In our profession, we can never afford to have “our head up our ass” …. you can’t see anything and don’t know what you’re doing. This time of the year, we need to be even a little more diligent.

In my last post, I talked very briefly about SITUATIONAL AWARENESS  and  DISCIPLINE .  Tonight, I want to quickly explain  and expand on those two terms a bit.

It’s Christmas  (If you don’t believe me, just ask  Tiger Schmittendorf   to tell ya “The Christmas Story ..LOL). In most homes, stockings are hung and Christmas trees are  lit. Some are even surrounded by gifts.

The bad part about December is that it’s also a heavy fire month( Click HERE … see page #14 ). Yea … Santa is not the only one putting in overtime in December.

The Fire Critic  (Rhett Fleitz)  and Dave Statter have been covering the most recent “cluster” out of Obien County Tenn. A lot of you have apparently been following the story and if you’ve taken the time to read the comments, you’ve noticed a common theme …. our “duty”.

South Fulton coverage from  The Fire Critic   and   Statter 911

Our “duty”.  That’s yet another post of its own and I’m not going down that road tonight. I will however talk just a little about protecting life and property and  YES …. THAT’S OUR DUTY.

Now I want you to look back up at that picture top / right. That’s my family tree from 2009. Easy to spot right? If you responded to my home, you could have spotted and recognized what it was pretty easily.

Take a look at this picture ….

How many of you would have knocked, kicked or tossed this stuff out of the way to get back to the seat of the fire or to make your search?

Do ya see it? Click the picture (then, after it comes up; click it a 2nd time for a larger view)

I assume the “child” or “children” of this house are the ones who drew the picture of their tree. Do you see it now?  That is this family’s Christmas tree and presents.

How about this picture ….

Their tree and presents are on top of the table.

Would you have noticed or detected this one???

My point here is this …. not everyone  is as fortunate as me, you or the next guy. Their tree my be as simple as a picture colored in school by their children. They may only have one or two gifts under it.

We all work in the same neighborhood (just different cities)… protect the same people.  For many of these folks, THIS IS ALL THEY HAVE  and it is as valuable or more to them  than the big lavish trees and gifts that are so easily found in the “higher” rent district.

We can’t let economic or social status (race, creed, color etc) affect how we do our job…. tunnel vision. The same care and service needs to be delivered no matter what “district” or “part of town” we are responding to.

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS !  Aware of what a Christmas tree and presents may look like in my (or your)  house  vs. what it may look like in the home of a family less fortunate.

Maybe the  only gift those parents were able to buy is not wrapped and out yet. Where would they hide it until Christmas morning? Under the bed? In the closet?

How much care will you take when searching or overhauling these areas? The house  was most likely dirty and thinly furnished anyway right? Who cares?? They shouldn’t be living like this in the first place….. right?

If you are there, it’s already bad enough for this family. Slow down just a second .. keep your head out of your ass and pay attention to your surroundings. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. Want to know another duty of ours????  SALVAGE. Not just the “good stuff” or what YOU think is of value … salvage what is valuable to them. Know what that is??? ALL OF IT !

How about if you’re on the knob (nozzle)?? Are you going to push in a throw water everywhere? I hope not. I spoke in my last posting of my Department’s pride in quickly and efficiently getting water on the fire. Not just on the fire …. on the seat of the fire. We don’t spray smoke, nor do we wet darkness. STREAM DISCIPLINE .  Know where you’re putting your stream and make it count.

With budget cuts, under staffing, station closures, brown outs etc, the Fire Service is struggling enough. The sad thing here is that most of those whom we serve are in worse shape than we are. DO NOT TAKE AWAY FROM THESE FOLKS ….don’t make their situation worse …. most have nothing else to give / loose. Keep your head on your shoulders, take a deep breath and look around … THINK. Maintain your SITUATIONAL AWARENESS  and fire ground DISCIPLINE. Do the job that I know we are all capable of and that our customers deserve and expect … Protect their lives AND property.

Just a friendly reminder and “food for thought”. Thanks for following … I’ll have more for ya soon … until then, stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines