Why I Teach: Mark Gregory

In this series, Fire Engineering Senior Editor Mary Jane Dittmar looks at the things that motivated and inspired instructors to present on their topics at FDIC International 2016. Segments will be posted on a regular basis up to and through the conference, April 18-23.

Mark Gregory
Fire Department of New York

Man vs. Machinery: Are You Prepared?

I chose the topic of ‘Man vs. Machinery’ because it seemed to be an uncovered incident, yet it was occurring all across the country in both the rural and urban settings. First responders were receiving these calls, and some did not have any training on which they could fall back on to enhance their on-scene performance. The selection of tools and some of the adaptations we introduce offer rescuers more tools in their toolbox to get the job done.

The class introduces a ‘simple approach.’ Not all technical rescues need to be technical. If we simply slow down and look at the big picture, we can usually come up with a solution.  I use this same approach at work and emphasize to our students that if we stick to basics, our training and mindset will usually guide us toward productive solutions.

We receive a tremendous amount of feedback from the program. Our techniques have been used across the country and Canada to effectively assist victims who have become entangled in some pretty crazy incidents. The Internet offers many different solutions to a variety of entrapments. The ‘Man vs. Machinery’ program is similar to the television show Myth Busters. We are not saying that the techniques many assume are gospel because they are on the worldwide Web are incorrect, but sometimes, there are more effective ways to get the job done. 

Many departments have asked for our assistance in creating kits to handle ‘Man vs. Machinery’ incidents. The FDIC HOT program allows students to interact with instructors, use the latest techniques available, and see demonstrations of various types of equipment and homemade fabrications to see if they are appropriate for use in their departments.

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