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Kevin Conant interview

Mon, 22 Dec 2008|

At the 2008 Baggers meeting in Oklahoma, Bobby Halton interviews Battalion Chief Kevin Conant of the San Jose (CA) Fire Department.



I am welcome to on the road probably how I am here in Tulsa Oklahoma just twenty miles south. My current home -- a -- so. And I'm here at my good friend Kevin -- from -- here for the semiannual. -- are being an artist biannual yeah daggers mean we have -- it was the spring home from the daggers and Kevin thanks for dropping. Visit with us here on with on the road and thanks for and about Kevin's currently battalion chief with the San Jose fire department which is just south of San Francisco. Nice -- about several times I was enjoying visiting because that would seem to -- a firewall in there and we always enjoy and you come out because the film -- -- and I were just talking a little bit about. The fire service and what's going staffing and response times and command systems we were visiting about that and extensively over the years but he really comes to light you had a firewall I was there. And and I think that a lot of what we -- about. You know in terms is that really came to four -- that the necessity of what we chat about that officers and adequate backup for command and really just adequate response to farmers is was really. There's really at the forefront of that -- Yeah if you were looking for the perfect fire for discussing standing to counter. Strategic planning this was one of those fires where everything -- need to come together need to come together right away at the very beginning. So let's that the fire upward we're small and -- gathering of about fifty fire issues and California. And we're we're just visiting room in which really was system just doesn't kind of a planning meeting for C fed you retire -- the chiefs of northern California just kind of market the concept -- -- and was doing and how you were gonna be partnering with them with engineering and analysis who had a great meeting we walk out. And can -- -- go back on duty yeah so the rest of us walk out and and you could smell the paint and varnish. Burning and it did that. And Scott that the -- you know everywhere her pacifier so somewhere -- -- -- a better response enough on the scanners and you know what I'm hearing sirens. Song sums -- -- we'll -- arms on so we went back inside five minutes later. Bone there it is it's it's a second and you're on it. Now the building is -- unique building -- -- about the. -- -- historical -- comes in as a fire in a boarding house. We had occupants and accounted for in this building used to be a it's in Japan town that portion of San Jose. And it used to be -- home for. Midlife women because they didn't used to but the Japanese community -- hospitals there gas. In the early history Tennessee. And so they had taken to buildings probably each about a thousand square feet and built a hallway looked like the same -- style -- construction. Turn of the century balloon frame ship -- citing. And so this place from the front you look at the porch looks no more than you know 2530 -- crossroad but it goes back for a 10025. Feet. Right I walked it back and it had to be at least -- 125 feet to the back and in the back. Is almost a zero clearance law -- exact up against the warehouse. Yeah and that warehouse house and art gallery of all these local artisans from Japan count against -- -- day. And then on the other side it is this historical church that Wesleyan church which had been -- -- -- long before the turn of the century from the team and it's actually San Jose is about 800. Yeah about a hundred firefighters we -- on -- -- and I just over 200 like -- -- so what did you get on that first along what came with you. -- -- a EMS -- coordinator captain. And three engines -- tracks -- four firefighters on the jet engines for up to. Staffing on the engines and -- person staffing and -- so almost the 1710. Minus the -- officer right. It's -- drivers right so almost the seventeenth and -- response. To the fire that was gonna -- the seventeen oh yeah it's yeah I it was and I -- -- -- declared on this this was all hands and we arrived. And I -- a second from the station because of a boarding house and the minimum number of people be it -- and this one had few teen folks. With people unaccounted for. And knowing the district in -- in the area. That they would be -- exposure problem and indeed there was and look at the front of the house. You had fire blown out of different this place and you could see when you looked on the side that there were survivable compartments. So here we had a marginal situation this fire was gonna -- defensive fast because of just steel construction. And I knew that we're -- have to commit folks inside and they made. Three -- rescues of the fifteen folks -- were there. You're gonna -- the past fired get to trapped victims so these are removals is our people look at walked out these were real. Bona -- rescues by -- San -- fire department that night. Probably a combination of both. Okay probably some some removal but clearly -- -- -- -- talk to one young man made one of those rescues and it was a rescue right he was behind fire and yeah add to protect him and the victim and and great job -- you know really great job which which I think. Which are things that complement -- San -- but to. The 1710 standard. Yeah adequate staffing does make a difference it makes a difference and be able phones on a fire where you're gonna have to engage that -- You're gonna need that amount staffing and you get over a third element here that you see the building you call for third right in somehow our dispatchers missed that. I don't think that we have if there was seventeen did -- dispatching standards. We don't have it Wilkinson -- -- and the dispatcher missed that call for about twenty -- So this -- -- that thing when you got that wasn't so far right there was fire through the roof so portion of it. So you had that -- on rest -- that you guys did Donnelly horizontal windows is right. We would. What other ventilation -- -- would you have gone vertical. It hadn't been bending the rules for what -- you don't send us and with the victims the PPV is almost out of the question right. -- there to the rear of the fire to keep that that. I think due to the building construction affecting you talked about smelling smoke and we command that -- -- fire probably has burned for forty minutes before anybody ever. Called India which is -- it is. The Japan town is you know it's a bucolic little community not a lot of people on the street at night time. And during the day there's a lot of bustle in. In downtown Japan -- at the night you know it's the proverbial roll -- this new sidewalks and so you could have a fire in a building debts. Has you know what church on one -- a commercial warehouse style the other. And a commercial across the street so there's no neighbors living next door that would actually. Noticed the fire collagen and obviously he didn't have any working smoke detectors -- that you know I would build -- fire. I've figured that the only way if you were men and women to get in there to make those rescuers was through that front door that there was no real. Viable rear entry that was a sign entry which -- wait three quarters -- right. It was interest thing I don't know what night how many firefighters would have picked that off. Almost like it was almost like a -- The war yeah and -- tell lot of discussion after the fact that with our troops yet we -- back the next shift and talked at length. For about two and a half hours with the first -- companies. With all the crews and then went back eventually to the -- house to talk to just the officers. About how we attacked that fire what -- the choices we had. -- everywhere -- survival compartments and did we make the right choices kids for some folks it was their first real critical fire we have. We have a lot of new people and I know there's other departments that are going through we're going to here's a ton a turnover. Because of the way that we're still growing and -- retirement system and nobody's leaving simmons' -- they retire. But you know and remove and folks so quickly. Get their opportunity to get. This kind of fire where you have bona -- rescues where there's more work to do and you can handle even with a second line. Load of resources. It really took the third alarm to truly protect the exposure and whether smoke detectors in the -- is not working not working right. And it wasn't a regulated occupancy for us all the -- so no no codes that could've been. Yeah there wasn't any opportunity and I'm aware through the fireside. May -- -- cordon code enforcement if they were running a business and -- But that type of occupancy I believe in the city Tennessee then you have to hold business permit children. A boarding house now wasn't a -- care there was no care it was just basically on that -- he converted -- team. You know rooms for rent. -- was a very interest and. Our it was a really. It was one of those fires and even post fire we walked through the gallery would look -- -- -- pulled ceiling. So fired -- and -- start to travel up the rafters. -- your folks were able to manage that and keep that under control keep that entire art gallery intact -- -- Pretty phenomenal and that was really gratifying to have those artisans in the owner of the art gallery the next day come and collect their entire collections and not one piece was broken. And I mean we had some really fragile pieces of art. And then the folks in the church next door you know this place that was founded in the eighteen hundreds. And they came back and -- we had like a lady who said that she's been driving past issue one for sixty years to go to that church on Sunday. And she dropped us a card and think that she said you know before I die want to make sure -- can thank you for saving. Our church I've always driven pastor firehouse I pray for you every time I come to church. That you really we really got our money's worth and it we're keeping wasted. So -- wasn't what else going on in San Jose. Doing good jobs of fires and are you gonna be able gonna sending video from yeah but I'm hoping that you're gonna be able to diss them you know doubled over with this interview until look at that because we've got some pretty good video to show you that fire will we will we'll get we'll get a link to this if you look at this -- video -- we only get the bottom. Some video that Kevin's gonna -- -- you can take a look at what this -- was like. Not assault posts -- right. So it's actually the team comes in after -- -- as a as a program -- -- coming after videotape. What they can. And then use it as part of the review if you will of the fire with the folks over there yeah we plug it into our monthly training dvd that we distribute to know stations which is a great idea that he got a department's monthly train dvd that captures -- -- From real fires and it won't share with the folks that you know are here -- dot com really appreciate that that's that's a big deal to us. And it's a great science lab learning and knowledge and and they will thank -- for the plug the community site. That is turned into what incredible piece a community we got the -- asylum and instructors are on there and they're sharing we've got people like John Norman Franklin Tonya. Jerry Tracey John -- curricula ASCII. You know and then we've got kids from you know. North bend Indiana who you know signed -- two weeks ago and and they're having conversation -- and their training and they. And they're looking at videos your photographs and looking it. To talk about tools and what -- of the New York guys in the day was given a kid in. I get the city wrong but some young kid called about what should be in my pocket who has explained that to -- pliers and -- flyers. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It's a place where the senior man can connect with the junior man variety in a really -- but effective way and you don't have to go out right. You know now you can do it right there on the community and and get the feedback and weigh in and you and you get from every corner of the country program we're gonna from Brazil and San Pablo and we're -- from Australia and Japan and there's people on that -- from just about errors -- and it's all viral which is kinda cool I mean anybody who's on there wants to be there -- and it's full names. There's no -- man won 22 hour fire dialogue here in the disrespect if you're actually at once when he was -- -- But. It's nice to be in a site where. You're talking about we've already talked to -- -- you talk and to change -- you know you're talking to. And that's important stuff I think that's -- that's an important piece of the dignity of the fire service -- And it's amazing that you can get on -- site and you can read a book that day and get on the site and talk to the author of -- what did you mean by us. The ground -- -- -- what we mean by hooking up at this location why would -- -- You want is for some fires they let you purchase of floor below. The fire -- -- -- one below one below so. -- what you would do that David name and just talk about top floor fires it was a -- messed up top four -- today. Resourceful tough for fires to pop forceful manner that's what was the worst want to get beat up is what the smoke and -- it's all right there -- so. Some great discussions about that type of fire fighting that level of interest. And even some really good EMS discussions and good leadership discussions good technology discussions great groups. In the instructors are real presence there and it -- become a real presence again and fire engineering and an FDIC which is really. Rewarding and thanks to Tim sentinel -- -- are. Chief editor of fire rescue magazine -- you see the fire service taken back over. Its own community that's exciting it's a nice thing to say it is a good thing -- and he's a great friend of mine always will be and you know people so we met the -- of bird rescue Joseph you're darn right it was if he's my friend I. -- -- -- my friend and -- I'm glad to see us taken over our publications you know moment and I wish all of us -- That type of thing happening tends on the site and that Harvey prisoners on our community -- he's the editor in chief of firehouse magazine. Doesn't matter to us were firefighters first we're corporately -- second you know. No disrespect boss but. That's just -- it is. What else I also like about it -- over in the community -- -- to make sure that you click in and watch. Some of the keynotes go on some of the presentations. -- FDIC. Really meaningful really. Really powerful. Presentations in good discussion. And good information. I was just talking before we came on camera to a colleague about how we're still right in the journal be completely capital Silicon Valley. And they have. Then so all put on you know it at night sometime late after dinner I usually do my journal work and -- typically running the site. In the background listening to the presentations. Will -- the background -- There's Mike Allen did an incredible job this year line Carmichael than in Iraq there was some. There was some wonderful stuff there you're right and and we're gonna try to get more that they're from sessions will be going up -- There's some great panel so -- the illegal -- -- Comstock and and observers -- -- Coleman did his. Roundtable and and you had to some really great discussion there. And FDIC is just remarkable it always will open its. But around for -- this is this eightieth year picture of his 81. It's institution. And an -- institutional. And fire engineering BR 132 year this year. And there's a great journal its -- him consistently -- sort of we will vehicle. And it's just wonderful of the beggars now on our thirty what fourth here at 33 years of life that's an incredible -- another. Institution here and it's tied into what we who we are yes. In the process. So Kevin what else going on. -- not really just you know doing with the young staff and and enjoying the opportunity is that there's a field BC. To make an impact in mentoring. Young officers. I know the guys who work with the absolutely. Loved being there with an enormous he would -- -- coming up accounts she's doing great show up there in Florida. Indian resort right Ellison -- this place. I'm I think it on the pollen isn't that a un convoy or something more zip it Chang Chang got this one's at that was anguish of those there's -- there's a couple going on reservations in California this year and this from the that the chain great showed can see the F less couch she's put it on its cops firemen EMS. Kind of hold. Try and show America Charlie Dickenson is gonna be stricken Charlie Scott that'll be great -- don't know misspeak you know your -- -- know -- Coleman Jerry Coleman. The -- they got a great line at this guys that you. And yeah I got great cast the characters a lot of diverse opinions and it great to see where that world that goes you know moving forward just kind of funny part -- Just hang on for the ride the so. Well thanks -- -- numbers -- with -- was on -- appreciation and -- that Molly hall where on the road and be careful out there.

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