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Posted: Jan 13, 2014

New EVIP Program!

The Washington State Fire Chief’s Training and Safety & Officers section are proud to announce that the new Emergency Vehicle Incident Prevention (EVIP) program is approved and in motion!  After a laborious update process the new program has been approved by the State Department of Licensing and the Washington State Patrol, Fire Protection Bureau. There are some major updates to the program that will need to be communicated state-wide.

The new program now has a trainer re-certification policy that requires trainers to have a Train-the-Trainer (T-t-T) refresher course every 5 years. Those who have been trainers under previous EVIP standards will still need to receive this most current T-t-T course and use the current course materials to remain a certified EVIP trainer.  Fire service members may register through the Washington State Fire Chief’s online for any of the upcoming T-t-T courses that are scheduled across the state.  There are also two opportunities to take the course at the Training and Safety & Officer’s Conference in Yakima the first week of March 2014. As part of the T-t-T course students will receive the newest EVIP program disc and all needed materials to bring the EVIP program back to their departments for immediate implementation...

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Posted: Dec 12, 2013

Normalized Deviation

The other day at an incident, I watch a veteran member of our department back up a vehicle without a backer even though there was a person in the passenger seat (two other members stood next to me when it happened). I walked over to the vehicle and had the driver stop and the passenger got out and finished backing the vehicle.  I asked the passenger, a member with less than 5 years on, why he didn’t get out and serve as a backer?  He looked at me and said “I wasn’t asked to”.  My next question was, “Did you ask the diver if a backer was needed?” The answer was “no”. I asked why and the passenger could not give me an answer.   After discussing with the two about the necessity of a backer, along with quoting the policy, I was approached by one of the people who, was standing next to me when this whole situation started to unfold.  That person very proudly said to me “I watch him do that all the time”.  I looked at that person and asked, wait for it, “Why haven’t you said anything?” I did not get a response and the person just shrugged and walked away.
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Posted: Oct 23, 2013

Attitude– Difference between Success and Failure

I ran across this article the other day and wanted to share it with all of you. I think this speaks to how important it is to have people in your organization that possess positive attitudes.  One of the main ingredients to creating and maintaining a successful organization is having that positive culture reside within your members and organization.  I have been in the Fire Service for 25 years and have worked with a lot of people which I am happy to say most of them have had a positive attitude. I believe that 99.9 % of people that demonstrate a positive attitude are the ones that will be the most successful at work and in life.  If you think about it who wants to promote someone into a leadership role that has a negative attitude. The answer is No One! Negativity is the number one killer of any organization and by placing these negative employee’s into officer positions is like giving the organization its death sentence. The good news is if you are one of those negative people it is not too late to change. Negativity is a choice. It is all in how you look at or perceive things. Please read this article and at the end look in the mirror and ask yourself am I a cup half full or half empty type of person, how do others look at you and your attitude?

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Posted: Aug 8, 2013

Rhabdomyolysis: The New Fire Service Issue

Are your new recruits at risk for exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER)? Central Pierce Fire and Rescue had two recruits develop ER during recent fire training academies. These individuals were physically fit, one a distance runner and the other a cross-fit enthusiast.  What is ER?  Why did these indivuaduals develop it?  What could we have done to prevent it?  

Acute exertional rhabdomyolysis is a problem encountered by firefighters as a result of extreme or novel physical demands placed on the musculoskeletal system.  When skeletal muscle fibers breakdown, their intracellular contents enter the bloodstream and can clog the kidneys.  This can cause potentially serious side effects and even death...

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Posted: Jul 15, 2013

An Inside Job

In our line of work we see and experience events that can be labeled horrific and traumatizing.  Sometime we go on these calls three times in a shift, and other times the events are spread out over weeks or months.  But one thing remains, and that is the memory and experiences that we were exposed to on these scenes.  These events stay with most of us for a very long time.  And sometimes these memories come back and remind us of the hard issues we have seen and are actively trying to suppress.

Most of us have developed a “coping mechanism” to be able to deal with these events at the immediate moment they are happening.  After the events have past and the incident is over, we suppress or compartmentalize the emotions that we experienced.  And we tell ourselves, and sometimes we tell others, that this is a necessary trait in order to maintain an ongoing presence in this profession.  But what happens when you can’t compartmentalize these events or the box just becomes too full to hold any more memories?  What happens when your body and mind tell you that you are human and that you are impacted by trauma and horror?  Where do you turn?

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