Monday, February 27, 2012

Dreaming: The Heart of Innovation

Somewhere out there are wildland firefighters who have ideas that need to be shared. They are gifted to see what others may not be able to see. They are dreamers and innovators. Innovators should never be afraid to share their ideas--there is great merit in their willingness to dream.

I observed an L-480 training session recently where innovation was discussed. The instructor (Dr. Curt Braun) used this video to introduce the topic to students and see if there were possible applications in wildland firefighting:


Are you a firefighter who scoffed at the video or did you see a potential use? All too often, we stifle creativity because we fear what others will think or how much funding is required. Mind you, these are legitimate concerns, but dreaming is the heart of innovation. We should be encouraging innovation and sharing our ideas to bring wildland firefighting forward.

How about something like using social media? Could this concept be adapted for use on the fire ground?

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge
  • What innovative ideas do you have to share?
  • Is there technology that we should be using that we aren't?
  • How could we use technology to move forward?
  • How should we change in order to train and lead the new generation firefighter?


Chris Graves, Training Captain Reno Fire Department said...

Some of the innovations I've imagined utilizing/adapting current technology could increase the safety of personnel.

After the unfortunate passing of Caleb Hamm, I had some discussions with my friends in the wildland EMS community.

Discussion revolved around the number of times we've captured the signs and symptoms, and how many times we didn't.

The current education on rhabdomyalysis, heat exhaustion and heat stroke is good, everyone needs to know the signs, symptoms, and initial treatments. But what if we had another way to capture the signs earlier?

I imagine the use of a device attached to a smart phone or SPOT gps communicator that can monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, tidal volume, ECG, pulse oximetry, carboxihemaglogin / methaloglobin, lactose monitoring, and GPS locating. It could have predesignated alarm parameters to alert the individual or others in proximity, or send a message to the medical unit, that an individual has had sustained periods of high physical stress.

Work assignments could be reassessed, modified, or additional resources added. Fatigue could be managed much better than just abiding by 2:1.

I see this future coming, and I welcome it for the safety of everyone.

Pam McDonald said...

Thanks for your comment, Chris!

Pam McDonald said...

Check out this story...