• Other Writings

    Tune into http://www.firerescue1.com/Columnists/Charles-Bailey/ to see other writings

Svensson says…

I have been struggling with the idea of “pushing fire.” For the record I don’t think that you can push fire around with water but I know many people who argue this saying that in their experience water streams applied from the exterior have worsened conditions on the interior where they were operating. So, I … Continue reading

“…and here we go…”

I am confused. Nearly every fire service magazine, website, or blog of any significance has talked for years about the dual dangers of modern construction and modern fuel packages.  You can read anywhere how the presence of plastics has increased the potential for fires to burn much hotter and to develop much faster. This fact … Continue reading


Balance In a recent discussion about fire ground effectiveness I asked my peers if it was possible to follow all the rules and still come up with the wrong answer. After the briefest of pauses they answered, “Of course.” My follow up argument was that if the strict following of rules cannot promise success the … Continue reading

Open Letter to Bill Carey

This is the slightly modified version of a letter written to Bill Carey. The original letter was in fact a facebook post. Dear Bill Carey, One last thing…I find it interesting that you, Bill, would latch on to the word unethical as would Dave LeBlanc. What makes it interesting is that the definition of unethical … Continue reading


Christmas is coming and no one reads this blog. Pauline Kael said once, “At the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a sensual pleasure. The directors used to say they were showing us its real face and how ugly it was in order to sensitize us to its horrors. You don’t … Continue reading

Narrative Taxonomy

There’s so many things that went wrong – little errors, things that are black and white down here aren’t really black and white up there. You know, the decision-making process is a little bit more muddled. (Mountain climber and rescue party member Ed Viesturs, quoted in Rose, 1998: 8) To be clear this is not … Continue reading


One of the things that I have not considered in previous thought on the mechanism by which small ad-hoc teams break drown under pressure, e.g., fail to perform, is the notion of trust. So to work through this notion of trust and the impact it has on ad-hoc teams when a crisis comes (and by … Continue reading

Narrative Shifts

Once upon a time I went to a therapy session. The intent of which was to solidify from individual narratives of what happened or did not happen at a fire into a single narrative, nominally the truth. It was an event of finite curiosity. What I heard and saw was what I call narrative shifting. … Continue reading

It happened so fast

Sometimes we find ourselves on the second half of the chessboard, never having understood the first half. Then as we begin to fold under the weight of so many grains of rice, or wheat, or pollen, or whatever it is, we are amazed anew. It is not the change that baffles but the rate of … Continue reading

Experience Revisited

Experience Revisited Sometimes experience is useful. An experienced carpenter is certainly preferable to an inexperienced one. An experienced plumber is certainly better than a DIY neophyte. Even though in both of those occupations you can have eureka moments wondering how that board ever got out of the mill without becoming sawdust or wondering how that … Continue reading