender can then attempt transmission again following the steps outlined below.
Move a few steps in any direction and attempt communication again.
Speak in a normal tone of voice.
Hold microphone 5 to 6 inches from your mouth or ESP.
Keep transmission clear, concise and pertinent.
Re-keying the mike and attempting the transmission again may provide a clearer message.
Keep antennas on portable radios, pointed vertical and away from your body.
If transmitting on a speaker mike, try getting your portable out and away from your body if you are unreadable.
Do not handle radios by antenna.
Keep radios as dry as possible.
Keep batteries fully charged.
Be sure you are on the correct operating frequency before going on shift or committed to work.

If an URGENT CALL FOR HELP or other IMMINENT EMERGENCY RADIO TRANSMISSION is not successful on the assigned OPS channel, any member who hears the transmission should relay it to command or dispatch immediately.

Until we can get reliable commnuications in the hands of every firefighter, make sure you do all that you can to reduce the potential human factors.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Online Training Session -Size Up and Safety Thursday November 7, 2013

Sign up and register for a training event on Thursday November 7, 2013! This online training session covers principles of size-up and firefighter safety to make all firefighters, and officers more alert and aware on the fireground.

In addition there will be the ability to interact and live chat with me and have the ability to ask specific questions.

Introductory offer for 2 hour training session of only $ 25.00 per student. Class size is limited for the initial programs.

Eventbrite - Fireground Size-up and Safety Training - Do You See What I see?

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013