Where Ignorance Trumps Safety by ProQuest


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									                           FIRE POLITICS                                  >>>

 Where Ignorance Trumps Safety
 The Politics of Rank in the Overall Firefighter Safety Equation

       n recent years, the U.S. Fire Admin-                      during the day. City employees and mem-         driver to do the same thing he had instruct-
       istration (USFA), fire service orga-                      bers of the public were in the building when    ed the company officer to do. The driver
       nizations and local fire departments                      the threat came in. The fire department dis-    refused, for the same reasons, and was also
 have increased their efforts to reduce the                      patched an engine company to the scene          relieved of his duties by the director. The
 number of firefighter injuries and line-                        with a staffing level of four personnel. Upon   director has reportedly ordered an internal
 of-duty deaths. The issue is all over web-                      arrival, it is reported, the                                       investigation into the ac-
 sites, and you can’t go to any conference,
 seminar or other forum intended for
                                                                 city public safety direc-
                                                                 tor, whose office is in the
                                                                                                 Sometimes, the                     tions of the company of-
                                                                                                                                    ficer and the driver with
 learning and not hear somebody con-
 ducting a session on this subject – and
                                                                 facility involved, ordered
                                                                 the company officer
                                                                                              politics of rank can                  the intent of bringing dis-
                                                                                                                                    ciplinary action against
 that’s exactly the way it should be.
       As more emphasis has been placed
                                                                 to use the fire crew to
                                                                 search the exterior of the
                                                                                                inappropriately                     them for insubordination.
                                                                                                                                    It’s going to be interesting
 on firefighter safety, we have learned a
 great deal about the role of leadership in
                                                                 building and the roof in
                                                                 an effort to find a bomb.
                                                                                               impact those who                     to see how stupid this gets
                                                                                                                                    in the end.
 the overall safety equation. Therefore, a
 lot of the safety training today focuses
                                                                      The company offi-
                                                                 cer refused, and advised
                                                                                                are in positions                          We all know the
                                                                                                                                    politics of rank and how
 on decision-makers – those who are as-
 signed to be in charge during emergency
                                                                 the public safety direc-
                                                                 tor that the fire depart-
                                                                                                to make critical                    it can work its way into
                                                                                                                                    the chain of command.
 incidents. It’s been an uphill climb, but
 most would agree that progress is being
                                                                 ment personnel were
                                                                 not trained to do such a
                                                                                                  decisions at                      However, there are deci-
                                                                                                                                    sions that are better left
 made, at least as it relates to awareness.
 Then something happens that just leaves
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