I’ve been seeing a lot about SLICERS lately, so I had to check it out. I watched a couple instructional videos and they made me sad. Watching departments gobble the theory up hook, line and sinker and totally abandoning traditional, time tested practices is a bit disturbing.
When are firefighters and administrators going to get it through their heads that there is no magic bullet for their fire ground? Our job is dynamic. The next big thing in acronyms is not going to change that. I’m Sorry, that was a bit harsh. I’m also sorry that our job requires us to take each scene as a separate special situation with special needs. Other than some constants everything is different fire to fire. Even the companies responding can vary depending on what’s going on in your town at the same time.
There are more damn acronyms out there that do nothing but convolute simple matters. “Go in that window and look for people” became “VES” or is it VEIS now? Big fire, Big water became ADULTS. I get it, everyone wants to have the next big thing, everyone wants to claim science, advancement or patent pending with their name attached of course. The problem is overreaching application. Don’t shift your whole operation immediately because of a new shiny acronym.
I’ve seen videos of the application of the program and honesty it’s less than impressive. It looks a lot like trying to force a new policy to fit all problems. Square peg, round hole. Instead of focusing on the regular priorities of firefighting, SLICERS followers have wandered away are trying find a way to distance themselves from having to make their own decisions. SLICERS Kool-aiders are more concerned with the process than the end result, they have lost touch with the reality of their profession.
Let’s let Master Ken show us an example of using one solution for all problems:
Master Ken’s methods aren’t really new, they really are just the next evolution of something we already know and do. But truthfully, there is no way it will work in every circumstance, probably not many in the real world. You as a firefighter/officer must decide for yourself to which instances these tactics should be applied and that can only be done through practice and training.
I’m not the smartest man in the world and I am, by far,not the most experienced. But having lived through a few election seasons I have learned how to spot Bullshit. Now I’m not calling SLICERS bullshit, but the people who have been selected or who have selected themselves to push it are acting a lot like they have something to lose if it fails to become the end all be all of firefighting. We are getting the hard sell.
1. ISFSI is the only fire service organizational I’ve seen pushing it. NIST and UL are NOT fire service organizations. Just because a 3rd party agrees does not mean it’s the best practice or even applicable in your area of expertise. Most the time the 3rd party needs a fire service organization to apply the results of their testing and by default agree with the one they pick.
2. Too many generalizations that are being used; “My department is safer now”. Tell us, how much safer is your department? Are firefighter injuries down? Are fires being put out faster thereby saving property? I want specifics if they exist.
This is an example of making a square peg fit a round hole. A small amount of smoke coming out of the second floor and companies stay and play in the yard for over a minute before they go in and do the job. Now we don’t know how the fire would have gone had they decided to just go in and attack the seat. I hope this department watches the next video and reconsiders the tactics they used.
The difference is meaningful water on the base of the fire 2 minutes sooner. Also a backup line went to the fire and did not stay in the front yard under the watchful eye of a fire crew.
I think folks need to pump the breaks on the SLICERS thing. Knocking down heavy fire before making an entry has been around since hand pumps and bucket brigades. This is not new and it’s not the end all be all of fire fighting. Try it, sure, see how it works. Maybe now you can say we “Slicered the fire” instead of knocked the piss out of it before going in. But blanket policies will never replace fire ground decision making.
Final thought. How would the taxpayers in your area feel if you told them “Rescue is an action of opportunity” not a priority? I disagree whole hearted. Rescue is THE priority. The house may burn to the ground but we owe the people we are sworn to protect a thorough search EVERY time.
I have a collection of Tae Bo on Video cassettes if anyone is looking for the end all be all of fitness.