NIOSH report out on Homewood (IL) Fire Dept. that killed Brian Carey last March. Happy Groundhog Day- again.

not again.....

NIOSH Report 2010-10 is out, and it ain’t pretty.

Familiar? Yes.

Pretty?  Pretty hard to swallow…again.

The report once again shines the tired spotlight upon familiar factors that continue to injure and kill firefighters despite our commitment to “never forget.”

But we are forgetting.

First, a short review of the findings made by NIOSH on this interior attack on a well-involved residence with the report of people trapped inside.

On March 30, 2010 The Homewood (IL) Fire Department arrived and found heavy fire conditions at the rear of the house and moderate smoke conditions elsewhere inside.  A search crew immediately entered to rescue a civilian trapped in the rear of the house, and a handline crew quickly advanced a 2 ½ inch line into the front door.

From the report, a photo of the A-B corner showing conditions prior to the hostile fire event in which thick, black smoke can be scene billowing out the front door, A-side.   Although difficult to see in this photo, the A-side picture windows are covered in soot.  What can we determine is going on inside as two are searching and two are operating a hoseline?

photo by Warren Skalski

Here’s a shot of smoke blowing out horizontally from the B-side window after just being broken out by the firefighter there.  Smoke is now pumping out with more speed from the front door.  What is going on “inside the box” where the hoseline and search crews are operating?  Now are we at a point in which we’re just about to kill firefighters?

At this moment, interior crews observed thick black rolling (moving) smoke banked down to knee level.  As ventilation was taking place, the search crew saw flames rolling over through the smoke near the ceiling.

Then it happened.

That which we now all see from the comfort of our laptops and computer monitors- that which we have seen coming for quite some time in this story- moreover that for which we have been trained constantly- a hostile fire event (in this case a flashover) occurs.

It was inevitable here, and it was deadly here.

photo by Warren Skalski

According to the report, the search crew yelled to the hose crew to “get out” as they exited the building, then returned inside to rescue an injured hoseline firefighter.  Once she was brought out, they returned in to find the victim firefighter trapped in his ruptured 2 ½” line with is SCBA facepiece removed.  He was quickly removed and worked on the scene by paramedics before being transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

What can you do, reader, to keep this from happening the next time you find yourself on this type of incident, all too common for firefighters throughout the nation?

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

Let’s see what NIOSH identified as factors which contributed to the death of one firefighter and the injury of another:

  • Well involved fire with entrapped civilian upon arrival
  • Incomplete 360 degree situational size-up
  • Inadequate risk-versus-gain analysis
  • Ineffective fire control tactics
  • Failure to recognize, understand, and react to deteriorating conditions
  • Uncoordinated ventilation and its effect on fire behavior
  • Removal of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) facepiece
  • Inadequate command, control, and accountability
  • Insufficient staffing.

NIOSH RECOMMENDATIONS

From their investigation, NIOSH offers recommendations which can be extremely useful for any fire department member, officer, training officer, and command staff to get across to their organization before they respond to a similar incident.  Here are their recommendations:

Recommendation #1: Fire departments should ensure that a complete 360 degree situational size-up is conducted on dwelling fires and others where it is physically possible and ensure that a risk versus-gain analysis and a survivability profile for trapped occupants is conducted prior to committing to interior fire fighting operations.

photo by John Ratko

According to this report, a 360 was not done prior to the interior attack, and here’s what they would have seen in this photo shot from the C-side.

Recommendation #2: Fire departments should ensure that interior fire suppression crews attack the fire effectively to include appropriate fire flow for the given fire load and structure, use of fire streams, appropriate hose and nozzle selection, and adequate personnel to operate the hoseline.

The report looks at the handline selection of the interior crew, pointing out the relative maneuverability that an 1 ¾” line has over the deuce and a half used here.

“Fire fighters and officers need to understand that while a 2½-inch hoseline provides a greater flow, fire fighters need to be able to move the line quickly and efficiently interiorly, especially when performing a search and experiencing deteriorating fire conditions.”

Recommendation #3: Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters maintain crew integrity when operating on the fireground, especially when performing interior fire suppression activities.

The report describes a point where the hoseline team became separated.  The 2010 IAFC ROE of Structural Firefighting states, “Go in together, stay together, come out together.”

Recommendation #4: Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters and officers have a sound understanding of fire behavior and the ability to recognize indicators of fire development and the potential for extreme fire behavior.

From the report:  “The search and rescue crew (operating without the protection of a hoseline) were able to make a quick determination that the conditions within the house were imminent to flashover. They made an attempt to alert the victim and injured fire fighter/paramedic, but were too late.”

“If conditions are right for a flashover, there are only seconds to make a decision. Fire fighters will be met with a sudden increase in heat and rollover within the ceiling level. The injured fire fighter/paramedic was unaware that the conditions she was operating in deteriorated quickly. She remembers thick, black smoke pushing down to the floor while in the structure and then “the room and everything in it caught fire.”

“Prior to the flashover, windows on the B-side were vented and thick, black and heavily pressurized smoke billowed from these windows. The IC, and individuals working on the exterior, need to recognize this as a potential for extreme fire behavior and evacuate interior crews. Obtaining proper training and hands-on experience through the use of a flashover simulator may assist interior fire fighters in making sound decisions on when to evacuate a structure fire.”

Recommendation #5: Fire departments should ensure that incident commanders and fire fighters understand the influence of ventilation on fire behavior and effectively coordinate ventilation with suppression techniques to release smoke and heat.

Again, from the report:   “During this incident, uncoordinated ventilation occurred while the hoseline and search and rescue crews were inside the house. The victim and other fire fighters, within the small house, were between the fire and the ventilation source. One fire fighter accounts heavy, turbulent, black smoke pushing from a window on the B-side after it was broken. Shortly after, the house sustained an apparent ventilation-induced flashover.”

Recommendation #6: Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters use their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and are trained in SCBA emergency procedures.

The victim firefighter was found with his facepiece removed.  No conclusion has been drawn as to whether he removed it or whether it became dislodged from an exterior force.  But the report emphasizes that firefighters be trained on those SCBA emergency procedures which have been shown to offer the best possible chance for survival.

Recommendation #7: Fire departments should ensure that adequate staffing is available to respond to emergency incidents.

See if you’ve heard this type of staffing report before:

“During this incident, the victim’s department responded with three personnel on the engine and two personnel on the ambulance, but the Still assignment also consisted of an engine, two ladder trucks, and a squad, with four fire personnel on each. It was routine to have an ambulance respond with an engine on a first due fire assignment. Due to short staffing, the ambulance personnel were tasked with fire suppression activities, thus taking them out-of-service as a medical unit.”

“Also, due to short staffing, the lieutenant/acting officer (IC) was required to ride and operate as the officer of E534. This removed him from his command response vehicle which would have allowed him to command at a tactical level versus having to potentially perform tasks.”

[Reader: Insert your emotional comment here]

Recommendation #8: Fire departments should ensure that staff for emergency medical services is available at all times during fireground operations.

During this incident, the victim and the injured fire fighter/paramedic responded in an ambulance.  Upon their arrival to the scene, the IC immediately tasked them with interior operations due to staffing issues. The IC did not request an additional ambulance to respond to the scene for medical care until after the victim was down within the house. Additional resources (e.g., apparatus and personnel) arrived minutes after the ambulance’s arrival.

Recommendation #9: Fire departments and dispatch centers should ensure they are capable of communicating with each other without having to monitor multiple channels/frequencies on more than one radio.

During this incident, the IC had to monitor more than one radio and even had to go to the cab of his engine to accomplish this task. Having to monitor multiple radios and potentially take your eyes off the scene for a moment could be extremely detrimental to the management of the incident.

Recommendation #10: Fire departments should ensure that the incident commander, or designee, maintains close accountability for all personnel operating on the fireground.

During this incident, the accountability system was never set in place and a PAR was not conducted following the Mayday.

Recommendation #11: Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters wear a full array of turnout clothing and personal protective equipment appropriate for the assigned task while participating in fire suppression.

During this incident, the victim was discovered without a hood over his head or rolled down on his neck. NIOSH investigators could not determine whether this equipment was properly donned prior to the incident.

Recommendation #12: Fire departments should ensure that a separate incident safety officer, independent from the incident commander, is appointed at each structure fire.

Although there is no evidence that this recommendation, or certain others made above would have prevented this fatality, it is being provided as a reminder of a good safety practice.

Recommendation #13: Fire departments should ensure that all fire fighters are equipped with a means to communicate with fireground personnel before entering a structure fire.

During this incident, the victim did have a radio, but it was positioned in the back pocket of his station pants. Thus, when he donned his bunker pants, his radio became inaccessible during the incident.

Recommendation #14: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) should consider developing more comprehensive training requirements for fire behavior to be required in NFPA 1001 Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications and NFPA 1021 Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications.

Here, here!  Let’s not forget the basics: Building Construction and Fire Behavior!  Check this out and compare it to your training records:

“According to documented training reviewed by NIOSH investigators, the victim, injured fire fighter/paramedic, and IC had a combined 24 hours of fire behavior training out of 5,654 total combined training hours. Additional fire behavior training to include such areas as theory, chemistry, physics, smoke reading, current research, and the cause and effects of tactics during fire suppression operations may improve fire fighter safety.”

24 HOURS BETWEEN THE THREE OF THEM!

Again, I ask you, “How can the death of brother firefighter Brian Carey teach us that his life was not lost in vain?”

Again, I tell you: “Learn from what happened from that day.  Then perform a long hard look at the way your organization operates, and utilize what you’ve learned here to make the changes necessary to ensure you and your brothers head home after the fire.

I can tell you that the news reports here in Chicago are all approaching this story from the standpoint that the fire department was “ill-prepared” in this case.  Imagine how this sucks for this fire department, and each of the members that have to re-live the events of that night all over again- this time while being publicly undressed in the press.

Brian Carey

Then empathize with them and ask yourself how you would feel- as a proud firefighter- if this had been your department?

Don’t allow yourself the superficial response of pointing your finger at this department.  That won’t help now.  Instead, turn the finger back toward yourself and create from this tragic story a positive learning experience and opportunity to improve your situation.

START TODAY!

Stay stoked!

-J

To donate to the Brian Carey Memorial Fund, visit www.rideforboo.org. The site also offers registration for those interested in taking part in the ride to Colorado. Donations also can be made at any First Midwest Bank branch or can be mailed to: Brian Carey Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1171, Homewood, IL 60430. For more information about any of the events, contact Mike Bell at (708) 653-1394

15 Comments

  • Bill Carey says:

    “Never forget” is gradually becoming a cop-out, worth about as much as the cost of a memorial sticker. Once again the fire service is left to interpret, highly unlikely, the cookie-cutter recommendations. Once again we read that if only a 360 was done, if only a better risk-analysis was done, then perhaps a life might have been saved. These abridged recommendations do not truly get to the heart of the errors, where true learning and reflection can take place. Instead they leave a large degree of widely interpretable actions that most departments who take the effort to do self-reflection will be left to use against their own experience. Is that wrong? Not completely, but if – as evidenced by the numerable repeated recommendations, years on end – we have departments that fail to see if these problems are in their own house, how can we expect to take NIOSH investigations seriously? More and more, the department that takes on, produces and releases their own internal, independent investigation, the lessons gained will be of greater value and understanding, by us all.Bill Carey

    • Fire Daily says:

      You hit on a great point, Bill. But while the NIOSH reports utilize “cookie-cutter recommendations” fire service professionals should continue to seek them out, along with other relevant data, and corral as much credible information as possible.

      In my opinion, the unfortunate disconnect occurs when we fail to make the data useful, in other words personalize the information so that we can apply it to our local needs and address our local deficiencies..

      • Bill Carey says:

        I agree John, and I’m not against the entire NIOSH report process, but I believe what would help disseminate all the information is if the NIOSH report recommendations became more audience oriented, with focuses towards the department demographic similar to the victim’s. Otherwise, as we read in any post about the reports on LODDs in the fire service internet, readers simply take bits and pieces and rarely digest the whole facts. For example, one site has a reader stating the the victim here, Carey, went in without his SCBA. A quick summary shows that, on page 7, the victim was indeed wearing his SCBA. The PPE in question was his hood. If, and this is generalizing, fire service professionals tend to not fully read the report, then how valid is their interpretation and practice? I’ve spoken to NIOSH, they contacted me actually, in response to a post about their reports long ago; they”re understaffed and back-logged, and doing the best they can. However, the fire service has a number of organizations that can polish these reports to enhance the reader attraction as well as add many details.As far as addressing the local deficiencies, we (fire service) have to ask how much learning is being done if the reader is from a department far removed from one like the victim’s? If the victim is from a busy urban department, the tendency by firefighters far from that environment is to take the recommendations halfheartedly. If you’re Johnny rural firefighter in a department that has on average one working fire every other month and your apparatus is engine tankers, the impact a recommendation has about, say VES, or illegally renovated apartments and fire behavior, has little affect.Additionally, shouldn’t we also ask why there is very little “expert technical review”? The fire service is quite diverse last time I looked.Bill Carey

      • But what about when what you read doesn’t make sense to you. As Chris Brennan pointed out in his blog ( http://thefireservicewarrior.blogspot.com/2010/09/thoughts-on-homewoods-lodd.html ) the victim survivablity profiling is still controversial and not universally accepted by the Fire Service. Yet in this report it is one of the nails on the cross.

        They discuss proper fire flow and hose and nozzle selection, then say they that 2 1 3/4″ line would have been a better option for manuver ability. Yet across the Fire Service, day in and day out, we hear “big fire, big line.” 3 firefighters should be able move and use a 2 1/2″ line. They key is getting to the seat of the fire. If you get there but don’t have enough water, what good are you doing? How are 3 firefighters supposed to advance 2 1 3/4″ lines?

        I think the reason there is disconnect is because, as Bill pointed out, there is such broad brush approach. Sometimes it is hard to see the trees in the forest.

        • Fire Daily says:

          If what you read doesn’t make sense to you, then you look beyond those trees and take advantage of those obvious things that keep killing firefighters-

          failure to perform a 360,
          failure to don protective gear,,
          failure to coordinate ventilation with interior attack
          failure to recognize an HFE early enough,
          failure to have a portable radio in a spot you can use it when the feces hits the fan,
          failure to establish an accountability system.

          While some of which is reported by NIOSH is “arguable”, I would encourage everyone to get past those recommendations and hit hard those that we can apply to our own departments.

          While a broad brush may be used,and recommendations can be called “cookie-cutter”, there are still details that we can all use- recommendations that simply can’t be argued- that we need to sink our teeth into, regardless of the bitter taste we may have from the flavor of the NIOSH report..

          • I don’t disagree there is something to take away from the report. But failure to don gear? Or a problem with gear? Now you have the additional issue of crew intergrity brought into the mix because a Firefighter needed to adjuest his equipment.

            The 360 and ventilation issues are good points, and the radio could be an issue, but was it here? FF Carey was 12 feet from the door and they knew he hadn’t left. Who would he have called.

            While I haven’t read the media backlash, with the way some of these reports come out we run the risk of negating any positive impact because it turns into a blame game. It sounds like that very thing is happening here.

            Would you have gone in this building? Are we conditioning our people to “opt out” on safety too much?

            This is the same fire that happens everywhere everyday. Getting the wet stuff on the red stuff in coordination with ventilation are key issues. If FF Carey’s mask stays on, this is a close call versus an LOD.

            We are developing a culture where the only way to safely operate is to stay on the truck, because any other action risks being called agressive and reckless.

            Yes I can and did read the report and I can skip over the “arguable” recommendations, but what I say is arguable is different than what you say is arguable. Until we can develop a concensus…..these things will continue to appear and you will keep having your groundhog days.

          • Fire Daily says:

            Yes, Dave, I would have gone into this building. I would have done so with a duece and a half with a crew that is trained in the nuances of maneuvering it in tight spaces.

            But my crew would also have their full PPE on and would come in and go out together.
            My crew has dedicated more than under a half percent of training to one of the most fundamental areas- fire behavior.
            My crew has the added bonus of knowing that the OVG will not vent unless they knew what was happening inside the box, and not pop a window creating the flashover that fries me and my crew..

            That is not to say that we would have escaped without the same fate, but I can tell you that my crew would have been better prepared to survive what happens every day across the nation.

            What I find applicable to my department may not be applicable to yours. That’s where we need to develop a hunger for all data, including these NIOSH reports with all their “deficiencies” take them apart, glean from them what we can to apply to our own situations, and improve the way we each operate on our own turf.

            If we want to call ourselves aggressive firefighters, then we owe it to ourselves, our crews, their families and our customers that we are adequately prepared, trained, and equipped to walk that path..

            Part of that training/preparation is to learn from the mistakes others have made, just like what we are doing here now. Further, as experienced professionals, we damn well better be able to do so without slipping into any kind of blame game. And we ought shake the finger of shame upon any “brother” who would take that route.

            Bottom line, Dave? I’m sure you would agree that mistakes were made, we need to learn what they were and how they play in our individual organizations.

            We owe that to Brian and every other firefighter- past and present.

            Unfortunately, hundreds of departments are just waiting to bust in and hope for the best. There’s OUR (not MY) next groundhog day.

          • I am not disagreeing Brother, however I am not sure every Department is able to analyze these reports in the manner you suggest. You have to compare the events described to your own experiences, and for smaller, less active Departments there may not be enough material available to make that comparison.

            Then you factor in some of the more controversial issues like Victim Profiling, these reports may actually be doing some firefighters a disservice. Imagine being a relitively new firefighter and from day 1 all you hear is “safety this” and “risk that”. My guess is that these firefighters could end up more confused than enlightened.

            Clearly this report says that Homewodd did an improper risk/gain assesment. Yet you said you would go in. See what I am saying?

            When I read these reports I assume that these guys are experienced and know their job. It is too easy to assume that only the “foulups” get killed. Mistakes were made, just like thaey are everyday – everywhere. We need to learn and yes we owe it to Brian and the rest. I guess I am thinking that this format isn’t the best for that learning to take place. Their is too much left open to individual interpretation.

            Did you find the section about hoseline choice and fire flow a little confusing or contradictory?

          • John Mitchell says:

            Sorry, Dave for not replying earlier. A family emergency kept me out of service until tonight. Your points are all well taken, and I know we are all coming from the same starting point- saving ourselves from ourselves. Those of us who feel strongly about this often get frustrated at the “barriers” we encounter. All respect to you, and thanks for checking in.

        • Rdalitto says:

          With a fog nozzel at 100 psi you get only 50gpm more out of a 2 1/2 ” line. But the line weighs twice as much, 211.6 pound per 100′ vs. 103.6 per 100′ of 1 3/4″.

          For interior attack I’ll take my chances with the 1 3/4″ line. Outside the door the 2 1/2″ is fine.

          • Dave LeBlanc says:

            I am not disagreeing, but my choice wouldn’t be a 2 1/2 with a 100psi fog nozzle. At the end of the day GPMs must be enough for BTUs. So a fire that may require more GPM will only go out when it has burned enough fuel to to match your GPM.

            We have 180/175GPM 1 3/4″ break apart nozzles and a 2 1/2″ with stacked tip that can flow 300gpm. 180 to 300 is a big difference. I agree if youcan’t get it to the seat of the fire, then it does no good, but getting there with too little water isn’t going to work for you either.

  • Bill Carey says:

    “Also, due to short staffing, the lieutenant/acting officer (IC) was required to ride and operate as the officer of E534. This removed him from his command response vehicle which would have allowed him to command at a tactical level versus having to potentially perform tasks.”[Reader: Insert your emotional comment here]And having to perform those initial tasks instead of bring the command vehicle is wrong because……? See where that recommendation as well as numbers eight, nine and ten are slightly contradictory. It cites short staffing, but then highlights communication errors. Likewise, if you follow this then you, being short-staffed, must ensure that your IC, communications and such are a priority task, even though you are faced with a imminent rescue. No mention instead of passing the “command’ or creating SOPs that allow for second arriving companies to establish good communication an accountability procedures.It’s clear as mud.Bill Carey

  • chiefreason says:

    I am not a cheerleader for NIOSH, but I will say this:
    I think that the reason that the information contained in their reports may not be taken seriously is because we continue to read the same stuff over and over again.
    It’s not because they use the cookie cutter or template approach; it’s because we are making the same mistakes over and over again.
    Departments reinforce their risky behavior every time they employ the same tactics to the same results; even though was a big part of the game plan. They will use them until it bites them in the butt; we will see it in a NIOSH report AGAIN and then ask for more concise reports.
    How forthcoming do you think interviewees are to outside investigative agencies like NIOSH?
    Most likely, internal reports ARE better, because they are done in the privacy of the station with people you know and you don’t feel like you should have a lawyer present during questioning.
    For many of us, NIOSH reports is the only thing we have post incident.
    If we can’t learn from it, then what other avenues do we have?
    Isn’t the whole goal to learn? To stay alive? To keep our people from getting into a bad situation?
    And note that the turnaround time is getting a little better. They cut it from a year down to six months. Now, they need to cut it to three months.
    And they also need to be more clear on short staffing issues, because I believe this is going to be a big issue going forward.

  • Chris Sterricker says:

    John, great job with the site. Brothers, some excellent and educated comments as usual. There are some points not contained in the snipits of the report that those of us in the general vicinity may know that the rest of you may not and which may, or may not, cause you to read the report with a different eye.
    First, Brother Carey and Sister Kopas were both young firefighters. Not just in age but in experience level and time on the job. Without getting into the argument of 1 year on FDNY Rescue 2 equals 25 years on All-American VFD, they combined for about 4 years of POC (part-time) and 3 months of full-time experience. This is not a full-time vs. part-time bash. I simply state this because, in general, I think that we might all agree that those of us that are full-time receive more regular and frequent training than those that are part-time. Full-time members also get more “on the job” training than our part-time comrades by simple virtue of being around more and going on more calls. At the time of his death, Brother Carey was the senior member of the HFD inside the structure, with Sister Kopas as his back-up. HFD’s policy of having the first-due Lieutenant assume Command outside instead of inside with his crew left a void of command and control inside.
    Second, the search crew was an Auto-Aid Truck from a neighboring town. While I think we can all agree Auto- and Mutual-Aid is a good thing, it is very difficult to have the same level of comfort, experience and expectations with a crew from another town unless you train VERY frequently with them. Perhaps when things went South and the Truck yelled to “get out” that would have been sufficient for one of their own companies, but for Brother Carey and Sister Kopas perhaps it was not. Also along these lines, the fact that Carey and Kopas were the ambulance crew and were assigned to firefighting operations is extremely common in this area. My department does it also, the difference being that we have another Medic responding from another station immediately. As far as I’m aware all of HFD’s Auto- and Mutual-Aid on a fire was fire apparatus. They did not get any additional EMS resources without specifically requesting it or pulling an EMS Box along with a Fire Box. This leads to a long delay in getting resources on the scene for either firefighters or civilians.
    Third, the firefight itself. For those that do not know, the line went in the front door into a living room/front room. Behind this was the kitchen which connected to an enclosed back patio/porch area. This is where the fire originated and where the main body of fire was located. To the right off the front room was a hallway leading to a one back-one up bedroom arrangement with a separate bathroom. The back bedroom, the master, was also connected to the enclosed patio/porch with a solid wood door. Brother Carey and Sister Kopas were operating the line from the edge of the front room/kitchen into the porch area. The search crew went in and to the right to search the BR’s. When they got to the master BR they noticed some flame in the room. Unbeknownst to them in the conditions, the fire had burned through the wood door and entered the room. The Truck was in this general area when the window on the B-side was vented from the outside. The pressure of the 2 1/2″ flowing from the position in the kitchen pushed the fire further into the master BR and the room exploded. The fire traveled out of that room, down the hall and to the newly created vent opening. This is what began the rapid progrssion fire event and allowed fire behind Brother Carey and Sister Kopas, cutting them off from the front door. As the Truck bailed they called to Brother Carey and Sister Kopas to “get out”.
    Fourth, the radio issue. With Brother Carey’s radio in his back pocket underneath his turn-outs it completely eliminated any chance for hearing radio traffic regarding being relayed about smoke and fire conditions. I do not know if Sister Kopas had a radio with her and if so what condition it was in (on, operating etc.) Back to the experience issue, even if they had heard reports regarding volume, pressure, speed of smoke and fire travel would they have had the base knowledge and experience to know what these conditions meant and the dangers they posed? I don’t know.
    Fifth, understaffing. Everyone is understaffed, especially if you adhere to the guidelines in the recently published manning study. Homewood is a small, residential community. Having a fully manned Engine, Truck and Ambulance is probably out of the question, period. Auto- and Mutual-Aid attempt to make up this gap but they take time to dispatch, go en route and travel to the scene, if they are available at all. I believe that HFD was doing the best that they could given their manning and aid agreements. Whether or not the use of the manpower that was available was used in the best possible way, well that is open to debate.
    Sixth, PPE. If there is a cookie cutter recommendation in the report this is it. Brother Carey had a full complement of PPE including mask and SCBA and was utilizing it during the attack. Did he tear it off in panic after the rapid fire event or after becoming entangled in the 2 1/2″? It would stand to reason. Regardless, the point is valid from a training stand-point. Training in emergency SCBA procedures and constant drilling may have helped him. May, maybe, no one knows.
    I believe that this report simply points out some deficiencies and weaknesses that were present prior to the tones going off. HFD had never had a LODD prior to Brother Carey so the procedures had worked to that point, at least no one had died before that night. Unfortunately, it usually takes some kind of tragedy or catastrophic event to bring those weaknesses to light. I don’t think this lessens the sacrifices that Brother Carey and Sister Kopas made that night. They were acting in the greatest tradition of the fire service trying to save life and property. It does, however, make it more tragic and makes it more important that we read, understand and attempt to follow the recommendations made so that we stop reading the same old thing every time one of these comes out.
    I DO NOT have personal, first-hand knowledge of this incident but have studied it in a recent tactical command class, read preliminary investigation reports and now the NIOSH report. The things I stated above are to the best and most accurate of my knowledge. If anyone has questions I will attempt to answer them within the knowledge I have.

    • John Mitchell says:

      Great to hear from you, Chris. Thanks for taking the time to fill in some unknowns that were pertinent to the discussion. You and I are on the same page as far as your take on the incident and its potential to serve all of us as a point in which we begin to look inward and apply the lessons learned to our own backyards. Stay safe, brother!

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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago
Comments
Rob
Packing heat with our halligan and a Glock by our gloves?
I was a volunteer for almost twenty years. When our members were police officers, they could carry on duty, concealed. I remember one night when I was the operator (driver) and responding to a house fire, three of the four firefighters on the truck were PD. I was handed three sidearms to take care of!…
2014-01-27 22:54:00
bhill
Packing heat with our halligan and a Glock by our gloves?
"lockbox on the truck" Does he carry his weapon in a lock box while on duty as a Deputy? I'm thinkin' not. Am I willing to use deadly force, and then turn around and try to save their life after I shoot them? Ain't happening. "individuals with police/weapons training" - the training teaches shoot to…
2014-01-27 19:33:00
Ken Nelson
Packing heat with our halligan and a Glock by our gloves?
I believe individuals with police/weapons training should carry fire arms. In our station's situation, our assistant chief is also a sheriff's deputy. I have suggested that he have his firearm with him in a lockbox on the truck in case a need arises. In addition some personnel are current military (Reserve, National Guard) who could…
2014-01-27 18:20:00
Marianna Randazzo
We Should Be Hearing All About Mike Behette Today, Rather Than Knowing So Much About the Navy Yard Shooter.
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to my dear friend Mike. I am in the process of writing a biography/anthology of Michael's life. I would be very grateful for your input. Please contact me on FB, Marianna Randazzo or Given Away, A SIiclian Upbringing. Respectfully yours, Marianna
2013-12-07 02:51:00
Fire Daily
WARNING: This video is graphic and depicts a man being rescued from his burning home.
Yes, Becky, I saw that too. As I was told by an ER doc many moons ago, "a patient without an airway is a dead patient." Not all firefighters are EMT's, and some may not have basic first aid skills- instead relying on a concurrent response from an emergency EMS agency. Not sure in this…
2013-11-27 11:27:00
Give It The Best That You Have
First Day Back
First Day Back
New Leaders: JFK's Nightmare
New Leaders: JFK's Nightmare
It's OK.
It's OK.
Welcome to the Club
Welcome to the Club

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