It is rare that I come across something on facebook that after 48hrs I still feel a need to address it on my own blog. Earlier this week there was a video of a structure fire posted on YouTube and facebook.
You can see the video here https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=622001177862206&set=vb.401740476554945&type=3&theater
The department in the video was taking some pretty sharp criticism for their tactics and the one individual without PPE. There were also posts attempting to defend the actions of the department and explain the circumstances in which they were under. Soon after the criticism began the video was removed from YouTube.
Several hours later Firefighters Training Toolbox www.firefighterstrainingtoolbox.com reposted the video in a very classy manner. Rather than just re-posting the video for the bashing to restart, they took the time to add an intro to the video clip that provided a disclaimer that in general said, this video is for training purposes and any unprofessional comments would be deleted.
What has my bunkers in a bundle is the fact that someone had to take the time to tell us that the video is for training purposes and we should behave ourselves when we critique it. I mean REALLY! Why do we need a reminder that it is important to be professional?
It has long intrigued me as to why firefighters are so hard on each other. Who anointed anyone of us as judge and jury? I mean really, we all put our bunker pants on one leg at a time; we’ve all made mistakes or seen our own departments do things that caused us to wonder “what were we thinking?”
This video is one of the best I have seen in terms of watching the events that precede a flashover and the people commenting could not get past a person not wearing their PPE. This is 2013, by now we have all seen at least one video where someone failed to wear their PPE. The real value in this video was the fire behavior in an uncontrolled environment.
Why we cannot see that is beyond me. We are like moths to a light, once we see someone without their PPE we put on our safety cop hat and become completely fixated. GET OVER IT!
Should you watch videos like this, take notes, and determine what your department would deem as appropriate – absolutely. The key is to take it back to your department and discuss it in a professional manner, not to debate it on someone’s facebook page.
I am not saying that you cannot be critical, just that you should also remain professional. After all, the fire service needs to encourage honest and open debate. Those that know me understand that I only have one debate rule – It is okay to disagree, just don’t be disagreeable. Keep in mind that nearly every cell phone has the ability to capture video and the karma train always comes home.
Real time video provides firefighters with a unique learning opportunity. Unbridled bashing will only result in more media policies and fewer videos being posted and we (firefighters) benefit from neither.