We have a very Robust discussion going on about SLICERS and the use and avocation of it to be the end all be all of the fire service. I feel it necessary to make our position very clear on the latest fire service trends that are happening. Now I will say the greatest part of the Firefighter Basics crew is the wide array of Ideology that is within our group. While several in the group are not fans of the SLICERS acronym there are several members that are. From the differences in our group, the comments made on the blog and Facebook, and the number of shares; here is what I can put together to state where we stand.
First lets define Ideology– a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture so says the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It is our position that the Ideology behind the avocation of SLICERS is misleading to the fire service, and has been delivered in such a manner to be consistent with the loss of aggressive firemanship within the fire service. Also, utilizing it will further cause deformation to our craft and result in a possible increase in injury and death to the public and firefighters due to a loss of basics understanding and skill. We do not disagree with using science to become more effective at our profession, but we disagree when testing is used as propaganda to promote an agenda and the whole truth is not laid out.
It is alarming and disturbing to us all that Fire Departments are accepting of the material without proper evaluation or gaining an understanding of the scientific research being conducted and the unaccounted for variables or variables not able to truly be reproduced because we have no control of mother nature. It is our belief that RECEO VS still outlines incident priorities just fine for the fire service and did not need a replacement nor updating.Â However it needs to be taught by competent and experienced instructors who provide a healthy balance of fire ground experience and education to deliver the information in a dynamic manner, in which it transcends through our entire service.
It is our belief that the fire service will be better off served by funding being usedÂ to create training programs that break down fire dynamics, building construction, and the fire attack process down to the point that even a fifth grader can understand it. It seems that a good majority of the time fire departments are employing the SLICERS model and it is challenged, usually someone who is all in on SLICERS said it was done wrong! Again we want to champion keeping it simple and have programs that help fire departments understand fire dynamics, and fire ground operations in its simplest form of engine and truck basics. When we master the Basics civilians are rescued and firefighters live to fight another day. Keep programs simple, realistic, relevant and we all benefit. Also have we even discussed the impact these efforts could have on future staffing and the budget process for fire departments. I can hear a mayor or administrator now. We can now have two firefighters on each rig cause they have this new thing of fighting fires from the outside and then they go in. Forget about that NIST crew size study or NFPA 1710!!!!!
We hold on to a fervent belief that fire departments need to be spending time evaluating there nozzle flows capacity and helping firefighters understand the flow path they create when using fog streams inside a compartment. To advocate that some water is better than no water leaves us all in a very difficult position as target flows and streams do matter. It makes me wonder for those whom don’t specify stream patterns have ever been inside of a fire building when a fog stream comes through a window, and even though it may lower the temperature, it sure creates hell before it does. We must remember the safest position for you may not be the safest position for the viable victim you just turned into a lobster because the basics that needed to be discussed such as the fire stream and target flow are not discussed.
Firefighters must understand that it is imperative to get a line between the fire and victims as quickly as possible and that we are advocating you practice hoseline deployment and advancement, and getting to the seat of the fire in an expedient manner under varied conditions and fuel packages e.g. Hoarding conditions. We are advocating live burn trainings within acquired structures that will allow firefighters to gain a better understanding of smoke reading and present difficult stretches that often cannot be replicated in burn buildings. These same structures allow for firefighters to learn coordinated fire attacks of when and where to vent and when not to vent.
We are not saying that SLICERS is all bad because it is not, but we are saying funding can be better served helping firefighters understand RECEO VS and DICERS VO that embody the values and mission of this our American Fire Service.
S- Size- up: We agree every fire needs it that’s how we determine which priorities of the RECEO VS we will need first
L- Locate the Fire: Again another must so that we can begin our search and rescue if needed, also extinguishing the fire and we eliminate the overall problem
I- Identify and control the flow path: Again a situation if firefighters were to adhere to their basic ventilation training you would have no issues. As the late Tom Brennan said Ventilation is how we make the building behave, and flow paths are all about vents and venting; where the air is coming in and going out
C- Cool from the safest distance possible: Every fire I have been into if I used the correct setting and pattern on the nozzle given I may have taken a brief beating but knew I was in a better position to do more for a viable victim. If the space does not allow for a survivable victim than I am agreeable on exterior extinguishment.
E- Extinguish the Fire: We are advocating the same thing here with the exception of saying if the space lends itself to a viable victim we need an aggressive interior attack.
R- Rescue: We disagree in the fact that this is an action of opportunity but an absolute when conditions lend themselves to survivable victims. Also the building is not clear until we declare it clear.
S- Salvage: Remember good salvage work takes place during fire attack so members have to be inside, and if fire streams are applied incorrectly firefighters get hurt.
Here at the Basics our Philosophy is simple the Fire Ground is Dynamic and can not be quantified within one acronym and misleading information.We contend that SLICERS need to be branded as another tool to be used for dynamic staffing situations and fire ground operations, but not a replacement for RECEOVS and/or used as an excuse to not engage in aggressive interior firefighting that has and will continue to save lives. Firefighters must be trained by the simplest and most effective methods. Our philosophy says get off your butt know your equipment. How does it work? Why does it work? What will cause it to fail? If it fails can you overcome it. Our philosophy is that you have to understand the basics of an engine company to move from a point to the fire in an expedient, and effective manner to extinguish the fire. We also employ you that attack lines are like deer, where there is one there will or should be more. If you understand ventilation in it truest form, you already know how to control the flow path. Think about it!!!! We commend those that are trying to make our profession safer but caution you that you maybe making it weaker by not ensuring the dynamics of what you are advocating so vigorously are fully understood. The BASICS! LINES AND LADDERS will get us back home safe.
As soon as I can attend a training for SLICERS I will or maybe if there was invite? I will report back on this blog what I find. See you in the Spring or Fall.