Learning From Your Performance – Conshohocken

I like to know what's going on in my old stomping grounds and interestingly enough, found this article regarding the Conshohocken Riverwalk Fire in the North Penn Reporter.  Although I don't have all the facts of the case, judging from the article, it sounds like someone is a little sensitive to the gathering of information for a post-incident critique.

I am of the school that if an incident has some "learning moments", then we need to know of those and try to move forward from them with constructive evaluation and critique.  I fully understand the concern over litigation, but some of the questions posed, like "What were the codes being used at the time?" and questions about the construction are issues that are present in any critique and serve to give us context for the decisions that were made.

If you are in a department that does post-incident critiques (which I hope you all are), are your critiques those of the negative variety where every incident is "loaded with mistakes"?  These aren't productive at all, as they only serve to keep people from speaking the truth.  Critiques should never be used to demean or insult either.

Likewise, if all your critiques revolve around a hearty pat on the back and a "great job was had by all" mentality, nothing productive will come from those as well.

Some of the publicly-distributed critiques by Phoenix FD have been very brave, given today's litigious behavior.  But these critiques have been used by many to learn and avoid similar mistakes. 

Like a Warren Buffett quote used recently to in relation to the economic crisis says, "When the tide goes out, you see who's been swimming naked".  Is your department shining the light of truth on its failures as well as the successes?  Or are you hiding in the darkness?  If it is the latter, remember, those skeletons have a tendency to come out of the closet eventually, at which point, a little transparency that would have helped before will only prove to expose your failures.

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