April at Backstep Firefighter

A monthly review of our popular postings.








April saw discussions primarily centered on risk, sizeup and personal responsibility.

Dave LeBlanc took a look at Victim Survivability profiling outside of the classroom and on the streets with his post “Sometimes It’s Not So Simple.” In what is probably his best post (or at the very least, his most shared) Dave looks at the Brooklyn fire where 11 civilians were rescued under deteriorating conditions and a mayday transmission.

The Front Seat” was the debut of Dave’s show on Firefighter Netcast. His first show, he took listeners through how the show will evolve and then dove into NIOSH reports from his earlier post “The Truth Hurts, Learn From It.” His premier broadcast had a lot of call in and chat room participation. You can read the preface here, listen to the show, and then read Dave’s followup post.

I took a chance hoping someone would be able to show the scientific proof that a victim is dead, based on the exterior sizeup alone in “A Quick Profiling Drill.” A legitimate question posed, not to attack the victim survivability profiling research, but to see if someone could factually state whether or not a victim in this Charlotte, North Carolina apartment fire is dead. To date all replies have proven correct the hypothesis that you cannot tell from the outside, until – as conditions allow – you go in and search.

Gabriel Angemi was kind enough to allow us to share more of his posts. This time, we bring you Camden Saw Bullshit, Volumes I and II. They are not your typical saw use, skill posts but more about how you take care of your saws is indicative of the type of firefighter you are. For some the job is a paycheck. For others it’s a profession where every single thing matters. Check them out; they are definitely worth printing and posting, even if you don’t have a truck in quarters.

In “The Dichotomy of Risk” Dave reminds you that your fires are, well, your own fires. There are tons of guidelines, initiatives, rules and orders. At the end of the day your department has to figure out how you are going to incorporate what truly applies to you while staying true to our mission – saving lives.

A fire in a long-standing vacant California car dealership prompted Bill to show that while we do highlight the value in searching vacant structures, we more so support intelligent searches. Such is the case in this fire where despite reports from squatters, firefighters took the appropriate actions in “Why We DON’T Search, Maybe, Kinda: Vallejo, California.” It’s a hard call and no one can make the decision for you.

Our April “cover photo” is courtesy of Lloyd Mitchell. Lloyd is a photographer and student from Buffalo, with roots in Brooklyn. He has a talented eye and the ability to capture the personalities of firefighters in his FDNY photos. We have a post featuring Lloyd’s work in que and you’ll see why we asked him if we could share his talent with you. Check out his Facebook page, Lloyd Mitchell Photography as well as his website, Lloyd Mitchell



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