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another F/A Co. We are there to help advance and fulfill the tactics initiated by the company we’re there to support. There may be instances during a Back-


up F/A assignment when a different tactical approach is necessary. When this occurs you must support the tactical shift initiated by the IC or company you’re assigned to back-up. In re-evaluating conditions, if you determine a different tactical approach is warranted, com- munication and teamwork is key. A Back-up F/A assignment is a support role, even when a different tactical approach is taken.


CII Jason Hing, FS 27-A: A Back-up F/A as- signment is a crucial tactic in the overall strat- egy of mitigating a fire related emergency. My primary responsibility is assisting the initial fire attack team with developing their hand- line, pulling their hose, feeding it around cor- ners, up/down stairways, etc. Working with the primary F/A Co rather than trying to overtake their handline demonstrates discipline and job competency. When assigned Back-up F/A we bring


an additional handline for several reasons: the primary attack line is not pulled far enough for the objective, the primary line fails, protection of the initial F/A Co and added gpm to augment the primary line. The Back-up F/A Co should also assist with a secondary search, evaluate salvage concerns and check for extension and hot spots with the TIC. Controlling the portal of entry and en-


suring we limit the number of people to those needed for extinguishment is necessary to com- plete the given task. Keeping all non-essential personnel out minimizes many problems and helps if immediate egress from the occupancy is required.


Leadership question: In your opinion, what are the two biggest reason captains fail to gain the respect of their commands?


Kemp: Officers can either loose or fail to gain the respect of their commands for several reasons. Some of the most apparent are their lack of operational competency or poor inter- personal skills. While many of today’s officers have numerous certifications and ratings, a large number still do not possess the necessary field experience to effectively command a fire company. At times some of these officers can be


inflexible or unapproachable, which further hampers their ability to lead. They often dis- allow more experienced subordinates to train their commands for fear of being upstaged or exposing their own lack of experience. As for their poor interpersonal skills, I’m referring to an inability to speak with subordinates in ways that would make them want to listen. Capturing a member’s attention with-


out commanding it and creating an atmosphere of followership and buy-in is my goal. Some of the skills I use are: common sense, patience, tact, active listening and simplicity. I truly be- lieve if an officer gives a direct order in a non- emergency setting then they need to take a step back and reevaluate themselves as an LAFD officer.


Wynne: As a captain you not only hold your command accountable, you hold yourself ac- countable as well. This starts the moment horns are pinned on your collar, as does the respon- sibility and influence accompanying your new rank. Unfortunately, some do not understand this. Captains can no longer be the jokester, prankster or locker room mascot – your suc- cess, in part, depends on this. Captains must own every decision they


make. We must demonstrate respect for the po- sition we hold, because if we don’t, our com- mands never will. Ultimately, we are the ones making the decisions that benefit our commu- nity, department and crew. Although these de- cisions may not be the most popular, they are often the most crucial.


Not being responsible and account-


able are leading causes for captains failing to gain the respect of their commands. You’re not tasked with being the most friendly or popular - you’re tasked to lead. When a member steps out of line it’s your responsibility to immedi- ately correct them, hold them accountable and reeducate them on our mission. Popularity does not qualify as leadership - carrying on the mis- sion prescribed by the Chief does.


Hing: One of the problems within our organi- zation is that too many people assume positions of leadership without considering the impact it will have on others. To me, the key reason for captains failing to gain the respect of their commands are character flaws related to cred- ible leadership. Two of the biggest contributing factors are entitlement and selfishness. Respect is not an entitlement; it is


earned. How many times have we heard: “Pro- moting to the rank of captain does not guaran- tee you instant respect.” Some new and sea- soned captains fail to gain the respect of their crews through this simple, but misunderstood concept. Realizing you’re here to take care of your people and not just yourself is a prudent expectation, and one that can be easily demon- strated while carrying out your duties. Selfishness – contrary to societal beliefs


it’s NOT all about you. In choosing to thrust yourself into a position of leadership you are now charged with the development and wellbe- ing of your people. You develop your crew by placing their needs first; in doing so they per- form at a higher level, build morale and foster trust . . . that’s leadership.


In next month’s KTW retired chiefs John Nowell and Don Stuckey will discuss (1) fire attack considerations on center-hall apartments, and (2) how to manage subordinates when they failed on the fireground or in the engine house.


July 2015 • 41


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