Where was fire chief right after the bombings?

The Herald reports all 13 deputy fire chiefs signed a letter declaring they have no confidence in Fire Chief Steve Abraira, the department's highest ranking uniformed officer, in part because he didn't want to assume command in the minutes after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Abraira reports to Fire Commissioner Rod Fraser, who hired him from Dallas - the first time the job has ever gone to somebody not from Boston. He explains to the Herald why he left Marathon response to commanders in the field.

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Interesting. I did find it

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Interesting. I did find it odd that there was no statements from the BFD at any point after the bombings.

Even though it's apparently not set in writing that the Fire Chief isn't responsible to take action at every scene across the city, but wouldn't you think he should be responsible – and WANT to take action – during something as serious as the bombings?

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Oh, it is set in writing...

Yes it is. There is an SOP (standard operating procedure) that stated that the chief of department shall assume incident command upon arrival at an incident. This was the rule forever and it worked quite nicely. After chief Abraira was hired, there was a change to the SOP, a change authorized by the Chief of Department, that stated that the Chief MAY assume command if he chooses so.

This is because he has no idea how to run a major Boston fire. Oh, ya, there's plenty of criticism that the 'old boy' network doesn't like him. That's only a small part of it.

He has never seen a frozen hydrant. He has no clue how long it will take to get water under severe winter conditions. He has never thrown a ladder in the snow. He has no idea how long it takes to get companies on scene in the event of a multiple alarm incident. He has no intrinsic insider knowledge of the street layout of the city, traffic patterns, problem hydrant areas, limited truck access (f'rinstance as in Beacon Hill side streets)and no, a GPS really won't help you that much...

Any 'insider' Chief of Department will have spent thirty years working from the ground up, learning the ropes, like the old fashioned CEO whose father started him out on the loading dock.

His refusal to take command is almost (but not quite because of the change in SOP) shirking his command.

The Herald he states, "the former Dallas fire chief, said he is in “administration” and does not believe he should take command at incidents, except in extreme circumstances."

Well, we have a civilian commissioner to do the administrative stuff. The Chief of Department is directly responsible for fire surpression, not administration.

His assertion that he had to change the SOP is nonsense.

From the book:
Single incident commander - Most incidents involve a single incident commander. In these incidents, a single person commands the incident response and is the decision-making final authority.
Unified command - A Unified Command involves two or more individuals sharing the authority normally held by a single incident commander. Unified Command is used on larger incidents usually when multiple agencies or multiple jurisdictions are involved. A Unified Command typically includes a command representative from major involved agencies and/or jurisdictions with one from that group to act as the spokesman, though not designated as an Incident Commander. A Unified Command acts as a single entity. It is important to note, that in Unified Command the command representatives will appoint a single Operations Section Chief.

So, representing the Boston Fire Department at the Marathon Bombing...not the chief of department.

Give him a fucking cruise ship command. What could possibly go wrong?

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could be worse

Not knowing those things, he could still insist on running the show.

Much worse, IMHO. At least he has the good sense to get out of the way of the people who do!

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So they gave an outsider the

So they gave an outsider the top job, and now the mugs left behind don't like it? It's a put-up union job. This is like complaining that the President doesn't lead the Army into war. It's not his job.

Time for the Mayor to strap on a pair and tell this crowd that if they don't like it, they can hand in their retirement papers. If not, STFU.

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It's not union.

Chief of Department isn't union, I believe. Actually, the President is the Commander-in Chief. Technically, he does lead us into war.

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Good for Abraira for not micromanaging or seeking limelight

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"Avoiding micromanagement is crucial when delegating appropriately. Hovering over an employee and trying to control their work through every step of the process is not an efficient use of time or energy, and may actually impede progress on the assignment." -- Ilya Leboyvich in "How to Delegate Authority"

Good for Fire Chief Abraira for putting aside his ego, not seeking out every press opportunity and allowing professionals who actually came up through the ranks in Boston to do their work.
BPD Commissioner Ed Davis could take a few lessons from the Fire Chief.

Neither Abraira nor Davis ever served in the rank-in-file in Boston and are mere political appointees and "yes men" for Menino. While Davis seized every available media opportunity, even accepting honorary degrees, apparently on behalf of the Watertown Police Sergeant who tackled Tamerlan and the civilian boat owner who located Dzhokhar, Chief Abraira quietly went about his duties without fanfare. Abraira said it best, “If it’s necessary for me to assume command of our every day operation at incidents, then something’s wrong."

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I wish

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I could like that more than once. Spot on O-Fish

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I can't believe it

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but I actually agree with you for once, Fishy! Abraira did the right thing under the circumstances; if the Deputies needed him to come take over their jobs, maybe we need some new deputies. Incident Command protocol (at least when I was working as an EMT) put the first responder on the scene in charge, without regard to rank. It forced all of us to be prepared to run an operation, made the chain of command very clear, and allowed us to focus on the task at hand, rather than trying to determine who was in charge every time somebody arrived onscene.

Or maybe I'm wrong, and we should be expecting Davis to come out and slap the cuffs on every time BPD makes an arrest?

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"Incident Command protocol

"Incident Command protocol (at least when I was working as an EMT) put the first responder on the scene in charge, without regard to rank."

First on scene is incident command. When higher ranks arrive, they assume incident command. Including the Chief of Department, until fairly recently.

It's all in the ICS.

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Um...

"Chief Abraira quietly went about his duties without fanfare. Abraira said it best, “If it’s necessary for me to assume command of our every day operation at incidents, then something’s wrong.""

Um, no. He didn't. That's the whole point. He went about nothing.
The bombing was not your every day incident/three decker/trolley derailment...

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The laissez faire attitude

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The laissez faire attitude was the reason that Jack Welch stayed uninvolved when GE acquired NBC, or when Lee Ioccoca watched from the sidelines when Chrysler recovered from bankruptcy in the early 80's, even when Steve Jobs let his assistants introduce the new iphones. No wait, none of those things happened because these leaders were involved in operations during the most important days of their organizations' existence. Nothing was more important for the Boston Fire Department for the fire chief to be involved in operations since the Great Boston Fire over 100 years ago. If he is wearing a badge, he needed to be in charge if for no other reason than to avoid confusion. Don't confuse the duties of commissioner with what his duties are.

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Are you kidding me? You're

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Are you kidding me? You're equating Ed Davis to being some sort of media whore seeking attention?

Give me a break. When a massive crisis happens such as the bombing, I think most of society wants to hear from our leaders and get information from the most reliable source possible.

So with that said, exactly where was Abraira? Golfing with his buddies maybe? Getting text updates from those who were on the scene, directing the operations? The rest of Boston's respectable civil leaders were front-and-center, working non-stop, helping victims, following leads, providing us with updates when necessary... you know, DOING THEIR JOBS.

If the head of BFD isn't going to step up in a moment like this, then what the hell is he in charge for? It's times like these, during incredible moments of trauma, that the city needs its leaders to take charge and lead the way.

But no, you apparently think Abraira is better off "staying out of the limelight".

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What are you getting at? That

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What are you getting at? That at the time, Ed Davis, who was actually out there doing his job, had bad information during what was essentially chaos? Not sure that link is exactly on topic here. But thanks for the month-old post that adds nothing to this conversation.

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"get information from the

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"get information from the most reliable source possible."

The link is on topic. When it was related from more reliable sources that the fire at JFK was unconnected to the bombing, it cast a shadow of doubt over Davis' subsequent statements.

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I'm putting in an order now

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I'm putting in an order now for my "Fire Fire Chief Abraira" bumper stickers.

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I'm with the deputy fire chiefs on this one.

Abraira should have been there for numerous reasons. And I'll be the first one to admit that the BFD can improve on a lot of things.

1. This wasn't some regular fire. This was an international incident which would require the highest in charge to be on scene to know first hand what is going on. This is the very reason why Obama has to talk about the IRS scandal which appears to have been the work of a few rogue IRS managers.

2. If it isn't his job to show up for something like this, then what is his job?

3. He doesn't have to take command and start telling deputies and captains where to park their trucks. All he has to do is show his face and at least support those below him. Then he can visit victims, EMTs, and your regular joes who probably wouldn't mind the head of their department showing that he actually cares about them and is willing to go to a scene and actually do something.

4. It is his job to face the media and answer questions about what happened, who did what, who were the heros (including victims). He doesn't have to be a "media whore" for crying out loud. It is his damn job to explain what the hell happened.

5. He can see first hand how the scene could be handled the next time. He should be doing the last after action report, and he can have a much better picture of what is going on if he is actually there.

I dunno, I think it is pretty clear to me that the fire chief should have done more on this one.

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