If near-tragedy happens, does how we explain it make it okay that it happened?
A captain and four firefighters are burned in a reported flashover while searching for the seat of the fire in the attic of a private dwelling. Each received second and third-degree burns to their hands, necks and ears.
” – a contractor working on a neighbor’s home saw smoke coming from the foundation and the attic,”
““While firefighters were in the attic attempting to find the source of the smoke a “flashover” occurred (oxygen being introduced to extremely hot smoldering fire and gas), engulfing the firefighters. One NOFD captain and four firefighters suffered various second and third degree burns to their hands, necks and ears,” said a statement from the NOFD.” bold mine
It is culturally and scientifically proven that we are expected to receive some form of physical damage due to the nature of firefighting tasks. The point of receiving burn injuries can range in spectrum from not wearing all of our PPE to identifying burns at the places on our body where PPE is compressed. However they occur we should consider what were the individual and corporate actions involved leading up to the point of injury and where correction, if any, can be applied.
So how is it that the skill and training “prevented what could have been a devastating catastrophe” when:
1. The injured were burned during the point of flashover.
2. The injured were transported to a hospital.
3. The injured will meet with a burn specialist for further recovery.
4. The injured faced outward signs of a fire in multiple locations.
“Skill and training” did prevent death and you cannot be any more worse than dead but what did skill and training, as cited in the story, truly prevent especially when injuries were occurred by fire behavior. To say “prevent” means that the prevented act was not allowed to occur. Or in this case, the fire had been prevented from flashing over.
So for the rhetorical argument I state that it is a fallacy to credit skill and training when neither prevented the flashover and related injures. It is also a fallacy to say that since a catastrophe (i.e. death) did not occur all is well (i.e. you are expected to be burned). Finally, why are we getting burned while operating hoselines? True, the news stories do not state the burned members were with or without a hoseline; however, if you have signs of fire reportedly showing at multiple points, what has happened to your continuous sizeup? Better yet, the increase in heat associated with impending flashover should also be causing a change in the continuous sizeup as well.
The floor is yours.
Four firefighters injured early Saturday morning in Lakeview, NOLA.com
Four NOFD firefighters burned in Lakeview blaze, WVUE
Four firefighters injured fighting fire in Lakeview, WWL
Four firefighters injured in Lakeview blaze, WWLTV
Tactics for Battling Attic Fires, Jakubowski, FireRescue Magazine May 2011
Attic Fires from the Inside Up, Frassetto, FireRescue Magazine May 2011
Hidden Danger, Rice, Sheppard, Fire Rescue Magazine March 2009
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Flashover, Robertson, FireRescue Magazine August 2009
Understanding, Anticipating and Avoiding Flashover, Robertson, FireRescue Magazine August 2008
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- Communications Drill with DCFD RS.3 Video – February 18, 2012
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