Category Archives: Uncategorized

Online Officer Webinar – May 4 2017

On Thursday May 4th, 2017 there will be an online Officer discussion held by Pete Lamb and Retired Battalion Chief John Cagno on officer development. THIS IS A FREE WEBINAR  limited to 20 people. Join us and bring your own officer problem to discuss if you want.

What: Officer webinar roundtable discussion

When: Thursday May 4, 2017 – 1900 hours Eastern Time

Where: Register by sending an email to pete@petelamb.com with OFFICER WEBINAR in the subject line. You will be sent an invitation approximately 15 minutes before the webinar on the 4th.

You should have a webcam and a microphone to participate. We will be using a product called Zoom. You can get pre set up by going to Zoom.us and getting the applet that allows access to your webcam and microphone. It is a safe product to download for this use and there is no cost to you.

Tactical Fire Problem – Flour Mill

This week The Tactical Fire Problem looks at a fire in a flour processing facility.

1.) How many stories up is the fire and how much line will you need?

2.) What is the significance of a fire in this type of facility?

3.) What are the circumstances that might accelerate or cause the consequence you answered in question 2?

4.) What should be the tactical considerations for this incident?

5.) It is very possible that this incident is in a rural area. Based upon size and height, how will you fulfill these requirements?

Tactical Fire Problem – You Are Off Duty…

This week the Tactical Fire Problem involves a situation where you are off duty, in an out of district area at a nightclub.  Review the story f the Beverly Hills Supper Club for an incident just like this where a career firefighter (off duty) almost did not make it out.

1.) How well prepared are you when you are “off duty”? Are you aware of your surroundings?

2.) How would you react if you had been drinking?

3.) Would your actions be different if you had a significant other with you or another loved one?

4.) Is it possible to overestimate your training and the reaction of a mob/crowd?

5.) What are you going to do?  Give your first three actions.

Let’s Put Discipline Back into the Fire Service

This is a post that accompanies this week’s podcast. It was published in Firehouse Magazine back in 2004-2005. It was relevant then, and I believe even more relevant now.

Let’s Put Discipline back into the fire service.

I am sure we have all heard it around the kitchen table or at meeting night in our own fire stations…the great malady of all times in the fire service…..”These new guys just aren’t the same”, “back in our day…” It really doesn’t matter if you are a large department or a small rural volunteer company, the facts are the folks that are joining our organizations clearly are different and have some different values then those from days gone by. I also believe that we as fire officers, leaders and fire instructors have a missing ingredient that we are failing to provide. That ingredient is discipline. Discipline takes on many forms and most of those always seem to have a negative connotation. It is my belief that discipline can be the most valuable corrective and educational tool that we have in the fire service.

Discipline Defined

One of the definitions of discipline is the systematic training or subjection to authority especially the training of the mental, moral, and physical powers by instruction and exercise. (Funk & Wagnall’s) Wow, that doesn’t sound bad at all does it? These are exactly the principles that we should foster in the fire service and our own departments.

The other aspect that we should look at is the various levels of discipline starting with our own personal discipline, shift or group level discipline, and departmental discipline.

Personal Discipline

Do we have the personal discipline to do what we are supposed to do, even when nobody is looking? Do we always wear our seatbelts, or never remove our air mask too early. Do we have personal pride in our own demeanor, uniform and skill levels? Some of these issues have a direct relationship to whether or not we follow orders, stay as a crew, don’t free lance, and many other issues in the fire house and on the fire scene.

Shift or group level discipline

This relates to your shift or group on the career side or maybe your station or company on the call and volunteer side, but the results are the same. How do you compare with the other groups in your department? Is your group known as the “A” team or as “F” troop? If you are the company officer it is your responsibility to make sure your group is “…systematically training of the mental, moral, and physical powers by instruction and exercise” Nobody but you can make this happen. Don’t be looking over your shoulder for anyone else because this relates to your personal discipline as an officer.

The DISCIPLINE Acronym

Since the fire service loves acronyms, I have created an acronym using the word discipline, which relates to something that we can all bring to the fire service. I have approached the acronym as something we all need and we can apply it from the officer point of view as well as the firefighter point of view. Take it and apply it as you see fit.

D – Determination. If you are a company officer, you will need determination and stamina. Enforcing rules and regulation is not easy and having to re-visit some issues, time and time again can wear you down. As a firefighter, determination is what prevents you from becoming lax or nonchalant. You always buckle up, wear all of your PPE and follow SOPs. This too, can be very challenging and it takes determination to continue to do this all the time.

I – Integrity If you are a company officer all you have is your integrity. Your personnel should be able to trust you and what you say. It is really that simple. There are too many people that take their personal integrity much too lightly. If you are a firefighter your company officer must know that your personal integrity will allow him /her to trust you and your actions and abilities. For both officers and firefighters integrity means being truthful and forthright and it also includes honestly looking at your abilities as well.

S – Sincerity People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. I saw this quote many years ago and I am unsure of it’s origin but the sentiment is very true. Fire officers must truly care about their members and members must care about each other and truly wish to become part of the team.

C – Competence This is easily said and not always done. Passing the test does not make you competent; your performance under stress in the field demonstrates it much better. As an officer do you have technical ability and demonstrate a command presence? As a firefighter do you keep your skills sharp and maintain yourself current so that your shift officer is never embarrassed by your lack of knowledge, skills or abilities?

I – Initiative – Do you have to wait for written orders or directive number 17 to come down from headquarters or are you a self motivated starter who will get things done without supervision. Officers enjoy having firefighters on their group or engine company that show initiative and self motivation.

P – Pride  Pride is nothing more than caring about the things that you do regardless if anyone is looking or not. It is about you, your appearance, and your actions. It also applies to our off duty behavior whether we like that or not or whether we choose to believe it or not. Our personal pride as an officer or as a firefighter means an awful lot. It reflects in our behavior as others see us.

L – Loyalty As an officer one should always show a more pronounced sense of loyalty to the department and administration as you move up the ladder and chain of command. You should also show a sincere sense of loyalty to those who serve with you as subordinates and make you look good every day. That loyalty can be a tough one to balance between those who serve with you and those to whom you serve. There is a distinct difference between loyalty and blind allegiance. Loyalty involves a conscience feeling of wanting to achieve the goals of leadership, and blind allegiance means following folks even when we know they might be wrong. It is well beyond the scope of this article to venture down this path.

I – Instructing One of the primary jobs and tasks of an officer or a senior firefighter is to help mentor and train and instruct others along the way. There is nothing greater that will help improve the fire service more than the sharing of knowledge, skills and experience between folks that have the skills and those new students who are trying to learn them.

N – Nimble Officers and firefighters in the fire service really suffer when it comes to this. We must be nimble and ready willing and able to make changes much faster then we do. The factors that affect our ability to be nimble are the size of our department, and the number and length of long standing traditions and / or practices. The fire officer and firefighter has to be operationally nimble, but also mentally ready to be nimble to adjust their personal and professional course and things change around us. You know, change ….like for instance the new recruits that are coming to us now, let’s say.

E – Enthusiasm There is no way to easily hide your personal enthusiasm for the job, or for that matter your lack of enthusiasm either. Fire officers and firefighters who show enthusiasm and passion for the job will find that it is truly contagious and it positively benefits an organization, shift, or department. Enthusiasm cannot be faked nor forced upon anyone and it should be the job of officers and or firefighters to help foster and spread enthusiasm.

So to me the answer is clear, whether or not you choose the dictionary definition of systematic training or subjection to authority especially the training of the mental, moral, and physical powers by instruction and exercise, or if you choose to implement my DISCIPLINE acronym, the fire service might be a better place for your action. The fact that we now have explored that discipline in whatever form applies to us personally, as an engine or ladder company officer or member, as a group, shift or platoon member and even right to the top as a an entire department, means that you the reader can do something about it without anybody else’s help. You don’t need the chief, the captain, mayor or city manager, we can all apply a little more discipline to the fire service and maybe there will be something else new to talk about at the kitchen table next week! Let’s stop admiring the problem of these new recruits not being the same, and do something about it.

Stay safe and take care of one another!

Here is this week’s podcast where I speak about this very topic and more!

This week on the Firefighter Training Podcast I discuss our use of the term paramilitary organization , respect for our veterans, and a discussion about discipline.

Whaaaaaat?? There are 2 Chief Peter Lambs??? Say it isn’t so!

Yes it is true….sad but true. I am making this post because as of late there has been some confusion on social media about the TWO Chief Peter Lambs. I am doing this post so if either of us has confusion in the future we might be able to point or link back to here to this post to give folks a point of reference.

The confusion is also magnified because “the other” Pete started in Connecticut and then moved up to New Hampshire and Maine. I have worked in Rhode Island and Massachusetts so we are both from New England.

I started at a small fire district (Harris) in Coventry RI, went to Tiverton RI as Chief, Massachusetts Fire Academy in various roles including Director, and Chief in North Attleboro Massachusetts.

I have a presence on Twitter as @petelamb and I am also on Google +

As of this writing in December 2014 I DO NOT have a Facebook presence, but I think the other Pete does, so that is a clue right away. If it is on Facebook it probably is not me. (That could change in the future.)

I also use these two images in much of my work.

nafdscn            maltesetrans

 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask, and if I get sent correspondence for the other Pete, I will forward it along.

A Guest Post By Dr. Burton Clark – A Present For Santa

This is a guest post and content is that of the author, Dr. Clark

A present for Santa – Burton A. Clark

What can the fire service give as a Christmas present to for the man that has everything and gives everything to all of use.  If you are the Oak Ridge Fire Department in Tennessee you give him a SEATBELT.

Such a humble present does not seem like a valuable present at first glance, but it is a symbol of love, caring, and hope that are the foundation of Christmas; like Santa himself.

Thanks to the firefighters at the Oak Ridge Fire Department the firefighting elves at the North Pole are retro fitting Slay 1 right now so the Chief will be in compliance with NFPA red slay safety standard for the  December 24 annual worldwide response.

In the mean time Ops Chief Mrs. Claus requires all fire departments to insure Santa is seated and belted if he is riding out with your FD.

On a personal note, even though I am retired; I leaned an important lesson all over again: If you see something say something! It may just keep someone important to you safe.

I am grateful to the Oak Ridge FD for letting this old firefighter stick his nose in their business.  That is what more of us needed to do if we what Everyone to Go Home.

The Oak Ridge FD Santa Story

By Josh Waldo, Deputy Chief Oak Ridge FD TN

The Oak Ridge Fire Department has been participating in the city’s Christmas parade for over 60 years, so as the 2014 parade drew near the ORFD made preparations for this year’s parade.  With 60 years of parade practice to draw from, the ORFD has a handle on how to prepare for a parade.  Shine the trucks, have Christmas music for the PA system, and have a spot for Santa to sit on top of the fire truck.  This can all be handled the day of the parade with little effort and is something that we don’t really have to put a lot of time, thought, or effort into……..that was until this year. 

The morning of the parade, I was standing in line at the local shopping mall waiting for my son to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, when I got a voicemail from Dr. Burt Clark.  I have had the privilege to meet Dr. Clark on several occasions and he and his wife Carolyn have even done some training for my department in the past.  Before listening to the voicemail I thought to myself, “Wow Dr. Clark is calling me on a Saturday unsolicited, this is awesome”.  So as I start listening to the voicemail and Dr. Clark starts off by offering Christmas greetings and pleasantries but then moves on to talk  about a picture on social media from our 2013 Christmas parade.  The picture was of Santa and some elves on top of the fire truck and none of them are wearing seatbelts.  Having worked with our department in the past Dr. Clark felt that he had to call and point out the fact that we weren’t practicing what we preached. 

The ORFD has a seatbelt policy that requires members to wear a seatbelt anytime they are in a fire department or any city vehicle, so why was Santa and his elves excluded from this policy.  Simply put, we never had thought about the risk we were taking by putting Santa and the elves on the truck because after all it is just a parade right………. wrong.  There are no excuses when it comes to safety tolerance and if we were going to require firefighters to wear seatbelts on the truck, then we should also require Santa and the elves to do the same.  After listening to Dr. Clark’s voicemail I forwarded it on to our Fire Chief Darryl Kerley and simply ask “now what are we going to do”?  Do we simply act like we didn’t get the voicemail in time and carry on as usual, that would be the easy thing to do.  Do we take Santa off the fire truck and just let him walk behind the engine in the parade, anyone who understands the politics of being fire chief knows this wasn’t an option.  Could we make up excuses about why it was just too difficult and say we did the best we could and move on.  All of these were viable options and honestly easy options but Chief Kerley instead decided to take action. 

Chief Kerley called the on duty crews and instructed them to secure the platform that Santa’s chair sat on to the hose bed with nuts and bolts and to secure his chair to the platform in the same manner.  He told them once that was done to add a seat belt to Santa’s chair so that he would be belted into the seat anytime he was on the apparatus.  Most people would expect the firefighters to roll their eyes at this added safety request and look at it as overkill but that was not the case.  The firefighters in the ORFD are accustomed to wearing their seatbelts when they ride the apparatus so requiring Santa to do the same only made sense.  The ORFD has a safety culture that is accustomed to doing things the right way which made the fact that he had overlooked this huge safety risk with Santa even more frustrating. The logical question was why hadn’t we addressed this before?  Simply put we were blind to the danger and it took a phone call from someone nearly 9 hours away to point it out to us. 

The 2014 Christmas parade went off without a hitch.  Santa’s elves rode in the cab of the apparatus and were all belted in place and Santa sat belted in his chair while he waved to everyone who lined the streets to see him.  Most people in the crowd that night probably never noticed the difference between this year and years past.  Had an elf or Santa fallen off the top of the fire truck during the parade not only would our citizens noticed, we would be national news for all the wrong reasons.  We had been repeatedly making the same mistake over and over for many years and had accepted our practice as acceptable due to a normalization of deviance.  Had Dr. Clark not decided to pick up the phone and reach out and say what you are doing is wrong we may have never corrected that deviation.  We as the fire service routinely see things that we know are wrong but yet we fail to act.  We will never know if that failure to act every resulted in a negative outcome or if people and organizations continue to get lucky and get by without an accident happening.  However when we do decide to act and speak up when something is wrong we normally get to see immediate results.  I would much rather know that I prevented something from happening as opposed to never knowing how things turned out.  So with that, thank you Dr. Clark for having the courage to make that call as it would have been much easier to have just ignored it and moved on, hoping to not see us on the national news.  A simple phone call with a tough message not only reinforced the safety culture within our organization but it probably prevented a future accident.    Safety is a 365, 24/7 commitment regardless if we are running code 3 to a fire or simply driving Santa through the Christmas parade.  If we are going to hold our firefighters accountability and set a good example for our community we have to practice that belief all the time, even in a parade. 

Merry Christmas to All

and to

All A Good Night

HO- HO-HO

S.C.

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