Are the equipment standards too stringent or even relevant?
Many believe (as you probably know) that the standards are too heavy-handed with safety factors that are too extreme. I reply by reminding them how difficult it is for some departments to procure and maintain equipment because of funding, budgetary protocol and administrative complacency. Long campaign incidents (like earthquakes) can cause fire companies to rely on equipment that wears out as the incident drags on. Specifying extra heavy duty equipment may overcome these downside factors and allow Firefighters to be confident in the strength of their equipment even if it’s getting a little dog-eared.
Many inquiries are from Firefighters concerned that their departments don’t really comply with NFPA training standards when assigning personnel to positions with a rescue mission. My replies are usually along the lines of keeping them encouraged and reminding them that the “Old Guard” will eventually retire out to allow the newer blood to reshape paradigms, but in their meantime, I stress the importance of understanding current standards and applying them whenever they can.
In some cases, fans write to ask about terms or “identifiers”. A recent inquiry was about the proper term for a basket-raising haul system on a steep angle with an overhead track line to clear obstacles. Wanted to know whether it should be called a “guide line” or a “track line”. I referred to Reed Thorne’s teachings and told him it would commonly be referred to as a track line and the raising system might be considered a control line. But I told him I don’t really like splitting those kinds of hairs, and that if his team wants to call it a guide line then so be it.
Tom Briggs-Vertical Academy
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