By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
What’s one more noise on the fireground? One too Many. Play the first couple minutes of the following video and then stop it.
Wasn’t the faulty pass device annoying? It’s more than annoying—it’s an unmanaged fireground safety hazard.
First off, a faulty PASS device is UNACCEPTABLE on any fire scene. When firefighters and officers hear a PASS sounding it should ONLY mean that a fellow firefighter is in need of assistance. Would this firefighter go into a burning structure with a malfunctioning SCBA? I doubt it.
Secondly, aren’t we supposed to “have each other’s back” to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries? “Two in, two out”, check each other’s turnout gear and equipment before entry…stuff like this PASS sounding continuously makes such words seem very “hollow” to say the least.
Thirdly, where’s the Incident Commander during this entire time? The “3 C’s of Command” are Communicate, Coordinate, and Control, right? Control means the IC is responsible for controlling the emergency scene and that includes ensuring that there are no unmanaged safety hazards. A PASS, regardless if it’s a stand-alone unit or part of the SCBA ensemble, that’s activating and NOT attached to a firefighter or officer in distress is an unmanaged safety hazard.
In this line of work—whether you’re a career, on-call, or volunteer firefighter—complacency will kill you!