Is it me or do departments today rely more on electronic tools than before?

TIC is one.
GPS
Computers on our trucks.
Power point presentations.
Cell phone and Nextel.

Are we as the fire service getting to the point where we can not fight fire anymore without a Thermal Imaging Camera as the first thing off our trucks?

Do you feel that we depend on these things more now and if so - should we?

When I started (a thousand years ago) we wore day boots and long coats and fireball gloves. The gear we just purchaced has Kevlar lining and a built in repel harness.

I'm no saying that we don't need the stuff we have just are we not letting our ears and eyes do some work for us. You knew it was time to get out when your ears got hot not when a temp gauge on your TIC said it was hot.

If I'm just old and gray say it or help me understand a little better or tell me I'm not the only one.

Thanks Ron

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Comment by Jenny Holderby on December 7, 2008 at 4:08am
Use technology when it can keep you alive. The whole world is going electronic. We can't keep going with "200 yrs of tradition unempeeded by progress" but I get your point on most of this stuff. I had the same type of gear you had :). I LIKE the fact that my ears aren't blistered & I can breath. I LIKE that my gear is rated for (?) like 2400 degrees or something like that, just in case. . . But I also know that where there is smoke there is fire and gut instinct and experience are the best tools you have because you never lose them.
Comment by Oldman on May 28, 2008 at 5:56pm
I'm with you Ron.

Back in the day, we used water to fight fires. Now we have to use Class A or B foam, CAFS, AFFF, Purple K, XYZ, or what ever. It's a wonder that there were any buildings left in the world until this stuff came out. Ok, maybe I'm getting carried away. All of the electronic gadgets are wonderful tools, (as is foam) which when used properly, can assist us in doing our job faster and safer.

However, nothing takes the place of knowing the building construction in your 1st in area, as well as the areas you might be called into. Have the mindset that it is lightweight truss construction until proven otherwise. Nothing takes place of proper size up, and reading smoke. How about listening to what the fire itself is telling you, using your senses (old school) along with the modern (new school) electronics and gizmo's.

Doing this along with learning everything you can, and you too can become old like Ron and me.
Comment by Lawrence W on May 28, 2008 at 4:32pm
I have seen more and more electronic devices entering into our fire service over the years. I don't feel that we are becoming dependant on them as much as we are adding tools to our toolbox. We have things like thermal imaging, TIC, and many other things to make life a little easier, but they can not (and never will) replace the common sense, and experience that comes with this job.

There are some things that have become more a fixture than others. GPS, for example, has nearly eliminated old style maps for finding an unfamiliar address. This can certainly speed our response to a call, but it doesn't eliminate the need to have such skills. Like all other electronic devices (and people for that matter) they are subject to failure. What will you do if your equipment fails you? Power failure, mechanical failure, miscommunication between the opperator and the machine... Thay can all happen making them as imperfect as we are.

Please, use these items as the tools they are intended to be, but maintain your skills for use if and when these items fail.

Thanks,
Comment by TexasFire on May 28, 2008 at 3:52pm
I've been in the service for only 4 years but I don't depend on what an electronic device tells me, I go with my gut instinct. For the gear I think it is because of the way houses are constructed, they are "energy efficient" so thanks to that, interios are containing the heat longer making it hard to go in without proper protection. We just got new gear with a safety harness that comes out in the back of the coat and wraps under the arm-pits, it is a saving your own device. And there are a lot of people out there that if a computer doesn't tell them how to do their job they don't know what they r doing.

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