Less is more in Firefighting

RIT Class 053Feels good to be out of the pit of promotion and completed the Fire Department Training Networks RIT train the trainer course.  I cannot express how these last few months have been some of the most challenging, blessed, frustrating, happiest, and disappointing of my life.  My phone continually is ringing for more and more folks asking me to bring my message to them.  I cannot think of a bigger honor.

Today’s view comes from the past week as I attended the FDTN’S RIT Train the Trainer course in my home department.  First, I must suggest that you check out these guys as their training was top notch!  Secondly, what an amazing learning experience it was for me personally!  I must admit that I am pretty up on things in the fire service.  From tools and techniques to “Hot” trends  they all seem to be within my grasp until I sat on the floor of a fire station and crammed myself through a 14.5”x24” opening as the instructor told us that in an extreme emergency we COULD dive through this hole.  BAM!

Firefighter survival skills are hard to replicate and produce in training, in my opinion, as the conditions are never the same with too many variables adding to each condition problems.  Being a pessimist, I listened with attention to my instructors. but their explanations made perfect sense. In a do or die situation a firefighter that is trapped could bust through the drywall, establish that it is clear on the other side of the wall, and dive through with one are extended and the other tucked neatly behind our air cylinder and make it through in a short amount of time. BAM!  What makes this a relevant procedure is that most all walls are on 16” centers, most utilities in a wall are 24” off the floor, and I FIT!

One thing that stood out during this drill was the amount of “Stuff” that you carried the harder it was for some of the students to make it through.  From radios, flashlights, to the firefighters that carry more stuff in their gear than an electrician wiring a new construction we all learned that less is more.  When it comes to the amount of things we use and carry while fighting fires less is more.  Do we really need that 12 sets of gloves, meter shut off pliers, and a multipurpose survival tool? My answer that kept coming up was NO!  The more you carry the heavier you are and the wider you are the harder it will be to make this life saving dash through the wall to escape a rapidly changing fire conditions.  Will you have time to make the hole larger, NO.  Do you have the air to make the hole larger, absolutely not.

It’s amazing that our instructors didn’t tell us that less was more, they let us learn it on our own.  Hat’s off to the FDTN for teaching us the lessons of life by living them in a safe, controlled environment.   I will have plenty more views from our class and will be sharing bits and pieces as the Views from the Jumpseat jumps back to life and ready to share the #jumpseatready message with the world.

 

Make sure to check out the FDTN home page HERE and make sure to follow them on Twitter as Well!

 

Buncker up, Buckle in, and remember that we ALL start in the Jumpseat!