After the report is submitted, the conference ends and online course is published we often wonder how the information is received and implemented throughout the fire service. Yesterday we received the letter below from Battalion Chief Sean DeCrane with the Cleveland Division of Fire. How is your department implementing the newest in firefighter research?
Steve and Crew,
I just wanted to reach out and let you know the impact your research and educational materials are having in Cleveland. Recently events in Toledo, Ohio and Boston took the lives of two fire fighters in each respective event. While both incidents remain under investigation we started to look at the circumstances surrounding these events. Toledo is close to Cleveland and a large number of our members attended the memorial service so it hit close to home.
We have been fortunate to have been involved in a number of research projects and have utilized many of the training materials you and your staff has produced in our educational events. We host monthly Company Officer Roll Calls, post Quarterly Continuing Education requirements and require daily drilling from our companies. The State of Ohio requires continuing education credits each year to maintain our Fire Fighter I & II certification so we try to provide much of this education.
Over the years we have provided this information in a number formats including your online modules. After these events we took a step back as a Command Staff and evaluated whether or not we were applying the principles we have been learning into action on the fireground. Were we incorporating ventilation control or coordination? Did we have company officers communicating with the Incident Commanders prior to ventilation or suppression operations. Sadly we found these skills being used sporadically.
This week we made the decision as a Division we would make a change. This change needs to be implemented city wide so we have all of our officers conscientious of their tactical decisions and the impact on fireground operations. More importantly we wanted our members to understand the potential consequences of decisions made on the fireground.
To accomplish this goal we understand we need a Division backed initiative. This week we began to train our officers using the research by UL on ventilation coordination and its impact on suppression operation. This will be followed by revisions to our Standard Operating Procedure #1 and Company level training to educate the street fire fighter about the importance of Communication, Coordination and Control.
We understand the need for this approach due to the reaction we received at the Officer Roll Calls. We presented this class three times a day to reach each on-shift officer. In each class, multiple members of our officer corps mentioned how they have witnessed many of these same situations. The Engine Company officers verbalized how they have encountered rapid fire growth after ventilation operations when they were not in a position to attack the fire. We heard officers thank us for the permission to utilize a Transitional Attack. We heard officers testify to how they successful used a Transitional Attack they just didn’t know what it was called but it knocked the fire down immediately.
All in all, we have taken the steps forward to effect change. At one of the classes today the Chief of Division and Chief of Operations attended and pledged their full support. We understand change will take a bit of time but we are moving forward to creating a safer work environment for our members.
This step forward and ultimate journey for a safer work environment could not have been possible without your work, the work of your team and the commitment of UL. It has been an honor and privilege to be involved in many of these projects. It is also exciting to see Fire Departments with years of tradition and tactics take the steps forward and learn new ways to apply our skills in a way that will assist us in our goal of making sure everyone goes home in the morning.
Thank you and if the Cleveland Division of Fire can be of assistance please do not hesitate to ask.
Sean DeCrane, BC
Director of Training