How you prepare reflects how you will perform
Those of you who have a passion for the job (career or volunteer) and have been around awhile might know of a little thing called “the jump”.
The jump is not a physical activity that you should incorporate into your work-out routine. Nor is not a fancy new acronym to help remember how to perform a task. It isn’t a patented phrase or someone’s claim to fame either. On the contrary, the idea of getting the jump has been around ever since the inception of the fire service and it comes in many different forms.
In the eighteenth century, volunteer fire companies would send their biggest man to conceal the closest plug to the fire. Why? They wanted to be the first to put out the fire. They wanted to get the jump.
Today, there are other ways to be aggressive and “beat” the company next door without getting into a street brawl like they did 250 years ago. The first and most obvious way to get the jump is to train. The more you train (realistically), the more it becomes muscle memory. The more the muscle memory develops the faster and more proficient you are. Other companies will laugh and wonder what you’re doing until you leave them in the dust.
Create redundancies and know your job to the best of your ability. Check every tool on the apparatus and the rig itself. Let’s hope for the public’s sake that no other company drops the ball, but realistically, there is a chance. If and when they do, you can be there to pick it up without losing the momentum.
Two examples of getting the jump that come to mind occurred when I was working part time. The first was when we heard the neighboring jurisdiction get dispatched to a fire in a rowhouse about nine blocks from our firehouse. We were automatically dispatched but only on the second alarm. We heard the call go out and listened to the additional information, we knew that they were going to have their hands full when they got there. We quickly donned our gear and headed in the general direction, without the use of our lights and sirens. The chief arrived on scene and announced a working fire, and then he immediately followed it up by requesting a second alarm. Before the dispatcher finished talking, we had arrived as the third piece on the scene and positioned in front of the fire building.
We were never actually dispatched on the other occurrence, but we would have gotten the jump if we were. We listened very intently to a call that I believe was dispatched as a chimney fire. When the first unit arrived, they reported a large volume of smoke throughout the house. In the process, we looked up the satellite view of the address on Google Maps. One of the many views of the home is attached to this thread, along with a picture from the local newspaper taken after the fire was knocked down. What you see in the top photo was what we were studying before any of the units marked on scene. If we were called upon, we knew what three sides of the home looked like and were able to guess where the basement stairs were located in the kitchen. I also knew which way we would approach the scene and where I would position to make use of the aerial from the alley if needed.
The first-in companies did an excellent job and quickly knocked down the fire, which allowed us to get back to what we were doing. Although we were never dispatched, we were ready to go and would have looked good doing it.
What are some of the ways you’ve gotten the jump?
- The Truck
Photo credit: YDR / Google Maps
Top photo courtesy of Lloyd Mitchell Photography