09/20/10 145 W - + 7 - 1 Aggressive Quarterbacking

From Dave Statter comes this video and heated discussion therein. Aggressive interior attack in Prince George's County, MD. Your choice on forming opinions. You can watch the video and extrapolate everything else. Or go this Kentland FD web page, and see still photos including shots from other sides of the structure.

As for discussions, check Statter's site for the first and best batch. Then check Firefighter Spot and their discussion titled Is The Fight Worth It? Then check the site that originated the video, The Bravest Online and their discussion therein.

Participate as desired. Post here as desired. Heck, you can even discuss medium as message. How does the headbanging musical accompaniment affect your perception of the recorded events? For added effect, read Dave's coverage of a birthday suit worn at a DC firehouse. That's also got people talking. Happy Monday morning.

Good video for training…of what not to do. Risk vs Reward. and the music just pushes this cowboy mentality, esp to our new guys coming up. We are our own worst enemy.
ncff - 09/20/10 - 09:18

Agree with ncff. As for the music, I have seen headbanger music detract from otherwise good fire-related videos on Youtube. Somebody’s personal musical taste may run to that stuff, but he or she should consider the end effect and be less lazy in seeking a more appropriate background track for a video.
dlh - 09/20/10 - 10:26

Go do your research, before you want to bash something you know nothing about. Look at the pictures that were taken after the fire was out. Then come back and voice your opinion. A video does not always tell the whole story.
unknown - 09/20/10 - 10:44

Y’all say what you want and although I would’ve pulled a larger line I salute these guys. Way to man the F&#K up, get in there, and put it out! It’s our job. If you’re scared say you’re scared and get somebody else on the line with me. An ole’ timer once said to me, “I remember when sex was safe and fighting fire was dangerous.”.
RescueRanger - 09/20/10 - 11:13

Before we all start throwing stones at these guys for putting the fire out, we should consider a few things.

1) The area being discussed is plagued with squatters and homeless which live in these “vacant” houses. If you don’t believe me, go do a ride-a-long up there. You’d be blown away.

2) Fifty percent of the house was saved, including the rear which could have easily had someone sleeping or trapped in a room. One thing I’ll ask though, is the point of entry. I think going in the rear or a side door, then pushing everything back towards the front might be better in the case of “victim survivability” in the rear. (I believe someone else in our area experienced this very same scenario, but didn’t perform a search or hopefully just missed a victim sleeping in the back bedroom. But, nobody cared to discuss that on here. Too close to home perhaps? It’s not about pointing fingers, but what we ALL can LEARN from a mistake. Lemme’ guess though, the fire went out and nobody got hurt right? That’s disgusting in my opinion. IF you mess up, admit it, AND LEARN FROM IT. Eighty-four percent of all civilian fire deaths occur in residences, this is where we should be aggressive with our tactics and searches.

3) If we’re talking “Risk vs Reward”, since everyone throws that around on a daily basis, let’s talk physical fitness. Use that model when you eat “macaroni surprise” or smoke that tenth cigarette of the day and don’t workout or maintain your level of fitness. “Cardiovascular” is still the leading cause of death amongst us. You’re doing a terrible disservice to yourself, your crew, and your family. Our bodies take a beating doing this job, do what you can to maintain it. Preventative maintenance is the key, right?

4) While it is easy to say “why the heck are they going in”, we can look at other instances closer to home and say the same thing. Fires where we push in without proper ventilation to support the push. Fires where a search is delayed and finally performed 20 minutes into the incident. We shouldn’t be going in homes with 95 gpm’s as our main weapon. Add in a kink or a leaking coupling and 95 gpm’s has become 85 gpm’s.

5) Firefighting is a dangerous job. We accept this fact when we take the job offer (or apply to a vollie department). Our job is to save lives, put fires out and preserve property. I’ll never bust someones’ chops about not going in a well involved store or business which is closed and it’s 3am. They should have had insurance, and if they didn’t it’s not our problem. But, dwellings are where people dwell. Understand the fact that there will be risk to ensure everyone is out, homeless or not. If the house is TRULY “fully involved”, where fire is coming out of EVERY single nook and cranny, then yes, there is 0% chance of survivability.

If you don’t know, this area catches a lot of fire. As we all know, typically the more you catch, the better you become at the bread and butter. You can go through a cinder block building and fight staged fires all day, but until you’re in the street doing it day after day, it’s hard to build experience.
Silver - 09/20/10 - 12:17

they appear to be staffed properly, which is a major reason for the successful outcome.
staffed - 09/20/10 - 15:19

Not slamming anybody for putting out the fire. Consider that you don’t know me. From your name and use of vulgar language to make your point, I’m guessing you are a young guy. Listen to those old timers. The others here make good points.
dlh - 09/20/10 - 17:51

Yeah, what Silver said!!!!
Wayne - 09/20/10 - 18:00

I think that this fire “looked” worse than it was. The roof fire was just that, a roof fire knock it out and if conditions allow, advance the line effect the search and put the fire out, Kudos brothers.

As for these repeated comments of man up and get in there, and it’s our job… ask the members and families of the Charleston FD if this used to be there attitude, and how that has affected them. It is a CALCULATED risk that we take. I did not sign up to die, and if you did, then you are an idiot. I signed up to do my best to use my training, gear, knowledge, skills and abilities to help people when they need our services, but there are calculated risks we take, and if it isn’t worth it I’m not going in, and I’ll be at your funeral if you do and be there to tell your family and loved ones that you died due to stupidity and lack of training. I use my training to know when a fire box is survivable by a victim that has no protective gear, I look at the smoke and fire conditions, think of the time that has elapsed, and measure the survivability, and if the risk is worth it then I’ll “man the F&#K up” and get in there, but if not then well… that’s the calculation that we make, we cannot save them all. I plan on going home after the end of every shift, and plan on leaving with my crew and the rest of the members of my department.

Good points Jeff, as normal…
CFP 7021 - 09/20/10 - 18:22

Who had a fire around here that they didn’t find a person in?
Mike - 09/20/10 - 18:55

The topic has come and gone. I tried to get someone to clarify the incident in question, but nobody would. All we had to go on was the news story and the pics from the scene (and rumors). I’m not naming names because it’s old news. The moral of the story; perform searches early into an incident (and ensure one crew performs a primary and different crew a secondary), FIRST PRIORITY. Fightin’ fire isn’t!! Sometimes members get locked in to wanting to put the fire out, but forget that searches need to be performed.
Silver - 09/20/10 - 20:47

CFP 7021. Perfectly said. That’s what I tell my crews on a regular basis.
AB - 09/20/10 - 21:31

I just have to add my 2 sense, we need some of the guys in this video on our trucks. Like someone said earlier it’s our job. You can be aggresive and safe at the same time. I wouldn’t have thought twice about going in that house.
Jg - 09/20/10 - 23:02

I think the music is pretty cool… and I guess I’m one of those “old guys.”
A.C. Rich - 09/21/10 - 00:58

Silver very good points you have made. As for many others you have to be in this county to understand. Yes there are departments here that are extremely wreckless and don’t ever think about the what if. I know that I have ran many fires here where I came out and thought to myself what the F*@# were we thinking. If you may not know this county is very aggressive. On what may be a BS fire for us may in turn be a surround and drown for many others. We run our fair share of fire here gain years worth of expirence in months and many of the people that survive this county as a Vollie or Career man turn out to be great fireman that go on to teach to the youth of the fire service. A quote a great friend and role model said to me is “A good fireman knows how, A great fireman knows why”. Training is huge here and you get the expirence to back what you learn from the book. I think this video is aggressive firefighting at it’s finest and Kudos to my brothers from Seat Pleasant and District Heights. No matter what the monday morning quaterbacking says you made me proud to say I’m From PG. And to all; if you don’t know PG please come do a ride-along it will honestly blow your mind. Sorry if this steps on anyone’s toes I’m not here to pamper your ass and tell you it will all be ok. Be safe
PGTruckie (Email) - 09/21/10 - 01:16

Way to go, PGTruckie! I with you 100%.
@CFP7021 – I understand the “risk reward” scenario and I’ve never said I’m balls to the wall unsafe. However, where do you draw the line? Obviously we all want to go home to our family including myself. But I signed up to be a firefighter and being a firefighter has an inherent risk. I think it’s wrong that you stated you’ll be at a fellow brother’s funeral thinking that they died because of stupidity and lack of training. A death in the fire service does not illustrate a lack of training or stupidity. It proves that you can’t survive on what’s inside a textbook. What would you have done on this fire? Would you have gone in if you pulled up and the homeowner advises everybody is out? Why go in any fire if there is no life safety involved? Why put your life at risk for somebody’s personal belongings? The risk of going in this house would have been well worth the reward if we saved a child’s favorite stuffed animal that they sleep with every night and bring it outside to them.
RescueRanger - 09/21/10 - 10:00

Good to hear from you “PG”. I emailed you. I encourage those that have the time, to go do a ride-a-long just as an observer. What you can learn from watching is amazing. Most of the guys up there are great and will take you in as one of their own. Let it be known though, if you “get in the way”, they’ll kindly ask you to leave.

As far as being stupid and having a lack of training, tying in the whole Charleston incident….well, that may be a little extreme Brother 7021. You know I love you Bro, but, the guys in Charleston (for example) were doing what they were trained to do for years and years. The fault of that incident lies on one man’s shoulders, the Chief, for not ensuring his members were properly trained. We all know, if those Nine went against the grain and did something that would have been considered “right” in our eyes, might not have been the “Charleston Way” and they may have been disciplined, dismissed or shunned for not going along “with the program”. The quote by Rusty Thomas still sticks in my head; “this is Charleston, and we do things the Charleston way. Nobody comes here and tells us how to do things”. This mentality contributed to the terrible events on that June day. Things are engrained in our heads at times to be the “______ Way”, an accepted practice in said city, but it may not be the right way, most effective or safest. This mentality might get us in trouble one day, as we continue to dodge a bullet using an unaccepted practice.

Sometimes, RR, training is a contributing factor, but not ALL times. Just read the NIOSH reports, a true and “in your face” way to learn from our fallen Brothers.
Silver - 09/21/10 - 12:10

Jeff, I did not intend for the Charleston incident to illustrate a lack of training (although it did, as they relied on only what they knew from their department, and did not follow accepted practices, but that’s another story), but to illustrate how this “gung ho” attitude can lead to tradegy. I have a friend of mine who used to be on CFD, and a number of years ago he told me “we are going to kill some guys down here if we keep doing what we’re doing,” he was forutnate enough to leave the CFD before this happened. I talked to him shortly after the incident and he could only say “I told you so.” This is due to the attitude that they, and many other places had or continue to have.

As for training and LODDs all you have to do is read the NIOSH reports, which cite lack of fireground training, SCBA training, RIT training, Communications training, etc… for contributing factors. Then you have contributing factors such as lack of command and control (lack of training on such), or lack of policies/procedures (once again, training). And if you want to sit back and rely on being spoonfed your training by your department then you are setting yourself up for failure. And you’re right, the textbook is called the “Essentials,” which is just that, the essentials, the basics… it in no way is everything you need to know to survive in this job. You must attend lectures, HOT sessions, read respected periodicals, visit fire service websites and read what’s going on, subscribe to the email lists that are out there (Secret List, FF Close Calls, USFA, Responder Safety, etc…), take it upon yourself to learn, read, absorb from your peers and mentors, but DON’T rely on somebody else to give you what you need.

These things will let you know when it is reasonable and safe* to go into a fire, to risk something. Would I put my life at risk to save a stuffed animal, no way in this world. Would I go in on this fire, sure after putting the roof out and making an assessment of the condition of the building based on its construction type, fire damage and current fire conditions… the things I’ve learned from MY training, not what my department(s) train me on. Talk to some of the guys who’ve been around LODD situations, talk to the people who had to hold back guys from going in to rescue their brothers in order not to lose more, I think you’ll realize there’s a lot more to this job then we think there is. Some things that happen are accidents, and as such are not preventable, but most are not, most can be prevented, and these things can be prevented though safe, accepted practices, assessing the situations and allowing your training to guide you. As I recently heard at a training session, don’t just be safe, make it safe.
CFP 7021 - 09/21/10 - 13:27

Some aftermath pics during the daytime posted here, see how much is still entact…
Silver - 09/21/10 - 16:28

Wow, what’s really impressive is it’s a fully volunteer department. I guess it’s surprising to me because I’ve only dealt with local volunteer departments and I rarely see aggressiveness with them including the one I’m a member of.
RescueRanger - 09/21/10 - 20:13

Rescueranger, they mislead people with the all volunteer stuff if you are speaking of Kentland. Yes, their station 33 is all volley as long as you don’t count the paid guys on the ambulance there. And their second station, station 46 is completely staffed by paid county employees. But yes in general there are still a lot of volleys in PG county, many of which don’t live there they just come in for a few days at a time and for the most part the entire county is an agressive collection of firefighters.
Mike - 09/21/10 - 21:29

Bish’ I assume, while they’re not “get in the car, run to the firehouse” type volley’s, they’re still volunteering their time. You and I know that, but some don’t. The boys from 33 were third due special service on this job, so they performed RIT. Since you mentioned 33, I’ll fill some in that care….

To chase history, the ambulance stationed at 33 has some history behind it, going way back to when PG first started running “medical locals”. The county finally pushed hard enough and had a bus put BACK in 33. A lot of those guys at 33 are paid elsewhere, but choose to volunteer their time pulling duty crews at the firehouse on off days, some also live in the firehouse. Pretty damn impressive when I stop by to see a ladder staffed with five, an engine with four and a rescue-engine with four….all volunteers. Paid guys are mixed in at other firehouses, and lots ride the ambo’s and medics. Kentland 33 is one in PG that has always been able to get rigs out the door with plenty of manpower.

I was at a class in Alabama with a paid guy from PG, so I asked his opinion of the boys from 33; “They’re cocky as hell, but if my house is on fire I’d want 33 to come put it out”.
Silver - 09/22/10 - 14:30

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