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The Game Plan Changes, Like It Or Not

Posted by Feld Fire on 9/10/2014

Those of us on the fireground every day know all about change. A fire scene is not linear and predictable; it is dynamic and unpredictable, even from minute to minute. We have to be flexible and adaptable and be able to think quickly on our feet or lives could be lost.

There is so much change happening, it seems like complete chaos. And when you deal with so much change on the fireground, you may not necessarily be too enthused about changes in procedures or protocols. We all insist we need at least one little piece of stability and predictably in our professional lives.

Well here is piece of stability for you - you can rely on change. That is a certainty. The question you should be asking is not, "why do we have to change?" but rather "how will this change improve my work?"

And that, our friend, is a legitimate question. But let's face it - with advancements and discoveries in fire science in recent years, even your game plan has been changing, or needs to to keep up with what is happening. Incident management has especially changed, and technological advances in the last couple of decades have made significant impacts in how we all do our work, including managing incidents.

One of the first ways is simply by establishing some level of standard across all fire companies. Not hat long ago, every company all over the world had their own standards for every little detail of their operations. But as fire science has advanced and we learn more and ore about fire and its behaviors, we have started to find fewer and few options with equipment and tool selections, because a lot of experience a provided some "standardization" where there are a limited number of items that are most popularly used and effective on the fireground.

Another large advance is what is called Building Information Models, or BIMS, which give firefighters the information they need about a building in order to attack a fire. It doesn't give exhausting detail, because it doesn't have to; it just gives only the essential information that firefighters need, such as locations of rooms, type of building materials and pinpoint the location of the fire source as examples. Similar work is being done with building operating systems, which is now allowing building cameras of a facility to be included into a company's pre-plan for that building should an incident happen.

And of course, fire modeling has advanced in a quantum way in recent years. The new change here is through sensors and other information gathering that can give the incident commander information about the structural integrity of a building - even giving how much time interior firefighting can safely happen before the structure become unstable.

And finally, consider technology and how much information can be presented to a command post by computer. ICs can know everything there is to know about a fireground in real time right from the command post - even specific locations of firefighters, their nearest escape routes and where there may be hidden fire dangers.

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