Hey, Chief, get out of the way. I applaud the effort and the fact that you want to go get it, but we need you back away so you can keep a watchful eye over your guys.

Every chief has had the urge to get a little smokey every now and then, but we need to know our responsibility.

First of all, this chief is also close to the IDLH, breathing that smoke is not good for you. Although the fire is vented out the roof, we could still see a flash fire out the front door where the chief is standing.

Second, we need him commanding or doing the function he was assigned. Nothing wrong with an aggressive chief, but remember your safety and tasks.

We all have been here, nobody is exempt. Remember, you set the example, so try to stay out of these situations. Again, this is just a picture and this guy may have only been there for 10 seconds, but that might be all it takes.

Stay safe and be careful out there. No offense chiefs, I have to include you in these posts too.


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Well from a Chief that responds on all calls and likes to get dirty I appreciate your reminder. The picture depicts a white hat in a predicament that normally shouldn't be. Yes, our jobs to be in a position to keep an eye on everything or at least my Officer in charge of the scene if not me. Many times however, I may done the SCBA with my crew and enter the building to attack the fire. Of course the real issue is being properly protected and outfitted with PPE for the situation and event. That goes for us all. I insist that my people do just that and have no problem with any of my people keeping an eye out for the Chief as well.
On mutual aid calls where command structures are already established it is not uncommon for our white hats to play grunt for a while if manpower requirements dictate so. Sometimes we also end up with more chief officers than there are IC roles needed, but as is eluded to by the original post, people often raise an eyebrow and ask if they should be doing some kind of command task rather than actual physical work. The use of vests showing what your command role is (eg; Incident Commander, Operations, Safety etc) helps greatly too.

While common sense tells you that an IDLH atmosphere dictates the use of a SCBA... duh... check out the wind direction with the close up above coupled with the fire self venting through the roof. It appears as if the wind is at the chief's back, and that he is not actually standing inside the structure or in heavy smoke.

What the picture does show is the chief talking to one of his firefighters, presumably discussing interior operations and tactics... Sure, using a radio is a lot safer but nothing beats a face to face, even if it's at the front door. There is nothing worse than a chief officer micromanaging his company officers over the radio.

This is a judgment call made by the chief officer, who made a calculated risk walking to the front door to talk with a firefighter wearing a SCBA which was something that he probably would have done if he had intended to make entrance into the structure. Upon closer inspection of the photograph, it appears that the chief is several feet from the actual front door opening.

What's hard to say by only seeing (1) one photograph is whether this was a flagrant safety violation or a photo of a guy doing his job. I don't think you can make any assumptions why this chief was standing so close to the structure. For me personally, you don't make the rank of a chief officer if you are an idiot... I'd back the chief until told otherwise here. I don't think he is in the way of anyone and in fact, is doing his job as a commander, communicating with his men... Or at least that's my perspective... :D

I will give that to you CBz, it is an one angle shot, but regardless of if he was in a command position, operations, accountability or the rehab chief they shouldn't be that close to the IDLH.

Light smoke contains HCN as well... and we have had the I feel like crap for days post fire discussion, or the smell post multiple showers... cumulative exposures and some of these chemicals need just a few breaths to damage us. By the looks of his gear though he is a hands on chief that needs an airpack.

Now if the driver or the EMS crew wandered over there, the staff would be saying get the hell out of the smoke. Chiefs, line officers all need to set the example for a safe fireground.
The picture is a 1/60th to 1/1000th of a second snapshot in time frozen for our viewing pleasure.

Lenses can make also make an image appear "different " than what it is in reality.
Years ago we had a 2 alarmer at a piant shop. I first in on the nozzle but had to wait for the door to be taken. Somehow the chief from a nieghboring company was standing on a car pointing like Patton aginst the Germans. I'm thinking, first how the hell did he get in before me and second what as asshole.

As stated before we would have white hats ride the rear and LT's and Captain in the seat so they could get experience
The guys standing right in front of the building here look ok, there's even less smoke than in the picture, but look what can (and obviously does) happens....

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