Hey all, came across this video on Statter911.com. After watching the video I clicked on the comments as I saw there were more than 40 at the time. After reading them my blood was boiling. The thing that got to me the most was the number of people ripping this department for their choice of attack tactic. Seems the “we need to crawl in and get everything” crowd is alive in well, at least as they sit behind their computer screens and keyboards. Take a look and please tell me what you think.
Ok, so there are some issues in the video. There are on every fire. I’m not talking about air horn blasts, speed or purpose of movement or not coming off the rig on air. Those were points brought up in the comments as well. I really don’t care about those for this particular discussion. What do you guys think about the choice of a transitional attack? That’s what the all-knowing commentators seem to be blasting these guys for the most. I personally think it was a solid choice. You have houses very close to each other, the flames form the B side window are getting pretty close, the wind appears to be helping push it in that direction. Why not knock it and then go in to mop up? Aside from maybe using the B side window instead of the A side window like this particular crew did, I think I would have made much the same choices.
I think this argument of “aggressive interior” versus “ultimate safety yard-breathers” is getting a little out of hand on both sides. The recent comments by the chief from the USFA to the VCOS were, in my opinion, irresponsible and unprofessional. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click the link and read what he had to say. It’ll only take a minute. But so too are comments saying that you need to crawl in on every fire, get to within inches of the seat of the fire (so your gear gets nice and crusty looking) and then beat the red devil into submission. A transitional attack, used correctly, is an extremely effective tactic.
Much of what I have written on this platform has dealt with my belief that we are losing our “edge” as a fire service. I think that the comments made in Clearwater are indicative of a growing trend in the fire service that believes any risk is too much risk to take. I disagree with that statement but I also disagree that every fire has to be a balls-out, hard-charging, fix bayonets attack. Instead of being labeled as a supporter of the “aggressive interior attack” I would rather be known as an advocate for smart, well trained, thinking firefighters who are not afraid to do their jobs or fulfill their calling. A chief I know recently likened some firefighters to robots who have an order programmed into them. They dutifully turn, leave the command post, vent the window and then turn and return to the command post for their next order. Since their order didn’t specifically tell them to take their hook and sweep inside the window after they vented the newspaper read, “the victim was tragically found deceased after the fire was extinguished, mere feet from a window that could have led them to safety,” instead of, “after firefighters broke a window to clear smoke and heat the victim was found and removed. They are now recovering in a local hospital.”
The most useful thing on a fireground is a thinking firefighter. The most useless is a non-thinking firefighter.