11/26/11 70 W, 2 I - + 15 - 8 Today's House Fire in Southern Wake County

Arthur Pierce Road off Holly Springs Road. Fairview, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Swift Creek, and Western Wake fire departments. Wake County and Apex EMS. Give me a few hours or overnight to post pictures, and sort out exactly which units were there, who else was covering, and other sundry details. Three news crews on scene, so watch your television. Click to enlarge:

Two anonymous readers have posed tactical questions about this fire, but I have deleted them. They didn’t get posted, because comment moderation is enabled. Both are welcome to mail me for more details, notably on my low tolerance of late for anonymous quarterbacking.

This story has been submitted to both FireNews.net and firehouse.com. If/when they are posted, readers can pose their tactical questions there. Particularly nifty is the Facebook interface on FireNews.net, and which is probably keeping everyone a little more honest.

But on this blog, tactical questions and discussions by anonymous readers has proven problematic.

What’s then the best way to ask about tactics at a local fire? You can swing by a station and talk to the crews. You can pose questions to the incident commander(s) directly; pick up the phone, or drop an e-mail. They’d probably be happy to talk. (Heck, if I hand more time and bandwidth, I could invite incident commanders to share lessons learned. If they were inclined, that is.)

Overall, it’d be great if we could share experiences and build learning out of these posted photos and this blog-based forum. But anonymous participation still raises too many hackles. And even when we’re being pretty civil, there are still virtual fingers pointing at someone.

We’ll get a better interface and comment registration system one of these days. For now, thanks for reading.
Legeros - 11/28/11 - 22:37

Once again, it is a sordid thing – quarterbacking that is. One must understand that there are multiple decisions to be made by a first arriving and subsequent command officer; and when in that “heat of battle,” most of the decisions are 100% recognition primed in nature. In many situations, the decisions are adequate for the immediate need at hand but may not ultimately satisfy others who are “looking in.” In my opinion, it is an individual’s interpretation coupled with their own experience and knowledge that is the basis for critical perception – or in some cases, understanding. Maybe it is a weird form of skewed self-satisfaction achieved by an individual when they are derogatory or condescending. Regardless, decision making on an emergency scene is a fascinating and educational area for all to research.
A.C. Rich - 11/29/11 - 00:07

Thanks for the perspective, AC. There is lately a LOT of quarterbacking that happens on Statter’s site ( http://www.statter911.com ). So much, in fact, it might be the premiere site for same. Very interesting and entirely enjoyable to read, in my opinion. (If I didn’t have personal connections to city and county firefighters here, as well as all that comes with operating this blog, I would probably have the same reaction here.)

There’s probably a great essay to be written— or even conference presentation to be made— on quarterbacking, and what it means or shows. Stepping back and reading several weeks or months of comments. Assessing the themes and trends. It probably mirrors what happens daily in day rooms. But is also driven by those who are online, and willing to comment and express themselves online. Though, these days— with Facebook and other social media channels— expressing yourself online is becoming pretty normal. (How comfortable are quarterbacks with using their real and identifiable names ? That one’s probably still a harder sell…)
Legeros - 11/29/11 - 08:08

Mike, Garner Eng 3 backfilled Fairview Sta 1 and I believe that Fuquay Eng ? backfilled Holly Springs I think
Mike - 11/29/11 - 10:42

Maybe with the deleted (or never posted) comments, the moderator could post a PC version of the question for open response. Quarterbacking is, as A.C. said, a sordid thing. It can however be a medium for which readers can learn different perspectives and/or approaches. Granted, it is not possible, even with photographs ad nauseum, to get a full perspective of what the first due and leadership saw on a scene, discussing what is seen or known can be a positive thing. I often see things from photos/blog postings (from Wake EMS responses as well as others) that I can take back to my desk to improve what it is that we do.
Olson - 11/29/11 - 14:10

Thanks for the suggestion, Jon. Maybe rewritten (by me) or resubmitted (by readers) comments are one direction. While I ponder that, let me ask this: are there legal liabilities from tactical details discussed in public post-incident? I have long-wondered this. Can anything happen if a representative of a given fire department makes statements to the effect “we could have done better?” in the eyes of the person or parties whose property was destroyed?
Legeros - 11/29/11 - 20:47

Question: how many tankers shuttled water at this fire? Looking at my photos and consulting my memories— during my time there— it looks like four: FFD Tanker 2, FFD Tanker 6, SCFD Tanker _, and AFD Tanker 1. (Need to correct my incident description, as FFD T2 was omitted.)
Legeros - 11/29/11 - 21:11

Mike, I was not there but being familiar with the departments I would offer: Fairview does not have a Ta2 and the Swift Creek Tanker in your photos is Ta2.
Tanker - 11/29/11 - 22:47

Thanks for the clarification. Even the observant observer makes mistakes, as I have just demonstrated. Imagine the conclusions drawn as you get once, twice, thrice-removed!
Legeros - 11/29/11 - 22:56

Regarding concerns over comments posted by department officials and potential negative effects, there is always the possibility of those having ramifications. In today’s litigious society anything can happen as far as being sued. While NC General Statutes provide some level of protection, the potential PR issues of the citizen and the media picking up on such things could be very damaging.
D.Cates - 11/30/11 - 14:11

Thanks David. That sounds like a great question, maybe for the Fire Law Blog web site. With everyone and their brother using social media, what could happen if a property owner reads a firefighter’s comment along those lines. Although, that’s the fear factor talking. Maybe an even better question is: has that happened to date, around the country?
Legeros - 12/01/11 - 08:02

The cases of which I am most familiar with (so far) have involved the release of photos/information of patients and victims, or internal discipline for comments made in online forums. That doesn’t mean that there has not been or will not be such litigation. I believe it is only a matter of time. Conversations that used to be confined to the tailboard are now shared worldwide with no recall button. Even when comments which are posted in haste are deleted in the clearer light of day, someone may have already copied and pasted them, so the chain goes on invisibly until it surfaces again. There’s a fine line between healthy discourse and outright pot stirring, and an equally difficult balance between freedom of speech and libel.
Furey - 12/03/11 - 04:57

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