Faulty PASS and Firefighter Safety

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.

PASS DeviceWasn’t the faulty pass device annoying?  It’s more than annoying—it’s an Mayday trainingunmanaged 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.Fallen FF Funeral

In this line of work—whether you’re a career, on-call, or volunteer firefighterFallen FF Ceremony Buglercomplacency will kill you!

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].