I debated myself on whether I should post this video or not. I don’t like to be critical of fire departments and how they handled a call. I, and many others have made poor decisions on the fire ground over the years and we will likely make unintentional mistakes in the future. After all, we are human.
But, the more I thought about it the more I believe that there is just too much to learn from here. Notice the word learn? This video is being shared as a learning tool and to show how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking it will never happen to me. We have all been there and done that and this video will hopefully provide as a reminder of what we need to consider on the fire ground.
So, I ask you, what is to be learned here? What lessons would you share with your crew and fellow firefighters? Be constructive and not critical. Remember, you never know when the camera will be on you and I know I am not perfect.
Let’s learn something that will keep us safe and make us better and thank the guy who filmed and posted the video for the experience.
We have some different protocols in England so I'll try not to use too much of our jargon. I'll list things that I think were wrong and then move on to things I would like to take away from this as learning points, finishing with any positives.
I think that the guys wasted a LOT of air walking backwards and forwards, fetching gear from the truck etc, all things that could have been done without breathing apparatus.
The door entry techniques were poor and demonstrated a lack of practice at this kind of work.
There were guys inside the building with breathing apparatus and some without, I say if it's needed then everyone needs it.
I didn't quite understand what they wanted to achieve with the ladder up to the partially burned away roof, I would never send any of my guys up a ladder which was resting on a burned out structure.
They didn't appear to evacuate the building despite being oredered to, the incident commander needs his butt kicking for not getting on top of this, the guys inside cannot see the development of the incident that the incident commander is seeing outside and vice versa, if a message comes informing you to get out, then get out, it's been done in your safety and can always be discussed afterwards or teams recomitted if it is deamed safe afterwards.
The fire was well developed and venting through the roof, at this time I saw no need at all for a firefighter to be up on the roof, especially when I look at the timber fram construction and the amount of fire exposure it has received.
As a watch commander I would be questioning my own levels of training and that of my crew, I would review the incident personally and carry out a debrief with the crew asking them to think of a "Stop, Start, Carry On" method. Basically what I mean with this is, if we were attending the same incident again, I'd want each member to tell me something they did that they would "Stop" doing or not do at this type of incident. Then I'd want something that they didn't do and would "Start" doing. Finally I would want to know what they thought went well and was in line with standard operating proceedures which we should "Carry On" doing. I like this kind of de-briefing as I make it an open session, totally blameless and I'm also self critical to show that we are all human and we can all learn from each others mistakes and good practices for the future.
I would be looking at training exercises with SCBA teams in order to show the methods of conserving air and the importance of everyone wearing it in irrespirable atmospheres. I would organise door entry training for the crews, highlighting the dangers involved with door entry, this training is often underestimated and not practiced enough in my opinion.
I would be looking at developing the incident comand system so that there is no discussion about "should we stay even though we've heard the evacuation order"
What I did think was good was nobody was panicking, the crew seemed calm and in control of themselves and the incident (all previous points aside), I would bring this up as a plus on the de-brief although I would remind them that slow and staeady isn't always right and that sometimes you need more urgency.
The driver/pump operator parked a safe distance away from the incident and once again, I would raise this at the debrief. Vehicle positioning can make or break an incident sometimes and a well thought out vehicle position can save lots of hard work later as well as prevent damage to the vehicle.
All in all, I would use this as a good training video, the thing with clips like this is not to bad mouth all the crap or look at mud to sling in the face of individuals that made mistakes or bad decisions. The best thing to do is to use it as a learning tool on where to get better so that you don't end up in a video like this again. Recently I heard a comment that I thing fits the bill really well, "Train Like Your Life Depends On It" and I think this is really relevant. Don't let a mistake just be a mistake that gets covered up, de-brief the mistake so that it can't happen again and don't allocate blame to the mistake, allocate a learning point to it. We're none of us perfect and if you show me a firefighter that knows absolutely everything, I 'll show you a disallusioned firefighter.
The term "ironS" to describe forcible entry tools is plural for a reason. That's first off. There could be many reasons why the flat-head/Denver/TNT/Maul - striking device was seperated from the prying device...and granted they got in. However exiting the apparatus hands-free when arriving at a clearly visual JOB puzzles me...yard-breathing and what???
But hey, as has already been said, who knows what's happening that we can't see or hear that's out of view.
How many of us have told to evacuate just when we think we're starting to "get it" and try to buy a few extra minutes? The lesson is ya can't get the whole picture from your position inside, OR from the lens of a camera.
When you get told to back out, no matter how good a shot ya think ya have, leave! Most likely you are not getting the whole picture!
Good video, i'd be interested to know how much cfbt and door entry techniques other brigades are doing. Makes a lot of difference to a fire. Also what you all think about the roof work that seems to go on especially in the states my boss would kick my arse if i went anywhere near a roof that was already involved. Other than what other people mentioned its never a bad idea in my experience to get water on the fire ASAP, bloke on the hose could of put some up on the roof whilst they were doing door entry. Primary LH/RH searches are always our priority an its generaly a good idea to get them out the way. Great video, helmet cams would be an awesome thing to have
Great points from everyone and deffinately alot friendlier here than some other forums I have read other places... Also Great to hear some views from Brothers overseas! The only thing I am going to say is they should have used that interior time to get the primary search. I dont think this video would have been posted if it command ordered evacuation and they replied "Just 1 more room to search Chief" but the fact was they were using "little" water to put out "BIG" fire.. No win situation. A commercial fire in the attic that involved is going to bring that building to the ground. Bring it down with a search first if conditions warrant (those conditions were marginal). Heres a little tip -- if you wouldnt go on the roof you probably shouldnt be under the roof and if you wouldnt be under the roof you probably shouldnt be on the roof
In addition to the things already mentioned, I picked out a few. This incident seemed to be lacking accountability. We use a 2 tag system, one remains on the truck and the second at the door upon entry. This dept may act differently, but it seems like the FF's got off of the truck and B-lined for the door. Second I saw was free-lancing. The helmet cam FF entered the A side with others, then wandered through and exited on the D side. Luckily the exit door was clearly marked and operational.
I'd ask does this dept. Train? Why didn't the camera guy pull the line to the door instead of walking up to the door then going back? As for the forcible entry..Uh, take off helmet or use one of the handy dandy tools you have in you pocket. Break the glass reach in unlock door. Take in line put out fire.
As for the IC calling the ifor the inside to get out, when working with experienced well trained firemen the IC will listen if the inside crew says hey were getting a nock on it. This wasn't one of those times...everyone from the chief on down needs to train,train,train. And take the camera off.
I'm glad I don't live in there responce area.
On the bright side! No one Died, they live and hopefullu learn and train.