Classroom Sessions: Engine Company Operations: Why We Fail and How We Succeed

Tuesday morning workshop sessions at FDIC 2014 began with an emotional and informative presentation from Cincinatti (OH) Fire Department (CFD) District Chief Thomas Lakamp (left) [with assistance from CFD Captain Michael Kirby (right)] on the lessons learned from the line-of-duty death of CFD Firefighter Oscar Armstrong III.

Armstrong III died in the line of duty on March 21, 2003, after becoming trapped in a flashover while battling a residential structure fire. Lakamp and Kirby used this tragedy as an opportunity to review the cultural, physical, and mental aspects of how engine and company operations fail and what can be one to ensure future success while reviewing the mistakes made. 

“The importance of properly deploying the initial fire line at a fire and its impact to the outcome of the fire. We relate this to the LODD we experienced in Cincinnati and how proper hose line deployment could have changed the outcome of that incident,” Lakamp said. “Training on the basics of hose deployment is essential and ideas to accomplish short drills within the firehouse or their response district.”

Lakamp preached the importance of training to avoid situations like the one that the CFD encountered 11 years ago. 

“…It drives me crazy when I walk down the officer’s side of that engine, and see Oscar’s name on the side of that engine, and realize that that company has not done hose evolution in probably a month.”




“Know what you flow. It is important for the engine company firefighter to know how much water to expect from each hose line configuration on the engine.”



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