Friday, September 25, 2009

Take a Good Look Around

Have you stopped for a minute today and taken a good look around? Whether you’re sitting in the front seat at the stop light of an intersection or as you’re peering out the side cab window coming back from an alarm or while running errands in your POV; have you taken a good look around? As the Springsteen song goes; “this is your town”.
There’s a lot that can be gleaned from your surroundings on any given day. We sometimes take for granted the subtle changes that are happening all around us as we take care of business on our rounds, runs and calls. We tend to focus in on the immediacy of the events that are happening in front of us that demand our attention but fail to take a look around to pick up on information, data and insights that can help us on that next run or down the road in the future.

Take a look at the construction that might be going up in your areas. I’m certain you’re paying close attention to what’s happening in your first-due, but what about that third-due area, that neighboring jurisdiction or the mutual-aid area that you occasionally run in to? When you’re on that next EMS run or an investigation of an odor or alarm bells service call, take a few extra minutes to walk through the occupancy. Conduct your own mini company level pre-plan. Look at the layout, features, access and construction features. If you have a chance, verify the structural support systems employed by the building for the floor and roof systems. If you have time, take the company on a quick site visit to that building that’s under construction or the renovations that are again underway in that commercial or business occupancy around the corner from quarters.

These continuing challenging economic times places a great deal of influence on what’s being built, how it might be constructed, the manner in which a building may be operational one day, vacant the other and under renovation the next. Sometimes these transformations occur literally overnight. Take a good look around, this is your town…your district, your response area. Know your buildings, understand their performance profiles, and assess the predictability of performance. Remember; Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety.
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