My lifelong dream was to become a pilot, either military or commercial. However, the financial situation in my household — being raised by my mother in a single-parent household with two other siblings -- was not conducive to pay for college or take flying lessons.
Now more than ever, we must be more diligent about keeping our eyes on other drivers. This is obvious because, unfortunately, other drivers are on mobile devices and not looking at the road. Another factor is that sound systems some people put in their vehicles prevent hearing the sirens and air horns when we are responding on an alarm.
I recently had the privilege to be invited to participate in a military exercise as a role player/subject material expert. I was reluctant at first, but with encouragement from my wife and siblings, I decided to give it a try.
Back in the day — before the introduction of the large-diameter hose (LDH) — we would use two lines of hose to supply our trucks. One was a 2.5-inch and the other was a 3-inch, laid out simultaneously to the spud intakes of the truck.
One of the most important things firefighters can do is assure that our personal protective equipment (PPE) is in perfect condition. There is no room to skimp or overlook any details when performing your job functions. The moment that damage occurs, which is inevitable for our job description, we must assure that we get our PPE replaced or repaired so we can return to service and continue to provide protection not only for the public but also for ourselves.
If your department does hydrant maintenance such as flushing, testing, painting, etc., take advantage of what you can while out in the public. These same opportunities can also be used when performing standpipe and sprinkler connection inspections.
Departments, their SOPs and Air Program personnel need to assure that all safety precautions, fit tests and maintenance occur on a regular basis. Sometimes, incidents require a change in SOPs and our practices to ensure safety for our members.
When I first came on the job, each suppression apparatus had a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) pack per crew member on the truck. Each SCBA pack had a mask assigned to it. One extra mask was carried in case there was a malfunction at any time. At shift change, the next crew member(s) would use the same mask that was on their designated SCBA per position on the truck for that day.
Drivers need to know about the changes they see in their pressure gauges. In driver engineer/chauffeur training, they are taught how to calculate pressures. Getting the correct pressure on the gauge is easy enough to do. However, once the pumping operation is active, drivers need to carefully observe their intake gauge for the different changes and know why they are occurring.