On this episode (Part 1 of 2) I interview with Captain John Lightly. John as served as a member of the Youngstown, Ohio Fire Department for 13 years. Youngstown FD has 8 stations and a sworn strength of 135 firefighters. John’s married and has twin daughters who are in 3rd grade. So you can imagine how exciting… and hectic John’s life is. I really appreciate him sitting down with me and sharing his close call survivor story where he almost died as a result of being caught in a flashover. For reasons that will become obvious during the interview, I title this episode “3 feet from death” and dedicate to all the firefighters who’ve been caught in a flashover and did not live to tell their story.
Length: 52 minutes
Click the “Continue Reading” link below to access the show notes.
On October 8, 2009 at 0306 hours, the Youngstown, Ohio Fire Department was dispatched for a fire that would prove to be nearly fatal for (then Lieutenant – Acting Captain) John Lightly. Listen in as John shares powerful lessons that chronicles how he ended up, alone, in this single family residential dwelling conducting a primary search for victims. In this two-part story, you will learn:
- How John conducted his size up and made a determination, based on clues and cues that formed his situational awareness, that there was a high probability the house was occupied.
- How the flashover occurred within two minutes of entry – a recurring theme I see at flashover casualty incidents.
- How communications challenges influenced understanding among crew members.
- How John experienced TachyPsychia – or a slowing down of time when the flashover occurred.
- Listen to John describe how he felt intuition – in the form of a sick feeling in his gut – and a feeling that someone had punched him in the stomach.
- John will also talk about self-speak – the neurological phenomenon where we talk to ourselves during high consequence situations – only John doesn’t call it self-speak. I’ll let him explain.
- How John’s entry the first two times were under the premise of assuming the risk of being a firefighter. Yet he admits his entry the third time – he was creating risk… not assuming it.
The pictures from the incident scene shown below were taken recently by Captain Lightly. He notes the vegetation overgrowth was not present at the time of the fire.
The mission of Situational Awareness Matters is simple: Help first responders see the bad things coming… in time to prevent bad outcomes.
Safety begins with SA!
Share your comments on this article in the “Leave a Reply” box below. If you want to send me incident pictures, videos or have an idea you’d like me to research and write about, contact me. I really enjoy getting feedback and supportive messages from fellow first responders. It gives me the energy to work harder for you.
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