Tricks vs. The Trade

“What you showed me isn’t in the book.  What are the Chiefs gonna say if I do this?  Are you gonna have my back if I do this and someone says something?”

This is a real quote from a firefighter at a recent training.  As an instructor and a fire officer, one of the “hurdles” I have encountered is that people have FF1, FF2, a cape and a “S” on their chest.  However, when they pull up with fire blowing, they don’t know whether to stretch a line or go fetal.

We seem to always worry about what “the book”, the Chief or a lawyer will say.  Also, we are so worried about book knowledge and pieces of paper that we fail to learn the real life application of our job.

A buddy of mine took a class from Mike Ciampo at FDIC.  In that class, Ciampo told them that he didn’t agree with the term “tricks of the trade” because the “the tricks ARE the trade”.  We are losing, or have lost, mentorship and skill sharing in the fire service.  If we don’t learn it in “the Essentials” or take an online class about it, it doesn’t exist.  Then we wonder why firefighters die.

I’ve gotten deer in the headlight looks when asking firefighters what they would do if their preconnect didn’t reach, how to size up a handline and what “shocking the door” was.  Guys have told me that we offensively attack fire with a wide fog and didn’t know what “the irons” were.  And we wonder why firefighters die.

Safety is more than just a buzz word, a sticker on a helmet or a program.  True safety is grassroots, its hands-on and its continuous.  It’s being proactive instead of reactive.  A couple of nuggets that I remember from Tom Brennan are his desire to perform “seven tasks all at once” and to “make the building behave the way WE want it to”.  If our training and operations more closely mirrored this approach, we may see the LODD numbers continue to drop.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS!

Thanks and be SAFE

2 Comments

  • FireMedic says:

    I don’t think this is an either/or problem. Trying to teach someone the tricks of the trade without them having a basic understanding of building construction or firefighting principals will lead them to either forget what you taught them or to do it wrong. On the other hand, simply reading Essentials and taking classes obviously doesn’t give the new firefighter the applicable knowledge he needs. Essentials should be taught as a basic framework (for example, in the academy) and then the mentoring should take over to teach them the tricks (during probation and through their career).

    • I agree 100%. Maybe the breakdown is at the academy? The “Essential” are just that, the most basic information you need to either build onto or to get yourself killed in the real world. To me, that’s why choosing the right ACADEMY INSTRUCTORS is probably the most important thing an organization can do. Don’t just get Probies certified, give them a solid foundation to support them for the rest of their career.

      Thanks for the comment, be SAFE.

1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

S.A.F.E. Firefighter

(843) 247-6044 www.safefirefighter.com info@safefirefighter.com

We provide high-energy, high intensity & high-repetition training to help you be a SMART, AGGRESSIVE,

FUNDAMENTAL & EFFICIENT firefighter

GET IT DONE.  NO EXCUSES.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Comments
safefirefighter
First Due Friday; Top Floor Garden Apartment
Thanks for the comment Brian, we enjoy a good garden apartment job as well. Usually plenty of work to go around. Have a safe holiday! Merry Christmas! Matt SAFE FF
2014-12-23 03:22:44
safefirefighter
Quotes
Thanks Cap, FYI, we'll probably use your quote if that's okay? Matt SAFE FF
2014-12-23 03:21:12
motivational firefighter quotes | Order Letter
Quotes
[…] Quotes | safe firefighter […]
2014-12-03 13:17:17
Brian
First Due Friday; Top Floor Garden Apartment
Had a few just like this. Call the all hands. First due engine stretch to fire floor. 500 gallons plenty to put this fire out. Truck co split up and primary search. Force entry if needed. 35 ft ladder to window to left of fire window and rear. Second due truck co. set up aerial…
2014-11-28 02:17:43
Stephen Simich
Quotes
I use this one all the time in training: "Perfection is the goal, excellence will be tolerated" by John Maxwell- Leadership management book.
2014-11-20 14:27:15

Upcoming Events

"Street Smart Shop Talk"
Fire Engineering Talk Radio
Tuesday December 23, 2014 @ 1930 hrs

"Street Smart Shop Talk"
Fire Engineering Talk Radio
Tuesday February 10, 2015 @ 1930 hrs

Working Fire Operations for Firefighters & Incident Commanders (LIVE FIRE)
Southeastern Fire School @ SC Fire Academy
Columbia, SC
March 14-15, 2015

"Street Smart Shop Talk"
Fire Engineering Talk Radio
Tuesday March 31 @ 1930 hrs

"Street Smart Firefighting & Brotherhood Workshop"
FDIC International 2015
Indianapolis, IN
April 20-25, 2015

"Street Smart Forcible Entry" (HOT)
SC Fire-Rescue Conference 2015
Tuesday June 9, 2015 from 0800-1700 hrs

"Street Smart Forcible Entry" (HOT)
SC Fire-Rescue Conference 2015
Wednesday June 10, 2015 from 0800-1700 hrs

Recent Events

"Outside the Box Firefighting" @ SC Fire/Rescue Conference

"Street Smart Fireground Forcible Entry" @ SC Fire/Rescue Conference

"Street Smart Shop Talk" on FireEngineering Blog Talk Radio

"Spartanburg Research Burns" w/ NIST, UL, ISFSI & SCFA

"Street Smart Fireground Forcible Entry" @ Charlotte Firefighters 9/11 Stairclimb

"Fireground Search & Mayday Refresher" @ Goose Creek, SC

"Street Smart Engine Work" @ Lowcountry Fire/EMS Weekend

Quote of the Month:

“Perfection is the goal, excellence will be tolerated”

- John Maxwell- Leadership management book via CPT Steven Simich

Keep In Touch & Get Notifications

FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

LATEST FIREFIGHTER NEWS

HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS

LATEST ON FIRE ENGINEERING

FEATURED DISCUSSIONS