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.
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.
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.
It is difficult to imagine that firefighters are not prepared for the future. As times have changed, the issue of protecting ourselves is about more than just the bunker gear we wear or the SCBAs on our backs. Our profession has come a long way in providing us with all the tools we need to do the many tasks at hand, but there is one area we're often left unprotected. What am I referring to?