Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Building Construction - The Truss Roof

Here's an excellent publication from NIOSH that all firefighters (and especially company officers) should read.

NIOSH Publication No. 2005-132

Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Fire Fighters Due to Truss System Failures

You can download the publication as a .pdf document here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Offensive vs. Defensive Operations

This must-see video from Phoenix Fire Department doesn't require any commentary.

Click HERE.

IAFC's 10 Rules of Engagement for Structural Fire Fighting

Here are the IAFC's 10 Rules of Engagement for Structural Fire Fighting.

Acceptability of Risk

  1. No building or property is worth the life of a firefighter
  2. All interior fire fighting involves an inherent risk
  3. Some risk is acceptable, in a measured and controlled manner
  4. No level of risk is acceptable where there is no potential to save lives or savable property
  5. Fire fighters shall not be committed to interior offensive fire fighting operations in abandoned or derelict buildings
Risk Assessment

  1. All feasible measures shall be taken to limit or avoid risks through risk assessment by a qualified officer
  2. It is the responsibility of the Incident Commander to evaluate the level or risk in every situation
  3. Risk assessment is a continuous process for the entire duration of each incident
  4. If conditions change, and risk increases, change strategy and tactics
  5. No building or property is worth the life of a fire fighter

Every fire department in the country should be intimately familiar with the "10 rules of engagement for structural fire fighting" and the associated risk assessment chart.

Not only is it a critical component of fireground safety and scene size-up, it is now the standard by which our actions will be judged in the event of a LODD.

If you don't believe it, see pages 99-102 of the Firefighter Fatality Investigative Report for the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire (Routley Commission Phase II report).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System

Based on the first year of data, the various working groups of the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System have offered the following recommendations for error-management and to improve firefighter performance and safety.
  • Require a 360-degree evaluation of all structures prior to interior operations
  • Require all officers to perform a risk/benefit analysis. When the risk exceeds the benefit, safety trumps exposure to harm
  • Adopt an error management philosophy at the department level and distinguish between good faith errors and disregard for policy
  • Explore and adopt crew resource management to improve leader performance, crew safety, and incident management
  • Aggressive mentalities need to transition into purposeful action mentalities
  • Blind "duty to act" mindsets create harmful institutional climates and put firefighters in unnecessary danger
  • Fire departments must share knowledge gained from near-misses that were prevented by following procedure, as well as those that occur due to error
  • The near-miss reporting system should add questions about SOGs/SOPs, supervisor training, and organizational elements to aid in the review process