I’ve always said in my books and teachings through the years, that protecting the means of egress in a fire building is a primary objective on arrival. However, Chief Pete Van Dorpe of Chicago Fire Department emphasises the point so well in a 2015 article.
“If you were in a room where Ray Hoff (Chicago FD) was talking tactics and if you had any brain at all, you just shut the heck up and listened. That man (God rest his soul) would accidentally lay more golden eggs of practical knowledge in an afternoon than most of us can manage in a lifetime. I remember that class as if it were yesterday.
I was a firefighter and an officer with nearly 20 years of experience in the country’s second largest fire department when I first heard those words and remember thinking to myself (yet again), “How could I have lived so long and remained so dumb?” It was an epiphany for me. I immediately recalled a dozen incidents where things would have gone better if I had just used that basic mission statement to guide my decisions.
Ray asked the group to write down the answers to two questions regarding structure fires. First, “What is the mission of the first-arriving engine company?” Most responses went something like, “Locate, confine, and extinguish the fire.”
Ray would acknowledge those answers but would point out that those were actions. He was looking for the guiding principle, which he usually rendered as, “The mission of the first-arriving engine is to locate and secure, or to establish and maintain, a means of egress from the building.”
Follow the 'Find Out More' link below for the second question and answer and then take this 'tactical actions .v. guiding principle' concept to discussion at your next Firehouse kitchen or training lesson! In other words .... DO TRY THIS AT HOME!