Maintaining and keeping your spare apparatus fleet functioning and assuring that it stays cosmetically respectable is crucial for your department.
One main reason is that during off-duty special events, your spare trucks are the ones seen by masses of tourists, visitors, residents and citizens. The other reason is that it needs to be ready 24/7/365 in case of a disabled front-line apparatus.
In my early days as a young firefighter, not much was known about the relationship of toxic fire gases and the effect it had on our bodies. In fact, our bunker pants and boots sat right next to us in our bunk rooms. Today, it has all changed, and for the better. I cannot remember when and why it began to change, but today, that practice is long gone. Something happened over time, and the fire service began to make many changes regarding our health. Day boots were gone, Nomex® hoods were mandatory, and everyone had their own air packs. All this was a step in the right direction, but it was just the beginning.
The general notion that firefighters are fighting less structure fires these days may be true. However, per National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data, there is a house fire every 86 seconds in America.
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.
My invitation came from a FEMA and U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) team program director that I had worked with as a logistics specialist in the early 1990s.
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.
Where to start? The idea of writing an article on leadership is no easy task. First, you have to define it. Then you have to understand it. And, of course, you have to explain it.
My attempt at tackling this came to me after a lot of thought on how my article could be different. Leadership is one of those topics that has been written about for years from many different perspectives.
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.
Growing up in rural Wisconsin, I dreamed of being a cowboy someday. For whatever reason, my real fascination was horses.
I have lived with horses and dogs most of my life, but I would never consider myself a cowboy. I was fortunate enough to know some real cowboys and even got to ride in a two-day round-up of 300 head of cattle. That was a blast.