Fire Engineering and Firehouse Webcast Recaps: Lessons in Operational Readiness

In the fire service, communicating with one another, sharing stories and learning from different agencies helps departments grow and improve their own practices.

In the August 15th Firehouse webcast, New Training Programs Utilize Technology after Close Calls, and the September 12th Fire Engineering webcast, A Discussion About Inspections, fire service veterans highlight lessons from their own department’s processes. Through the discussions in these webinars, they exchange ideas to further improve safety and readiness.

In this mission-critical industry, what can go wrong, often will go wrong – so it's important to plan accordingly. These Fire Engineering and Firehouse webcasts are packed with valuable information and advice to help your agency understand the value of operational readiness through effective training, communication and established routines.

Firehouse Webcast: New Training Programs Utilize Technology After Close Calls

Hosted by Chip Ashford and Dan Casey, this Firehouse webcast discusses a close call incident experienced by the St. Charles Fire Department (MO). Due to a domino effect of actions and events one winter day during a call on Nancy Drive, four veteran firefighters nearly lost their lives.

In this presentation, Ashford and Casey recount the factors involving the incident such as weather conditions, the home construction and line placement. They then explain the scenarios that resulted in four members sustaining second- and third-degree burns, among other critical injuries.

This incident was viewed as a wakeup call by the St. Charles Fire Department. Using lessons from this event, the department has developed new training modules that come from its after-action reviews. With TargetSolutions, the department can upload incident details and media, such as audio, into the learning management system and create powerful training opportunities.

Turning this incident, and other daily incidents, into training has the potential to save lives. A client since 2012, St. Charles FD has the tools to transform post-incident lessons, such as the importance of PPE and effective two-way communication, into tangible training.

Although the incident described in this webinar resulted in numerous and serious injuries, the St. Charles Fire Department can be proactive in preventing future mistakes. Moving forward, they can learn from this incident, understand the sequence of events that led to it and reduce risk during incident response.

Learn more about this close call by watching the webcast here.

Fire Engineering Webcast: A Discussion About Inspections

This group discussion, headed by Bobby Halton, Editor-in-Chief for Fire Engineering, covers the significance of department inspections and methods for doing so. Fire service professionals from across the country, representing fire service agencies such as Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, FDNY and Hanover Fire-EMS, all shared their agency’s inspection practices.

Although they varied in their backgrounds and inspection routines, the group agreed on the importance of the accountability, boosts to moral and unity that regular department inspections can build. However, many also admitted the faults of maintaining paper records for inspections and their current lack of formality in how often inspections are completed.

Halton emphasized how technology is transforming the frequency and processes for performing department inspections. “Change of information has now gotten to be a radically different format. If you’ve got a digital way to do that and inspect on a daily basis, and on a weekly basis, especially in EMS, why don’t we inspect engines every week - at least a light inspection.” He also explained how electronic solutions for inspections, such as TargetSolutions Check It™, can improve tracking and help ensure readiness.

“They [TargetSolutions] produce an amazing piece of software they call Check It™. It’s a fantastic tool that will help you to do inspections better, will help you to have more accurate records and also help you defend yourself if you ever need to determine what exactly was on a piece of apparatus.” Bobby Halton, Editor-in-Chief, Fire Engineering

Division Chief Eddie Buchanan of Hanover Fire-EMS (VA) confirmed this point made by Halton. He recounted a story of a tragic incident which resulted in multiple injuries, a line of duty death and complete destruction of a rig. In the aftermath of that incident, TargetSolutions Check It™ enabled his agency to identify specific equipment lost, show checklist history for insurance purposes and produce records.

To watch the full discussion on the importance and benefits of department inspections, please click here.

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