Words of Wisdom

By: Chief Billy Goldfeder

Make sure you have adequate staffing on the FIRST ALARM before you realize
you need it….forget “false” pride, put enough equipment and manpower on the
road IMMEDIATELY and AUTOMATICALLY even if you have to count on neighboring

You cannot properly and safely respond to a reported structural fire with 4-5
people as your first alarm assignment.

NEVER get off the apparatus without at least ONE tool in your hand plus a light.

Stay low, even the best bunker gear will not protect you when you are STANDING UP in a fire.

When you hear “We have less fires today!!?? Tell’m “then we MUST have even
MORE quality, realistic and aggressive training.” Training is NOT handing
someone an american heat video and tell’n em to watch it…those may be
INTERESTING but training must be physically “doing”.

Which line to pull? (gen’l rule of thumb) is Residential-1-3/4″ line.
Commercial or Multi Occ-2-1/2″ line with immediate following backups.

If you pull ONE LINE, you must ALWAYS pull a second line….they can always
be put away ….but it sucks when you need the “missing” 2nd line-and it’s too late.

Beware of the firefighter who tells you he has survived numerous “real” flashovers and doesn’t act scared.

Beware of the firefighter who “doesn’t need any more training”.

Train and act as if motorists are blind and want to hurt you while on the highway.

Make sure your apparatus is so visible and loud that it annoys people.

When you are told to open up a roof, make sure it is big enough to drive a small car through.

Stay out of the doorway leading to the fire-you are blocking things.

Make sure doors won’t close behind you…carry wooden wedges.

Make sure garage doors don’t close behind you…assign a firefighter to it.

Make sure a plier/wirecutter and knife are in your coat pocket-where you can
get to it when geared and packed up.

PASS devices don’t work when we have to remember to turn them on.

If UPS can track packages, why can’t we track firefighters just as easily and quick?

Positive pressure works well, AFTER the fire is under control.

An automatic alarm is a FIRE until we get there and determine it’s not (many
will not agree with me on this one but I say if you have good enforcement
over false alarms, the problem of false automatic alarms can be
minimized…with today’s alarm technology, there are far fewer false alarms)

EMS is important, but we can get hurt and killed alot easier at a fire.

No one determines the status of a fire except the FD (beware of “cancel’n
cops)….NO ONE cancels the FD except one of our own.

Power tools need regular daily maintenance and checking…shut off
Jerry Springer and go check your tools.

Lay a supply line on EVERY reported fire, you can always put it back.

As Brannigan says “The Building is your Enemy”–KNOW your ememy before the
battle. There is NO excuse for not having every structure (except single
family dwellings) pre-planned in your “first due” area…and, there is
nothing BETTER than having it when you have a working fire.

Big fire? Big Water! Sometimes a handline is NOT the answer! How fast can
your FD deploy a ground monitor?

We cannot use single family dwelling tactics on a commercial or large area
building fire. Plan, train and practice for those fires too.

Beware of firefighters who have 6 months on the job with a mouth of “22 years
experience”. (we refer to the as “6-22’s).

There are essentially 2 ways to protect firefighters from a
flashover…1-Vent, 2-Cool with water…..it takes adeqaute staffing to do both.

We must remember to VENT early, VENT often and VENT in coordination with the other crews.

Career Firefighters? Volunteer Firefighters? Paid-On-Call Firefighters? We
have all seen great ones and clueless ones on all sides of this business. The
labels mean nothing…it’s all performance based.

Firefighters..you joined to serve…so don’t try to “customize” the FD to
meet YOUR personal needs…respond quickly everytime the tones go off and
participate in training regularly…and remember “Ask NOT what your fire
department can do for you…ask what YOU can do for your fire
department”….(with apologies to JFK)

Officers: Your primary job (when riding the front seat) is proper size up,
quick report and appropriate initial leadership/tactics….it is NOT just to
blow the sirens, horns and scream on the radio….the safety of your crew is
#1…take “the front seat” seriously.

Officers-Your absolute primary job is to send your crew home in one piece
after the run…can your crew and their family trust you to do that? Do you
have the experience, training and knowledge required to do that?

Chiefs-Yes, you are absolutely right-It is NOT easy being a Chief today
…actually, it has never been more challenging or difficult.

Ex-Chiefs (see above item).

Commissioners/Presidents: Your challenges have never been more obvious…but
don’t forget that the firefighters are your customers too.

Officers -Doing accountability AFTER we realize that someone is missing,
sucks. Firefighters…sometimes you DON’T have a say or input on all
decisions….a FD is not always a democracy.

A C.O. alarm going off is not a red light and siren run.

Officers should generally be trusted by the Chiefs but Chiefs should ALWAYS look after the Officers.

Beware of the Chief who doesn’t go to fires because he “totally” trusts the
officers…sorta like a football coach who doesn’t go to the game.

Beware of the Chief who says “we are an EMS department that also, occasionally goes to a fire”

A Chief CANNOT be on the fireground and NOT be responsible….yeah, I know
all about ICS but I still maintain that if a Senior Chief is there, he IS
responsible. Be careful, be safe and don’t forget – we are STILL in the
business of going to FIRES – Be prepared before ya have to be.

Politicians generally DO NOT have firefighters interests in mind. History has
proven that. Once in a while, a good one comes along.

If you have to explain THE BROTHERHOOD, they won’t get it.