The nothing showing debate, or is it a firefighter behavior debate.

Allow me to provide a brief rant if I might. Hey it’s my blog, I will rant if I want to.

I am reading articles recently about whether or not we should eliminate the phrase nothing showing from our brief initial reports. There are arguments that is changes the way our members behave, they might slow down or gear down. I have heard reasons for and against by some well respected folks.

We should not remove this term from our reports. We should add what side of the building we are reporting from. We should also indicate that this is an exterior report. (Nothing showing, side A , exterior) We should record our initial observation, because it will serve as a basis for any changes in reports we receive. It can help us determine spread and growth. It reports to the dispatchers whether they may need additional resources or not. It allows other stations or mutual aid to stand down a bit and know if they are responding.

If our members are gearing down, not preparing for fire, and not driving apparatus in the correct response mode, then the problem is not what we are saying on the radio, the problem is in the right front seat of the apparatus. Line officers have to do their job, and prepare for a fire every time they respond. EVERY TIME!

For the past year the other debate has been transitional attack, close the door, open the door, etc., and there are people that want to make sweeping wide ranging policy changes to achieve results.

I got an idea…..train and educate company officers and hold them accountable for their decisions. Give them the training so they understand their options and expect and encourage them to make good decisions.

As a fire service we should try to avoid these wide, absolute abandonment of things that might still be acceptable under the right circumstances.

Someone told me years ago, circumstances will dictate your procedures. Those circumstances are, the fire or emergency, what crew is on the first due engine or truck, who that officer is, and what equipment is available. Different crews and officers can achieve different results.

Pay attention to firefighter (and officer) behavior if you want different results.

……now stepping of my soapbox…….

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2014