February At Backstep Firefighter

A monthly review of our popular postings.

March is definitely starting off well, but first, lets catch you up on some of our February posts.

Dave LeBlanc took a look at why it appears many firefighters are coming off the rigs with either the wrong tool or no tool at all (or the “favorite” tool). Part of this is because of a lack of riding assignments. Dave recalled Tom Brennan’s great article on hand tools for truck work in his post “Tool Choice“. Dave shares the proven idea that if you respond with a general degree of expectations and assignments, you are able to function fluidly on the fireground; an important trait when having to ‘do more with less.’

A growing new site, FDLiveIn.com, has expanded to include the first article in a series based on its theme, the live-in firefighter. It may be odd to some, but quite a few departments operate utilizing college and university students as live-in staffing. Combined with local firefighters (townies) the arrangement is a valuable resource, or if not properly managed a public nightmare. Matt Leonard, a former live-in from the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (Md.) and now a D.C. firefighter has written a very good part one article on knowing the people who are making up your bunkroom. This and future articles are a good resource as every new member brings with him or her a new personality that needs to be understood and managed.

NIOSH Wants You! Everyone we know agrees that NIOSH firefighter fatality investigation reports need a makeover. Unfortunately, how do we do it? The staff behind the reports have given us until 29 April to put in our two cents. We hope everyone will take the time to competently address the changes they would like to see.

A trio of videos hit YouTube, mocking inept volunteer firefighters, in February. Hosed, Episode 1 was hilarious but not as near as hilarious as some of the folks who took it seriously and were offended by it. That said, in order to stimulate such a serious video/public image critique, Bill wrote down what offends him. Not nearly as funny, but if you’re upset that John Q. Public is going to think Hosed is how you operate, then we guess your department has everything squared away and with no room for improvement.

Speaking of videos, we shared two good ones from the work environment of one of Dave’s friends, Ray Pfiefer. In Caveman Documentaries you see Engine Company 40 and Tower Ladder 35, of David Halberstam’s “Firehouse” fame.

Our February “cover shot” is courtesy of Mark Filipelli, FITHP.net (used with permission). Mark caught this working house fire in Salisbury back in February of 2010. Click onto the image to see all of Mark’s pics from that job.

All the photographers at Fire In The Hole have been very gracious in allowing me to use their images both here and at work. As part of a continual thank you, we’ll share some of their monthly highlights. Click on those images for more photos.

Billy Adkins, Auto Extrication, Salisbury, MD

Bruce Secrist, Live Burn Training, Federalsburg, MD

Bruce Secrist, Auto Extrication, Denton, MD

Wayne Barrall, Apparatus Accident, Delmar, MD

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