FDIC 2013 Big Room Session: On Fire–Thoughts, Scenarios, and Scenes

Thursday afternoon classroom sessions at FDIC 2013 commenced with a highly entertaining and interactive discussion brought to life off the back pages of Fire Engineering by Fire Department of New York Captain Mike Ciampo in Sagamore 3. Taking cues from his Fire Engineering column “On Fire,” Ciampo tackled the specifics of the more physical aspects of firefighting and how, after the training is done, firefighters need to act once the job is in front of them.        

“The reason that you guys come to shows like this, educational lectures and hands-on, all those little tidbits you picked up out there, because in two seconds, you’re gonna do this… [react]”

Ciampo went in depth and engaged the audience at every turn to challenge them on responsibilities and tactics such as forcible entry and tool use. The halligan and ax were put the front and center of the discussion, and selected videos showed the dos and don’ts of forcing doors and the proper use of those tools when doing so. “Two hands, two tools,” he said.   

One video showed Ciampo during training, forcing a door in a way that may be considered unconventional by common standards: “When I came out with the ax, a lot of guys want to flip it over…I came out, I held the shaft of that ax and gave two taps, it set the tool, then you saw me go to the right handed swing. Just a little trick of the trade to help.”

Ciampo constantly engaged the audience on their thoughts on his methods as well as their own while attempting to show them new and improved ways on how to do some of the more physically demanding fireground tactics they will encounter. He stressed how each scene was its own entity, but a confident firefighter and his tools should get the job done.

“One firefighter plus two tools equals success.”


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