Risk Management. Take a look at ANY fire service Internet and/or magazine source and you will see this mentioned AT LEAST once. Why? BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT! However, much of this information only addresses STRATEGIC LEVEL decision making (i.e. “go” or “no go”). DOES RISK ASSESSMENT STOP AT THE FRONT DOOR? What about TACTICAL LEVEL risk assessment when you are definitely “GOING”?
Though “go” or “no go” risk management theories are valid, they are only as good as the information we get when we show up. Firefighters still die in fires that were determined to be “GO” fires. Tactically, how can we save firefighters’ lives? Everyone on the fireground is equipped with two very simple, TACTICAL LEVEL, risk assessment tools…THEIR EYES. If we want to save firefighters’ lives, we have to start LOOKING UP!
- …AT THE BUILDING. When you get out of the rig (whatever seat you ride) look up at the building and note the CONDITIONS, CONSTRUCTION TYPE and LAYOUT CUES (i.e. door and window size and location)
- …AS SOON AS YOU MAKE ENTRY. Before you commit to the interior, LOOK IN TO THE OVERHEAD! DO NOT LET FIRE GET BEHIND YOU…EVER!
- …DURING INTERIOR OPERATIONS. Always MONITOR CONDITIONS. It is a proven fact that today’s fires change/grow more rapidly than in the past. Make sure you know what is going on by looking up in to the overhead and evaluate conditions CONSTANTLY.
Everyone on the fireground has eyes. If everyone on the fireground uses them, maybe we can manage our risks a little better.
Thanks and Be SAFE!
Also on SAFE Firefighter …
- The Fireground is Like Loading a Dishwasher – October 12, 2012
- Thinking Outside The Box May Kill You – March 6, 2012
- A New Years Resolution Mad Lib “On Firefighting” – January 3, 2013
- I Have Always Done Victim Survivability Profiling – December 1, 2011