Our FireEMSBloggers, The Fire Critic and STATTer911 each have shared the video of firefighters arriving at a Butler County house fire. In his post about the action, The Fire Critic asks " Do you think your department might have had a chance at getting to the victims while they were still viable victims?"
Impossible question to answer because the video doesn't give any indication that they were viable victims at the time of dispatch, much less at the time of arrival.
Would we do some things different than what I saw in the video? Sure we would. However it wasn't that long ago that I was in the exact same situation as the Morgantown FD is. Unless you have been in a situation like that where you arrive driver only, no hydrants, and your second due is coming from a ways out you simply can't understand, thus I hope that unlike the Statter blog comments, these remain somewhat respectable with more of a focus on being constructive rather than destructive.
It is very hard to sit here and critical of the actions of those who arrive on scene first,but it looks like they were trying to do everything they could to make the rescue with what they had to work with. I am in two departments the larger is a small city with all volunteer department and the smaller more rural department again all volunteer. both departments have a policy of no less than two on an apparatus for reason just like the situtation above and the safety of the personnel on the apparatus. We are fortunate that alot of the Paramedics in our county also volunteer as fireman in many of departments, they also have the knowledge of being able to run the engine so they are able to operate the pump on the truck as well. the medic on the video would have had the ability to operate the pump would have save time and allowed the firemen to pack out and make entry faster,instead of have to pull hoses put the truck in to pump mode and then grab entry tools and finish dressing out to make entry. Just a little observation on what I saw in the video and what it is like where I am at. As an Officer in the smaller dept. we have train even our rehab non fire fighting personnel to operate the pump on our engines which also helps until mutual aid arrives.
Just to be clear...I was not being critical of the actions of the firefighters on scene (with the exception of not taking a hand tool and moving a little quicker)...
I was merely making a point for all to take the time and think of how this might have unfolded in their department.
In my department we would have rolled up with a hydrant near by. Our 3 man engines and 3 man ladder trucks would have made quick work of this fire and would have definitely made entry in less than 3:30 minutes. We would have had the fire knocked quick...as for the victims, they would have had a better chance...if they were still viable because we should have gotten to them quicker.
That is because I work in an urban department. We have more staffing and get their quicker (typically).
According to the audio from the time the units marked on scene to victim removal was 15 or 16 minutes. Yes in an urban department with full staffing quicker work might have been made of the fire but with out knowing how long the fire was burning prior to 911 being notified there is absolutely no way to say if the victims would be viable. Bringing a set of irons with you to the door might have saved you a minute but again no way to say wether that would make victim viable. Now look at what they did right- second crew was on scene BEFORE entry. Had the first FF made entry by himself or with the second FF with out a second equipped crew on scene then they violate both a nationally accepted standard (NFPA) and OSHA stanards for IDLH atmospheres and could have ended up as causualties themselves or fined by OSHA. Trying to compare a fully staffed urban department versus a rural department with a paid driver or two isn't fair to either department as its an apple and oranges comparision.
Two options. VES or enter with a tool & Pcan.
Both have been done here on multiple occasions when a squad or truck co. has arrived first on
The firemen in this video did there best. Based on there training and exprience.
Nothing more can be asked of them.
"Now look at what they did right- second crew was on scene BEFORE entry. Had the first FF made entry by himself or with the second FF with out a second equipped crew on scene then they violate both a nationally accepted standard (NFPA) and OSHA stanards for IDLH atmospheres and could have ended up as causualties themselves or fined by OSHA. "
Depending on where you are in this country.
I know that here in SC the OSHA folks have instructed us that two in/two out goes out the window in a realistic rescue situation.
It never crossed my mind that you were, and I think this could be a great discussion, but one just has to look at the comments on the Statter blog....typically from the self-appointed fire gods from the Mid-Atlantic who would crap their pants if they had to deal with conditions like these rural brothers and sisters have to deal with on a regular basis.
Cant tell if the first firefighter knows their is a known life hazard as he arrives, but based on the fact that what appears to be neighbors talking to him, he is informed there is. If thats true I think he needs to be a little quicker. We are a in a inherently known dangerous job and where there is a known life hazard we need to go that extra step and maybe go a little further than we normally would and as someone said previously the 2 in / 2 out rule goes out the window and we do what we need to do to save that life.
First - I would have parked in the driveway. Would have put him closer to the incident still leaving room for additional and subsequently shorter distance back and forth to the engine.
Second - use the resources available to you. The is manpower there to use to help you in you initial operation. 2 male neighbors are there along with a woman when he arrives - plus a ambulance crew (granted they didnt look in the best of shape though).
He does use the one neighnor eventually but takes a bit to get that line flaked out.
Third - What the heck was with that initial line being flaked out ? Looks like he just took the nozzle and ran with it to the house. How about grabbing a few folds and telling the neighbor to grab a few folds and pull the line off correctly. That just shows poor training.
Fourthv- the firefighter is ready to advance into the building but the line isnt charged and the 2nd firefighter leaves him at the front door for a bit. Did he leave to go charge the line ?? And he had no tools.
Fifth - maybe the most disturbing part of the whole thing - no one on the entry team has a portable radio ? Do they even have one ? Ok - you found the victim--- now what ?? Who are you going to tell ?? What if you get trapped or in trouble - how are you going to relay that information ??
All in all they did what they had to do but its the little things that you correct that will make things go quicker and easier. I am sorry for the loss of life on the civilians but I am glad there was no loss of life in the firefighters.
Ok, I am not able to view the video where I am at but after reading the posts here I needed to address a few issues.
First is the manpower issue. I am captain of a small rural FD with 30 members, out of those there is something like 8 of us that are interior qualified. We have 2 engines (one engine 1000/1000 and one engine tanker 1250/2000) both with just 2 man cabs, driver and firefighter. We have a rescue truck with 5 packs on the bench, a brush truck and ambulance. During the day we are lucky to get both engines out with only 3 to 4 firefighters, including operators and officers. If we roll to something like this than everyone on scene that can will pack up and make entry for a rescue, forget the line, rescue comes first and if you have a situation like this with minimal manpower and a life risk wasting time to stretch the line is what kills the victims. You have got to get a good quick sizeup, get info from the neighbors and try to pinpoint known location of the vics and go through the window, in-and-out, try a quick grab and scoot. If the conditions inside are that bad, than we need to face the harsh reality that if we cant stay in for longer than a few minutes with gear and air, is there realy a chance to save the vics? Upon arrival the life threat is more important than the house, and the manpower needs to go where the life threat is.
Secondly, equipment issues. Some departments are not financially well enough to purchase turnout gear for their interiors let alone portable radios for everyone. Like my department for example, we recently had 4 new interior members join and only have 3 sets of gear for them. The fourth has to wait and use old, outdated, illegal gear until we can purchase more. We only have portables for our officers, and 2 for the back of the rescue for atleast 2 interior crews, so they have something to use. We are trying to outfit all interior firefighters with portables but it is just not feasible right now. It sucks and I hate it, but its reality. We do what we can with what we have, its all we can do, complaining wont save people, working hard at fundraisers will.
I will have to view the video when I get home and reply to that but for now that is my take on some of the issues floating back and forth.
Stay Safe everyone.