Monday, August 16, 2010

Situational Awareness: What are you seeing?

Two events over the past week resulted in one firefigther line of duty death in Chicago and six firefighters seriously injuried in Detroit. Here's a brief narrative for wach event;

On August 9, 2010 Chicago Firefighter/Paramedic Christopher Wheatley was working a grease-chute fire at a restaurant when he fell approximately 35 feet from the ladder of an attached fire escape suffering fatal injuries while he was making his way up to the roof of the burning building with his equipment. The Incident Location was; 615 W. Randolph, Chicago, Ilinois. Refer to incident details, HERE

On August 12, 2010, Six Detroit firefighters were injured during operations at a two alarm fire at a commercial taxpayer fire on the city’s east side. The brick facade collapse trapped a number of firefighters under the debris pile requiring extrication and removal. It was reported the building structure had sustained some degree of damage from fire operations a few hours earlier and that during the suppression operations at 07:00 hours, while companies were operating, a facade collapse of the perimeter brick wall occured. Refer to incident details, HERE


The dynamics, risks and factors that influence the fireground are broad and expansive. They affect nearly all of our operational phases and have a profound affect on the tactical level of operating companies and personnel. Identifying and maintaining effective and situational awareness on the fireground and specifically on your task assignment is a constant challenge under the best of intentions. It also proves to be one of the singular operational areas that provide a tremendous level on return when applied correctly during operational deployment and engagement. Check out some more expanded insights and information on situational awareness HERE, HERE , HERE , HERE and HERE.
 
How does situational awareness play into your day to day function and operations? Have you had any training or focus on how to identify and scan the fireground with increased efficiency and effectiveness? Do you know what to be looking at or listening for? Is the term situational awareness meaningless and hollow or meaningful and consequential?

Spend some time today or tonight discussing the issues related to situational awareness at the station or amongst the crew. How is it best applied and how can it help support the fireground to increase operational safety, performance and effectiveness?
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