Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baptism By Fire Or Death By Diversity?

We use the term “baptism by fire” in the fire service to measure that milestone that we achieve with our first big fire; our first true test as a firefighter. The “baptism” welcomes us into a world where ranks are closed very tightly and bonds are never to be broken. And when one dies, the aggrieved mourns the loss, but it is the fire department that captures all of the attention.

I recently wrote a blog on Firefighter Nation with respect to and in honor of Fire Paramedic Apprentice (FPA) Rachel Wilson of the Baltimore City Fire Department, who died during a training exercise on February 9, 2007.

The intent of the blog was to examine pre-incident issues, post-incident issues, recommendations that were made post-incident and corrective measures taken to date. Comments are welcome, but they will be respectful, thoughtful and most of all, civil. I expect there to be differences of opinions, but again; they will be respectful replies.

Because of the many issues involved, I believe that it is important that a dissection of available information takes place and we intake them as lessons learned. I have posted the links to all documents reviewed for the article.

I know very little about the “inner” workings of one of our storied fire departments in this country; Balitmore City Fire Department. After all, they were the backdrop for the feature film “Ladder 49”.

However; though I may not know how BCFD fulfills their mission statement, I know how it should work at ANY fire department, because firefighters are NOT supposed to die during their training.

They are supposed to be learning the skills that will keep them alive!

I will tell you that, based on the information circulated after the death of FPA Rachel Wilson and since, it appears that this tragic incident has become a political football and though inappropriate, also became the exclamation point to a series of decisions that may have been made for the wrong reasons that culminated in the death of a 29 year old mother of two small children.

NIOSH issued ten (10) recommendations. The internal report identified fifty (50) violations of NFPA 1403. Three (3) terminations resulted from the incident and a chief resigned for unspecified reasons.

My conclusions and opinions are based solely upon the documents that I reviewed and no disrespect is intended towards any of the fine men and women of the BCFD and it is noted that many of the recommended changes have been made.

To read my blog in its entirety, go to http://www.firefighternation.com/profiles/blogs/baptism-by-fire-or-death-by

These are the links to the documents reviewed:
http://www.abc2news.com/news/local/story/Final-Report-On-Firefighter-Death-Critical-Of/6LEmfr4uBEWPXYcEKZzQEA.cspx
http://www.emsnetwork.org/artman/publish/article_25310.shtml
http://www.baltimoresun2.com/talk/showthread.php?t=112618
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200709.html
http://wjz.com/topstories/firefighter.injured.west.2.425362.html
http://www.baltimorecity.gov/news/press/02-22-07StatementonWilsonInvestigation.pdf
http://www.ci.baltimore.md.us/government/fire/downloads/1208/121908%20NIOSH%20Report%202008.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_BMI/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.htm
http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=13835
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200138.html

http://media.www.loyolagreyhound.com/media/storage/paper665/news/2007/11/20/News/Baltimore.Fire.Chief.Goodwin.Resigns-3111021.shtmlhttp://www.cwhms.com/news.php?id=1
http://www.firefighterclosecalls.com/pdf/BaltimoreTrainingLODDFinalReport82307.pdf
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

2 comments:

  1. I have been in the EMS for 17 years and it was during a training, in my 20's, that I realized fire fighting was not for me. I ended up staying on the ambulance and getting my degrees in counseling, specializing in CISM and stress management.

    We, in the emergency services, are human and humans make mistakes. One of the best things we can do is learn from our mistakes and then move on. Unfortunately, some involved in this incident will not.

    My heart and prayers go out to all of those involved. I would never want to experience something so critical.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have been in the EMS for 17 years and it was during a training, in my 20's, that I realized fire fighting was not for me. I ended up staying on the ambulance and getting my degrees in counseling, specializing in CISM and stress management.

    We, in the emergency services, are human and humans make mistakes. One of the best things we can do is learn from our mistakes and then move on. Unfortunately, some involved in this incident will not.

    My heart and prayers go out to all of those involved. I would never want to experience something so critical.

    ReplyDelete

Join the discussion here! The Kitchen Table welcomes comments, but please be respectful. Comments must be approved by the blog administrator before they will appear on the site.

Web Analytics