Thursday, June 10, 2010

Incident Command System Revised

I feel the need to supply way of communication that will help with all the great, easy to use systems out there. The nims system that we are all using...har, wonderful if you use it and I do not mean make your own use of it.

If your frustrated with the command structure within your department it is probably because of two things, which are correctable by the way. One is, people in your department are not trained in their responsibilities or held accountable to their role either. Two, the top does not do their role or respect the roles below them because their ego will not allow it.

So the change now to bring to your department is the very novel idea of.... now hold your breath....use your rank structure and hold people accountable for not doing it.
If your the Chief and you pass information on to a firefighter or write up a firefighter then you probably just ignored two or more ranks that held the resposibility for delivering those things and you did wrong. YOU compromised the safety of personnel by bypassing the command structure. And since in most departments there is no one holding you accountable, its time for changing...YOU!

So start using command systems everyone and if its not your job leave it to the great people who do that for you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Leadership for all times and conditions

Great blog article on leadership, see if you can "follow" these guidelines.

Monday, May 17, 2010
Experience Leadership
Posted by Douglas Cline at 5/17/2010 12:01:00 PM

Often in my travels and teaching I am asked by young officers and aspiring officers what it takes to be a good leader or how to become a good leader. I usually respond to that question with a question “What do you think it takes to become a good leader?”
Most respond with the typical answers; knowledgeable, fair, hardworking, etc. Well those are good traits, but let’s dig a little deeper into the meat of leadership and where it begins. Let’s start by replacing leadership confusion with leadership courage. This piece of advice was given to me a long time ago by Chief John R. Leahy Jr. (retired). It took me many years and a few more good mentors to figure out exactly what this truly meant. But I finally got it and it was not all that hard. So let’s focus on replacing leadership confusion with leadership courage.

Don’t’ let your fear confuse the Department’s plan.
I can remember a time when my efforts were focused on myself and trying to be the best I could be. Many young officers or aspiring officers get caught up in this drama. They believe that the better they become the better they will be as a leader. There is some truth in this statement, but the meat of being a good officer is much more than having numerous certifications and qualities. You must balance these good components with the courage to believe and support the department and its mission. Finding out the hard way that I could possess many good traits and qualities was not the total answer. In fact it was the smallest portion of the equation. After several years of floundering I finally learned that the most important component in being a leader at any level is being on board and supporting the efforts of the organization. So often I see departments with individuals who are constantly rowing against the Fire Chief, trying to go in other directions rather than the pathway set out by this individual as they try to fulfill the mission. Our fear creates conflict in our lives. The fear is of many things, mostly of change.

The business world is a place of constant change. The fire service is part of the business world whether individuals want to believe it or not. I will guarantee that if you look at any department across the world it is run some what like a business. There are budgets, personnel issues, accounts payable and accounts receivable. If that is not a business I am not real sure what else it could be. So with a fire department being a “business” we should expect constant change. If you look across the United States fire departments are faced with stories of mergers, layoffs and restructuring every day. No matter the scale, when these kinds of changes hit the work place, the literal, situational shifts are often not as difficult for individuals to work through as the psychological transitions that accompany the change. As organizational transitions occur they affect people. These are the individuals who have to embrace a new situation and carry out corresponding change. Leaders find themselves in roles of having to sell these changes.

Don’t let Your Confusion, Cause You to Miss the Department’s Goals and the Mission.
Fire Departments across the United States have Mission Statements and leader philosophies posted throughout the fire stations. But walk in and ask a firefighter, or even better a fire officer, what their mission statement says and I will bet that they can’t tell you, much less live it. As a leader you must follow suit with the philosophies set forth by the fire chief. Generally these goals and philosophies have an end result in mind. However, with our disciplined attention to detail to focus on the mission, the end results all too often fall short of the goals. As a young leader, have the courage to embrace the leadership philosophies. For a while you are guaranteed to receive ridicule and be called a few choice names. However in the long run you will find that you will become well respected for your consistency and diligence by most.

Don’t Let Your Confusion Influence Your Obedience.
With any successful department comes a strong vision. This vision is generally set forth by the fire chief. As a young or aspiring officer you must embrace that vision. Think about it: if the leader has no idea what the organization is to become, he or she cannot expect the people to know. No vision causes misalignment and confusion among the members of the organization. Not supporting that vision is just as detrimental to the organization and your leadership ability.

Vision is in direct proportion to accomplishment. The more you envision, the more that can be accomplished. I know by now you are saying this is not how it works! Well, I used to think that as well. I used to see my vision instead of the department’s vision. End result was a catastrophic failure personally and a drag line slowing the organization down.

Have the courage to obey leadership and the mission. These folks are probably not as stupid as you want to believe. There are many factors that play into the formula that you may not be privileged to know or even understand. Again fighting, questioning or rowing against the forward progression can result in a delayed or failed mission.

If you are beginning to see the light as a young or aspiring officer or you are an officer who is trying desperately to mentor a young counterpart, you may be asking your- self , “What do I do now?” Well it is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1. Refocus on the department and the mission – Begin by putting the department first. As you do this and the success of the department occurs you will see that your success increases proportionally. By being diligently focused on being a team player in leadership you will see that you will develop good qualities and traits. Most of all you will gain respect as you have the whole at heart rather than you as an individual.

2. Release a Gift – Each individual has a gift to give. It is the desire to share that gift that doesn’t always exist. Start thinking of the department more than yourself. By devoting your talents to the department and others you will reap the rewards. Ask not what the department can do for you, but what you can do for the department is a good philosophy to follow.

3. Reach out to everyone – Your ability to help others supports the true mission of the fire service To Protect and Serve.

By taking responsibility for your actions and taking some of the heat off of the team, the department will be able to excel to great level. Most important you are part of the solution, not part of the problem that leads to failure.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just Wear It!

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There are so many mister obvious situations hurting or killing firefighters and although training is very available firefighters still want to deny reality, I guess its the drama of it all. Many firefighters complain that Chiefs do not do the things that would keep us safe, here we see clearly demonstrated the culture of complacency effect.

Here's the safety message, no debate, if your wearing your PPE you are very unlikely to get hurt , so just wear it!

Also while your doing the right things, get out and do some hands on training it may save your rear!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Iron Fireman Rides On

There are old schoolers out there who may understand this best and I hope they read the description. This ad for a heating coal fired heating unit was found underneath 18 layers of wall paper. This unit was sold 1940's era and the company had 24 hour service, WOW! If you read through the description you will pick up on the similarities between the ad and real Iron Firefighters that last a great long time and provide great service! Short for today but this takes old school to a new level!! Be safe!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who is compromising what? And Your Complacency!

I'm thinking about how our government friends are continuing to compromise SAFETY in all our communities today. The policies they employ in all areas lack one huge thing called planning. It is a good reminder though, that we need to be in a great state of readiness planning so that we can cover for their failures. This means that no matter what crazy out of line cuts they are doing we respond with great planning, that utilizes a team planning approach and all the resources at our disposal.

The governing agencies will compromise our safety with no considerations or education, they will cut our budgets and our people, they will continue to think of us as unnecessary, so this planning we do must be with all thoughts on the table and considerable patience with each other.

Your complacency will be the only thing that will undermine your efforts, so train and train and educate and move forward!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Relentless in many ways!

The firefighter has many great qualities that serve the public well and one of these is being relentless. We tire from mental and physical exhaustion but press on to rescue a life , to preserve properties and assist other agencies. Firefighters are so relentless in doing the job that they become taken for granted like we see now with our crazy economic state "forcing" governing agencies to look at cutting the fire service first.

I would like the Federal government to help us out in some real ways like passing legislation that would require politicians to be trained to oversee the services they presently do not and pass tests to know they have fulfilled the requirements.

I think also it is time that all businesses that provide water to the citizens also provide water to fire departments without harassing them. These businesses should be fined daily for not allowing or providing water to FD's for training and firefighting. I doubt that if the public knew that this happens they would tolerate it and it would cause litigation.

It should be a comfort to the public that while the politicians relentlessly attack us we will still stand strong and relentlessly provide great fire protection.

I am rambling on today and fired up about politicians who are not educated...etc.... but watch this to see what will be coming to your town soon!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Firefighter Bailouts

I've watched this close call and wondered about a great many things about firefighting and this one also made me think back on FDNY Lt.McCormack's FDIC presentation because the two could be used together for training. While it is true that there are many unknowns here and I hope that the FD's involved really review this incident thoroughly, Mr.Obvious does rear his head here for several issues.

There are many firefighters on scene at the beginning of this video but where is the vent team and where are they venting? There is great fire involvement of this structure but where are the attack teams operating, I count at least twelve guys with the hands in their pockets out back? Now the bailout, they do help with the ladder but how about a hand down the ladder, my legs are burning up thinking about how long he hangs there with no help. There's a possible rescue and you cannot see much sense of urgency. This guy with the cam on air is a joke in real time.

I hope training and the guts to do what needs doing comes to this department some day. This firefighter is so fortunate to have found a window.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Firefighter Readiness

When your your brain finally clicks on in the morning or later depending on processor speed do you say, hey, I might need to be ready for what today might bring, right now!

Firefighters are called to bring under control any event they are trained for or that other agencies are unqualified for and or are scared of, that is the truth of it even though it is spun many different ways when you listen to any media organization. So, that being said there are many details that we need to continually be prepared for and we have to relentlessly remain ready to do through training etc. There are so many details related to each thing that we have to work as a team to be in an excellent state of readiness, because no one man has all the needed strengths to keep an organization prepared.

So this morning while I am finally becoming coherent(possibly) I am thinking we need to lay down the coffee cups and form a habit of paying attention to the details as a group so that we will succeed in all the ways we need to, just make sure today that all your gear,equipment is in a great state of readiness, it will make you and those around you better firefighters.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Vent Job

These guys go get it done very well, I did wonder if the blades were dull as I thought man that vent job should already be done. That was maybe because the biggest screw up you see a lot is that firefighters go to the roof and take way too long which greatly compromises their safety, go get this job done and come off the roof.

I put this out there because ventilation is very important to efficient firefighting operations and we cannot forget this. Also if you kinda survey the scene as a firefighter when your coming up on a fire you will generally see the best area to vent, if you watch the smoke in this video you know they made a good choice.

Remember we are doing this for their lives and ours and that gets us back to the station in good shape!