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Chief responds to 'no SCBA' video

"We are very proud of our training program, but we will use this local newspaper video in our training sessions"

Editor's note: Our brief report posted last week — "Video: Lack of SCBA at house, vehicle fire" — prompted dozens of member comments and is one of FR1's most read stories in recent weeks. We're pleased to give Chief Dewayne Stuckey, who heads up the department featured in the video, the opportunity to respond to the video and the comments it attracted.

By Chief Dewayne Stuckey
Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department

In Mississippi we have an old saying: "If you don't have something good to say about someone, don't say it" and, "If you don't know the whole story, don't assume."

As far as the profanity used in some of these comments, YOU would be reprimanded or discharged in our department! Thanks to everyone who made positive comments about this call.

To the rest, we want to set the record clear: We had 20 personnel on scene with 13 MS Certified Volunteer Firefighters or above (as for the kid comment: SHE is a 35-year-old MS Certified Firefighter/EMT with 15 years of experience on local, state, and national level). All firefighters in this video are over the age of 18. There was also four engines (with 16 SCBA) and one rescue (with SCBA refill system).

This fire was down a ½ mile gravel drive with very limited access, three miles from the nearest water supply, and within 12 minutes from arriving on scene the fire was under control.

Personnel were on scene three hours; this video only reflects one minute and 47 seconds of this scene.

What you do not see are the three firefighters with SCBA performing interior attack inside the trailer on the opposite side (note steam in video) and others protecting the newly constructed house 20' from the trailer.

Also, the firefighters were instructed to stop putting water on the vehicle fires due to Class B liquids being present until a foam line could be charged (note yellow hose at end of video which was hooked to an AFFF foam system).

There was a 60 GPM booster line pulled after the initial attack to address parameter fires and hot spots in cars. As to ICS, I was the Incident Commander; I designated an Operations, Safety, Water Supply, and Communications Officers. All were functioning within the requirements of our SOGs.

Let me tell you about our fire department that we are very proud of — we have 64 very dedicated "non paid" firefighters, with the majority being MS Certified Volunteer Firefighters, along with First Responder, EMT-Basic and Paramedic certifications, and cover over 185 square miles. We have three 1041 State Fire Academy Certified Instructors with two MS Fire Academy Adjunct Instructors.

We are very proud of our training program and we consider it to be one of the best volunteer fire department programs in the state.

As to some of the paid union firefighter comments: all parts of our great nation cannot afford your level of service or do not want it.

WE do the best we can with what money we get to provide the best service we can. As to the Fire Act Grant comment: WE have written over 20 Fire Act Grants, with some being funded (including SCBA).

We will use this local newspaper video in our training sessions, and to consider potential procedure changes that are practical for OUR FD, not yours.

In closing, what you saw in this video is not typical at every scene; case in point, we responded to a mobile home camper fire Thursday night and SCBAs were used throughout extinguishment and salvage and overhaul.

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