By Ray McCormack
While the Internet provides multiple voices and options galore regarding firefighting techniques, when do we say when? The posting of acts that are not even close to best practices yet have to be okay because the outcome was profitable should cause warning bells to sound.
While many practices are not overtly wrong, there is often a more disciplined way to accomplish the goal. The fact is that fire extinguishment is not always the ultimate goal. By ignoring this fact, short cuts are free to take place. So why do we encourage short cuts? Is it based on lack of information regarding the subject matter, or is it just in defiance of what others preach? If you get away with your short cuts, then others are just adding too much detail.
The devil is in the details, and while many feel that our work is simplistic, it is not. It is direct in many ways, but oversimplification leads to short cuts, and short cuts lead to bad consequences. The problem is that the consequences often occur remote from your neck of the woods. “It never happened here, so we’re still good,” is the prevailing thought, if there is any thought.
News flashes have missed many in the fire service because people demand complete autonomy. The we-are-not-them syndrome helps to foster the idea that wind is only something in high-rise fires or staffing demands we cheat.
The fire service needs to take a break from looking for exceptions and use the 99-percent tactic even if it cuts down on stupidity.
Keep Fire in Your Life
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. For more on Urban Firefighter, visit http://www.fireengineering.com/urbanfirefighter.html.
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