Sunday, July 24, 2011

Do you know your rig???

One of the most basic requirements of a firefighter is to know his equipment. Even more basic is to know where it is on the apparatus. There is nothing worse than having to rummage through the compartments for a tool that your officer has ordered and expected you to return with. The consequences of this can run the gamut from embarrassment (and having to have someone show where a tool is that you should have be able to locate in the first place) to lost time in completing an assignment or tactical objective. All roads here lead to tactical breakdown, which leads to a compromise in safety.

You, as an integral part of the company (team) must carry your weight. In fact, your Company Officer will expect you to do your part. To that end, what is your responsibility? As a firefighter in a volunteer department, you should be opening the compartment doors and checking the equipment location every time you are in the firehouse. Before you head to the lounge or take part in an evening drill, get in a little early, open the compartments, take the equipment out, and examine it. In a career department, as soon as you get to the firehouse to begin your shift, you should go through the apparatus, and make sure your gear is in place, ready for response. The cup of coffee can and should wait.

If you are an officer, the aforementioned are expectations that you must set with your subordinates. You cannot expect them to meet these expectations unless you explain them, support them, and enforce them all the time. The fireground is not the place to find out that your personnel are not living up to your expectations. To that end, and in context with this discussion, you must demand and expect that your people know where everything on the apparatus is, what it is used for, how it works, what to do if it doesn’t appear to be working, and, equally important, know its limitations.

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