Sunday, December 9, 2012

Old Habits Die Hard

It truly amazes me that with all of the fire service websites at ones finger tips and all the magazines laying around with great training on new tactics and work smarter not harder methods, we still resort back to the same old tactics we always have. No one wants to venture outside their comfort zone.

Seems like every run you here the same thing come across the radio “...upon arrival pull and 1 ¾’’ attack line” Sure that’s our bread and butter but it’s not an umbrella for all situations. Think outside the box. Here’s an example: you arrive on scene of a single story, ranch style, residential dwelling with nothing visible. The homeowner meets you and says the fire is in the stove. You go to work, pull the attack line off the pumper, tromp through the hose dragging hose, knock over grandmas china cabinet, see the fire in the oven, open the oven door and flood the kitchen with water and the fire goes out. You get a big hug from grandma for not letting her house burn down and causing minimal damage, the neighbors all wave and say thank you as you pack up and drive away. Just another day at the office, right?  Now take that same scenario, you pull up nothing visible, homeowners says the fire is in the stove. Instead of coming out guns blazin’ you think. Walk into the kitchen find a small fire contained in the oven. You use “the can” (Read Water in the Can by Ryan Pennington) and about a gallon of water to put the fire out. Only minor damage to the stove, no broken china, no dragging hose through the house. You still get a big hug from grandma because you saved the house, the neighbors may or may not have even realized you were there, and you head back to the station. Just another day at the office. Both examples will accomplish the same goal but the later just makes more sense. This is just one example there are more.

So the question is why do we always pull the attack line? Easy, because it’s habit! We start off our careers learning how to deploy it, how to load it, and that it’s out life line. I am not arguing that at all but sometimes it’s just not the best choice.

Another reason we always want to pull the attack line is because that’s all we train on. We read the new articles, talk about them and that’s as far as it gets. No hands on, getting out and trying anything new to see if it works. Are we afraid to try? Maybe, or are we just set in our ways and stick to what has worked for years and comes natural?

It is easy to fall into a routine, do what comes natural, but if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. Instead of reading and talking about something, get out try it, break old habits, and develop new tactics. Grandma and her china will be happy you did.

Until next time,

Stay Safe

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