IT'S JUST A MATTER OF
Chief Billy Goldfeder
Again-as most of you know, no disrespect is
ever meant about any of the incidents we write about-I try my best to present
the facts and then present opinion based upon the facts-and usually, the
historic perspective-because in most cases, THE FIRE we are talking about
TODAY-happened "somewhere" in the PAST....and of course, in Coos Bay, no
one officially knows what truly happened yet. Fortunately, our comments
have never been taken as disrespectful.
||By now, all of you have read about the
tragic fire this week in Coos Bay. If there is ANY common denominator of
all the stories we write for WithTheCommand.Com and the programs we teach
on this stuff-it is the fact that on nearly EVERY SINGLE ONE a comment
is made such as "It was just a routine fire" or "the room flashed out of
nowhere" as well as "the roof just gave way-without warning" and now "We
never thought it would happen here'"....
But quickly-think about the comments that
are heard after almost every tragic run....see what I mean? It's the SAME
OLD SONG! As we wrote last Spring in WithTheCommand.Com after the St. Louis
firefighters were killed..."THE BEAT GOES ON"....
I received a lot of e-mail yesterday and
appreciate everyone's comments..100% of the comments were "when are we
ever going to learn" as well as "reminds me of Hackensack" or "the Chesapeake
fire" and "what can be done"......
Probably like you, I have a house full
of family and friends in for Thanksgiving-so I don't wanna ramble on about
this...but simply put, the answers to the above questions are simple. We
covered a lot of that in a recent WithTheCommand article entitled "Ever
Get N.T.S.?" (Non-Thinking-Syndrome)
The answer although challenging-is simple.
We have got to always have FIRE Officers that expect the unexpected and
then, once we act like that-we then have to go to a level of inconvenience
in order to fully prepare a fire department for what will eventually come...meaning,
fires such as described above. It's that so-called "level of inconvenience"
that must include all the stuff we write and talk about...aggressive training,
staffing, equipment setup, response plans, pre-plans, strict command and
control, risk management and safety procedures and attitudes---you know
all the stuff. All very inconvenient when your priorities are to sleep,
eat cake, talk on the phone, play on the computer, play video games, watch
movies, watch Springer and generally waste time when at the firehouse.
Next time you see this happening in your firehouse-stop it-lead your crew
out for a real-drill...something that will matter in saving their own lives.
The result will be WHINING and MOANING in 99% of all cases...until you
start to show them how this stuff really does matter. Why, if you do it
right-you won't even have to worry about if your troops "like you" or not...(they
probably don't-but who cares-I LIKE YOU-see that, now you can move forward)....it
WON'T MATTER IF THEY DON'T "LIKE" YOU-because, they will start to respect
you-and that's what matters....if your attitude is to TRULY get everyone
Changing any fire department's thinking
and culture isn't easy by ANY stretch of the imagination...just like most
of you, I have taken more than just a few TUMS after trying to effect change...but
ya can't give up. Don't EVER give up on this stuff. Do whatever you have
to in order to NOT have this stuff happen. FORCE FEED the stuff we discuss
here and MAKE THOSE INVOLVED LISTEN...no matter what...no matter what rank....no
matter how inconvenient.
As we get ready to sit down at the Thanksgiving
table, our hearts and deepest thoughts go out to Chief Stan Gibson and
the members of the CBFD...but especially out to the families, friends and
most critically the 11 "daddy-less" children of our Brother Firefighters
Chuck Hanners, Randy Carpenter and Jeff Common. You can respectfully honor
their memories by KNOWING that "it will happen" in your community-what
you do to avoid it and prepare for it now is the issue. THE FIRE we are
talking about TODAY-happened "somewhere" in the PAST...so whatcha gonna
do about it now?