mike_walsh (4/2/2009) I agree doesn't translate to a fire scene but so far it has worked for me in SQL and the Ambulance.
I thought about this at lunch and I actually think that while the analogy may not fit a lot of the steps still fit into a "rely on training" type of situation. You may not have time to go to checklists like I blogged about here comparing doctors,chefs,pilots and DBAs. You may also end up skipping some steps but the same general pattern works in those look and act type scenarios. I also hope that whoever has incident command is thinking through them, the IC at a fire is supposed to work with the other members of command (Safety, Operations, Medical, etc) and make informed decisions. Even the operations leads in the fire should practice some of the below. For a sturcture fire:
1. Gather initial information - What type of structure? What other hazards are around? Live high voltage lines lying in a puddle? People inside or just a structure? Propane tank? Any law enforcement concerns? Traffic safety hazards? Water supply?
2. Prepare your mind - En route to the call, what is your job? You are going back to your training but what role are you in, think through it, know it and prepare to do it.
3. Work as a team - So very important in a fire. You don't have to think about this, training has hopefully beaten it into you but you go in as a team and, Lord willing, come out as a team.
4. Plan your attack - Victims trapped? You will be more aggressive (but still not stupid). Just property? Is the fire contained enough to send a crew in? Where will you approach from? Where will you put emergency ladders for dumping out of the house in a pinch? How is the structural integrity?
5. Don’t be afraid of asking for help - Confirm a command if you aren't sure, bring in mutual aid early, etc.
6. Formulate a problem statement and verify it with all parties! - This one is sort of easy.. There's some red stuff that needs wet stuff 😉 This is sort of an assumed portion here and probably superflous.
a. We also looked at the entire picture and didn’t develop tunnel vision. - Were you so focused on the flames or screams that you missed you were about to kill yourself with that pole to house electrical line flapping in the breeze?
7. Remain Calm - Big Plus on the fire scene. Adrenaline is flowing in huge buckets already. Having a chief panic (and I have seen it) and get angry/flustered does no good. The crews will do stupid things and someone risks getting hurt (or worse). Stay in control.
8. Understand priority and if the issue is stable or declining - Speaks for itself in a fire, right? At what point do you go from offensive to defensive attack? Do you even skip offensive attack (in spite of reported entrapment) because it is far too dangerous?
9. Anticipate changes and plan ahead for worsening – RIT teams (Rapid Intervention Teams) are becoming more and more standard at fire scenes. It's a team all geared up, ready to go in and rescue downed firefighter(s). That is what they train for and they are outside waiting for that purpose. You have ambulances there even if no victims in case a firefighter gets hurt. You continue to monitor the house and surroundings looking for new hazards.
10. Use all of the information – You are using everything from the above steps in making your plans.
11. Documentation – Even here, insurance companies, training "opportunities", etc.
12. Clean up and preparation for next call – You hope there a lot of probationary firefighters around to roll hose. The last thing a bunch of exhausted firefighters want to do is clean up after themselves 😉
I agree, a lot of these steps are look and act type steps but even here you are not just looking only. Yes you are relying on training a LOT more but even still if you train for firecalls with a consistent methodology (which is what Incident Management Systems is for command/control aspects) it really does become just "another problem" to troubleshoot. Decisions come a lot faster and less alternative options are gone through or gone through a lot faster but I think the methodology does work.