On Christmas Day in 2010 the Valley Fire & Rescue Department responded to a residential dwelling fire that resulted in two close call survivor events.
Length: 55 minutes
Deputy Chief Nick Miller was first-in on a residential trailer home fire that resulted in two close calls. The first occurred when Miller’s SCBA was running out of air and he did not hear the alarm. The second occurred when a captain and recruit firefighter were over run by heat and had to bail out a window to survive.
Lessons learned included:
- The need for teamwork and crew coordination.
- The need to ensure communications are heard and understood.
- The need to coordinate incident activities and priorities.
- The importance of avoiding independent action on a fireground.
- The impact of task fixation
Nick Miller currently serves as a Planning Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
He retired as a Deputy Fire Chief after serving 18 years, starting his career in Charleston, SC.
He is also a former firefighter with Battalion 2, serving on Ladder 1 & Engine 2 at Summerville Fire-Rescue in Summerville, SC, Battalions 1 & 2, serving on Truck 1, Engine 4, and Engine 1 at St. Andrews Fire Department in Charleston, SC, City of Goose Creek FD assigned to Engine Co. 8 Engine Co. 12, & Engine Co. 11, Mason County EMS in Mason County, WV, assigned to Squads 27, 28, & 29, Valley FD in Mason County, WV, assigned to Engine Co. 21, Engine Co. 22, and Rescue Co. 26.
He previously served as a Crew Boss of the West Virginia Division of Forestry’s Mountain State Hotshots (Elite Wildland Fire Suppression Crew).
On January 12, 2010, Chief Miller responded to the calls for help after the terrible earthquake that struck Haiti causing over 750,000 casualties in Port-Au-Prince in just 18 seconds. He was assigned as Assistant Team Leader to DMAT Team 2 and was part of the second, 40-person DMAT team sent to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti just 12 days after the quake, stationed at CDTI hospital, one of only two standing and operating hospitals in the capital.
After retiring from the Valley Fire & Rescue Department in Mason County, WV in Sept. 2014, Nick worked as a Private Sector Advisor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was co-author of Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) “National Response Frameworks”, the Strategic Foresight Initiatives, and other Federal programs/projects including the Federal Interagency Operability Plan (FIOP), Continuity of Government (COG), Continuity of Operations (COOP), Community Emergency Response Teams, & Community Disaster Preparedness. Nick currently works as a Planning Specialist with FEMA, and a Contributing Writer for First Due Day Room & reside in Apple Grove, West Virginia with my Wife and three boys.
Safety Dance (1982)
Men Without Hats
GMC – Virgin Records
Situational Awareness Matters! website
Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System
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.
How to reach me…
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/SAMatters