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Being Combat Ready on the Fireground

Thu, 2 Aug 2012|

Nick Martin discusses the idea of being combat ready--that is, paying extra attention to the little details that may mean success or failure on the fireground. Sponsored by Globe.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

[MUSIC] [SOUND] Welcome to fire engineering's training minutes. Thank you to our sponsor Will Turn Out Deer. I am Nick Martin. Today Curtis and I are here to talk to you about being combat ready on the fire round. The idea of combat ready is something that [INAUDIBLE] us many years ago, when Pete Lund founded Tradition's Training. Pete was one of those storied firefighters with decades of time in some of the busiest fire companies in New York City. Pete had a lot of fires under his belt and he was one of those guys who did the types of things that we only read about or see on videos these days. And if anybody had the experience behind them, to make decisions about what was B.S. and what was real deal, it was Pete, but that's not what he did. The attitude that Pete left us with when he passed away was that we need to have our game face on every day, all day. Often it's a series of little details that come together to make a big performance. Most of the time, when we see tragedy on the fire ground, whether it's a lost fire fighter, a lost civilian, or a fire that shouldn't have gotten as outta hand as it did, it's most often not a result of one catastrophic event. It's a result of a series of small failures, that compounded, to make a big tragedy. So what we need to do, whether we're career or volunteer, whether it's our first day in the fire house, or our last day before we retire, is everything that we need to do, or everything that we do needs to be focused on being 110% ready every time we go out the door. We need to treat every alarm we go on as if it will turn out to be the fire of our career. Because until that alarm is over, we don't know what it will turn out to be. Nothing showing means nothing. Sometimes, in my career, some of the worst fires that I've had an opportunity to go on started out as nothing fires. And ended out as some of the worst fires that I've ever been to. So, often its a series of smaller details. And to kind of illustrate what I mean, Kurtis and I are gonna show you just a couple of small tips. One of the things I used to do, being left handed is, throughout my turnout gear all my supplies are up and down my left side. Well also when I come off the rig, whether I"m carrying a set of iron or a hose line on my shoulder, that's on my left side too. So now when I would go to find a door chock, all my door chocks are on my left side and I end up having to put down what I was carrying in order to access them. Realizing that problem. I know store all my door chalks in my right pocket on my pants so that I can easily get to them without having to put down the important tools that I'm carrying on my left side. Other small details that make a big difference are checking out our equipment. [UNKNOWN] is checking out our rescue saw. A couple of things he's looking at is, Do we have the right blade? Is the blade in good condition? Is the air bar on there tight? Do we need to replace that blade? How about our fluids? Do we have a full tank of gas? If this is a chain saw, do we have bar oil in it? Is it all topped off? Not just mostly full but is it to the brim full, so it has every second we need in it. All of our switches. All of our switches should be set to the proper position so that all he needs to do when he comes off the rig at a fire with this saw is pull the cord. Our compression switch is pressed in. Our choke is out. Our trigger lock is locked. And our off switch is not engaged. So all we need to do is pull the cord and we go. On the engine company, what we do is we fight fire, right? Our biggest tool here is our nozzle. Do we check our nozzles every day when you get assigned the nozzle position? We should be checking to make sure our bale is functional and in good condition. If we have an adjustable nozzle, is the pattern set on the appropriate pattern? Are our connections tightly made to the hose, and if it's a breakaway nozzle, to the bale assembly? It's all a series of smaller details. And all of them individually may seem inconsequential, but when all those small failures come together at the same time on the same fire ground, that's where we end up with tragedy. Being combat ready is difficult. It requires a lot of effort and a lot of attention to detail, day after day. More often than not your attention to detail is not rewarded, cuz nothing big happens. BUt when something big does happen, you're gonna be ready to go if you keep combat ready as your attitude everyday you're in the firehouse. Thanks for watching fire engineering's training minutes, and thank you to our sponsor Globe [UNKNOWN] Gear.