Thursday, February 14, 2013

Citation for Generation 3

Some shots of the unit award citations issued to firefighters from a July 2012 fire on Castle Boulevard in Burtonsville, MD where 17 civilians were rescued over ladders. 
Mike and Chief Richie Bowers

The crew

Mike with Battalion Chief Paul McNeel

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Great Concept Doesn't Equal Success

Some equipment looks great in the catalog, has an awesome concept behind it, and works like shit in the real world.  A piece of equipment I worked with that met this definition was the build-a-board.  A take off on the scoop stretcher, it was a four piece replacement for the short board.  In theory, each of the four pieces would slip under or behind the victim, snap together and lock in place, and provide a quick and safe method for immobilizing possible back and neck injury patients in auto accidents.  

After we received ours, we practiced and trained and trained and practiced with it.  The literature made it sound like it should be as easy as, well, any analogy you could think of.   It wasn’t.  Oh, we got rather proficient with it in our personal vehicles in the parking lot and chairs in the squad room, but it was never as simple as the brochure made it look.   

Finally a few days after putting it in service, we responded on a wreck with a victim in the passenger seat needing immobilization.   With the old fashioned short board and long board combo, we’d have gotten her out in less than ten minutes.  With our marvelous new build-a-board, we finally got everything lined up,  connected, and snapped together after forty minutes; not an auspicious beginning.   

I had seen all I needed, and after that forgot about it’s presence in the drivers side compartment.  The short board wasn’t broken; no need to fix it.  It was a great lesson.  A terrific concept did not necessarily guarantee real world success.