Thursday, April 4, 2013

Whats your training life like

How often are you training? Monthly, weekly, daily? Are your troops getting out of it what the intended message was? Our they learning? And lastly our the performing at there A+ game on the fire ground, or are you noticing alot of reoccurring problems?
To me your training life should be very important to your career and I always hear the quotes.
"train like your life depends on it because it does."
"train as if its the real thing."
We have them on posters hanging in our stations, t-shirts, some even have them tattooed on there body.
But are we really "training as if its the real thing" or are we getting tied up with the "gift wrapped" training (aka manufactured PowerPoint's).
Now before you go and condemn me to death hear me out, I do not have a grudge against manufactured powerpoints and I feel that they are a good TOOL that is all they are, they are not a cover and fix all training package.
I have seen some departments that spend more time going over manufactured PowerPoint's than they do covering hands on topics such as ladder deployment or handline deployments.
But why?
What is it that drives the modern day fire service to rely solely on a computer program?
I mean how are we going to learn motor skills in the fire service if we don't get out there and do it.

Now lets cover the hands on portion of trainings with one I see alot of times.
How many times have you been on a training burn where we flow 3 seconds worth of water then turn around and back out?
YET when our new firefighters do it, we blame the training. But here's the kicker question. Why were they not taught about "real world fire flow" in rookie schools?

I want to talk now about the Rohrerstown Fire Company. This is a company of volunteers who are constantly training. When I talked with Lt Hamby he explained in depth there desire to train.
In the summer they train outside alot, yet in the winter they have props indoors that they can use. They don't center there training around a manufactured PowerPoint program.They strive to train on something everyday. When you look at the pictures below you will get a feel for there typical drills.

I am not saying nobody else does this in the world, rather we as firefighters need to be doing more of this hands on training. We need to ensure that our crews are getting everything that they need to help the citizens when it comes to there education.
So tell me whats your training life like
Big thanks to Lt Hamby of Co 67

Monday, January 14, 2013

Estimating the preconnect???????

If you have anything to do with the engine you have heard of the problems surrounding the pre-connect line. But the one I hear and have seen in first person is "not enough hose to reach the fire".
But do you know how to determine what length you will need? You should.
If you get to an incident and you go and pull the 150ft line and you fall short by a length of hose say a 50 footer, its not a good feeling is it. Especially when you have a 200 off the rear of the truck.
That is the point of this piece. Just because you have pre-connects on your engine don't forget how to estimate your stretch.
There are cases out there where pulling the wrong pre-connect has resulted in problems.
As stated in other blogs on Fire Engineering having a selection is the best option but you need to know which one to pull and when to pull it as well as when to switch to a court yard stretch.
Lets say you have the 150 and you cant reach your objective, in the time it takes for you to get another 50ft roll (or 75 to 100 whatever you use) how far along is that fire going to be? It is not going to wait on you is it. And lets say you reach the seat by stream again no good.
We are getting there when it comes to the loads we carry such as 150, 200, 300 then courtyard per say but with this comes the problem of knowing which one is the most appropriate for the situation given.
What kind of obstacles do you have to go around over or thru? How deep is the fire into the structure? How much involvement is there will one line work or might I need more if so will a courtyard be best suited for the job? These are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves when dealing with pre-connected lines. Those questions are used for static loads, so why do we need them? Simple, estimating your stretch will help you understand which line needs to be pulled off the truck. This is will eliminate that short stretch and over stretch.
Some simple drills that can help you with your estimation one I like is to walk it off for instance take a building in your first due you can walk thru and such. Then before walking the route you would take with your hose estimate just how much hose you will need for that stretch  so lets say you pull up to a Dr office and you need to go to the break room say 200ft will work. Now walk it out the way you would stretch your line and see what you get. This not only works on your estimations but it also allows you to basically pre plan so your killing two birds with one stone so to speak
Lets look at it like this. We have to asses the situation as to picking the correct line (2.5, 1.75,etc.). Is it any different regarding length?
photo 1

photo 2

Look at Photo 1 what do we see? we have shrubs and a porch wall to deal with on this stretch. Or what if its on the charlie side?

Photo 2 shows how they have ample hose ready to reach the base of the fire. Making sure you pull the right size line is crucial in this aspect. To short you wont reach to long you end up with knots.

Photo credits to Bill Strite, Cincinnati, OH.

Stay low....And go. Come join us on Facebook at!/groups/284915104947007?ref=bookmark&__user=1789386578

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Techno aged fire service

So on this piece we are going to go over the new age in fire training and whats out there for us.
In today's world of technology we have found that it is now easier than ever to get information on all aspects of the job. We have groups such as UL and NIST that are coming out with all kinds of information from wind driven fires to basement fires. We have access to LODD reports by just clicking on a link! And we have simulators that can replicate a fire by using a computer or smart phone!!
As you read this keep in mind I am not trying to solicit a product. Rather explain what I have found out there that can help us in the service.
Simsushare is a program that allows the user to take photos of anything and everything then "make it a fire building" from gas line fires to auto ignition fires. Smoke ranging from slow moving lazy smoke to pressurized turbulent smoke. Its a very easy to use sim that is super easy to use and is very easy on your check book.
What I really like is how I can use my android to create these drills.
Your out in your first due take a photo with your phone and then you set it up for a drill. FLASHOVER, low banking smoke, smoke reading it can do a ton of things.
You can get it for your Droid, iPhone, Mac, or windows platform.
Check them out at
So why do we need these technical programs? We need them because we are seeing a decrease in fires in today's world and with that a lack of experience is resulting. Now with this tool we can visualize a scenario go over all the works from our stretch to forcible entry challenges. Then we need to hit the drill field and practice those skills. This program will help teach us what to do but we still need hands on to know how to do it.
I want to go ahead and say I am sorry for not getting anything published sooner. I had surgery early on in December and with the holidays I have been super busy.
Stay low....And go Come join us on Facebook at!/groups/284915104947007?ref=bookmark&__user=1789386578