All posts by plamb

Tactical Fire Problem – The Corner Grocery Store

This week we take a look at a fire in a small corner grocery store, with apartments above.

1.) Based upon what you see here, where is the fire located within the building? Why?

2.) What are the aisle configuration and stock configuration in the small stores? How will that affect firefighter mobility and advancing of hose lines.

3.) Is it likely that there is an interior stairway to the apartments?

4.) How many apartments would be in an upstairs layout like this?

5.) If there is a door and stairway on the “Charlie” side where will it take you? At the top of the stairs if you open the door where will you be?

Send responses if you want feedback, and stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Expand your circle…….

As I travel around and look at the current and real issues of the fire service, one issue that keeps becoming apparent to me is that members of the fire service stay very close to their own environment. That is to say if we are in a fire department we don’t look outside our own department. If we are in a fire district we don’t look outside our own district boundaries even within the same town in some cases. If we are a training organization we don’t look beyond the way “we” do it here.

My message this week is pretty simple. Look outside your own organization for a variety of ideas. These ideas might include training, equipment, procedures, or even working conditions.

I don’t say you should necessarily embrace every idea you encounter, because maybe some of them have some very good reasons why they can’t work or won’t work, or are too cost prohibitive for your department.

How do we do this you ask? Well that involves a little bit of personal effort. Go to training sessions outside of your department. Attend seminars and training sessions. Read trade journals and periodicals. Go on the web and look at what other organizations are doing and get a greater more global perspective of your job. Read textbooks on your profession.

Oh, I can hear it now……Well my department won’t pay me overtime, or pay me to go. I am not subscribing to a magazine with my own money…. They should always train me while I am on duty.

You know what…..I hear those excuses all the time. That is just what they are; Excuses.
Your level of personal commitment to this job and profession are determined by you and nobody else. You want the city town and community to do everything and you do not want to accept any responsibility for your own destiny.

I can get 100 people to give me excuses….I just want a few that want to do the job. to the best of their abilities and for the right reasons.

Try your best to be that person.

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2013
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem – Industrial, Manufacturing

How familiar are you with the buildings and processes in your response area.

1.) Pre emergency planning is vital in dealing with industrial and manufacturing situations.

2.) This scenario is prepared so that the image can be a vapor cloud or a smoke condition. While discussing it review each choice. How would heat conditions from a fire make this situation worse than just a vapor release?

3.) What does this valve do??? Not only should you have pre-plans of the building but in some cases it would be extremely helpful to have diagrams and schematics of individual machines, piping and valves.

4.) What level of response would be required for this emergency? If this incident requires mutual aid or specialty teams like Haz mat, when was the last time you had a drill with them? What about I there was a victim down in the foreground and a rescue was involved?

5.) Have you practiced unified command training with private sector folks, mutual aid and state and or even federal agency response? Unified command can be a separate training all in of itself.

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2013
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

What is your excuse?

I was having a conversation this week, with a friend of mine who is a retired captain and well respected fire officer and instructor. In the course of this conversation while we were telling funny stories, he was recounting the story of a great firefighter he knew who was moving away. During the process of telling the story he was speaking about how they would operate above the fire and sometimes they would even split up. He then continued and followed it up by saying, “I know now, and I knew then, this was wrong, but we didn’t have that much manpower…” or at least that was our excuse. The fire service always has an excuse.

After he said that, I paused to reflect for a minute and I realized that he was right. Listen to others around you in the fire house. Listen to fire Chiefs. Go to national conferences….we always have an excuse.

I also paused to reflect upon the times that I have used excuses for less than stellar fireground performances of mine.

Lets look at some of the fire service excuses for a variety of things.

That’s the way we’ve always done it.

We just don’t have the fires anymore.

It’s this damn bunker gear it makes us penetrate too far.

We don’t have the manpower, we are a small department.

It’s politics.

These new recruits are different today.

It’s all these safety rules and regulations.

…..and many many more…..

There are as many excuses as there are problems and people that bring them up, but it takes a strong willed person to avoid the easy way out and make an excuse, but to stand up and try to do the right thing, and accept responsibility.

Another fire officer I know often says the following…..” I can get anyone of the people out there to give me a reason why or make excuses, all I want and need is just one person to do the job”

Think about it, before you make an excuse next time.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Strip Mall

This week a fire in a strip mall.


1.) What construction features can be found in most of these buildings?
2.) What are the common forcible gentry challenges in the rear of these buildings?
3.) Are you anticipating an interior ceiling or not?
4.) Explain your use of thermal imaging at this fire?
5.) Discuss the number, size, and placement of lines at this fire?
Say Safe and stay thinking!
Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013