Rethinking How We Make Decisions

For lasting change, a person’s sense of identity has to change. It makes changing a firefighter’s opinion on fire suppression a very difficult thing.

From the time we begin this profession, we’ve been told “real firefighters fight the fire from the interior of the structure.”

But the facts today are telling us that we may need to rethink not only this idea, but our entire strategic decision-making process.

The modification of our decision-making process is due to a wide variety of factors that may include staffing, response time, structural conditions and construction, size and location of the fire, and water supply (just to name a few).

Sizing-up starts long before dispatch. And after dispatch has gathered the facts of the situation, it takes a rapid-fire system to be able to process that information and allow firefighters to make the right decision based upon facts, not emotions.

Experienced incident commanders have developed a decision-making process that for the most part is extremely successful. If that decision-making process constantly and continuously monitors fire suppression activities, fire growth and modifies the actions being taken based upon a prediction of the outcome of those tactical operations.

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