We hear all the time how firefighting is dangerous. Most of us will agree that it can be pretty dangerous, we know it’s a part of the job. It can’t really be safe when all those other people are running out of the building. There are a few things you can do yourself that will help you in the long run. This isn’t a list of your department’s safety regulations, it’s pretty much common sense for all of us.
Seat belts were never found of fire apparatus. Seat belts were for airplanes and then for passenger cars. We are fireman. We don’t need those seat belts. They will keep us from being able to sprint from the fire engine to rescue all those people. Well I hope you never sprint on duty, and using that seat belt won’t slow you up any more than opening a door.
When a big fire apparatus is involved in an accident, you can get just as injured as if you were in a small car. Firefighters die every year because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. It only takes a second. Don’t be the guy that goes out the windshield and dies on the roadway.
When we leave for a serious call, adrenaline can get the best of us. Drivers like to see how fast they can get to the call and that starts with getting a good jump pulling out of the station. Well what about that guy that was on the other side of the station running the K12 saw that didn’t hear the call right away? He comes a couple seconds later and slips on the wet floor just as the rig pulls out. Not a happy ending.
If you are the officer pulling out on this rig, it is easy to ensure this won’t happen. The rig cannot pull out if the officer’s door is held wide open. So, the officer holds his door wide open until everyone is safely on the rig. The driver isn’t very likely to pull out and have that door hit the station
Do your own size-up when you are going on a call. Try and recall the construction of the building from previous calls or inspections. When you arrive look for windows, skylights, and plumbing stacks that you can used for landmarks.
You might have an incident commander, safety officer, and company officer that checks all those things, but you are in charge of yourself and you need to know how to save yourself and other firefighters if things go bad. Sure they are officers, but that alone doesn’t make them any smarter than you. No one is more qualified to take care of you than you are.
A lot of departments use rope to help us get around and out of a building. I have never liked rope inside a building. Rope gets caught on things like furniture and pillars. Unless you are required to bring that rope leave it outside. A hoseline is a good way to find your way out of the building. If you do lose the hoseline, find a window and break it out to get some air and let people know where you are.
Since we mentioned windows, let’s talk about those guys that break out every window. There isn’t many times you need to take out all the windows. I have never seen a situation where all the windows needed to come out. They all say glass is cheap just take out all the windows. Removing all those windows lets a lot of air in the building, which means a lot of fuel for the fire.
Simple things can make a difference, and simple things can keep you safe.
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