Riddle me this, if you can. What are your thoughts on chief officers and PPE. Considering that much of the Atlantic coast is currently experiencing record high temperatures, why is it that we see chiefs at the command post fully buttoned up? Conversely why do some people hand out grief about chief officers and others for not being “properly dressed”, even when the weather is in the upper digits?
I know that many readers can exercise a healthy dose of common sense, however I’ve found it fascinating that a culture exists that demands full PPE even in close proximity to a fireground. Have we become too safe to allow flexibility? Another point I have seen directed at chief officers about PPE is the leadership model. To some in the fire service, a chief officer without his entire PPE ensemble is a poor example to his men. I don’t know about you, but I never really gave it much thought as to what my chief was wearing. If I needed to locate him I used my radio or went to his buggy. I didn’t need to look for the guy in the white coat and helmet to figure who was in charge.
So, what do you think? Is it asking too much to allow a chief to manage the board with just a vest, or does he need to be decked out just like the nozzleman?
Bonus points if you can determine how many chief officers have died in the line of duty this year and last year operating at the command post. The RIC might have to face the buggy instead of the building.
“Firefighter Fatalities and Injuries – The Role of Heat Stress and PPE”, University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, July 2008