Lowell Massachusetts got quite a surprise the other day. They showed up for an alarm and ended up taking 7 people out via ladders. The roof collapsed. The conditions were so bad 1 person jumped, and 1 fatality.
This is a a sad story but a good lesson for firefighters all over. They showed up at 4AM with nothing showing and then all hell broke loose. Lowell did a great job with what they were handed. I wasn’t there, and I cannot say otherwise. But the lesson here is Show Up Ready to Work.
I have 5 reasons for you.
1. Lowell Mass. You DON’T know what’s going on in the building. If you get upstairs and meet a smoke condition what are you going to do? Make the residents wait for rescue because you weren’t prepared? Very unprofessional.
2. It looks professional to the public. Nothing pisses me off more than when we are in contract negotiation season,or any time for that matter, and guys are going in to investigate alarms carrying a pike pole and wearing a T-shirt. I understand you are a salty dog with 3 years on, but at least make it look good for the public. Show them we are ready to work and that we do work hard.
3. It’s in your SOP/SOG. If something happens to you because you were too lazy to wear your gear your department does not have to cover you. NFPA, NIOSH the list goes on and on of agencies that will say it was your fault. Don’t do that to your family.
4. IT’S YOUR JOB! If you call AAA for a jump start and they show up without jumper cables what are you going to think of them? Same thing here. If you get a call for a fire, alarm, etc..and you come running out to get your gear, what is the public going to think of you? Are they going to support any activities your department sponsors, support the city’s purchases of new equipment?
5. If you treat every alarm like it’s a fire one day you’ll be right and everything will go smooth. If you treat every alarm like it’s nothing one day you’ll be wrong and it’ll be a nightmare for all involved.
My take: Show up ready to work, at least put on a show for the locals. If you need your equipment you’ve got it. If you do too many runs to do the job right maybe you should go to a slower house. If the gear is too heavy you should find another line of work.
Good job Lowell, Be safe.