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 FD”s.

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.

Posted on 2012-06-06