It should, after all, it is on the inside of YOUR turnout gear.
In the past, we have used pictures of the FDNY’s “war years”. Many of these came from Michael Dick who owns the website www.fdnysbravest.com. We’ve used the images because many photographers do not have access like they used to for reasons of liability. Plus, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the still frames represent a romantic era that made many of New York’s legends what they are today. But don’t let that fool you; we’ve made it a habit to learn from any resource available, regardless of where the information comes from. These guys had it right though all along. Not because they belong to the biggest and busiest, but because they relied on proper strategies and tactics first and foremost. The tools, technology, and information that are readily available to us today weren’t even a consideration back then.
Now imagine how much safer and more effective we would be if we practiced and performed like they did yesteryear and then backed it up with what we know and have today.
Don’t get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, coordinate your efforts with every other company on the scene, and wear your gear the way it was intended to be through the manufacturer’s recommendations.
I think that we would all agree that not even one line of duty death is acceptable. At the same time, do we understand and agree that it will happen? It is our responsibility to reduce the likelihood of it occurring any way we know how. Take every opportunity to stress the importance of studying the fireground and emphasize why it is imperative to conduct proper strategies and tactics. Fall back on your turnout gear the way it was intended. Let’s face it; firefighting is an ULTRA HAZARDOUS, UNAVOIDABLY DANGEROUS activity. No protective garment can replace proper training and constant practice in firefighting tactics and safety.
Bill Schnaekel is a truck chauffeur in the bustling area of Tysons Corner in Virginia, running an average of close to 2,000 calls a year. Born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, Bill is a fifth generation firefighter who has had eight relatives in the fire service since 1898. Bill served as a volunteer for six years prior to getting hired in 1998 by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, one hundred years after his great-great grandfather joined. In addition to his full time job, Bill works part time as a firefighter / chauffeur with the West York Fire Department and as a State Suppression Instructor in Pennsylvania. In the past, he has served as a Battalion Training Officer and assisted in training the recruits at the Fire and Rescue Academy as well as veteran firefighters within the safety and survival program. His formal education includes working on a degree in fire science through Tidewater Community College. He is currently on the Lieutenant Eligibility list and eagerly anticipating promotion. In February of 2013, he created the Facebook Page “Holding1and1”, a resource to discuss fireground operations and firefighter interests with his friend, Lt. Mike Dowling.