Tactical Fire Problem – A fire in a lumberyard

Although the standard lumber yard might be less common, often being replaced by the large indoor box stores and home improvement stores, they still represent a significant problem.

For this scenario we will assume a wind condition of 10 MPH sustained with some higher gusts.

1.) What protection systems might be available for outdoor rack storage? Have you checked and preplanned the ones in your area?

2.) What will you do for initial fire attack? Large handlines? Ground monitors?

3.) Did the main building start first or is it now an exposure to the volume of radiant heat?

4.) Do you commit apparatus into the secured yard area, or just attack lines?

5.) How high and how stable are the piles? What other materials can be found here besides just lumber?

Stay Safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Training As A Road Map to a place called “prepared”.

If training is the road map and the basis for making things happen in your department where the hell are you headed? You should be headed for a place called “prepared”.

I have been having many discussion with lots of folks and what I am seeing disturbs me. I see that in many departments the training officer might be the junior guy (or gal) who has a lot of zeal and zest but gets put into this position by default.

I see a lot of departments that are “pencil whipping” training programs. That is to say that they have written procedures which require training hours per day or per shift or before riding and they are complying but there is no real meat. I also see “pencil whipping” in the fact that departments today are attempting to train only for the sole purpose of complying with some regulation and conducting a mandatory training will relieve them of some liability or make them comply with some regulation.

In some states there are other benefits to training that become more important than the training itself. In some states firefighters receive EMS re-certification credit for attending fire training. In the last seminar I ran I had a department call me and ask me if there were EMT recert credits being issued. I said no. That department chose not to send anyone to the training. I guess training is only good if it prevents me from having to go to any other training??????

Departments are also becoming too trendy with their training. Please do not mistake me we should be aware of the hazards that surround us and we will certainly be the ones responding on the front line, but should we make this the priority or should we insert it into our training plan or road map as one of our regularly scheduled stops on our trip for knowledge.

We seem to plan our trip for knowledge to our destination a place I will call “prepared” and every other week we keep getting side tracked on this journey.

I believe that sightseeing is good on vacation, and once you arrive at your destination you should take little side journeys, but what I am seeing is all of the sightseeing is going on along the way.

A small department with limited resources should be able to REACT to an incident of terrorism. I m not sure if any fire service agency is going to PREVENT one.

Let us make sure we know what could happen, let us preplan and Targets we have have in our response district and let’s do a whole bunch of what ifs.. but also lets us do post incident reviews of our current responses and make sure we are doing what we do every day correctly.

Our road map should start with making sure we know what we are doing in the first place.

Look at your current responses and decide what categories they fall in.

Look at what things and responses you handle really well.

Look at how well your department’s sops are being followed on routine emergencies. ( I know I know nothing is routine, don’t get hung up on semantics on me now….see you were getting lost again, back to the map now!)

Plan your training to get your members to that place you call prepared and maintain a steady course and a time frame for arrival.

The training officer is the travel agent, and the firefighters are the passengers on a trip booked by the chief.

As the travel agent remember the following:

You won’t please every passenger.

You should be well prepared yourself and keep to a schedule.

The journey should be interesting, exciting and involve all.

As the tour director (training officer) fill your own tank frequently and you won’t run out of gas. (Make sure you keep going to training yourself so you are current)

Decide what is nice to see and what must be seen.

Never every tour group is ready to climb mount Washington!

(Figure that one out yourself!)

Passenger safety is always important.

Don’t keep changing directions it makes the passenger motion sick!

It is OK to change modes of transportation. (Slides, hands on, field trips, PowerPoint, simulation etc.)

Proper preparation prevents time delays and breakdowns.

Training should be the road map that your department follows on it;’s journey to prepared.

There I fueled you about, you are now free to move about the website!

Have a safe trip!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighter Training Podcast – Interview with Deputy Chief Bill Goldfeder, firefighterclosecalls.com

This week we interview Deputy Chief William Goldfeder from firefighterclosecalls.com.

We get into a general discussion about the site, his work, his background and things for the future. At the end of the episode some real quick and simple tips for staying safe in your own department and protecting your members.

Here are some useful links to supplement this episode.


National Fallen Firefighters website http://www.firehero.org/

International Association of Fire Chiefs Volunteer and combination officers section http://www.iafc.org/micrositeVCOSorg/index.cfm

VFIS Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance training http://www.vfis.com/emergency-responder-education-training-consulting.htm

International Association of Firefighters Health and Safety http://www.iaff.org/hs/index.htm


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Large Southwestern U.S. Residential

This week we look at a residence that might be a typical southwestern style.

1.) What are some construction features that might affect fire attack and fire behavior?

2.) Based upon what you see, what size line and how long of a line will you need?

3.) what is the placement of the first line and how many other lines and where?

4.) What problems if any will the roof construction present?

5.) What would be the impact of block and stucco walls on an interior fire attack?

Stay safe and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Reputation Some Fire Service Examples to Ponder

What do we want for our professional reputation? If our reputation is being built each and every day by our actions, what do we want others to think of us?

This question applies to us if we are firefighters, fire officers, fire instructors, people in general as human beings, and the agency we work for. Our personal and professional reputation also breeds the reputations of persons around us and our acceptable culture.

Remember also, your perception of your reputation and what others may think are vastly different.

Let’s start at the department or agency level for a minute and think about some reputations…

XYZ department is extremely professional, they look and act smart, and they are very effective in doing their job.

XYZ department looks professional, has great equipment, but boy those guys couldn’t fight a fire if it was their own station.

XYZ department is small, has limited equipment, low manpower, but boy do they train every week. I am surprised at how good they perform given the tools that they have.

XYZ department, all those guys are just there because it is their second job.

XYZ department are great firefighters, but they do nothing with inspections and code enforcement.

XYZ department…..What a great bunch of guys.

Now the above were just a bunch of views, and you could probably put names on them all, but the point was if you recognized, your department in there ….are you proud to say that is the one you belong to?

As firefighters….

FF. XYZ is a great “Jake” that really knows his job.

FF. xyz really doesn’t give a damn anymore.

FF xyz works his side job while he is on duty.

FF xyz is all smoke and mirrors, he really cannot do the job.

FF xyz would help anybody at any time.

FF xyz is my friend.

FF xyz is a no nonsense level headed person.

Which of those do you want to be known as?

As fire officers….

Lt. xyz forgot where they came from.

Lt. Xyz understands.

Lt. xyz really knows his job and he will never get us hurt.

If you have a technical question, or a personal problem go talk to Lt. xyz you will find help.

Lt. xyz is a sneak and a liar.

Lt. xyz is book smart, studied hard, but cannot do the job.

Lt. xyz hides and shy away from tough problems.

Lt. xyz won’t make a decision.

Which of these officers do you want to be?

It applies to training, life in general and all around. After you read this week’s column, take a few minutes, sit in a chair and think about how you are being viewed, and think about how your agency is viewed by others.

Heck if you have the least amount of intestinal fortitude, ask your boss, officer, or supervisor how they perceive you, and maybe if you are steering wrong, they might have the nerve to tell you honestly and help and guide you.

If they seem too timid too answer or evade you….print this column and leave it for them, maybe it will help!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighter Training Podcast – Hazardous Materials Incidents

This week some considerations for handling a hazardous material incident. We will approach this from the perspective of firefighters responding to an incident rather than a specialized trained hazardous materials team.

We talk about some very basic material such as how to determine which of the hazardous material incident classifications your department is capable of handling, how to identify the product involved by multiple sources (3-5) and the hazardous material zone system. We also direct you to load the WISER software and app for your smartphone or desktop and learn about that as well.

We discuss that the size, scope, and magnitude of the problem may also dictate your department’s capabilities.

Recognize and identify the situation, isolate and deny entry (to civilians as well as firefighters) eliminate all sources of ignition, call for additional resources and develop a mitigation plan.

Please feel free to contact us at pete@petelamb.com by email or by voicemail at 774-987-9414 for information about online hazardous materials training for your department.


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Self Storage Unit

This week a common structure that can be found in many communities. The multi unit self storage facility.

1.) In the photo you see a vehicle in one unit. Are there other vehicles? What is actually behind those doors? Do you know? Start with obtaining the rules of storage from the facility. Then anticipate people break the rules.

2.) Are the outside doors connected at the rear of the unit to a common interior hallway?

3.) Each of these units should be considered a residential garage. This means a two and a half inch line as a minimum.

4.) What is the construction? Will the side walls hold fire to the unit? What is the roof construction, how soon will it fail?

5.) What is the access to the building like? Locked gates to enter, narrow alleys between building, where do you park to investigate?

Go out in your response district and take a look at these facilities.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Training Records

This week I am suggesting you give the troops a week off, and you, the training officer take some time to get your records in order.

I am not sure what system you are using to keep track of your training events but you should have some similar information available if it is computerized or manual you should make sure your records are up to date. The items below are some items you should have as part of your training record system.

* An individual file on each member containing name, address, contact numbers, usually a social security number or employee number, and current emergency contact information.

* A record of each training session attended at your department and off site at any other professional development seminars they attend.

* Copies of certificates for training they attended.

* A record of a number of hours for each training session.

* Somewhere in a master file you should have a lesson plan with objectives for each training session you have done. This does not have to be in each individual file but you should be able to look at an individuals record and then go back to a lesson plan to see exactly what information was covered.

* Records of any written or practical examinations should be kept with each individual’s file. This would include pass and fail both.

Training records are important documents in the case of any injury, or liability questions that might arise within your department. The challenge that ” Nobody ever taught me that” should never be raised in your department.

Also you should caution members to operate only within the boundaries of things they have been trained at. We are very good at this from the EMS side, we do not practice beyond our license level, but on the fire side we take a few more chances.

The days of writing one topic on a line and passing around an attendance roster are OK, but make sure you go far enough and have a documented syllabus or lesson plan to back up that attendance sheet.

The simple rule about these records is simple. If it is not written down and can’t be validated it didn’t happen.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013