One of the earliest Firefighter Line of Duty deaths that I learned intimately about was in 1977, and it was the death of Garden City Park (Long Island, NY) Captain Richard Provost. It happened just a few miles away from where I was a Firefighter (Manhasset-Lakeville) at the time. Captain Provost responded to a van on fire-no different than any of us ever have-and he died of traumatic injuries sustained while fighting that fire where illegally transported propane cylinders exploded and struck 37 year old Captain.
Because our FD and GCPFD were neighboring, I was able to learn a lot from that loss. It taught me early that nothing at a fire scene is routine or normal-and that you never know what will be inside of a vehicle-or a structure, But lets focus on vehicles right now.
A few years later, I turned out with my crew and we had a van burning-with tans burning in the back. As we opened the doors to get more water on the fire-one of the burning tanks came rolling toward us so I grabbed it and tossed it. Not the best idea-as it rolled (burning) toward a travel agency. Fortunately we were able to stop my problem from getting worse-quickly. But between that, the fire in 1977-and so many more, we all gained deep respect for the vehicle fire.
Throw loads of water.
Throw more water.
Around 1400 hours today, Miami-Dade firefighters were working to put out what-yep-a van fire. As the MDFR members had the fire knocked, they opened the back door and the fire “took off” – fortunately they were bunkered up and on air-no exposed skin-so the gear did its job and the problem was taken care of. Detectives said a large amount of gasoline was being illegally and dangerously stored in the back of the van. Of course it was.
We never know what we will encounter-so expect that. There are places where the Firefighters would have had on a t-shirt and no SCBA handling that same fire and the results would have been much different.
Simply put-always wear all your stuff, size it up and think about “how bad could this get” – and then handle it. That’s what MDFR did today.
VIDEO OF THE ABOVE VEHICLE FIRE “TAKING OFF”
NOBLE, AGGRESSIVE FIREFIGHTERS
You will love this video.
A friend of mine-a well respected retired member of the Chicago FD and avid fire buff and photographer. Steve Redick dipped into his fire video vault today came up with a great piece of firefighting history. You will LOVE this video.
Many of you may have never heard of the documentary “The Noble Breed”. It was produced by the Kemper Insurance Company in the late 1960’s. They spent quite a bit of time riding with CFD Snorkel Squad 3 with some footage also from the LAFD and others.
At 5:30 you will hear the narrator, talk about the “motto” of the fire company… “AGGRESSIVENESS”
When I heard that today, it really struck a chord. It’s unfortunate that the word “aggressiveness” has these days, by some, taken on a negative or bad meaning (or definition) of being untrained, unprepared, freelancing and play-grounding hot-dog. It’s unfortunate because that’s the complete opposite of the intent. It is impossible to be an aggressive Firefighter unless you are well trained. One of the key words in defining a Firefighter has to be aggressive. How can you be, if you are not?
Being an AGGRESSIVE firefighter should bear a sense of pride. But before you go walking around in your gear in front of the mirror pretending your cell phone is a fire radio, aggressive must also define a firefighter who is trained, highly trained, expertly trained, always re-training, always focused, team oriented, sizing up, disciplined and doing the best possible for those having the fire …based upon your crew, your officer, your FD’s policies and guidelines.
Aggressive means making an all-out effort to win / succeed in the task we are faced with. Firefighters respond to “losing” situations where people would like us to help them win-they called us because they were losing, The key factor is being TRAINED (constant, never ending) to be AGGRESSIVE well before you are expected to be aggressive. In other words, you cannot be aggressive unless you are expertly trained and re-trained, it just won’t work.
It’s being “one of those” energetic, gung ho, “love the job” Firefighters , especially in the use of initiative, training, skills and forcefulness in taking a risk when needed to help those in need.
As you will hear in the video: “Their motto is AGGRESSIVENESS.”
For it’s time, this video was probably one of the best FD documentaries ever produced. It was narrated by Rod Serling..a very well known actor back in the day. Steve has posted the video on his website for all of us to enjoy, Due to size limitations, it is posted in 2 parts..take a look. Here is the link ..be sure to expand the viewing window to a larger size.
As a Son, Brother, Husband, Dad and Poppie, the Firefighters who protect all of my family better be aggressive. What do you want for yours?
As a fire officer, why wouldn’t any boss want aggressive firefighters? We need to take time and provide the resources to make sure their training and discipline allow them to be as aggressive as required. Know that the heartbeat and bloodline to the success of being an “aggressive” Firefighter is training-with everyday being a training day, as GG reminds us. The members should always arrive at the firehouse knowing that training-real hands on job related and realistic training-is “of course” a part of everyday-even on weekends and holidays. The aggressive ones? We’ll take’m everytime.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass it On.
The Secret List 1/24/2017-1900 Hours