Welcome to the First Due Blog Carnival’s second edition, “Influential Fire Reports“. We asked you to share what firefighting report made a personal impact on how you operate as a firefighter or fire officer. The response was great and varied between being deeply personal and having a mission. Take some time to read each submission, and to browse though the various blogs. A special thank you to all who have participated. If you would like more information on the First Due Blog Carnival, read this or contact The Fire Critic.
Enjoy, Read, Learn, Live.
SAFE Firefighter (Matt McDowell) shares lessons learned from a fire that nearly killed his father in “Firefighters Trapped at the HoJo“. “My dad finally described the events as “causing a backdraft by trying to prevent a flashover.””
Chief Reason (Art Goodrich) takes up the responsibility of safe live fire burns in memory of Bradley Golden in “Most Influential LODD Report“. “And I will always remember Firefighter Bradley Golden, tragically killed while in the prime of his youth by those sworn to protect him.”
Jon Starling submitted what is, to me, probably the most significant contribution to this edition. Jon was the incident commander at 43238 Meadwood Court (Loudoun County, Virgina) where firefighters became trapped in a private dwelling fire and had to bail out of an upper floor. “Needless to say, my life has changed after that incident. I have used the report and the video to teach a number of classes on situational awareness, command ops, RIT, and Firefighter safety.”
Thank you Jon.
Report on Conditions (Joe Schmoe) brings one of two wildland fires that are submitted to the carnival. He initially passed on the idea of discussing the Esperanza Fire and the loss of the crew of BDF Engine 57, but then changed his mind. After reading his post, and others on the site, it is evident why this causes continual self-reflection. “If those people made wrong decisions, so can I. That reality troubles me. It troubles me to the point where I have made the trip down to the site of the disaster and have viewed the remains of the octagon house, the unnamed drainage and the neighboring houses. I can honestly say none of it is worth dying for.”
Notes from Mosquito Hill was another submission that initially passed on the topic, but the realized how much the death of Craig Arnone has impacted his life. “His would be the first Line of Duty funeral I would attend. There have been other tragedies since – Worcester Cold Storage, Black Sunday, September 11, Boston Lts. Minehan and Kelley, a score of others – but none would affect me this way. Firefighter Arnone reminded me that I’m mortal.”
Would you believe we attracted the attention of a Berkeley graduate student? And our second wildland fire report? Flash Fuels (Rachel Smith) shared how a squad boss interrupted her afternoon sleepiness by handing out the report on Storm King. Little did she realize that the boss’ matter-of-fact discussion would turn deeply personal. “Reading the USFS report on Storm King changed the way I approached my job, and wildland fire. I learned the Standard Firefighting Orders and the Watch Out Situations by heart, and no matter how tired I am, I make sure to always stay alert and aware whenever I am on the fire ground.”
Fire Daily (John Mitchell) takes a different approach to fire reports by bluntly, yet eloquently, confronting those who do nothing with the lessons learned. In “If We Do What We’ve Always Done, We’ll Get What We’ve Always Gotten” Mitchell says stop thinking bad stuff only happens to the other department, because you and I are in that other department. Read through his report summaries and see if you don’t find your fire company in at least one of them. I found PG in a few. “If you can’t do this, then relinquish your position of leadership to someone who gives a damn about their firefighters.”
A Firefighter’s Own Worst Enemy (Jason Hoevelmann) brought the line of duty deaths in Colerain Township to this edition. Jason pull up quite a few questions, but the deepest one, the one that influences him, is how often have you or I done the same things the victims did? “The thing that strikes me most is that I have been on this fire and done what Captain Broxterman and Firefighter Schira had done.”
The Fire Critic (Rhett Fleitz) shares a Virginia fire tragedy that influenced how he now operates as a fire officer. What influenced Rhett, more than the ‘it can happen to you’ aspect, was how open and inviting the department was in presenting the facts, all of the facts. His post is full of information and media about a wind-driven fire and a private dwelling. “Even though Kyle worked at a department on the other side of the State from me, it seemed as though it happened to my department. It left a resounding wake up call to many firefighters in my area.”
FireCap5 over at Not Trained But We Try Hard! submitted his entry via Twitter. He takes a look at apparatus accident that that killed a captain and firefighter. His message is humbling and sobering. Share it with your chief officers and drivers. “I was a dumbass. Losing my friends caused me to look at myself and really question what I knew about the job. I came to the realization that my Mandatory cert meant that I was ready to learn more, not that I knew all I needed to (like I had thought before.). So, I started to learn again. In 2000, 8 years into the Fire Service, I started to really learn the job. 10 years later I am still taking classes. I hope I never stop either. Until I retire and hang my helmet up for good, I will keep learning and passing on what I learn, because that is key. Learn. Teach. Live.”
And then there’s me. I ramble on about a initial hoseline stretch, a bad Bronx fire and a old DCFD book.
Guest Contributor Dave LeBlanc gave a great compilation of past reports that have influenced his firefighting profession. Dave touches on DC, Ohio, Virgina and Arizona firegrounds and the overwhelming lesson that there is no routine fire. Thank you Dave. Keep up the good work.
Thank you to all who participated in our second edition. Thank you to those of you who read the submissions and other works. In the end, all we’re doing is continuing our education and that of the ones riding across from us.