I was at a house fire this week and I noticed several things that look like an accident waiting to happen ! Several firefighters from the county we were assisting had put the tools they were using to tear out the walls, down after they were done with them, with the claws turned up! I did say anything then,I just went over and turned them over so the claws were turned down so nobody would get hurt if they accidently tripped or fell on them,but when I got back to station and said something about what I noticed ,I was told I should not say anything about it at the meeting at the station! I should just watch what I am doing at a fire scene and dont worry about what anyone else is doing! Well, I was under the impression we watch each others back so we all go home safe from a scene! Pointing out ones mistakes only helps us all learn from it and keeps us all safe,as I see it!Please let me know if Im wrong at the way I am looking at this! I now am wondering if I have anyone watching my back at a fire!

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Sister Gayle
At my department, at the next meeting after we had any incidents we discuss that said incident to see if there was anything that was done right or anything we should do the next time . Also in the 35 years I've been with the department it's a rule that you do not lay any tool you have used on the ground, put it back in it proper place or put it on the tailboard of the engine. This way it does not get misplaced or step on and broken or some member gets injuried.. How this gives you some insight ....
the way i see it you are doing the right thing by trying to make the scene as safe as possible. every one on my dept. is to watch each others backs for any safety problem or as my chief said when on a fire scene it is every ones job to be a safety officer if they see anyone doing anything unsafe including the chief. if you were on my dept. you would be doing the right thing
i hope this helps with your dilemma
You are exactly right. If no one ever mentions safety issues, they will never be addressed, until it's too late.
It isn't always practical to return the tools to the apparatus, particularly when the structure is very large or access to one side is restricted. If you have a selection of tools and need to use one, the rest must be laid somewhere.

It isn't a big problem to put a halligan on the ground with the pick and duckbill pointed down.

You can even drive the pick of the halligan into the dirt to sheathe it. The dirt easily washes off.
i agree with the below comments everyone has to watch each others backs on the scene.....ALWAYS be safe on scene....as with our dept. every call is assessed the next possible time suppose if it's the minute we get back to the station from a call or at the next meeting....safety is the number 1 concern at every dept. NO exceptions....failure to follow safety procedures can lead to one of two things:

injuries/ death or termination from the service....it's a insurance risk if safety isn't followed someone is bound to get hurt...be safe out there
well maybe the person that you were talking to has a small amount more sceniority on you. Alot of times when someone new has an observation and brings it to the attention of the rest of the department it is not always a good thing. That person may be going to bring it up for you at the meeting or has taken it to your chief so he may use it for a saftey topic in training exercises. These are a few options that I am hoping is going on saftey is no joke or somthing to look past. I used to be a fly by night get her done and go for glory type of person and that isnt always a good thing.

well stay safe and keep up that attitude just dont take it to the point of people looking at you as a now it all.
Sounds like you did the right thing, Gayle. No good deed goes unpunished, but that shouldn't stop any of us from doing what we know is right.
Gayle is correct about this safety issue. Her VFD was one of the four in our county that responded essentailly to a automatic MA for a stucture fire, SOP IAW our county fire board by-laws. Bringing it up at our own meeting during a AAR should happen to at least make our own personnel safe/safer. But bringing it up at the county wide board meeting might be seen as a slam on another VFD's "issues". That might take some political corrective action. Either way there is no excuse for sloppy complacent work on the fire ground regardless of it's intensity. IMHO and TCSS
Gayle, you did the right thing here, and thank you for looking out for your brothers and sisters. As far as saying something, maybe it should be brought up in a delicate way the next training you have. Mention safe use, handling, and placement of tools. I agree with Ben, tools need to be placed somewhere, but can done so safely. Keep up the good work, and stay safe!
Gayle....I agree with you...it is EVERYONES responsibility to stop unsafe acts and correct them....if we all did this them maybe we would stop killing ourselves...think about it...Today we have better equipment, better training and better communications then ever before...yet our ## of LODD's haven't gone down...what does this tell you...? Let's all try to smarten up a bit....Remember...."EVERONE GOES HOME"
You're right! We are here to watch each other's back. There are times when we need to be tactful in how we present criticism and there are other times when we through tact out the window, grab a person by the scruff of the neck and say, "Hey bonehead!" Presentation is everything. Being so new on the job, you should ask your officer what your department does with tools in the same situation and when he/she asks you why, this is where you state that you noticed another department doing things different and you want to know what is the safest practice. Follow your chain of command and let your Officer address the issue more formally.
Hiya Gayle,

As has already been pointed out, safety is a part of EVERY Fire Fighters job. You were absolutely doing your job by bringing this incident to your superiors.

Also, the act of just dropping the tool where you stand is not very respectful of the tool itself. If they were using the tool to rip out walls, I would assume you were in Overhaul operations. And if so, who's gonna crawl around in all the muck on the floor and locate all the missing tools when ops are secured? The guideline should be "If you take the tool off of the truck, you are responsible for it until it gets back on the truck".

I just hope it wasn't a case of "Not my tool, not my problem!"



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