Recent events in D.C. highlight one of the problems the fire service faces on a daily basis. Earlier this week five Washington, D.C. firemen were trapped and burned when a portion of roof collapsed on them during suppression operations at a residential house fire. Dave Statter, Statter911, has coverage of the event on his blog “Update on Injured DC Firefighters”.

Certainly a department like Washington, D.C. has enough boots on the ground, that even when a situation like this occurs, in the early part of the incident, they are able to effectively remove the injured brothers from harm’s way. When you go read Statter’s stuff, take a moment to listen to the fireground audio.

So now with two near misses in the last week, the other being Gary, Indiana; the internet will be alive with ideas, thoughts and reasons why what happened in D.C. and Gary shouldn’t have happened. The debate will again continue about the safety of “us” versus the potential risk to “them”.

Safe Firefighter raises an excellent point with his blog, “Is anyone else out there? First arriving and trapped”. While D.C. and other metro/urban departments may have the resources on scene in the crucial early minutes, many departments do not. We all know that fire has no prejudice; it will kill just as quickly in Brooklyn, NY as it will in Deals Gap, NC. (Population 6)

You can be fully equipped to fight the world, but without a plan you’re out in the open just asking for trouble.
(Lloyd Mitchell photo)

As has been mention here before, it is imperative that your department determine how it is going to operate prior to the incident occurring. Regardless of the resources available, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” What works in Brooklyn won’t work in Deals Gap. However this doesn’t mean that the strategy is different, only the tactics used. While we are on the subject, it is important that people realize the difference between Strategy and Tactics. Strategy is defined as; “the art of devising or employing plans or toward a goal.” Tactics are defined as; “the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end.” To put in into simpler terms, Strategy is the plan and tactics are the method. Our manpower and resources have a much bigger effect on the strategy than they do on the tactics. The plan needs to be based on an honest appraisal of what it coming. And while the approach to some fires is often similar, we have to remember that we are seeing every fire for the first time.

So what does all of this have to do with the title? 

Read the rest here.......

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