How often do you take tours of the buildings in your Primary? Is it only when a new building is built that you go through them? Do you even take the time to walk through the new buildings? As Francis Brannigan used to say, “The building is your enemy, Know your enemy.”
While on an Activated Fire Alarm at one of the structures in our primary, we had one of our newer members asking a few questions about the building. Being we had the time, we arranged with the building owner’s representative to be able to wander through and show the new guy around. Junior guys are great for reasons to walk through buildings, and senior guys can’t possibly remember everything about every building in our primary.
While walking through this building, we started discussing how there were some unique features. This particular structure houses a theater which in and of itself creates a slew of hazards with movable walls, increased electrical needs, hidden voids for wiring etc. In addition to that area, the basement of the building contains an old inground pool. Yeah, a pool. It was decommissioned due to new safety regulations and walkway widths but the actual concrete structure remains. Now imagine searching this building and going over the edge of this pool, falling ten feet into the deep end and not being able to get out? What about during a structure fire, giving all of the water that we’re pouring into the structure a place to go which creates a drowning hazard. Rarely do we enter a building and expect there to be a pool in the basement, but this is the benefit of the walk through process.
My challenge to you for the month of October, get into at least one building in your primary that you haven’t been in recently. Yes, you can cheat and do a building that you know well, but then what are we really learning? Get into a building that you aren’t sure about, note the location of exits, the type of construction, FDC/Sprinkler connections if any and actually walk through it. You might be amazed at what you’ll find.
Until then remember, Amateurs train until they get it right, Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong. Stay safe out there.
About the Author
DAVID WIKLANSKI is a Firefighter/EMT for the New Brunswick (NJ) Fire Department. He is a NJ certified Fire Instructor level II and EMT Instructor. He has a Master’s degree in Behavioral Sciences from Kean University where he is on faculty with the Psychology Department. He authored the book Suicide Bombers: Understanding Suicide Terrorism from a Cultural and Memetic Perspective. He is the owner of Alpha Omega Training Solutions.