Why fire truck dash cams improve safety

Posted on Tue, 16 Jun 2015 18:49:21 UTC

Mention video recording and fire department in the same sentence and I venture to say that most reactions will be something like, "What happened now?"

The video technology available on today's mobile devices together with social media has given the masses the tools to broadcast anything, anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, the social media posts showing firefighters and officers engaged in bad behavior or poor judgment far outnumber those showing firefighters doing good deeds.

So why would a fire department want to put its own video camera on the dashboard of its fire apparatus? Curt Varone, retired fire chief, long-time lawyer and author wrote on the topic in his "FireLaw" blog in October 2010.

"… I am in favor of dash cams for several reasons. First, they document what happened. For better or for worse, they serve as objective evidence about such matters as: what color was the light, was the apparatus being operated responsibly, and was the other driver not paying attention (a pet peeve).

Second, dash cams force firefighters to recognize something they should already be assuming: they are being videotaped…. On virtually every response we go on, someone can be seen taking photos or video of the apparatus as it passes by. Traffic cams and security videos are everywhere....

Third, the knowledge that people are being video taped changes people's behavior…. usually for the better. I was in a law enforcement class today watching the Rodney King beating video and the inescapable conclusion one gets from analyzing the video is that the officers involved had no clue that their outrageous behavior was being filmed. In fact, had the officers been aware their misdeeds were being recorded, the entire episode may never have occurred…."

A training tool
The savvy company officer will recognize inward-facing dash cam recordings as more than just a shield against potential legal liability. Those recordings can provide real-time objective feedback to both the firefighter and the company officer.

For one, they can show driver performance while operating the vehicle. It's one thing to have your company officer tell you that you don't keep both hands on the wheel or you're not keeping your eyes on the road ahead of you. It's quite another to see yourself doing it.

Next, there's the interaction between the driver and the officer while responding to emergencies. The officer can use dash cam video and audio to sit down with their firefighters and discuss what worked well and where they can make improvements in their interaction during emergency response.

Last, they can learn by watching. Your up-and-coming drivers don't have to wait until they're behind the wheel to start learning.

Dash cam videos showing your incumbent drivers doing it right can be great tools for giving those newer folks the right mental picture of what good job performance behind the wheel looks like. It also allows the officer to further set the expectation for proper driving before giving them the keys to 30 tons of vehicle, personnel and equipment for the first time.

Monitoring device
With mobile video recording devices getting smaller and more durable, fire departments can leverage the positive aspects of video recording both inside and outside of the apparatus cab.

Your driver is already working on camera, but what about the folks riding in the crew cab? Unless you have eyes in the back of your head, you really don't know what's going on in the back seats. Video allows the officer to answer a few important questions.

  • Had everyone properly donned all components of their structural firefighting protective ensemble before boarding the apparatus?
  • Was everyone seated and belted whenever the vehicle was is motion?
  • How were the firefighters preparing themselves for operations once the crew arrived at the scene?

The officer is responsible for ensuring safety from the time of the alarm until everyone's safely back in quarters, right? Video recordings can provide the officer with good objective feedback that they can discuss with their firefighters regarding compliance with departmental SOGs during response.

Mount a device with a clear view of the pumper's operations panel or turntable on an aerial device and you can capture real-time video of how your firefighters conduct their business in those operational roles.

This is a great feedback tool for the company to use with their incumbent driver/operators to help them keep their skills sharp. It's also equally good material for showing your future pumper and aerial operators what good job performance looks like in the real world.

So bring video recording technology on board with you and your crew to improve your crew's training and safety.

Firefighter fitness: 3 scientific findings

Posted on Mon, 11 May 2015 16:28:18 UTC

After 20-plus years in sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and tactical fitness there are not many times I walk away from a conference with a treasure trove of new and updated science.

It's not often that I get to sit with those doing the research and pick their brains plus share ideas and examine best practices. Yet, I did just that at this year's National Strength & Conditioning Association's Tactical Strength & Conditioning Conference.

I walked away with that treasure trove.

During the conference three key areas of research were covered that may provide your departments with some very actionable ideas along with addressing many of the hot topics in the fire service right now.

1. Training on duty
There is a lot of controversy in the fire service about exercising on duty. Does it cause injury, prevent injury or improve firefighter fitness? The answer is yes on all counts.

If done improperly, 27 percent of injuries are from exercise, and this is a problem.

The first hour or two after training, your body is in a catabolic phase, essentially a state of breakdown. Nutrition and hydration are incredibly important to decrease this level of catabolism. The number one tool to reverse this break down state is sleep.

Other data shows that pre- and post-workout meals are incredibly important; feed the machine and then feed it again to replenish the tank. Here's what several studies showed.

  • Hyperthermia decreased performance after exercise. When exercising on duty get your body cool as rapidly as possible post exercise, this can reduce the metabolic and cardiovascular load on the person.
  • Compression garments showed a small positive effect on power and recovery. Active recovery and cool down did not enhance recovery.
  • Stretching post exercise had no effect on recovery except to increase range of motion.
  • Massage had no positive effect on recovery, nor did NSAIDs (ibuprofen).
  • The only proven method to return a line firefighter back to 100 percent was full-body cold-water immersion.

Take home message is that firefighters can and should train on duty, but that training should focus on strength and power exercises that do not promote fatigue and or high body temperatures.

Training should focus on mobility and always include a well-designed pre- post-workout meal. Remember, that fit but fatigued firefighters still outperformed the fresh but unfit firefighters in a fireground scenario.

2. Movement matters

There is a lot of myth and misinformation when it comes to lifting and how it carries over to the job. A few points that resonated with me as both a coach and trainer were about how to combat many of the myths to reduce injury potential while training and on scene.

Back injuries occurred across the board (training, fitness and on scene), but mostly from lifting. Most knee injuries are from stepping in, out or over objects. Shoulder injuries occur from pulling.

The myth of lifting with your legs is still present. What's most important when lifting is trunk angle — the less trunk angle you have, the less spinal compression you have.

Disk herniations are cumulative from years of improper lifting and extreme trunk angles.

With fitness, movement matters; move well in the gym because it transfers to better movement on the street. This means becoming very aware these four items.

  • Use less trunk flexion.
  • Use less knee adduction and internal rotation — don't let the knee turn in or rotate in.
  • Use less shoulder elevation — no shrugs.
  • Use less trunk lateral flexion — reduce the side bending.

The take home message is that movement is a behavior that can be influenced by proper exercise, but practice makes permanent. Control spine flexion, keep the heels down, keep the knees straight, use a hip hinge, don't shrug, reduce side bending and keep your head up — always.

One final pearl on power development and rotation, which is job-task critical: be able to stop what you started. Keep everything in line and limit your trunk flexion.

3. Fitness and physical abilities testing

One of the hot topics for fire and EMS is testing. When it comes to testing, what is valid, job-specific, legally defensible and has no bias to age or gender?

When creating a standard, roughly 98 percent should be able to pass the test. That improves its defensibility if challenged.

There is no gender or age difference if it is a job-task simulation, such as a physical abilities test. This means that it cannot include abilities to be learned on the job for pre-hire use. It also means that the tasks in the PAT must be measurable, critical and are a sample of the job behaviors.

Many departments have struggled with the difference between physical fitness tests and physical abilities tests, especially when it comes to testing existing employees. A well-designed PAT can allow departments to test all employees annually as long as it is a valid sampling of critical job tasks.

I could probably write a book on the three days I spent at the National Strength & Conditioning Association's Tactical Strength & Conditioning Conference — it's in San Diego next year. The point is that the issues addressed in the research presentations are the same issues that many departments struggle with every day.

What's the best or worst thing you've seen in a fireground rehab section?

Posted on Tue, 9 Jun 2015 22:43:12 UTC

At a fire scene, it's important to have a place for firefighters to cool off, lower their blood pressure, hydrate, rest and eat. And it's a place to get treated for injuries.

And while some try to take on a "tough guy" mentality of just pushing through, we must realize that taking time for our physical health makes us more efficient firefighters and keeps others on scene safer if they don't have to stop to rescue or render aid to the "tough guy."

We asked our fans on Facebook for some examples of the best and worst things they've seen in a rehab section. Here are some of their responses.

And if you haven't already, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

"The best thing was bottomless Taco Bell tacos and all the water you can drink courtesy of the Red Cross. The worst was the ensuing vomit." — Alex Bond

"I love seeing people trying to act tough and trying to bypass rehab. Who are you trying to impress? When did rehydrating and cooling down become a sign of weakness?" — Nick Wilson

"The worst thing is going to rehab in the winter time after being wet and getting cold. That is really bad." — Jeff Darius

"Worst thing was probably McDonald's on the scene. All guys stopped working. The best would be fans and chairs." — Jill Mattingly

"Worst thing was a warming trailer where you could still see your breath since the heater didn't work." — Jesse Derby

"Wouldn't know. We just put the fire out then go home." — Dominic Drews

"Best: cooling chairs that you submerge your arms in cool water, food and Gatorade. Worst: cartons of cigarettes and logs of dip and soda." — Shevais M. Shrum

"Best thing: ice pops!" — Josh Shank

"The worst thing? Watching a probie snag the last piece of pizza in his third romp through the line. He grabbed it just as our chief was reaching for it. Chief hadn’t eaten a thing yet and wanted to make sure everyone had something to eat before he took his first bite. Major party foul, especially since chief bought the pizzas out of his own pocket." — Micahel Beane

"Finding out the food you just ate from the rehab unit was expired and moldy. I don't know what's worse — no food or moldy food." — John Rosandich

"Best: mist fans and chairs with ice bags on the side. Worst: stale donuts and ice cold coffee and tea." — Andrew Kociumbas

"Not having one at all." — Nick Proctor

Conversation with Bahamas newest fire chief

Posted on Fri, 12 Dec 2014 21:20:38 UTC

Finding a strong leader is a challenge for all fire departments great and small. Those leaders almost always rise through the ranks of the fire service. But what happens when there is no fire service?

The International Fire Relief Mission has spent the past two years assisting the community of Barraterre on the Bahamian island Exuma establish the island's first fire department; IFRM helped with planning, then delivered a fire truck, firefighting gear and instruction.

One of Barraterre's many challenges was naming a fire chief.

To do so, the community met and voted on a person they recommended to the island's police superintendent, who has authority over the new fire service. He agreed with the community and appointed Julian McKenzie, a man with no firefighting experience.

I sat down with Chief McKenzie near the end of our time on the island to talk about his aspirations and fears as he assumes the helm of the Barraterre Community Voluntary Fire Service.

FireRescue1: Tell me about yourself.
Chief McKenzie: I am a builder and have done quite a bit of building projects in this island. I've done a lot of work for the government building schools and cottages for the teachers to live in.

So you understand how to organize people and projects?
Organization is key to any project that needs to succeed. Unless you have a good organization and plan, you will run into trouble because each day people will come in wondering what are they going to do. I have been very successful in that area.

What's been the biggest surprise so far being fire chief?
My big surprise came not only when the fire truck came to the island, but when the other equipment came in and I saw the amount of stuff. I never imagined that it would have been so great. I thought we would get a fire engine and that's it.

But I told Mr. Edgar (Ian Edgar is a private philanthropist who has put money and political clout behind this project) that I didn't know that it was going to rise to this level with all of this equipment and that IFRM is coming down. My heart is going like this now (beating fast). When the days go by and drawing closer, my heart starts pounding and I think 'what can happen when they come?'

I wanted everything to be in place. It was almost horrifying to me. Sometimes when you are planning it is like having two ends in your hand and you want them to meet. I push and I cannot get them together. It was challenging, but I see in the end it worked out for the best. Because, I understand in life that life is about a struggle. Each day has its own situation. I always believe that it is going to work out.

How was the money raised to build the fire department?
The money was raised by constant agitating of people. We sent out letters about our plan and what this can mean for Barraterre. It is amazing that everybody doesn't really see the plan. You try to communicate it to them, but they don't see it. I find that seeing is believing. When they saw what we did, they said, 'Wow, it is here, it is true.'

We contacted places like the banks and big business and virtually every area where we think we can get some money from. (Editor's note: Chief McKenzie doesn't mention it, but he was one of the major donors) Some have donated on two occasions. The telephone company one time donated $1,500 and they came back and donated another $2,000.

It put me then in a position that people were putting their trust and faith in me with their money; this cannot fail. I have to see this come to a success. The money has been coming in, sometimes slow, but it comes in. Luckily, I was able to do everything without saying, 'give me a dollar.' I didn't ask for one dollar.

Did the government donate?
Yes, government gave us one donation of $6,000. That came through the gentleman who represents Exuma in the House of Assembly. We showed him our plans and what we are about. And through his influence, the government said let those boys have $6,000.

How will you fund the fire department from this point on?
We discussed it and realize this must be an on-going process. We will have to continue to raise funds from here on end. The truck will need to be serviced and we will need so many things to make sure the truck is prepared to go whenever it is needed. We will talk to the guys who have already donated to say we still need your help.

You have no tax money coming in?
No. No. It is all donation. We are going to talk to the government to see if we can get a grant of $10,000 to $20,000 per year, or whatever they can afford, that will really help us maintain the equipment. Even with that, we'd still have to have on-going fundraising.

How do you see this fire department in five years?
I believe we will be in our glory. By that I mean we will be trained to really respond to fire in a big way. Because this is a project in Barraterre and other folks are looking at it and see it done in a small, remote community. They would rather see it done maybe in the capital (Georgetown). I don't have a problem with that.

The only thing that comes to mind is the spiritual term can any good thing come out of Nazareth? I'll put it this way: can any good thing come out of Barraterre? Come and see. We have worked hard to make sure we didn't fail.

How big is Barraterre?
We have a big population, but they all don't live here. Barraterre has a colorful story. This was once an island separated by water. Everything we needed on this island came by boat. The people here were very industrious and they did everything necessary that things are better for the coming generation. After a long period of time, the government built a bridge across the islands and that was like a dream come true.

Now Barraterre is envied because it is the port of entry for the entire Exuma. Everything that comes into Exuma, comes through Barraterre. If a sailboat comes from the United States, they will anchor here and take a cab to Georgetown.

Our population is about 80 right now. The biggest population we have is in their 60s and 70s age bracket. We have some young folks here, but not many.

What do you want to see from your fire crew?
Right now we have about 25 young and middle-aged men. I discovered yesterday (when one firefighter went down during a live-burn evolution), that it has to be a rotation. If we get an extreme fire one crew may not be able to endure the heat. So, if they sit down, they will only be watching the fire burn.

But if we have a crew that we can rotate in, we can keep the fire under control and eventually put the fire out. That's why I am going to see that we increase this force to the point where if a disaster of such come about, we can rotate.

Are you looking to pay your volunteers?
I would like to see us rise to a place slightly above volunteers. The communities are not such where there are a lot of money and jobs. That's why it is important for us to get a grant from the government and look at areas like that to give them a stipend. That will sort of motivate them.

How long do you want to be chief?
Not over two years. I'm going to try my best to groom someone and make sure he has all the training. I wouldn't see myself as an island, 'without Julian, it wouldn't work.'

I see somebody else take the baton and do better. Like anything else, you only like to be in the same position for a limited time. I'm not the person who wants too much credit. I can do my best, but don't give me too much credit. Don't praise me.

Are you more calm now after the IFRM visit?
I'm calm. Nothing pushed me to the point where I became frustrated. When I'm hitting that border, I pull back. Then I said, it will work out. Sometimes disappointment is for the best.

How will you train the firefighters?
I will begin to talk with others who didn't come down for the training and see the necessity. (Not all of his 25 firefighters were on hand for the classroom and live-fire training.) For the next several months I will have two sessions of training per month. After we get a little used to what we are doing and I am seeing progress, then I can say we'll come together once a month. We can't come to the point where we say we know it all. We've got to constantly train.

What didn't we talk about?
I'm so pleased that you gentlemen came down and take the time to train us and give us the information to sustain us. That's incredible. To me it is like a miracle. When this small community was chosen, that was the beginning of a movement. It could have gone anywhere else in Exuma. It could have gone to the capital. But that they came to Barraterre, a remote place with elderly folks — that's amazing to me.

Rescue tools: Pros and cons of 3 power sources

Posted on Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:43:24 UTC

Remember the days when pry bars, hacksaws and axes were pretty much the only tools available for vehicle extrication? Those human-powered tools still have application, but today's responders can pick from a wide variety of hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical tools.

Nearly every fire department across the United States is involved in a vehicle extrication incident, and every firefighter should have a good working knowledge of the powered extrication tools their department carries.

So let's take a look at the three predominant operating systems being used in today's powered vehicle extrication equipment: hydraulic, pneumatic and electric.

Hydraulic-powered tools first came to the fire service from the automobile body and fender world. Port-a-power spreaders and cutters, along with hydraulic jacks, were the first mechanical extrication tools to find a place on fire and rescue apparatus.

The big leap in hydraulic-powered extrication equipment came with the introduction of Hurst's Jaws of Life. The Jaws of Life was first used in 1963 as a tool to free race car drivers from their crashed vehicles.

Hydraulic rescue systems have three basic components: an electrical or gasoline engine power unit, a hydraulic fluid pump, and a reservoir with associated valves to control direction and pressure. The hoses transmit the pressurized fluid to the cutters, spreaders, rams, etc.

This is a closed system as opposed to a pneumatic system, which is open and vents/consumes its power transfer medium. Hydraulic systems have a pressure port (output of the pump), and a return port for hydraulic fluid to flow back into the reservoir. For best operations the fluid temperature should be between 60 and 140 degrees F.

Pros:

  • It's proven technology that has been around for many years.
  • The tools are among the most powerful.
  • It provides big power for incidents that involve heavy metal construction.

Cons:

  • The equipment is heavy.
  • It relies on caustic hydraulic fluid for operation.
  • Gasoline-powered models create noise pollution on scene.

Pneumatic systems
Pneumatic rescue tools are powered by pressurized air from SCBA cylinders, vehicle-mounted cascade systems or vehicle-mounted air compressors. Whizzer saws and air chisels are examples of pneumatic-powered tools.

Pneumatic tools weigh less than hydraulic tools, are very portable and have many excellent applications.

Air tools, with the exception of air bags, are often measured in not only in operating pressure but also cubic feet per minute. This is the amount of air the tool uses to work; the speed of the air is expressed as feet per second. These factors can be affected by friction loss in the hoses.

Pros:

  • They are lightweight.
  • They are easily transportable.
  • They have quiet operations.
  • There are a wide variety of appliances.

Cons:

  • They are limited to available air supply.
  • They have limitations on cutting and prying for heavier metal construction.

Electric systems
Electrical power has been used with vehicle extrication tools first through power cords linked to electricity generators and more recently through batteries. These can serve as both a primary set of tools or as a redundant system alongside gasoline-powered hydraulic tools.

Electric tool systems have three general parts: power generation, transmission and tool. Users should understand the operation of each part and know where it fits in the operational envelope.

It is also important to understand some terms and units of measure concerning electricity. This information is often displayed on the tool.

One helpful way to think of these parameters is to liken them to fireground pumping operations. Volts are comparable to the pressure the pump creates to flow the water; amperage compares to the gpm of water flowed. Volts, whether from alternating current like our house outlets or direct current like that from a battery, is power. Voltage is the pressure or amplitude of the energy of the electricity.

All appliances have a specific amount of amps required to make them work efficiently, which is measured in amperage or amps. The operator can influence the amount of amps or load that the tool draws. For example, if you push your reciprocating saw till it bogs down and stalls in the cut, the amps will increase probably causing a circuit breaker or similar protection device to trip or shut the tool off.

A watt is the amount of energy consumed by the tool. You can calculate the amount of watts used by a tool or appliance by multiplying its amps and volts.

Pros:

  • They are lightweight and easily transportable.
  • They have quiet operations.
  • They have a wide variety of appliances.
  • Newer, long-lasting battery technology is improving duration of operation capabilities.

Cons:

  • They are limited to available electrical supply, particularly for battery-powered units.
  • There are some limitations on cutting and prying capability for heavier metal construction (however the technology is constantly improving in this regard).

Regardless of the extrication tool technologies used by your department, the successful use of a tool and its components is predicated on several factors. First, is the initial and ongoing training for personnel in the safe, effective, and efficient use of the tool.

Second, the knowledge and experience of the individual operator in using the tool so that they are always using the right tool for the job — operating within the tool's capabilities.

And last, but certainly not the least importantly, the tool is adequately maintained according to the recommendations of the tool's manufacturer.

Tackling Fire Service Suicide: A Reality Check

Posted on Mon, 4 May 2015 21:19:56 UTC

By Todd LeDuc

The Tampa 2 Summit demonstrated that we've made many inroads on the firefighter health and wellness front. However, much works remains to be done. Behavioral health specifically is increasingly being recognized as an area of significant threat to our firefighters due to the rigors of the profession.

Current Trends

The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, which tracks firefighter suicides in the United States, reported that the number of firefighter suicides increased from 65 in 2013 to 88 in 2014.

Between 2011 and early 2013, nearly 300 firefighters committed suicide, according to a 2013-published article in the Chicago Tribune. Five of them were women; 13% consisted of murder-suicides. Sadly, the number of suicides has grown since that report was published.

It's widely believed that these numbers vastly underreport the incidence of suicide in the fire and emergency service due to the lack of robust reporting systems and the stigma associated with suicide.

At-Risk Characteristics

Typically, firefighters have many of the defining characteristics that those at risk for suicides have, and these may be compounded by the stressors first responders typically are exposed to. There are the challenges of acute and chronic stress and personality traits of aggressiveness and impulsiveness.

Substance abuse, which reportedly has a high incidence within first-responder communities, has also been linked to a higher risk for suicide. Some studies have indicated an addiction rates for alcohol at 29% compared to 5% for general population as well as elevated rates of other precursors to firefighter suicide.

Many compounding variables, such as higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, sleep-cycle disturbances and altered coping mechanisms, may further place members of the fire service at risk for behavioral health issues and suicide ideation.

Warning Signs

It has been reported that more than 75% of those suffering from behavioral health issues in general and suicide risk factors in particular show some warning signs that can be discerned, even if subtle. Signs may include withdrawal, giving away possessions, mood changes, acting impulsively and abusing drugs and alcohol.

For this reason, it's important that awareness training be offered to all levels of a department on a regular and ongoing basis. This training should include identifying altered coping mechanisms, such as stress, alcohol abuse, steroid usage and sleep cycle disturbances, and early warning signs of behavioral health issues, as well as information about early-intervention assistance.

Establishing healthy and appropriate resiliency mechanisms is also an important topic to educate fire service personnel about.

Peer-Awareness Training

Peers who are properly trained about the sometimes-subtle changes and signs of behavioral danger are often the first line of defense, enabling early recognition and appropriate behavioral health intervention. Training about signs, symptoms and risk factors creates a community best suited for providing early warnings about possible behavioral health trouble on the horizon. They can make a real difference in protecting the health, wellness and safety of members of our service.

Adequate peer-level awareness training and training for healthy coping mechanisms and resiliency are essential, but just as important is addressing cultural stigmas that may exist. The reality is that suicide and behavioral health issues often remain stigmatized within fire service culture as signs of weakness.

Resources for Departments

The challenge for many departments is to identify what systems and resources exist to assist prevention and provide resources in the area of behavioral health and to make these resources widely available.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation offers resources and tools specific to behavioral health on the Everyone Goes Home portal, specifically in Firefighter Life Safety Initiative #13.

The behavioral health experts within our communities serve as another resource. They can help train peers on how to recognize early warning signs and what actions to take to help members who may be at risk.

2015 is a year for fire service leaders to confront the cultural stigmas head on and develop programs designed to ensure the behavioral health and safety of our firefighters on the front line and those who support them.

Todd LeDuc, CFO, CEM, MIFireE, is a division chief for Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff Fire Rescue. He’s also the secretary for the Safety, Health & Survival Section board and a member of the IAFC On Scene editorial advisory board.

Fire attack: Understanding landmark buildings

Posted on Tue, 6 Jan 2015 17:44:41 UTC

Fires in landmark structures pose some unique operational challenges for fire department, foremost being the mindset of the initial responding companies. The default mindset for firefighters is to quickly initiate an interior offensive attack on the fire using 1¾-inch lines. Such a predetermined mode of operations often results in unsafe, ineffective and inefficient operations when responding to older, longstanding commercial structures.

Let's consider what some of those unique challenges look like.

Older structures can typically include a mixture of construction types, such as wood-framed and ordinary, as the building has undergone modifications over the years. This results in the creation of unprotected void spaces for fire travel, incompatible electrical systems that are prone to overloading, and improper and overabundant storage (due to lack of space).

Keep these three pre-arrival fire development characteristics in mind when attacking a landmark fire.

Fires that originate outside of normal business hours, especially during the overnight hours, will quickly develop beyond the incipient stage and be into the well-developed stage — the point at which an offensive interior fire attack starts to become unsafe, ineffective and inefficient.

Fires will quickly locate and spread to those unprotected void spaces, like those between multiple ceilings. Fires are more likely to be showing from multiple points that are remote from the point of origin.

The percentage of the total building involved in fire will be greater as will the total BTUs being generated by the fire.

Discussion questions

  • What is your initial size-up of the incident?
  • What would your Incident Action Plan entail for this fire according to your size-up?
  • How do the tactical actions of the fire officers and firefighters in the video compare to your IAP?
  • What corrective actions, if any, would you take as the incident commander?
  • How would you compare and contrast the use of multiple smaller-caliber streams and fewer large-caliber streams for managing a fire like this one depicted in the video.
  • What role will issues such as water management, air pollution, impact on personnel, etc., play in your small- vs. large-caliber debate?

Assembly buildings: 6 safety items for your civilians

Posted on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 09:49:13 UTC

How many of your residents would drive a car down a mountain road without making sure the brakes worked or would jump out of an airplane without making sure the parachute is securely attached to their backs? The answer, I hope, is not many of them.

However, many people placing themselves in more dangerous situations everyday without even knowing it. I am talking about the life-safety risks in assembly occupancies.

An assembly occupancy is defined by the National Fire Protection Association as "An occupancy used for a gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation or similar uses."

Since many people enjoy going out, they encounter assembly occupancies on a regular basis. This could include going to a school play, attending a church service, dining at a favorite restaurant or watching a band at a nightclub with friends. In these cases, how often do our community members take the time to stop and consider:

  • Where are the exits?
  • How would I get out of here in a fire?
  • Are there enough exits for all of these people?

If they are like most people, the answer is not often enough.

History of tragedy
Each year, there are tragic news reports of fire and non-fire events in assembly occupancies with shocking death and injury tolls. Some recent incidents include:

  • Fire in the KISS nightclub in Brazil, on Jan. 28, killing 233.
  • Fire in the Cromagnon Republic nightclub, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 30, 2004, killing 180.
  • Fire in the Ycuá Bolaños Botánico Supermarket, Asunción, Paraguay, Aug. 1, 2004, killing 400.
  • Fire in The Station Nightclub, West Warwick, R.I., Feb. 20, 2003, killing 100.
  • Panic evacuation in the E2 Nightclub, Chicago, Feb. 17, 2003, killing 21.

As you can see, the issue of emergency exiting of public assembly occupancies is not unique to the United States. Here are six suggestions that can be easily performed and help your residents decide if the building may be safe.

Six steps

  1. Note the location of emergency exits when they enter a building and ensure that there is an adequate number. If the place has only one way in and out, use it at once.
  2. Ensure that exits are accessible and not locked or blocked. A business owner that allows an exit to be locked or blocked does not deserve anyone's business.
  3. See if the building has emergency lighting. If they think the room is dark during the performance, wait until the lights go out in an emergency.
  4. Gauge the size of the crowd. If the place is packed, they may want to go somewhere else — restroom lines alone can be hazardous.
  5. Be aware of their surroundings. Many assembly occupancies have dim lighting, and in a fire or power failure, it is a good idea to know where they are.
  6. Watch the alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills, which can endanger one's ability to get out of a building in an emergency.

Teach your community that the few minutes needed to scan the building are well worth the time and effort. No one ever heads out thinking tragedy may lie just ahead.

Those who make plans in advance are much better prepared than those who do not. Share these thoughts with your community members at your next speaking engagement.

Fire service leaders: The difference between life and death

Posted on Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:51:40 UTC

Within the fire service, we constantly grapple with one question: What does it mean to be a leader? Clearly, we're not alone in our search, which is why the leadership training industry brings in more than $100 billion worldwide.

Leadership is a constant subject of research, training, education and discussion — in every field of human endeavor. Depending on the source, there are dozens of recognized theories of leadership in the academic literatures of business administration, public administration and management science.

Go to any bookstore, or online bookseller, and search for the "leadership" section or keyword; there you'll find thousands of books penned by people from all walks of life with their perspectives, tips, and techniques for exercising leadership, or becoming (or staying) a "leader".

Attend almost any fire service conference, or professional development gathering in another industry, and you'll likely find several presentations, tracks or panels on leadership.

You can select from myriad different survey instruments to assess your leadership "style," spend thousands of dollars on leadership development programs, and even hire a leadership coach.

Whatever your favorite (social) media channel, it’s almost impossible to miss researchers, politicians, and pundits talking about leadership.

Life-and-death important
The significance of leaders is obvious — they set the tone and impact core values within an organization, for good or bad.

But in our business, it takes on another dimension. Leadership, at all levels, can make the difference between life and death — not just the lives of those we are sworn to protect, but also the lives of our brother and sister firefighters.

If your experiences are anything like mine, the presence, or absence, of leadership is palpable. It's visceral; you can actually "feel" it when it's there, and you miss it when it's not. While leadership may be hard to define, as witness the many (often competing) theories on the topic, we generally think we "know it when we see it."

From my own work as a firefighter, company officer, chief officer, state agency head, non-profit board member, academic researcher, instructor, consultant and business owner, I have certainly benefited from good leadership, and suffered (or so it felt at the time) through bad leadership. Sometimes the two types were indistinguishable, and even came from the same individual, group or organization at different times, or under different circumstances. Sometimes what I felt was good leadership, was seen by others as bad leadership, and vice versa.

With so much invested each year in leadership research, publishing and training, why haven't we figured it out yet?

No "there" there
All the evidence suggests the worthwhile pursuit of leadership excellence is a never-ending journey. In short, it's because there's no "there" there.

If there was an easy 12-step program to develop leadership capacity throughout organizations, it would have been invented already. In fact, the more we discover about human behavior and interaction — and the more it changes with the diverse environmental, cultural, technical and political influences of an era where we are all connected, all the time — the less we actually know for certain.

We don't need to look far to see some long-held leadership lessons reinforced over and over, while others are relegated to the "it seemed like (and may have been) a good idea at the time" bin of history.

Given the high stakes, all the attention and money directed at researching, defining and teaching leadership seems worthwhile. Still, it can be difficult, and at times frustrating, to sort through the many different perspectives on leadership.

So what can we do?

I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do believe strongly in the ongoing practice of leadership and the value of introspection as we all pursue this never-ending journey, in both our professional and personal lives. If we do our job right, we might end up with more questions than answers, so please feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences.

Firefighter response: Senior-living facilities

Posted on Mon, 4 May 2015 15:25:57 UTC

Whether as a condo, townhome or a complex of graduated assisted-living pods, senior living space is an ever-changing and rapidly growing segment of many communities as aging baby boomers retire at a rate of 10,000 a day.

Unlike the conventional hotel-style buildings of just a few years ago, senior living has taken on a whole new look. And along with this trending lifestyle change comes new strategic and tactical considerations for fire departments.

As a firefighter, whether you encounter a protect-in-place philosophy or people running for their lives, the fact is, people older than 65 are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fire regardless of where they are.

Mobility issues as well as hearing and visual impairments are the primary causes of response challenges when dealing with seniors, especially as they enter their eighth and ninth decade.

Protect in place
Protect in place is the strategy of choice when dealing with limited-mobility residents, less fire personnel and a confirmed location of the threat. It is a quicker, easier and certainly a less stressful strategy in multi-story buildings. Yet, it is rarely taught successfully and its benefit diminishes in facilities without sprinklers.

While all senior living facilities require licensing and specific code compliance under NFPA 101, such is not always the case.

Most senior centers handle evacuations with fire alarm activation much like a hospital or school, calling a code red either by intercom or hall monitor in coordination with activating the fire response system.

Before fire companies arrive, the employees' primary action will be corralling all residents. The level of their success will depend on the information available to the tenants and the number of past drills. Some tenants' lack of mobility and special needs may complicate this directive regardless of the facility's policy.

Remember too, health-care workers in senior-care centers are not firefighters and any visible threat could result in immediate evacuation by all ambulatory personnel regardless of condition or age. As firefighters arriving on scene, you will find a labor-intensive incident, fire or not.

Step one
The first step in any emergency response to a senior-care facility is compliance. You must place senior centers at the top of the life-safety inspection ladder for your department.

A canceled on-site inspection can result in dangerous conditions for occupants and first responders alike. Unsecured oxygen bottles, sharps left out along with used bandages, loose medical devices and gurneys abandoned in hallways can all pose a direct threat to firefighters and field medics not to mention your great-aunt Edna.

Next comes appropriate pre-incident planning that aligns with current code, policy and response criteria. Beginning with the basics of protect in place and evacuation scenarios, senior-living facilities require detailed reviews and demand facility interaction, with both structures and occupants.

Whether pods or cells or atriums, these modern living centers are equipped with the finest in fire and security protection. Unfortunately, despite additional exits, specialized systems, additional trained staff, sophisticated fire barriers and the latest in emergency lighting, inappropriate human behavior can deter any redundancy in protection systems.

Practicing fire drills on residents may be deemed too difficult by a well-meaning staff. Further, unannounced evacuations can cause injuries to fragile participants as noted by the IAFF's roundtable forum in 2004.

Evacuation
The key is human interaction resulting in an acceptable schedule of training and practice. Meet with caregivers and administrators to establish a rapport that will lead to proactive inspections, table-top discussions of possible incidents, predetermined protocols for every emergency involving first responders and a walk through by everyone.

For example, such interactions can result in an evacuation procedure involving all employees and responders with some entering rooms, others providing ambulatory devices, and final crews removing all patients to accountability and rehab. Temporary evacuation sites and external staging areas for personnel and equipment can be in place prior to arrival.

For firefighters, it is important to remember the acronym RACE — Rescue, Activate, Contain and Extinguish or Evacuate. This is used by many senior institutions as a reminder about how to reach a successful resolution of any incident.

Here are four points to remember when evacuating a senior-living facility.

  1. Find a person in authority to expedite an evacuation; accountability is an ever-present concern.
  2. Be aware of behavior typical of the elderly, their physical limitations and appropriate care and removal tactics when interacting with them.
  3. Be aware that patients with serious medical and psychological conditions may hide during an evacuation.
  4. Prepare for long-term relocation, which may be necessary even when protect in place is the initial procedure.

Accountability and rehab
Accountability and rehab will have totally different criteria for seniors. Local doctors and nurses as well as facility workers experienced in geriatric care can work in accountability and rehab as well as triage and patient care.

Firefighters need to be vigilant while working with seniors. Like children, many seniors will not display their physical weaknesses until they are critical. Privacy and quiet may be just as important as water and a blanket.

Responding firefighters will find any incident to be manpower intensive with patient mobility and time working against them. Outside, there are issues of weather, exigent care needs and again the sheer volume of people in the area.

Some futurists predict senior complexes will have their own response brigades. Until then, it is a fire department's responsibility to ensure the security and safety of those who most need our help.

Practicing the MCI response plan

Posted on Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:25:55 UTC

The multiple casualty incident (MCI) plan for Emergency Medical Services is as strong as the weakest link. There are a lot of links in the chain, so it is critical that every member of the EMS organization develop skills to manage his/her role in a major incident.

Some agencies have developed a routine practice of triage skill testing using a defined period for use of process and props. This process is affectionately called "Triage Tuesday" in many communities.

The goals are several-fold. First, it allows EMS providers to use the basic tools of MCI management, like triage tags. Second, it gives providers the opportunity to discuss their patient evaluation skills with their officers, and importantly, the nurses and physicians at the Emergency Department. Third, it reinforces skills that will create confidence in the providers when the big incident needs to be managed.

The process of using "Triage Tuesdays" instills, and then cultivates, a culture of confidence in EMS providers and emergency department personnel.

Multiple casualty incident preparedness
EMS agencies and providers successfully use everyday operations to prepare for bigger incidents, including MCI events. The daily use of Incident Command Systems for incident management is one of the most important elements of preparedness.

Formal Incident Management System training is designed to prepare providers at all levels and in all disciplines for a multi-agency response. The use of patient triage principles occurs with each patient encounter, and is built around the use of ABCDE patient assessment (Airway Breathing Circulation Disability Exposure) and the differentiation of all types of patients around the basic decision of "sick" and "not sick."

But triage for multiple patient incidents requires another level of decision-making by emergency workers. Those incidents require the caregiver to determine who is sickest among a number of patients, and how sick are they versus the resources that are available to care for them. In the worst of MCIs, someone needs to be prepared to make decisions about who should or should not be resuscitated.

It is these decisions that can be developed using regular training like "Triage Tuesday."

Preparing EMS providers for multiple casualties
EMS providers accept that they practice patient assessment and determination of critical illnesses or injuries with everyday patient encounters. Many resist training for these incidents. There's a few reasons for this:

  • EMS providers don't like to practice. They often have a bias toward actual delivery, and feel that everyday care is difficult enough to prepare for a big incident.
  • It takes time and effort. It distracts from the most important role, which is day-to-day care.
  • EMS professionals don't like "pretend games" at all, and get callused by daily interactions with patients and providers that "play too many games."
  • When things don't go well in training exercises, it can be embarrassing.
  • It costs money to use those materials like triage tags, and other props.

So how can EMS agencies develop a regular and routine practice of triage skill testing? First, use a defined period for use of process and props, like "first Tuesday of every month." Second, work with hospital(s) providers to set mutual goals, like "we are testing and updating processes to prepare for MCIs in our area, for the mutual benefit of the patient." Third, establish a routine practice to communicate the results in each direction, as in "we are identifying areas of weakness in our practice only by accepting suggestions and concerns from your personnel, and hope your agency will do the same."

In the simplest models, the agency's triage tags are applied to each patient who is transported on a given day of the week (or month) before arrival at the hospital. The tag may or may not be used for simple documentation, in addition to the routine patient care report.

The Emergency Department personnel, advised about the process, accept the patient and confirm the accuracy of the patient triage classification, providing simple and immediate feedback to the EMS crew.

Emergency Department personnel may take advantage of the opportunity to test their own triage skills, become familiar with the tagging systems, and use the ED's disaster patient tracking system.

There are more opportunities to expand the training, or add elements once a month to enhance the experience. More props can be utilized, including vests, caps, signage, management boards, and technology enhancements.

Those items that were purchased are dug out of the cabinets and closets, and used for the day. Some agencies will designate the first Tuesday of the month to use the expanded set of tools, designate what type and volume of incidents will utilize the props (every auto accident, or every injured patient incident), utilize field and ED supervisors to provide additional options for testing and management, and produce reports on use of all of the tools.

When agencies are using new tools for MCIs, like bar code devices, the monthly designation allows more providers to develop the skills in using the technology, in the field and in the ED.

An important element of these designated days is to practice the communication scripts. The EMS providers will be asked to use the MCI props, and also to communicate with the patient/family/ED personnel what the props would accomplish in a major incident.

For example: "Mr. Jones, we take care of people every day, and expand those principles when we have big incidents or multiple patients. This is one of the tools we use for big incidents, and we are using it today on all of our patients. We are also doing our regular documentation that is part of your medical record."

In a few places, the supervisors will take the day's incidents and add some elements that give providers some practice in MCI management. At each incident where there is a moment or two where critical patient care is not needed, the supervisor may inject a couple virtual patient encounters to manage, or test the providers on what they would do if this patient encounter was part of a multiple casualty incident that is common for the area. That way a simple patient encounter can be made into a more complex incident for the providers to manage.

Simple and technology enhancements for MCI training
Triage Tuesdays allow the development of MCI skills without moulage, fake patients, and contrived scenarios. It is noted that the skills of MCI management are not developed by moulage administration. Don't waste the money. It is advantageous to expand on real patient encounters, rely on day-to-day patient assessments to train providers on what patients look like, and use simple patient descriptor cards to allow the providers to triage multiple simultaneous patients.

An EMS system could almost develop "baseball cards" that have a descriptor of patient injuries, and have the EMS providers practice going through the cards and making an accurate triage decision. A sample patient descriptor is listed below.

IT applications to Triage Tuesday are very appropriate. Some EMS systems and Emergency Departments have new IT applications that are being utilized, sometimes with new equipment, communication processes, and software.

These special tools require regular practice, especially near the introduction. Regular MCI drills allow practice using the tools, the hardware, and the software. It also helps define shortcomings and bottlenecks. It is likely to greatly benefit the staff of the EMS providers and the Emergency Department.

Regular drills, like Triage Tuesdays, enhance training for emergency providers. With that process, the EMS agency is taking care of people, to include your providers, your patients, and your support agencies. There is great benefit to having, practicing, and improving the EMS MCI plan. Having each member of the EMS agency and Emergency Department skilled in the props, process, and practice will benefit all of the appropriate elements, especially the rescuers.

Triage Tuesdays allow providers to use MCI props routinely. Vests, hats, signage all gets way too buried without regular use. So dust off the MCI kit, write and print a couple hundred patient descriptor cards, and take advantage of all special events. Understand what are high-risk events and use those as scenarios.

Sample MCI Patient Descriptor Cards

Patient 101
Chris Farmley, born on 8/2/88, SS# 123-45-6789, complains of abdominal pain.

Skin:

Cyanotic, cool, moist

Breathing quality:

Rapid, shallow, guarded

Pulse quality:

Rapid, weak, irregular

Neurological status:

Disoriented; feels pain; responds to verbal stimuli; pupils equal, react slowly

Medical history:

Not available

Further examination:

Abdomen rigid; no other injury evident

Patient 102
Jane Doe, approximately 13 year old Caucasian female with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a one inch scar on her left knee, is unconscious with no apparent injuries.

Skin:

Cyanotic, cool, moist

Breathing quality:

Absent

Pulse quality:

Carotid pulse weak, irregular

Neurological status:

Does not respond to verbal stimuli; pupils dilated, react slowly

Medical history:

Not available

Further examination:

Not applicable

5 steps to water rope rescues

Posted on Thu, 28 May 2015 16:30:39 UTC

It never fails. The victim is flying down river, we have rescuers spaced out on the shore, everyone is equipped with throw bags, and the first rescuer makes his throw; the bag goes completely off course and into the trees.

Throw bags are probably the most versatile and essential rescue device we have for swift water rescue. They are inexpensive, can be deployed from anywhere in the environment including watercraft, and they always give us one of the safest alternatives to effect a rescue.

There are three basic throwing positions: overhand, side arm and underhand.

An overhand throw mimics throwing a football or baseball. Hold the end of the rope in your off hand and throw the bag with your dominant throwing arm with an overhand motion. This position is ideal for short, precise throws.

You will not achieve great distances with the overhand but it is very accurate. It also enables throwers to be in the water, on the bank surrounded by ground covering and branches and on the watercraft.

Sling and pitch
The sidearm throw mimics throwing a disc. Hold the end of the rope in your off hand and throw the bag with your dominant throwing arm with a sidearm motion. This will achieve greater distances than the overhand and can also be delivered from difficult body positions.

It does, however, require more immediate room around the rescuer to make the throw and it is far less accurate. Sidearm throwing takes a great deal of practice and the arc of the bag leaving the rescuer becomes more lateral than vertical. This decreases the reliability of the rope landing across the victim.

An underhand throw mimics throwing a horseshoe. Hold the end of the rope in your off hand and throw the bag with your dominant throwing arm with an underhand motion. This throw requires the most room immediately around the rescuer but will achieve maximal distance and accuracy.

The key to success with these throwing techniques is practice, practice and more practice. Throwing can be routinely performed about anywhere, like the apparatus bay. You don't have to deploy the boats and don your dry suits to get in consistent throw bag practice.

Before applying these throwing techniques, review these five general principles of throw-bag rescues.

1. Be redundant
Always get two throw bags if you can. Having a backup bag will allow rescuers to redeploy a bag quickly and have an alternative bag if the primary washes downriver or gets entangled.

2. Prep the bags
When moving down the bank and into position, keep the drawstring on the bag cinched. This prevents the rope from getting snared or spilling out.

Once into position, loosen the drawstring completely. Pull the end of the rope out and grasp it firmly in the non-throwing hand. This end of the rope should be pre-rigged with a figure eight on a bite or other appropriate knot with a bite.

The bite should be large enough to fit your fingers into comfortably. Do not pass your hand through the bite and allow the bite to seat on your wrist. This action could result in the rescuer being pulled into the river.

Good throw bags will have an adjustable grab handle on the top of the bag. Fully adjust this handle out so that the rope will play freely out of the bag when thrown.

3. Coach the victim
As the victim approaches from upriver, communicate loud, early and clear. The universal command is to yell "rope" right before throwing the bag to the victim.

The first throw attempt should be made when the victim is upriver from the rescuer's position. This may allow the rescuer time to make a second attempt if the first throw misses the target. The target should be on line with the victim and beyond the victim.

Don't try to lead the victim. Throw bags will travel faster in the water than the victims, so you are better off being slightly behind the victim than in front of them. This target zone should result in the bag going over the victim and the rope landing across them or slightly up river from them.

Once the victim has the line, coach them to put the line over their inside shoulder — this is best communicated by using left or right commands. The inside shoulder technique creates a natural ferry angle for the victim and dramatically assists in bringing them to the bank.

Often, when victims don't do this and lock in the rope on the shoulder that is closest to the rescuer, they get pulled over into the prone position where take a face full of water and stay in an in-line body position in the water holding on for dear life.

4. Be prepared to tend
As soon as the throw bag leaves the rescuer's hand, the rescuer should pass the rope behind their lower back or rear end to body belay. The bite end of the rope should be in the up river hand of the rescuer and the rope going to the victim should be coming off the rescuer's down river hip.

It is also important to have other techniques depending on the environment. Strong currents may require the rescuer to sit down or even have a partner who sits down behind them to help anchor the line. When working in flood like conditions, the body belay may not be an option because rescuers may be throwing in chest deep water.

We often end up in water this deep bracing against trees to get to the main body of water in flood states. When faced with this challenge, use the trees as friction anchors instead of your body. Throw from a position on the upriver side of the tree. As soon as the victim receives the rope, bring the rope across the tree toward the bank and use the friction on the tree to control the rope.

5. Watch the rope, communicate downriver
If the entire rope is floating downriver, it must be communicated to downriver personnel. This is essential if watercrafts are positioned downriver.

Rope in the water and props do not mix and your watercraft will end up out of commission.

You can never have enough throwers. Position support personnel in optimal throw positions as close as possible to the victim as well as downriver. And always be prepared to deal with rescuers becoming victims.

Exclusive: Firefighter says death of fire chief 'was my responsibility'

Posted on Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:21:38 UTC

Firefighters bear witness to tragedy. It is part of the job. Solace is often found in the idea that others might learn from our very worst moment and prevent a future tragedy from happening.

The recent death of Medora (Ill.) Volunteer Fire Chief Kenneth Lehr was such a tragedy, and it seized headlines across public safety media. A seemingly inexplicable and senseless incident, it provoked emotion and strong reactions from many.

As often happens with such incidents, the immediate reaction by some was to find someone to blame. In the case of Chief Lehr’s death, that person was Firefighter/Engineer Patrick Cullum, who drove the truck that killed his chief.

"If just one death can be prevented then something good will have come from this incident," Cullum told FireRescue1 in an exclusive interview about the incident, the aftermath and how he’s coping with the tragedy.

The incident
On the afternoon of Feb. 5, a landing zone (LZ) was set-up to a fly a patient with a significant injury to a trauma center. This LZ was deemed unsuitable and a second location was selected approximately one mile away. Cullum drove the fire engine from the first LZ to the second.

Chief Kenneth Lehr is believed to have ridden the engine's tailboard, unknown to Cullum, between the two landing zones.

As Cullum, 47, pulled the fire engine off the highway in the area being established as the second LZ, he visually located nearby personnel and took note that they were 10 to 15 yards away.

In the seconds between stopping and the putting the fire engine in reverse, Lehr either fell or stepped off the engine's tailboard. He was run over by the reversing truck, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bearing responsibility
Cullum says he will regret for the rest of his life not taking 10 more seconds to find a spotter before reversing the fire engine.

"Someone notified me that Chief Lehr had been on the back of the truck and fallen under before I could stop," said Cullum. "It was not an accident. It was my responsibility to ensure a safe truck."

Cullum, from his life and military experience, believes it is human nature to assign blame. Even though he doesn't know why the chief got on the back of the truck, potentially while it was moving, Cullum is accepting responsibility for his role in the incident.

"This was not an accident. It was an incident," said Cullum. "In an accident there is nothing that could have been done to change the outcome. An incident, even when the outcome is tragic, could have been prevented."

Cullum said that as the engineer, it was his responsibility to make sure the engine was safe.

"I failed in that respect and I also failed my fire department brothers and sisters worldwide," he said.

Learning from LODD and near miss incidents
Firefighter Close Calls, NIOSH line-of-duty death reports, Firefighter Near Miss reports and other training materials are created and distributed to help emergency responders learn from past incidents and avoid repeating those same incidents.

Asking questions about an incident – why, what, where, when, and how – are part of the investigative and learning process.

When asked about his initial response to an EMS1 editorial questioning how the incident occurred, Cullum clarified.

"It wasn't the questions EMS1 asked,” he said. “The questions need to be asked, but they need to be asked with more knowledge of the incident and what happened.”

The preliminary state police report and early news reports of the incident were thin on specific details about the patient's injuries, the request for an ambulance, the departments that responded, and where the landing zones were located.

Those details will likely be clear in the final OSHA report.

Loss of a friend and a department

Medora is small community. Members of Lehr's family asked Cullum not to participate in the funeral and also asked him to resign from the department a few days after the incident.

He honored both wishes.

As the department's training officer for the last five years, Cullum worked closely with Chief Lehr.

"Kenny was a friend, mentor, chief, and surrogate father figure to me and many others on the department," he said.

"We had our disagreements, but we always worked through those disagreements. That is part of being in a volunteer fire department. You have debates or arguments and then you move on to share a beer together.”

Grief and post-incident stress
Grieving is a process unique to each person experiencing a loss. As a Navy veteran and firefighter, Cullum has seen death and dismemberment before, but sleep is not coming easily to him.

"When I close my eyes, I see all of the incidents behind my eyelids," he said.

"I have seen this before. I know we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

Cullum has been surprised by the thoughts that have come into his mind as he’s grieved the loss of his chief.

"I won't see Kenny at the pork chop dinner (an annual fundraiser for the department)," he said. "This was a fun event for me and all the guys. A vision of Kenny and the assistant chief standing at the grill popped into my mind, for no particular reason, a few days ago."

His experience underscores a truth about dealing with traumatic encounters: stress management is unique to the individual.

"I can only speak for myself," Cullum said. "I can't speak for the other guys on the department. Talking about the incident is helping me."

Support from the fire service
In the days since the incident, former fire department colleagues, his pastor, and many friends have visited Cullum at his home.

"I have not been alone," said Cullum. "This is hard for me and everyone. I pray to God to give me the strength I need."

Support for Cullum has extended beyond his own department, as several within the fire service have reached out to him. One retired fire chief in particular has been helpful, Cullum says, in sharing his own experience of dealing with a line of duty death at his department.

They are currently collaborating on a lesson or presentation they might give to other departments to help prevent a similar incident from occurring.

OSHA has interviewed Cullum and others about the incident. The final report has not yet been released. Cullum approached the interview knowing the investigators had a job to do.

"I did my best to be truthful about what I saw and did. The investigators were gracious in the interview and looked at the incident from all angles," said Cullum.

Hopeful that others will learn
Cullum is not the first and he will not be the last emergency responder to reverse a fire engine or an ambulance without a spotter.

"All of us have from time to time assumed it was OK (to back up) and got away with it," said Cullum.

Backing without a spotter is an example of normalization of deviance by emergency responders, similar to failing to wear a seatbelt or being distracted while driving an emergency vehicle.

Over time, when negative consequences do not occur, unacceptable practices become acceptable. A series of near misses does not change the risk of a fatal backing incident.

"My hope is to prevent another needless death by sharing with others that 10 seconds is enough to save a life," Cullum said. "This incident, maybe, can be a tragic learning tool and I will not have completely failed my mentor and friend."

Why fire departments are skipping grants

Posted on Mon, 15 Jun 2015 19:31:27 UTC

Once again this year the number of applications FEMA received for the AFG program has decreased. This is the fourth year in a row that this has occurred.

Ask fire and EMS agencies why they aren't applying and you basically get three different answers: they don't have time to put the application together, the application is too complicated and they don't have money for the match. If you notice, none of the reasons listed was "because our department has everything it needs."

If we look at the decline in applications, it almost mirrors the last major makeover of the AFG application itself. Four years ago AFG went from a single, long narrative to four separate narratives.

There are now narratives for critical infrastructure and training. There are also additional questions about your department and its coverage area.

Why is this happening? Because reviewers weren't getting the information they need to effectively score an application.

Probing questions
In the day of the long, single narrative, applicants tended to discuss their project at length. They gave very little detail on how it would benefit the area served, why they couldn't fund this project locally or how it would positively impact their response capabilities.

In an attempt to garner this information, FEMA broke the long narrative into four shorter narratives. Also, by doing this, FEMA thought it would be helping the departments by forcing them to discuss these specific topics.

What happened was that departments panicked and said the application had changed and it was entirely too difficult. The number of applications dropped. In subsequent years, FEMA added a narrative on training.

In the past there always had been a question in the application's characteristics section asking departments what percentage of their firefighters were trained to firefighter I and II. If this number was not 100 percent they had to discuss their training plans in their narrative.

Very few departments put anything in their narratives, so once again in an attempt to get this information, AFG added an additional narrative in the characteristics section asking them to detail training plans if fell below 100 percent compliance with NFPA 1001.

Again, this was an attempt by FEMA to get the type of information the reviewers needed, and instead departments saw it as making the application more difficult.

What's protected?
Additionally, there had always been a question asking if a department protected critical infrastructure in their state. The word "state" threw some departments off because they thought they had to provide protection to a facility that belong to their state government.

Also, departments touched very lightly in their narratives about the type of infrastructure that their departments covered. Again, FEMA asked for a narrative on critical infrastructure and departments panicked.

Remember the review panel scoring an application knows absolutely nothing about the department, the coverage area, the financial outlook or the department's needs. The reason for the narratives and questions inside the application is to provide the review panel with this information so they can make a proper judgment.

If you are on one of the departments that have thrown in the towel on AFG applications, I ask you to reconsider. The idea for these additional questions and narratives has not been to deter application but to provide equitable information to the reviewers.

At this point in the year, you have at least four months before the next AFG application period opens. Use this time to get started on your application.

Inside the AFG website, FEMA has amassed volumes of information that can assist you in assembling a competitive application. This includes videos on how to prepare a competitive application. It includes a cost-share calculator, get ready guides, self-evaluation sheets and an application checklist.

If you have not filed an AFG application because you thought it was too difficult, check out the information FEA has available to assist you.

Glass management: It's more than smashing windows

Posted on Mon, 12 Mar 2012 11:34:25 UTC

At every heavy rescue and extrication program, we are taught to remove glass as needed and in as controlled a manner as practical and possible. However, how many times do we go to the session and WHAM and SMASH go the side and rear glass because it’s impressive to watch or fun to do?

But is that what we should be doing? When displacing the vehicle glazing materials, usually referred to as glass management, we want to remove the glass in an orderly, managed process.

Before one window is shattered, it is important to know the types of glass firefighters will encounter and the additional forces that can be present at a motor vehicle accident. The two types of glass to which we have become accustomed, laminated and tempered safety glass, are still the most widely used.

Laminated glass is a sandwich, a series of layers of glass and plastic laminated together. Tempered, or safety, glass will break into small granular fragments when shattered.

However, there are a few new variations in use. Enhanced protective glass is basically a form of laminated glass found in the side and rear windows. Dual-paned glass and polycarbonate glazing are also used.

Some of these materials require a change in our methodology and tools for removing such windows.

And factor in the issues of rear glass hatches in SUVs and minivans. These glass hatches have a nasty habit of flying apart when broken because of the tension placed on them by the multiple hatch struts and the energy absorbed by the vehicle during the crash.

Laminated glass is found in windshields but is increasingly found in the side and rear windows as well. This type of glass must be cut from the vehicle to be removed, which can be facilitated by cutting the peripheral edge with an axe, a glass saw, or even a reciprocating saw.

This operation produces glass dust, which is a respiratory hazard. For this reason, we must add dust masks to the personal protective equipment for glass management.

Tempered glass is usually found in side and rear windows. To break this glass, use an impact tool that imparts a large amount of force into a small concentrated area. Then clean out the window opening by pulling the glass onto the ground with a tool, not with gloved hands.

Vehicles can load the glass with energy from the crash; when it’s broken it can almost explode when that energy is released. We must protect our patient with a protective cover and use hard protection to funnel glass pieces away from the patient.


Photo David Dalrymple

Make sure your eye protection is in place and you are wearing a dust mask. Also, watch out for glass in hatches of vehicles.

It can have up to four gas struts pushing on the glass and creating even more tension. This too might explode when broken; be aware that the struts may also push toward rescuers.

Ideally, the laminated glass that was cut and removed should be folded and slid in under the vehicle out of rescuers way. If at all possible, tempered glass should be removed to the outside of the vehicle, away from the patient and the interior rescuer.

However, some vehicles — especially SUVs and minivans — might have a lot of windows or a rather large window, which produce many glass particles.

Glass particles can be slippery, almost like marbles. It is a good practice to sweep these under the vehicle so that rescuers are not walking on it and stabilization devices are on not on it.

There are two new materials available to help rescuers manage glass. One is Packexe Smash and it is available in North America from ESI equipment. It is a clear film dispensed from a special applicator. The film adds enough strength for tempered glass to be cut.


Photo David Dalrymple

On the flip side, laminated glass dust can be greatly reduced by applying the film first and then cutting through the area where the film is applied. If the glass is wet, it can be wiped dry with a microfiber cloth before the film is applied.

The other material is an extrication wrap made by Protecto. The wrap material is an adhesive rubber compound on one side with a smooth brightly colored film on the other side. The material comes in a roll that firefighters can pre cut or cut-to size on scene.

The up side to this material is it can be used as sharp-edge protection as well. Both of these materials really can make a difference in glass-management tasks. And both materials can handle glass management and sharp-edge protection.

Whether or not you invest in glass-management products, it is critical to invest the time to plan and execute how you approach removing glass at vehicle collisions. A smart approach protects both rescuers and patients.

3 steps to get your agency grant ready

Posted on Thu, 18 Jun 2015 16:30:14 UTC

You are toned out for a man down. In less than 60 seconds an ambulance is rolling from a posting location, a first responder fire engine is responding from quarters, and a dispatcher is giving compression-only CPR instructions. Your agency is “cardiac arrest ready,” as well as ready for other medical emergencies, traumatic injuries, and all-hazards responses.

Applying for and receiving grants requires a comparable level of readiness. Is your agency grant ready?

Here are three steps that will help your agency be better prepared to apply for local, state, regional, and national grant funding!

Step 1: Have necessary documents on file

Many foundations or other grant making organizations require a common set of documents. At a minimum, have on hand current year and previous year budgets, an organizational chart, and a list of directors or policy makers as well as their affiliations.

For non-profit agencies make sure to include your agency’s IRS determination letter stating your 501c3 designation. You might want to support this with financial and income statements.

Step 2: Write up information on the department

Grantmakers want to know about your organization; its mission, history, and accomplishments. Write a background document that in a half to a full page gives insight into your department for potential grant makers.

Step 3: Create a “one sheet” for your agency

A “one sheet” is a snapshot of the most important statistics, performance measures, and demographics about your agency. Having this at the ready will save you hours of time searching and compiling data when a deadline is quickly approaching. Our EMS grants team recommends the following one sheet data points:

  • Annual call volume
  • Distribution of incidents by type - medical, trauma, structure fires, alarms
  • Mutual aid responses
  • Cardiac arrest responses and related data (i.e. ROSC, 30-day survival)
  • Motor vehicle collisions requiring extrication
  • Number of full-time staff (paid), part-time staff (paid), and volunteers
  • Distribution of staff by level of certification
  • Number of on-duty injuries (per year)
  • Coverage area (square miles)
  • Number of stations
  • Number of apparatus
  • Population in coverage area
  • Median income
  • Recent grant successes
  • Recent service enhancements or improvements

Being grant ready, just like readiness for a major trauma patient, takes time. Having the information outlined in this article at the ready can not only help you meet a critical deadline, it can also help you assess whether a grant is the right fit for your project.

Firefighter training: Get water to the fire

Posted on Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:12:17 UTC

Last month we looked at the importance of having a free flow of water from the hydrant to the pump; that means no kinks in the supply line. The next critical link in the fire-suppression chain is delivering water from the pump to the fire via the hose.

In the corresponding videos, we have a story from a July 2011 fire that destroyed a business and killed the owner. The news story focused on the concerns of the residents who watched the fire unfold and questioned why it took so long, in this case 14 minutes, to get water flowing.

It is normal for bystanders to raise this type of questioning as they expect quick results without knowing the process involved in getting water onto the fire.

We don't know all of the facts surrounding the circumstances of this event. What we do know is that getting water flowing and delivered to our hose lines is a priority for the incident commander, the crew and others involved with the fire.

Process evaluation can help us determine where in the line of dominos being set up with our water delivery, did our water-delivery process go awry.

There are certain steps involved with getting water from the source to the pump intake to the hose being used to discharge the water. These steps must be trained on and practiced constantly to ensure a smooth and effective process of water delivery.

Critical not boring
This type of training may be viewed as being too basic and for some, not exciting enough to warrant the time dedicated to perfecting it. However basic this may be for some, it needs to be perfected so that no matter what the circumstances are at any fire, we can ensure that water will be flowing from the pump out to the hand lines for quick and timely water application.

Training for this skill can be adapted to work for different staffing situations such as a four-person crew, a three-person crew, and even a two-person crew.

There are shortcuts that can be developed to suit the needs of the fire department based upon staffing response so that when they arrive on scene, they can advance a hose line, get it flaked out, call for water and know that within a few seconds, that water will be at the nozzle ready for application.

What are the dangers of not having water at the nozzle? The dangers will be similar to those described in the video.

A life lost may be lost and the fire will grow in size and in intensity every minute. A firefighter's life may be put in jeopardy during a search or interior operations due to inadequate water protection. The building will more rapidly deteriorate, leading to collapse. And other exposures may catch fire.

All of these items are what the dominos being lined up eventually lead to — a disastrous outcome and a much bigger problem. Remove the dominos by evaluating your process in water delivery and perfect it to make it work every time.

6 ways to defend yourself against verbal abuse

Posted on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:08:57 UTC

For years now, I have taught EMS responders to keep in mind that nothing a patient says is personal. While teaching classes on successful verbal interactions with patients, I have frequently emphasized that the patient doesn’t know you. Therefore, nothing that they say can be taken personally. How could it be personal if they don’t know you personally?

I’ve changed my mind. Sometimes, the verbal abuse hurled at us can be personal. And not taking it personally can be remarkably difficult. Verbal abuse is a hostile act and it is intended to cause harm.

Since a verbal attack leaves no physical mark, we often ignore its intent, and we also disregard its potential to harm us. But, I’ve come to believe that these episodes can do harm, if we fail to properly defend ourselves emotionally. To do that, we first have to recognize that a verbal attack on our person is not benign, even though we’ve been taught otherwise.

As children, we learned that "sticks and stones can break our bones but words could never hurt us." I believed it. You probably believed it too. The childhood nursery rhyme is wrong. Words can hurt us. Some words can hurt for a long time. Some words can be carried with us for a lifetime and nobody will ever see the scars.

Our awareness that verbal abuse can be harmful begins with the recognition that some of our patients are remarkably good at verbal abuse. Many of them have been victims of abuse themselves and they learned the language of abuse at a very young age. Some verbal attackers can size us up remarkably fast and pick out our weaknesses and insecurities with great accuracy.

Physical and social targets
The target of the verbal abuser's attack may be physical or social. Any physical imperfection you have may become a target for a verbal attack including your weight, height, the size of your nose, your receding hairline or your visible birthmark. If the verbal abuser suspects that you harbor any insecurity over your appearance he or she will likely take a shot.

If a physical feature can’t easily be exploited, then social attributes may also be tested. Gender, race, religious beliefs and sexual orientation tend to be effective areas of emotional vulnerability. What could be more personal than our gender, our ethnicity, our belief about creation or our choices regarding physical intimacy? These things define us as a person. They are deeply personal and that’s why they are so frequently the subject of verbal attacks.

This recognition that verbal abuse can be extremely personal has left me considering an important question. What should we do to defend ourselves against verbal abuse from our patients?

Here are some of the ideas with which I’ve been experimenting:

1. Recognize that you are being attacked: While a verbal assault may not be as obvious as a punch or a kick, but it is still an attack. The person targeting you with verbal abuse is attempting to hurt you. They want you to feel pain and discomfort. They want to feel that they have control, power and influence over you. They want you to feel hurt, sad or angry and they are probably quite good at instigating these feelings. While you may have been trained to ignore these behaviors, recognizing and defending yourself against a verbal assault is appropriate. Your internal defense against a verbal attack may be as invisible as the words that that the patient spoke, but it should still exist.

2. Check your physical safety: Physical assaults are often preceded by a verbal attack. Use the patient’s verbal aggressiveness as a prompt to reconsider your safety. Is the patient properly restrained? Do you have the resources available to manage the patient’s potential for escalation? Do you know the location of your exits? Do you have a reliable way to call for help? Verbal abuse should immediately prompt you to double check your physical safety. If you aren’t safe, back off until the resources you require are present.

3. Relax your posture: It’s easier to remain calm if you have an open body posture and relaxed muscles. Take a deep breath. Open your hands. Calm your facial expression and think about your words before you speak. Just because the patient is speaking with a rapid cadence doesn’t mean that you need to have a quick response. As long as you are not in physical danger, there is no need to move or speak quickly. You can move the scene forward at your own pace. Have confidence in your own authority. Do your best to keep yourself relaxed, calm and alert.

4. Say to yourself, “How interesting:” The phrase, “How interesting,” places us in a powerful position of analysis. When we make a conscious choice to analyze a situation we change our mindset. The process of analysis reminds us that we always have the ability to choose how we will feel in response to something someone says. Consider why the patient feels that causing others emotional pain is their best course of action. How has this worked for them in the past? This is a behavior that few people witness on a regular basis. The fact that it is rare makes it interesting on at least a cursory level. Choosing fascination over anger can help you see the big picture.

5. Make an honest observation: We’ve been trained to ignore the hurtful things that patients sometimes say, but I’ve been exploring a more reserved confrontational option. Instead of dismissing the remark, try calling the patient’s bluff and identifying the nature of their aggressive statements. Try a response like, “That’s a very hurtful thing for you to say.” or “Those remarks are highly inappropriate.” or “I’m not going to engage in a conversation that’s profane or hateful.” Calling the patient out on their own inappropriateness might be more effective than simply pretending that they aren’t being verbally abusive.

6. Consciously forgive the offense: Forgiveness is a powerful tool. I don’t believe that people are born with hatred inside of them. Hatred is learned and it is something that passes from person to person. The patient’s ability to verbally attack you is something that they learned consciously or not. After the call is over, take a moment and purposefully allow yourself to forgive the patient for every attempt that they made to cause you emotional pain. When you choose to forgive the patient for the words that they spoke, you automatically place yourself in a position of power. You recognize that the words that were spoken did have the power to hurt you and you also have the power to heal, let go and move on.

If you work in EMS, it is almost inevitable that you will be the subject of verbal abuse. What do you do to cope with the hurtful things that patients’ can sometimes say? Do you have any good tips for managing the verbally aggressive patient?

Why a lazy firefighter may not be lazy

Posted on Wed, 17 Jun 2015 20:09:28 UTC

A fire officer was recently describing to me a member of his crew. "He's terrible to work with," the officer said. "He's the most lazy and incompetent person on the entire shift."

I've heard these two words used together before when officers talk about so-called problem employees. Lazy and incompetent — they seem to make sense together.

There almost seems to be a cause-and-effect linkage between them. If you're lazy, then you probably won't engage with training or other activities among the crew. You won't do projects that build skills.

So a lazy person, by definition, is likely to be incompetent.

There are people who are truly lazy, either because they are arrogant, or they feel entitled, or in some cases they are just exhausted. But it is also possible to look at the cause and effect between these two characteristics in the opposite direction.

When people are incompetent — if they know their skills are poor and if they feel insecure about performing essential tasks on the job — their insecurity will likely cause them to avoid performing those tasks. They don't want to be judged. They don't want to be found out.

The path of least resistance in some cases is just to avoid performing that task altogether. Better to be seen as contrary or lazy than incompetent.

I've seen this happen in the fire service.

Learning discouraged
There was a firefighter on the job who rarely fully participated in practical training exercises, especially those involving air packs. Superficially he acted like he was above it — he'd been on the job over 20 years. Why should he still have to train on the basics?

But the real problem was quickly demonstrated when he came into a certification process he could not avoid. His skills were poor, his confidence almost nonexistent. And his performance — well, it goes without saying that it was not good.

This firefighter was found out in a situation where people were certifying on an air pack course for time. It was a competitive situation. His poor performance in that venue became a much talked about event among department members, even kind of a joke.

He left the job not long after that. Some might say that was a good outcome. The guy was incompetent and came across as lazy. He shouldn't be on the job.

Maybe this was true. But the fact is that he was on the job for over 20 years. For a good portion of that time, he was probably in the same state of readiness as he was that day when he performed so poorly.

What if that had happened on a big fire? What if he had become trapped inside a building? The consequences would have been very high.

Better training attitude
A fire department cannot afford to have a single person on the job who feels incompetent or insecure about his or her skills. Everyone should have confidence and a sense of mastery about their position, which comes through training and experience.

But some kinds of training undermine this goal.

If this firefighter had had the opportunity to go through the air pack course without a lot of judgmental spectators eager to capitalize on his failures, he might have been willing to ask for help. He might have admitted that he didn't feel comfortable performing the task and he might have been able to get the training and support he needed to master the necessary skills.

This should be the goal of all training — not competition, not proving that you are better than somebody else. Training should be about bringing everyone to the same high standard. In this way, emergency response can be as safe and predictable as is possible under the changing circumstances.

Everyone knows a firefighter that they would describe as being lazy. Take another look at these people.

Are they highly competent in their skills? Do they feel comfortable mentoring others or being mentored themselves? Are they willing to make mistakes and ask for help?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then the perceived laziness of these people might be avoidance, and might be masking a much more serious problem with deep safety implications.

‘The only easy day was yesterday’

Posted on Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:29:58 UTC

We let too many powerful, life-changing quotes and sayings pass through our ears without taking any action on them. It’s time to take pause, listen and then actually change our lives because of them.

Let’s take this one.

“The only easy day was yesterday”

This famous saying is etched above the grinder in the BUD/S compound. Every bleeding back, bruised knuckle and searing muscle produced during SEAL physical training is underneath this sign. But what does it really mean?

For me, there are two powerful and opposing meanings to this statement. One meaning has provided me a refuge, a destination if you will. The other reminds me that this shit never ends, so get used to it.

A Paradise from the Pain
Have you ever done anything extremely dangerous, tough, demanding or painful? Do you notice how good it feels when you’re done? That’s the “paradise from the pain” that this saying represents for me.

People take action for one of two reasons:

1.) Avoid pain
2) Gain pleasure

The avoidance of pain can produce quick results; however, it’s a weak catalyst for action. The acquisition of pleasure, on the other hand, can drive a man or a woman to do some amazing things.

In the early stages of SEAL training, they put you through what’s called “Hell Week.” You’re basically awake for five days and in constant wet, painful and very cold motion. The entire time I was going through this ordeal, all I would think about was how great it would feel on Friday when they “secured” us from Hell Week. All that was on my mind was the pleasure of going to Bullshirt to buy the coveted “The only easy day was yesterday” t-shirt that one only “rated” after the completion of Hell Week.

This motivation to gain something good was my “paradise from the pain” because no matter what was happening, no matter how bad it was, my heart and mind was sitting on this island of accomplishment thinking about how “easy” it will all be once Hell Week became yesterday.

This Shit Never Ends — Settle In
I was training a young man the other day who wants to become a SEAL. We were running on the beach talking about the “mental management” of SEAL training. It was our third evolution of the day, and I was explaining to him that BUD/S is much like this — endless demanding physical or mental evolutions that would go on for more than six months. And once BUD/S was over, it didn’t stop — training for deployment was also demanding. Never-ending. The only easy day would always and only be yesterday because today you have to prove yourself again.

I explained to him that BUD/S could have lasted forever and I would have been fine. I had “settled in” and accepted that every day I would start over and prove myself again.

Putting It All Together
Though these two things seem to be opposite in nature, I find them to be two halves to the equation of life.

On the front end, the saying promises me “pleasure” once the tough stuff is behind me. The reward that has me kick ass every day with a smile on my face.

On the back end is the idea that there will always be a challenge, so there’s no reason to resist it anymore. Just put your head down, keep spitting the blood and don’t stop. I know this sounds a bit “aggro,” but think about it. If you are to live a life of purpose, will you not always have something difficult to accomplish? I mean if you have everything handled financially, physically, mentally and spiritually for yourself and your loved ones, wouldn’t it then be time to hit the road and start helping others who are suffering and dying every day? I think so.

This Shit Isn’t Meant To Be Entertaining
Stop nodding your head like you get it — now what are you going to do? Here are three questions to ask yourself to inspire action:

1.) What are you now going to quit doing in your life?
2.) What are you now going to start doing in your life?
3.) What are you already doing that you’re now going to modify?

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.

What does it mean to you?

Eric Davis served our country as a U.S. Navy SEAL and decorated veteran of the Global War on Terror. Eric has been recognized as one of the premier sniper instructors in the U.S. military and has served as a Master Training Specialist at the SEAL sniper school.