Dear Editor Halton and Lt. McCormack …about your FDIC presentations

I was a late commentator on the FDIC big room presentations this year, posting my impression ten days ago (HERE). I shared my opinion that Halton likes to force us out of our comfort zones and that I was more comfortable with McCormack’s personal opinion on fireground risk analysis.

I am in the process of editing the second edition manuscript for Fire Officer: Scope and Practice. At this point the comments and questions from the reviewers and editors are added into the manuscript in preparation for a final content review.


The Fire Attack chapter had few comments and a nice kudo. Made me feel warm and confident. The chapter reflects eight years of street experience as a career company commander and more than a dozen years teaching at the fire academy and community college.


The sweet spot for suppression risk assessment is somewhere between

running into a collapsing and burning Type V building to rescue a checkbook

never entering a building with smoke showing until you get independent confirmation that there is a savable life requiring rescue … and all command vests are properly deployed

I re-read the risk assessment portion of the chapter. I could see how an officer candidate could infer that it was a RARE occassion to enter a burning structure to conduct a primary search and perform offensive extinguishment.

That’s not gonna happen. I will be late getting this chapter submitted as I significantly rewrite the section on suppression risk assessment.

A section that had NO comments, questions or suggested revisions. MY editor is not happy, but I will know that it is right.

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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Comment by Mike Ward on May 21, 2009 at 9:39am
I think that Lt. McCormack's opiion, as expressed, would be ok in the fire station kitchen, picking-up on the fireground and even as part of a training presentation. It would be in the appropriate context and environment.

The FDIC big room venue was not appropriate, just as Halton wearing his Class A speaking the day before left me unconfortable.

What I noticed last night was the piling on of safety concepts in the suppression risk assessment section of the chapter was out of context. It came from a second part of a face-to-face risk assessment exercise.

The second part is designed to prepare a fire officer candidate to demonstrate a "data-dump" of situational analysis as part of a promotional assessment center exercise. The candidate shows that he/she has covered all possibilities with the emphasis on crew safety.

Now, if I can just get this section to work ....

Thanks for the response


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