While drilling on master stream operations at my career station, we had a very close call recently. I was on the pump panel while my lieutenant and two other firefighters were setting up and operating a portable monitor. While drilling to achieve various GPM flows by removing the nozzle tips, a few of the volunteers showed up to drill as well. After a few evolutions of deploying the monitor and charging the two 2.5 lines feeding it, we had an incident. One of the career firefighters was messing around with one of the volunteers. (Note, i only saw the end result of the accident, these statements are from others present.) The two were wrestling with each other as the career FF tried to jokingly push the volunteer FF into the stream. The volunteer decided that if he was going in, they both were. He let go of his footing and tried to pull the career guy into the stream with him. The volunteer fell into the stream of the monitor flowing approx 800 gpm through an 1 3/4″ tip. He was hit in the ribs and launched into the air, landing in the street about 5 feet from the nozzle. The FF then slid across the roadway, knocking his helmet off. The helmet was found about 30 feet from the monitor. Luckily the firefighter was not injured too badly. He only suffered from some bruising and road rash on the side he slid on (under his PPE). His gear was not damage, but he sustained cuts to his buttock and hips. At the time of the incident, everyone froze after seeing him hit. It feels like 10 minutes in my mind, but after a second or two, i shut down the lines. Of course, one of our commissioners was there to watch the whole thing unfold. Instead of disciplining the career firefighter, he made an inappropriate joke about how fire streams used to be used for riot control.
We play with some big toys. These toys, while meant to be operated in the safest manner possible can still cause accidents. Horseplay has no place on the fire ground or the training ground. We were very lucky with this that no one got seriously injured. Everyone needs to understand that they are accountable for their own personal safety AND the safety of those around them.