Tactical Safety for Firefighters: Quick, Aggressive, Violent

By Ray McCormack

Three words that describe a battle posture with no dangling apologies. This battle posture describes a reaction to an event. Quick, decisive, engagement that crushes the opponent. Does your fire department specify its battle posture in such terms? Probably not! 

So where is our war face, or is having a war face frowned upon?  Be proud of your war face. It helps get the job done. Firefighters that look intense usually are and operate purposely during their time on the fireground. A singular attitude attached to a group effort that shares a common goal is what gets the job done. This is life and death: it's not soft or slow it's hard work and it's time sensitive. Please do something meaningful or step aside.

Fire is very ugly. It destroys everything in its path without regard. A quick response, a quick plan of attack, and quick implementation of the attack are vital for increasing the save column numbers. Time is not a luxury in our business. Aggressive attack is important, since the fire is always growing. Stopping the damage takes aggressive action.  Violent firefighting is reality--we open up with tools that rip, chop, and cut through barriers to defeat our enemy. High-volume streams violently tear through spaces, a good reason not to get in the flow path of an operating nozzle.

Quick, aggressive, violent...these are the words that were used by a Secret Service Agent to describe the response of their protective detail when a threat surfaces. That's what they train to do. We would expect nothing less. How are you handling your threats? Their model works in a timely fashion...does yours? We are the public's protective detail. They trust us to react quickly and decisively to save them. For your war face, use some protective principles, add some tactical safety, and make no apologies.

Next Tactical Safety - A Rush to Judgment and A Person of Interest

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Ray McCormack: Tactical Safety for Firefighters

RAY McCORMACK is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine.

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