All posts by plamb

Tactical Fire Problem – Small Vacant Structure

This should be a real simple bread and butter fire. Our brothers and sisters in Detroit might do several of these in a night.

1.) What size line(s) and where?

2.) How much help will your departments first alarm assignment need?

3.) What is your first priority here?

4.) What other hazards should you be considering?

5.) Have you checked and monitored the conditions and deterioration of the vacant s in your response district?

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Hoisting Equipment

This week’s drill idea is very simple and requires some innovations on the part of the training officer.

Get an acquired structure or use your firehouse if there are upper floors or the roof is safe to operate on.

The objective of this drill is really simple, it is to test ropes and knots knowledge coupled with the creativity of the firefighters available.

The instructors and a safety person should be on the roof area and then ask the assembled crews of two or three persons to retrieve and hoist whatever equipment is called for.

* Crews will have to report to the base of the area to get instructions on what items will be needed.

* Crews should be told to report as if they were being deployed at a commercial structural fire, that way they should have some tools and equipment with them.

* Items will have to retrieved in a timely and safe fashion from the apparatus, so equipment knowledge is also checked.

* After crews have performed a task, have them climb a ladder and be the hoisting crew as well.

* Items to be hoisted should include: Smoke ejector, roof ladder, charged hoseline, uncharged hoseline, folding ladder, step ladder, roof ladder, CO 2 or dry chemical extinguisher, power saw, stokes basket (can then be lowered with mannequin or hose dummy- Not a live victim), handlights and cords, small hand tools also such as axes, halligans, and hooks.

* All items should include a tag line so they are under full control at all times.

* Hoselines can be passed from story to story using pike poles and multi-hooks. This techniques should also be practiced.

* Evolution should be practiced with appropriate gear on.

* Utility ropes and not lifelines should be used.

* Items lifted should be appropriate for the size rope used.

Members will develop ways to use webbing and carabiners as an advantage. After completing basic evolution, small competitive timed evolution can take place.

There is a caution here that while encouraging creativity, care should be taken to insure proper knots and rope handling techniques are used.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Building Under Construction

This week a fire at a construction site.


1.) What size line(s) will be needed for this scenario?
2.) What is the primary hazard to firefighters here?
3.) What thoughts should you have for electrical hazards on a job site like this?
4.) What other job site materials could be stored on site that might present a hazard to your personnel?
5.) During routine responses and district inspections do you stop by construction sites to see what is going on? Maybe you should!
Stay safe and stay thinking!
Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Guidance vs. micromanaging

I spend an awful lot of my time doing consulting and teaching in some leadership classes and I have found something that I wanted to share today.

Now those folks who are local and know me, know that I went through the ranks way too fast and was an officer way before I should have been. They also know that not unlike others, I was convinced that I knew everything!

Thank God, that with some age there does come some wisdom!

In many leadership classes I am teaching I m hearing young officers and firefighters speak about being allowed to make decisions and not being “micro-managed”. Now on this subject I speak with some authority because I am micromanaged in many facets of my life on a regular basis, so while not an expert, I do have some history!

I think that all people generally resist being coached and guided. We all believe that we are comfortable with our job and our ability to handle any given situation, but in reality I think we all need some guidance from time to time, and the benefit of having someone share a previous bad experience.

With that being said, then maybe as leaders we should look at the way we attempt to guide those that we are mentoring to be better officers. If the decision they are attempting to make is not life safety or life changing for them or the other parties involved, allow them to make a simple mistake. They will learn! Then don’t run around and say I told you so, but be there to offer possible “options” on how that can be handled “differently” in the future. That is one technique. There are many others.

The other thing I never learned as a young rowdy officer was that I did not even have enough life experience to make some of these personnel decisions. I just simply had not been exposed at that time. I now look at some of these folks who have come into the fire service who maybe have been to paramedic school, been taught about being the sole person responsible for life and death, being taught to operate independently under a protocol, and then jammed into a fire service filled with tradition of team, partner, paramilitary and discipline and procedure, and wonder why we have some bumps grinds and failures. Some of young folks feel they are capable of any decision, but have not been exposed yet.

When we teach in these classes about how to make decisions, we need to teach and focus much more attention on the consequences of decisions. By doing this we truly are offering guidance rather than being micro managers.

We should really strive to be more like mentors, and examples so that people will emulate us, rather than to tell everyone how much better we can do their job instead of them. The old saying is true…People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care. If you care for your people you will guide them. If you want to show them how much of a genius you think you are you will micro-manage every detail.
See I will give you latitude, you decide which way you want to go.

I truly believe new and young officers can benefit from guidance, and we should be patient with their resistance to our suggestion, but we must continue to guide them rather than to over supervise.

Recent negative experiences in my life have caused me to pause and reflect and be sure that I am a source of guidance, and valued resource, and a place to turn for those that work with me. This whole experience of inner reflection has been good for me.

Try it for yourself,……I promise I won’t tell you how to do it !

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013