LT RICHARD HAMILTON-FDNY (Ret)
Lieutenant Dick Hamilton (F.F. L-17, R-3, R-4 & Lt. R-2) has passed away with his family by his side. Lt Hamilton was the most decorated FF in the F.D.N.Y. when he retired. He was the author of the absolutely outstanding book “20,000 Alarms”-now out of print and much in demand. He was also a WW 2 Naval Veteran.
Borrowed from the Secret List.
One of the best stories of out the book I use almost daily is something like this……..
There was a new Lieutenant assigned to the Rescue and they responded to a fire in a taxpayer. Dick Hamilton and another firefighter jumped out of the truck when it arrived and went into an adjoining store and began pulling down the vents to stop the fire spread. The Lt. chewed their ass.
Apparently this Lt got promoted to Capt and was assigned to a truck. His truck responded to a fire several years later and he ordered two of his men to go to the roof.
When the fire went to a multiple alarm, the Chief tried to figure out what went wrong. He discovered that the two firefighters assigned to the roof had never vented. So he asked them, in front of their Capt., why they didn’t vent. They stated, we received no order to vent Chief. We were ordered to go to the roof.
The Chief then asked, “You need an order to perform such a basic function?”
They replied, “Chief, in this company you need an order to go to the bathroom.”
So much for the Captain……
Strong SOPs and pre-determined assignments should avoid situations like the one described above from happening. Unfortunately some Officers are unable to let go of the “Mother May I” mentality and feel they must micro manage even the most basic functions of their crews.
This leads to the Officers becoming over loaded with minor details and a crew that is unaccustomed to making it’s own decisions based on their size up and responsibilities.