Heroes on the
Hudson - Fire Service Tie-in
Thursday afternoon, a US Airways jetliner crashed into the frigid Hudson
River on Thursday afternoon after a collision with a flock of birds disabled
both its engines, sending more than 150 passengers and crew members scrambling
onto rescue boats. Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport
en route to Charlotte, N.C., when the crash occurred in the river near
48th Street in midtown Manhattan. Miraculously, there were no deaths or
Reliability Methods photo
the crash , there has been nothing but praise and accolades for Captain
CB "Sully" Sullenberger, (in photo) who managed to pilot US Airways
Flight 1549 to a safe landing.
addition to working as pilot fore US Air, he is the CEO of
Safety Reliablity Methods, Inc. The company's mission, according to
the web site is " To utilize our expertise to apply the most effective
methods to your organization to achieve the highest levels of safety, performance
and reliability." "Sully" was instrumental in the development and implementation
of the Crew Resource Management (CRM) course used at his airline and has
taught the course to hundreds of his colleagues.
Was is luck? Was
God looking over the crew and patients on board? Maybe. But why did this
event have a happy ending? Crew Resource Management.
to Wikipedia, Crew (or Cockpit) Resource Management (CRM) training originated
from a NASA workshop in 1979 that focused on improving air safety. The
NASA research presented at this meeting found that the primary cause of
the majority of aviation accidents was human error, and that the main problems
were failures of interpersonal communication, leadership, and decision
making in the cockpit.
of CRM models have been successfully adapted to different types of industries
and organizations, all based on the same basic concepts and principles.
It has recently been adopted by the fire service to help improve situational
awareness on the fireground.
training encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes including
communications, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making,
and teamwork; together with all the attendant sub-disciplines which each
of these areas entails.
can be defined as a management system which makes optimum use of all available
resources - equipment, procedures and people - to promote safety and enhance
the efficiency of flight operations.
is concerned not so much with the technical knowledge and skills required
to fly and operate an aircraft but rather with the cognitive and interpersonal
skills needed to manage the flight within an organized aviation system.
In this context, cognitive skills are defined as the mental processes used
for gaining and maintaining situational awareness, for solving problems
and for making decisions. Interpersonal skills are regarded as communications
and a range of behavioral activities associated with teamwork. In aviation,
as in other walks of life, these skill areas often overlap with each other,
and they also overlap with the required technical skills. Furthermore,
they are not confined to multi-crew aircraft, but also relate to single
pilot operations, which invariably need to interface with other aircraft
and with various ground support agencies in order to complete their missions
training for crew has been introduced and developed by aviation organizations
including major airlines and military aviation worldwide. CRM training
is now a mandated requirement for commercial pilots working under most
regulatory bodies worldwide, including the FAA (U.S.) and JAA (Europe).
fosters a climate or culture where the freedom to respectfully question
authority is encouraged. However, the primary goal of CRM is not enhanced
communication, but rather enhanced situational awareness. It recognizes
that a discrepancy between what is happening and what should be happening
is often the first indicator that an error is occurring. This is a delicate
subject for many organizations, especially ones with traditional hierarchies,
so appropriate communication techniques must be taught to supervisors and
their subordinates, so that supervisors understand that the questioning
of authority need not be threatening, and subordinates understand the correct
way to question orders.
voice recordings of various air disasters tragically reveal first officers
and flight engineers attempting to bring critical information to the captain's
attention in an indirect and ineffective way. By the time the captain understood
what was being said, it was too late to avert the disaster.
until 1980, the airline industry worked on the concept that the captain
was THE authority on the aircraft. What he said, goes. And we lost a few
airplanes because of that. Sometimes the captain isn't as smart as we thought
he was. And we would listen to him, and do what he said, and we wouldn't
know what he's talking about. And we had 103 years of flying experience
there in the cockpit, trying to get that airplane on the ground, not one
minute of which we had actually practiced, any one of us. So why would
I know more about getting that airplane on the ground under those conditions
than the other three. So if I hadn't used [CRM], if we had not let everybody
put their input in, it's a cinch we wouldn't have made it.]
basic concepts and ideology that make CRM successful with aviation air
crews have also proven successful with other related career fields. Several
commercial aviation firms, as well as international aviation safety agencies,
began expanding CRM into air traffic control, aircraft design, and aircraft
maintenance in the 1990s. Specifically, the aircraft maintenance section
of this training expansion gained traction as Maintenance Resource Management
(MRM). In an effort to standardize the industry wide training of this team-based
safety approach, the FAA (U.S.) issued Advisory Circular 120-72, Maintenance
Resource Management Training in September, 2000.
a study of aviation mishaps over the 10-year period 1992-2002, the U.S.
Air Force determined that close to 18% of its aircraft mishaps were directly
attributable to maintenance human error (source, U.S. Air Force Safety
Center). Unlike the more immediate impact of air crew error, maintenance
human errors often occurred long before the flight where the problems were
discovered. These "latent errors" included such mistakes as failure to
follow published aircraft manuals, lack of assertive communication among
maintenance technicians, poor supervision, and improper assembly practices.
what is the big deal here?
crew day in and day out practice the same procedures. Then, as part of
regularly required avaition training, pilots practice dealing with less
than desireable landing conditions, such a gear failures, adverse weather
and other "bad" situations. While the fre service has dabbled with CRM,
this recent incident shows it's value.
fire service day in and day out handles routine incidents. However,
our tradition and cultures have often impeded progress.
Resourse Management, A Positive Change for Fire Sevice was developed
through generous assistance from the Foundation for Firefighter Health
and Safety, Volunteer Firemanís Insurance Services and the U.S. Fire Administration,
issued by the IAFC.
of the foremost promoters of CRM has been Dennis
Rubin, Fire Chief of the Washington, D.C. Fire and EMS Department.
the lead from the Heroes on the Hudson, CRM works.
Ronald Richards has over 30 years of fire service experience, both career
and volunteer. Chief Richards recently retired from the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, having served as a Fire Marshal and Fire and Safety Specialist.
Prior to retiring Chief Richards was assigned to the office of Criticial
Incident Management to assist with the implementation of NIMS and ICS.
He currently serves as the Assistant Chief for Operations at Browndale
Fire Company in Wayne County, PA. Richards graduated from the State University
of New York with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Service Administration.
Richards is a PA State Fire Instructor and is the CEO of Task
Force 1, Inc, He is the founder of WithThecommand.com. He can
be reached at RRichards@Taskforce1.net