Case Study: Firefighter Example

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] This could have been prevented by a more cautious approach to entry and a less chaotic method of addressing the fire (Carter, 2017).

These types of operations are also covered by the National Fire Protection Association (2011) guidelines and procedures that outline parameters of professional development. The case study illustrates some role confusion and the need for more role clarity when multiple teams of firefighting personnel are included. Firefighting is inherently dangerous and some hazards cannot be avoided; personnel cannot possibly anticipate all dangers. However, some prior knowledge of how to approach this situation would have helped prevent the casualties.

The case study hinges on awareness of personnel at all times. Their coworkers should have noticed the two men who went missing for eight minutes. The District Major should have been monitoring all members of the team who had entered the building, or at least appointed a supervisor to monitor personnel. There is no excuse for simple procedures that enhance the effectiveness of the firefighting team. Unfortunately, cases like these require funeral protocols as well as response protocols (Ontario Professional Fire Fighters, 2015).

Alternative Selections

• Using higher-pitch audible alarms and systems

• Using visual cues (e.g. lights, hand signals)

• When to deviate from procedure

• Checking of equipment before deployment

• Have at least two checks per piece of equipment to make very sure

• Periodic checks at certain intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)

• Discipline for checks indicated as done but are not and/or checks that are not properly thorough

Recommendations

The first recommendation would be to improve the overall integrity of the firefighting and safety equipment. For example, the pressure release system on Engine 11 should not have malfunctioned. Regular maintenance of and monitoring equipment might have prevented this problem. Likewise, the PASS system should not rely on auditory signals, which will commonly be drowned out in the midst of a crisis. There must be better ways to alert personnel of an emergency situation, such as with portable paging devices that use lights or vibration to get the attention of personnel (Roche, 2017).

Second, procedures and protocols need to be streamlined. The District Major was trying to do too many things at once, and needed instead of be a leader. As health and safety program manager, I would recommend that all managers and supervisors attend to overall resource management without getting caught up in the details when necessary. This might have prevented the problems, as the supervisor would not have permitted the entry without a thorough check of the building integrity. Even if it was not apparent that there were three different sources of the fire in the basement, diagnostics could have been performed. In the future, I would recommend more thorough diagnostics. Situations like this, in which there are no civilians trapped inside, warrant a more thoughtful approach and recognition of the severe compromises to structural integrity. Finally, I would recommend a more robust monitoring system in which personnel could not be missing for as long as eight minutes without being noticed.

Action & Implementation

• Make sure equipment is checked (and rechecked at least once daily and after ANY sign of problems

• Ensure that compliance is kept to all procedure and field incidents unless the situation demands otherwise

• Make sure cause of fire is identified right away

• Make sure whether anyone is inside fire-stricken area

• Do not rely on auditory signals alone -- use hands/arms, lights, etc.

• Report any signs of equipment malfunction immediately -- without fail

References

Carter, H. (2017). Basics of Firefighting: Vehicle Fires | Firehouse. Firehouse. Retrieved 20 May 2017, from http://www.firehouse.com/blog/10727947/basics-of-firefighting-vehicle-fires

Department of the Army (1971) Firefighting and Rescue Procedures in Theaters of Operations. Retrieved from https://www.wbdg.org/ccb/ARMYCOE/COETM/tm_5_315.pdf

National Fire Protection Association (2011). NFPA 1000: STANDARD FOR FIRE SERVICE PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS ACCREDITATION AND CERTIFICATION SYSTEMS. Retrieved from http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/document-information-pages?mode=code&code=1000

Ontario Professional Fire Fighters (2015). Funeral Protocol. Retrieved from http://www.opffa.org/index.cfm?Section=10&pagenum=279&titles=0#.VRRqgTs4-mE

Roche, K. (2017). EVOLVING SAFTEY TECHNOLOGY: INTEGRATED PASS DEVICES. Fireengineering.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017, from http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-149/issue-9/features/evolving-saftey-technology-integrated-pass-devices.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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