National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: Check That Tool?

Checking apparatus and equipment day after day often becomes monotonous, which can produce errors. These errors are the result of being too comfortable with a routine procedure. As our attention level drops, we begin to shortcut critical aspects to save time. This week’s report reminds us of:

  • The importance of following procedures
  • The value of having sufficient knowledge about a piece of equipments operation
  • How basic troubleshooting training can solve many simple problems

“While checking out the chain saw on the engine, I noticed the saw would not start. I took it upon myself to take the saw apart and check the spark plug. It did not seem to be firing and I found the plug saturated with fuel. I cleaned the plug and put the saw back together. It still would not work! It was determined that the fuel to oil mixture was off. There was too much oil in the fuel so I replaced the old fuel with the proper mixture. This corrected the problem.”

This seemingly mundane near-miss is an excellent example of the reporter recognizing the “bigger picture.” Without the reporter’s attention to detail and skill level the saw would not have worked at the most important time at the incident scene. Once you have reviewed the entire report (CLICK HERE) and the related reports, consider the following:

1. When was the last time your power tool checkout procedure was compared to the manufacturer’s recommendations?
2. When was the last time your power saws were serviced by a licensed manufacturer’s representative?
3. Have any safeguards been put in place to prevent a recurrence and were the positive aspects shared with the rest of the department?
4. What is the proper fuel/oil mix for your power tool cache?
5. Who is your local service representative for the power tools in your cache? Is your power tool knowledge vernacular (handed down by word of mouth)65 or institutional (certified training)?

Have you checked your apparatus and equipment to avoid an injury? Submit your account to www.firefighternearmiss.com today, ensures others to adopt your best practice.

Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.

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