JOHN J. SALKA Jr., a Firehouse contributing editor, is a 30-year veteran battalion chief with FDNY, the commander of the 18th battalion in the Bronx. Salka has instructed at several FDNY training programs, including the department's Probationary Firefighters School, Captains Management Program and Battalion Chiefs Command Course.
THE FIRE SCENE >>> By JOHN J. SALKA Jr. “Execution and Chemistry” When We Win, Lives Are Saved and Communities Are Preserved I ’m watching a football game, and operations. We are talking about crawl- levels of experience, skill and ability. Each during a discussion between the for- ing down the hallway on the third floor of these firefighters possesses skills that are mer players who are now announc- of an apartment house toward several highly developed, skills that are moderate- ers for the TV networks, one of them rooms burning through the door into the ly developed and even some skills that are says something about “execution and hallway. We are talking about arriving at a not very developed at all. In a fire company chemistry.” That caught my attention and construction site where three with four members, there may I listened as he described how important workers are trapped in an ex- Good be a firefighter that has great those two elements are to the success of a cavation by collapsing walls of forcible entry skills compared football team during a game. Execution dirt that are threatening the training to the others and another fire- and chemistry. As he was describing each responding firefighters. fighter that excels at climbing of these concepts, I was thinking about So what is execution? is a vital ladders and cutting roofs. The how they are important to us in the fire Execution is not a single third firefighter may be en ex- service as well; even more important event, but rather a culmina- component pert hose and nozzle handler because we are not playing for a trophy tion of several events. The first and the fourth member of the – when we win, lives are saved and com- and most important part of of good team may have a moderate lev- munities are preserved. execution is training. If you el of ability in all of these skills. So what is “execution and chemis- are not training regularly, you operations. This team has good chemistry. try” and how does it fit into our organi- are not going to perform very It possesses a good mixture zation and impact our team? well at any type of operation. You need to of skills and abilities and makes the team Let’s first talk about execution. To be more than familiar with all of the dif- better able to perform a greater number of execute is to perform or conduct an ferent tactics, evolutions and tools that tactics at the scene of a fire or emergency. evolution or tactic or complete an as- you may be called upon to use. More than Another “chemistry” that exists signment. We execute all the time in the familiar means you should be skilled and within groups of fire companies, with the fire service.
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