Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Safety on the Fire Ground

Mittendorf Truck Ops

Veteran fire ground commander and author John Mittendorf came to Hillsboro Fire Department to provide our firefighters a new perspective on safety. The retired Los Angeles City Fire Department Battalion Chief talked at length this week with our firefighters about changes necessary to avoid unnecessary risks when fighting structure fires. Mittendorf has examined the tasks responsible for the annual loss of over 100 firefighters across the country each year and offered ways to avoid those fatalities.

Citing the deaths of nine firefighters in the South Carolina Sofa Super Store fire in 2007 and the six who perished in the 1999 Worchester, Massachusetts, warehouse fire, Mittendorf discussed critical decisions that all incident commanders must make and where their priorities should be placed. The priorities always start with life safety.

The presentation also looked at apparatus placement at single family residential fires and at multi-story residential and commercial buildings to provide for the maximum use of the aerial ladder aboard the truck. Those placements may be different based on the circumstances.

We are grateful for the knowledge that Retired Chief Mittendorf has shared. We hope that his sharing of his experiences and wisdom will make our firefighters better and safer in the days ahead.