Technology is all around us and changing rapidly every day. We have a vast world of knowledge at our finger tips on just about any subject you can imagine. IPhones,IPads, and Android devices all have “apps for that” no matter what it is you want.
The fire service is no different. You can find a variety of apps for firefighting, from friction loss calculators and shift calendars, to ERG books and event time loggers. You can even get your pre-plans and reporting software on your phone or tablet device. All of these things make certain aspects of our job more convenient, but when it comes to good old fashion, boots on the ground firefighting, there is no app!
There is no way to replace or reproduce what is taught on the training ground or fire scene. There’s no app that can take the place of the guy that has been on the department for 25-30 years and all the knowledge he offers to share while sitting around the kitchen table or while training.
Our job requires quick thinking, adapting to changing situations, and working in some of the worst conditions imaginable. These are things that can only be learned by watching and listening to those that have been there and done that, and by actually getting in there and doing it yourself. A good instructor teaching a pump ops class is worth a thousand times more than a .99 cent friction loss app.
I guess what it really boils down to is that no matter how many devices are out there, or new technologies come our way, there are some things that are better to be done the old fashion way, by putting the phone or tablet down, getting up and doing work. Listen to those that take to time to offer wisdom; they usually know what they are talking about. There is nothing wrong with using technology to help you, and lord knows I need all the help I can get, but there is nothing out there that can help you do what you do. Firefighting is still a hands on, grab it and growl job, so get out and get after it.