The role of the firefighter is changing as mass shootings, natural disasters and mass casualty events increase in frequency, requiring additional training.
Times are changing and they are changing fast. The world where firefighters are concerned is also changing fast. In fact, the mission is changing and the term fire department doesn’t really tell the whole story.
The term has already made a shift by adding “rescue” to our title. Almost all fire departments run more medical calls than fire calls. And, the number of actual structure fires is down in many areas.
After driving the same vehicle every day, you will learn to hear and feel anything occurring that is out of the norm. Regardless of your level of expertise or knowledge, one must take action before “more expensive issues” add injury to insult.
At the start of a tour of duty or shift day, I would always perform a walk-around of the apparatus to assess any new damage or abnormalities.
At some point, a firefighter will experience a "major working fire." These types of fires are usually large in scale and require 6-12 hours (or more) of active working, crew changes, staging areas and subsequently a "fire watch" with one unit on standby at the scene after the fire has been extinguished to assure there are no rekindles.
These drawn-out battles take a toll on firefighters, both mentally and physically, regardless of their rank or position.
Time seemed to go by quickly when employed by the fire service, but I can still recall the first day I walked into the fire station after completing the fire training college — as it was called back in the day — some 36 years ago.
As a probationary firefighter (known in my department as a "boot"), we were given many tasks that needed to be completed during a tour of duty.
With the recent firing of six City of Miami firefighters, many have taken notice. Anytime there is a controversial issue that impacts a public-sector employee, it makes headlines!
Supervisors and administrators need to take any type of racial, sexual, hazing harassment seriously. There is no place for it in the fire service — period.
One of the things "old school" senior firefighters passed on to me was making sure the everyday hand tools and other items were maintained and presentable. This included our forcible entry tools, axes, pike poles, shovels, etc. Regular maintenance not only makes them look good cosmetically (e.g., public demos), but also assures that they are not going to cause further injury when damage and defects occur from regular use and wear and tear.
There is an old saying that goes, “The best way to kill a snake is to cut off its head.” This “snake” is not that easy to kill. Protecting your people and protecting yourself starts with a complete understanding of how we get contaminated from the snake. It’s a complex problem that requires a complex solution.
One model that has come out of Sweden is the Skelleftea Model.
On Sept. 28, I was up at 0430 listening to the rain fall and feeling winter's warnings. My wife, who gets up at 0330 every morning was off to the gym for her workout/run. The gym is close to home, so she returned to shower and get ready for her 10-hour day at work.
She has a work ethic that rivals anyone I have ever known. I often wonder why some people can push so hard and never miss a beat.
Health & Wellness
Pub. In Fire Apparatus
Pub. In Fire Chief
Pub. In Fire Engineering
Pub. In Fire Rescue
Pub. In MultiBriefs
Pub. In The Rig