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Code 3 Podcast: Train them and get out of their way!

Lt. Kaci Corrigan tackles the issue of officer micromanagement and how to trust your crew will get the job done


Photo/Amherst Fire Department

Sometimes, we make things more difficult than we need to. We develop a course of training, then insist on monitoring every move firefighters make once they master it.

The bottom line, usually, boils down to put the wet stuff on the red stuff and the fire goes out. More wet stuff applied faster puts the fire out faster.

This is taught on, or about, Day 1 in Firefighter 1 classes. It’s certainly not all they’ll learn, but the rest builds on that foundation. And, with experience, they will use their own judgment, which we assumed was sound when they graduated, to guide them.

So why do so many officers micromanage their crews? After all, wasn’t the point of training them so they could do the job? I’ve always hated being treated that way and, conversely, I have loved to be able to point the person at the job and count on them to get it done.

Kaci Corrigan advocates for that same attitude. She’s a lieutenant at a department in Northwest Pierce County, Washington. She’s been on the job for 13 years.

Corrigan deals heavily with training, including instruction in fire behavior, strategy and tactics, nozzles, hose streams and tactical ventilation. She is an instructor with First Due Training in Washington State, as well as an adjunct instructor with Fire by Trade.

Code 3 is hosted by award-winning journalist Scott Orr, who has covered the fire/EMS/police beat for most of his 30-plus year career in news. He’s worked around the country in both TV and print. Orr was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over a decade ago, but that doesn’t stop him from interviewing fire service leaders on issues that concern firefighters around the nation.