This is just to mix things up from all of the safety talk on here. Of course you want to be safe, but the only topics discussed now are about things such as gear and seat belts and whether or not to go inside a building or what the best lights are. Here is a great article about being aggressive on the fire ground. Many on here who know me, know I pride myself on working for a traditional aggressive department. Sometimes I explain why and others don't understand. There are some places that go defensive all of the time or others that won't go in if fire is showing out of a window. Then some won't search "proven" vacant houses, even though there is no such thing. This article discusses all of that very well.
Amazing article, very well said.
It seemed like it was going to be an article on safety vs agressiveness. It wasn't. It was an article about being agressive only within the parameters you are given. In other words, being agressive within the confines of operating safely. The two are not mutually exclusive. I think this is where a lot of guys go off the tracks. They think there is too much concern for safety in the fire service. They think we need to be more agressive. The truth is that agressiveness without safety is foolish, dangerous and in the end rarely productive. The over agressive guys need to operate within safety limits and the overly safety conscious guys have to admit that handcuffing firefighters to the rig is also conter-productive.
The safety guys always push training. And well they should. Because how can you possibly operate agressively if you don't know what you're doing? Building construction, fire behavior, sound tactics and good communication are all needed if we are going to operate agressively. Those same things allow us to operate more safely.
We have to all stop acting as if it's one or the other. Good firefighters and good fire departments are both safe AND agressive.
Well said. One point I try to make is it depends on the department. My department, like yours, is a large, urban city with great staffing and plenty of fire houses. We can afford to be a bit more aggressive. I know that another company will be right behind me. If I respond with a two-man engine in the middle of nowhere, of course the game plan changes.
However you have some safety sallies who read the book, and follow it word for word. They will watch a YouTube video and start complaining about people being too aggressive when they know nothing about the fire service outside of their rural town and the text book. It's just a very big pet peeve of mine.
Thought-provoking article. I shall pass it along to my colleagues.
It's about using our brains as a primary tool instead of just being robots programmed to do SOP's.
Thanks for the share and initiating the discussion. I get frustrated by the blanket statements and the words of many the twist the meaning of EGH and the 16 Life Safety Initiatives. Their goal isn't you make you a "yard breather" or and "out standing firefighter". Their goals are to make you more aware of safety as you kick the ever living crap out of the fire like you are supposed to. All to often those that are uncomfortable with either their skills and ability, or have never been taught the right way, will try and use them to make the job 'safer' and allow them to be a firefighter without any chance of getting hurt.
My world and yours are much different. I have an idea of how to operate in your environment, but also know what works for you probably won't for me. I am sure you would do fine here also, after you got used to the echo in the cab because there are only two of you in a truck made for 6.
Different strokes, different worlds.....same goals, different paths.
Staffing is probably the single biggest factor in how any department operates. If it's not, it should be. Agressive firefighting is a luxury for way too many due to staffing. To ignore it would be dangerous. The large urban departments can't reliably be used as a model for so many others. It's not due to lack of skills, experience, desire or bravery. It's due to the fact that we get so much help so quickly that we can take way more chances. Still based on risk vs reward, of course.
No problem. I'm glad you saw this and got to respond. Your article definitely hit the nail on the head and was very well written. Stay safe out there!
Thank you Capt. great article, I am an aggressive firefighter, I search vacant buildings, I aggressively go inside building to attack fires, my gear is in good shape, I use all the proper tools, and airpacks that help me do my job aggressively and safely. when I arrive at the scene I am dressed, including having my airpack and helmet on, and ready to go to work immediately. They tell these guys so much crap these days they are afraid to be on the same block as the fire, and they have to be fully encapsulated in a air crash fire/rescue suit to fight a 2 inch by 2 inch grass fire, they have to be pad locked into their seats on the apparatus, and their helmets have to be locked in a steel boxes that is welded to the inside of the apparatus till they arrive at the scene. I totally believe in doing our job safely, but some of the stuff they teach today prevents us from doing our job at all. I don't say we should be entering a completely lost causes, but we need to be smarter to be safer, not be afraid to do our job. I have been a firefighter for 44 years and I have had a cut hand once. I aggressively, safely do my job. I never ask anyone to go where I would not go myself or to do anything I would not do. Even though I don't agree with not being aggressive, I will never tell someone to be more aggressive, to go somewhere, or do something they don't feel comfortable with. Captain Kevin C. Ross
Great article Cap.
I like your style brother. But I too am cautious with potential fubar situations. It's a tough call because if you get injured you are now endangering the safety of fellow fighters that are trying to rescue you as a downed fighter.