I’ve been spending some time, lately, watching episodes of Air Crash Investigation. As I’ve been watching, I’ve been noting a couple things that (at least indirectly) could also relate to Fire Services as well. Without going back and watching the different episodes, I can’t give you exact episodes or exactly what took place in each, but I can give a generalized look at the types of things I’ve seen….
In one episode I watched, the pilots had inadvertently deleted the checkpoints out of their computerized system. At some point, one of the pilots went to enter a checkpoint and then hit the “execute” before confirming that the right checkpoint was displayed (a situation known as “fast fingered Freddy”). For reasons not understood, the pilots lost Situational Awareness as to where their plane was at. Meanwhile they had begun their descent. A short time later the pilots seemed to have realized that they no longer knew where they were at and yet they continued their descent. Without Monday Morning Quarterbacking, what they should have done (and this was mentioned on the show) was to get themselves back up to the minimum safe flight level and got situational awareness back before continuing there descent. Another saying mentioned being, “Don’t let the plane fly someplace your mind hasn’t been 5 minutes earlier… I guess you could relate this to fire service in the sense that you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself and go running into situations that you haven’t first gotten the big picture and made a game plan of sorts.
Obviously, in firefighting, you’re not hitting “execute” buttons and aren’t descending into airports. So how does this relate to Fire Service? When you find yourself in a situation where you are so disoriented that you lost a sense of where you are at and have lost situational awareness, it’s time to back out (call a May Day if need be) and get yourself re-oriented. Ok so maybe the answer isn’t quite that simple (and don’t go leaving your partners behind). It’s like this — If, when who ever is in charge of calling out for location checks calls out, your answer is I have no bleepity bleep idea – It’s time to get yourself to a space spot at get reoriented…
Another episode had all crew members (in the cockpit) of a flight focusing on a faulty landing gear indicator light. While they were all focused on this, no one was actually “flying the plane”. I forget the exact scenario that ensued that became the Emergency that caused the disaster. As it was mentioned on the show, the important thing is to “First Fly the Plane”… It would be like having a junior or young firefighter having trouble hooking up a second hose and having all the other firefighters over there trying to help him and trying to figure out what’s wrong, meanwhile there’s a fire blazing and no one is fighting the fire thus letting it get further out of control before anyone realizes what’s going on…. In the case of firefighting — First Fight the Fire!!
Those are the two main things I picked up in watching old episodes of Air Crash Investigation. Anyone else watch these shows and have anything that they’ve noticed that could also relate to the Fire Service? Please Share your thoughts and opinions.