Thursday, January 14, 2010

Aggressive v/s Reckless Tactics

There is a general attitude of “It won’t happen to me” in the fire service when it can. Safety and survival starts prior to the incident and continues throughout the incident with actions and attitudes both before and during the incident.
For years I have heard firefighters internationally say, "we have to be aggressive when combating fires, that's what we do." I pose the question, "are we being aggressive or are we being reckless in our tactics?" There is a fine line that often gets crossed. It is feed by the mentality "this is the way we have always done it or I have been doing this for years and nothing has ever happened". I want folks to stop and think differently for a moment, if you were playing Russian Roulette what would be your odds? Now revert back to some of the tactical operations and decisions that you have either made or were required to care out. What were the outcomes? What were the "odds" that the outcomes could have been different?

To be blunt most times these aggressive mentality involved no rescue efforts, the building was non-tenable and torn down within 30 days after the event. So what did we really gain? ...experience, instant gratification of being able to fight fire??? All for what?...experience that embeds outdated tactics and philosophies, risks far exceeding the benefits, and it is all fun until somebody gets hurt or killed. Then we write it off as part of the job and what is expected. (I have actually heard that more times than I care too.)

Aggressive is good only when it is calculated based upon true situational awareness and evaluated based upon a risk benefit analysis where the gains are high and probable for positive outcomes. Reckless will eventually catch up to you. Risk a lot for a savable human life, risk nothing for what can be replaced.

Remember to stay safe.
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  1. Like it or not, budget cuts do and should impact how Depts. operate and whether they have have the resources, training and/or equipment to change outcomes

  2. You are absolutely correct! Great point

  3. I get pretty tired of hearing sound tatics called reckless. If we only practice good solid aggressive firefighting when there's a person hanging out the window then I say we won't know how to do good aggressive firefighting when it is going to save someone. Every fire I go to is practice for the time there is a life to save. Everyone who says stand out in the yard and watch it burn should work in a factory where it is SAFE and get out of our profession. Thank God for firefighters who are willing to take good solid ACTION!

  4. I think what the Chief is saying here is that you do not want to risk your neck, or your partner's neck, if the risk is not warrented.

    I agree.

    Any people that think the firefighting profession is an excuse to behave recklessly in situations "preparing for the big one" don't get it.

    There is nothing wrong with thinking and behaving safely on the job. Actually, there is something wrong with the Yahoos that think Firefighting is a daredevil job. They are the ones in the wrong career, not the safety-minded Brother.

    You want to thrill-seek? Go be a cliff jumper. Firefighters, REAL firefighters, put themselves in harm's way when there is a reason, and feeding a huge ego is the wrong reason.

    Be Safe,
    Be Smart,


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