Compare and contrast the case studies in an effort to describe highly effective organizations.
Then, assess the behavior and structure of the organizations. Explain what is effective, what is not effective, and identify specific approaches to make organizations more effective.
Use at least two credible sources
This assignment should be 1300 to 1500 words (4–5 pages) when completed.
CASE STUDY 1
At approximately 15:45 PM, Strike Team 2642 carefully navigated the one-lane gravel road that led to Rodgers Ridge, where they had been ordered to engage in some brush clearing and structural defense operations around three large vacation homes that were distributed across the ridge top. Captain Doug Chandler was leading a strike team for the first time, and he cautiously watched the two separate smoke columns that spouted from the 1600-acre Camp Creek Fire and the 2300-acre Jones Ranch Fire in the valley just beyond the ridge. For the moment, the wind was at their backs and would be pushing the fire away from the ridge.
The five units that made up Captain Chandler’s strike team were all heavy brush (HB) units, each staffed with one officer and three fire fighters and carrying 500 gallons (1892.5 liters) of water, foam, and the normal complement of tools. As they reached the large turnaround near the ridge top, the captain noted that all three homes were built within 50 ft (15.2 m) of each other, with one being the closest to the lip of the canyon, and the other two set back along a single driveway that led off the main road. At 4:20 PM, Captain Chandler ordered two of his brush units, HB26 and HB27, to proceed all the way down the driveway to the house at the end and to “prepare the residence house for defensive operations.” He sent brush units HB28 and HB29 to the two remaining houses and ordered them to prep those structures, while he stayed in a “lookout” position in HB25 near the driveway entrance.
At 4:27 PM, Captain Chandler received a call on his cell phone from the Operations Division. They informed him that the weather was due to change, and that he could expect temperatures to increase for another 30 minutes to a high of 94°F. Humidity was expected to stay extremely low, and the winds were to turn 180° by 7:00 PM. Captain Chandler in turn contacted his strike team by radio, telling them, “Strike Team 2642, all units, just be advised we’re due for a wind change.” He issued no further orders, and radio records showed that only HB26 acknowledged the message. Eighteen minutes later, at 4:45 PM, Captain Chandler in HB25 again communicated a message to his strike team: “ST 2642, all units, from my position it appears the wind has changed and may be pushing the fire toward the ridge.” This time, both HB26 and HB27 acknowledged, both with the single word “Copy.”
Just 12 minutes later, at 4:57 PM, HB26 frantically radioed that they were in danger. “HB26 and 27 here, we’ve … we’ve got lots of fire rolling toward us and it appears it’ll cut between our location and yours.” (Postincident analysis indicated the fire was moving at a speed of greater than 10 ft per second [3.1 m per second] at that point.)
As Captain Chandler attempted to radio his Operations Division for assistance, he was “walked on” by HB26, who again called out, “27 from 26 … we’re taking cover inside the house, you should follow us.”
At this point, Captain Chandler ordered HB28 and HB29 to “pull back immediately from your positions, pull back to the gravel turnaround where my rig is based.” He then radioed, “Break … HB26, what do you need?” HB26 responded, “The fire has rolled over our position … both units HB26 and HB27 are on fire. We are in the house in need of assistance.”
CASE STUDY 2
Rescue Flight Four, a Bell 430 helicopter, hammered through the hot August day, eating up the miles between its base station in the city center and the rural Cherry River, where fire crews were searching for a lost child who was believed trapped underwater. Paramedic Maria Gomez, sitting up front with Pilot Marty Chase, eyed the towering thunderclouds that appeared to grow in front of them. Frantic radio transmissions could be heard from the scene: Fire fighters in a boat, using an underwater camera, had spotted the little girl and would be deploying divers any moment. Gomez flipped the visor of her helmet up and looked over at Marty, expecting him to comment on the weather. At that very moment, Marty pulled his microphone close to his mouth and said to the medical crew, “I need your full attention here.”
Nurse Tom Polk, who was riding in the back of the aircraft preparing medical equipment, turned in his seat and stuck his head into the front compartment. Tom could see the heavy rain falling from the clouds, and he also could hear the ground crews as they prepared to attempt a rescue. The pressure was on.
Marty spoke up, “I can divert around to the west of these squalls, but it will take an extra 10 to 12 minutes. Alternatively, we can turn around and tell the ground crews to transport by ground.”
Gomez looked at Polk, who had far more airborne experience. Polk said, “Let’s try going around, Marty, and if you see anything at all that makes you worried, abort and we’ll let the fire fighters know immediately.”
Marty then restated to the crew his intentions. “We’re going to try an approach that diverts us to the west. If any of you gets uncomfortable, or if you think it’s going to take too long and we should advise them to go by ground, speak up.” Gomez gave the ground crews the new updated estimated arrival time, and Marty banked the aircraft to the left. Thankfully, the crew was able to skirt the storm, and 20 minutes after taking off from their hospital base, the big 430 settled onto the grass near a large camping area.
Gomez and Polk with their medical equipment bags stepped from the helicopter moments after it touched down. Both crouched low and hurried toward the group of fire fighters who were working near the bank of the Cherry River. Gomez, who also worked as a fire fighter/paramedic in the city where the aircraft was based, noticed that none of the local fire fighters working next to the river were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs). She knew that at the agency where she worked, PFDs were standard safety equipment for anyone working near a body of water. Glancing over at the fire department pickup that had towed the boat to the scene, she noted several PFDs stored in the pickup bed. Before she could say anything to the incident commander, however, the little girl was pulled from the water and placed into the boat.
Thirty minutes earlier, three-year-old Susie Bailey had slipped away from her family, who had been seated at a nearby picnic table. After searching for a few minutes, the family called the local fire department, who responded with their water rescue team.
Paramedic Gomez and Nurse Polk started resuscitative efforts the moment Susie was removed from the boat. After they placed a breathing tube in her trachea and started CPR, they moved Susie to the aircraft for the return trip to Samaritan Trauma Center.
As Rescue Flight Four landed on the helipad at Samaritan Trauma Center, the flight crew was met by a team from Samaritan’s emergency department. During the short flight, Nurse Polk and Paramedic Gomez had been able to restore Susie’s pulse, but the little girl had not yet started breathing on her own. With Polk managing the airway and Gomez stabilizing the intravenous lines they had started, Susie was wheeled into the brightly lit trauma bay.
As the flight crew handed off care of their patient, they watched the highly trained physician and nursing team go to work. Even though every movement looked well choreographed, Polk and Gomez could see that Susie’s cardiac rhythm was starting to falter. Several minutes went by as the flight crew stood on the side watching a medical resident and the attending pediatric emergency medicine physician continue the resuscitation.
Paramedic Gomez then observed that the patient’s abdomen was distended, and she turned to comment about it to Nurse Polk. However, Nurse Polk had left the trauma bay, and the physician team continued to work. Gomez then leaned in and mentioned the distended abdomen to the nurse taking notes. Her concern was that the decrease in ventilatory capacity caused by a distended abdomen could make the child retain carbon dioxide, creating an acidosis that could cause cardiac problems.
However, even after Gomez’s comments, the recording nurse remained silent, unwilling to challenge a doctor. After several minutes Paramedic Gomez spoke up and mentioned the distended abdomen to the attending physician, suggesting that decompressing the abdomen might help. A quick assessment by the trauma team revealed a high carbon dioxide level and a low pH. The medical team decompressed the stomach, ventilations became easier, and the cardiac rhythm stabilized. However, Susie died a day later from complications.
CASE STUDY 3
In a large California city, Engine 38 turned onto Bay View Boulevard with its siren blaring. Fire Fighter Andrea Collins looked across the cab at Fire Fighter Ian Ainoa and noticed that he had not fastened his seat belt. She wondered whether to say something to him. Ian was far more experienced than she was and had been working the busy Engine 38 for seven years. Andrea was a “newbie,” and this was her first shift working at the busiest and most decorated station in the department.
Paramedics Gill Pryor and Mandy Humphrey, working for an urban EMS program in Florida, arrived on scene at Crescent Bay Park, where a 26-year-old woman lay unconscious on the boat dock. Patient Karli Kumar had just been pulled off of a ski boat. Fifteen minutes earlier, she had been struck by another boat while water skiing, and she had suffered a serious head injury. Gill noted that the local fire service was already on scene, and they had started preparing to intubate Karli using paralytic medications. As Gill walked up to the patient’s side, the fire medic handed Gill a syringe and said “Push the meds. We are ready with the tube.” Gill cleaned off the intravenous port and started administering the medication, all the while wondering what exactly was in the syringe.
Captain Ronald Goldhaber walked the one block from where his crew had parked their ladder truck to the scene of the fire in a suburban Oregon town. Three stores at the east end of the 10-year-old strip mall were fully involved, with fire pushing out the large front windows. The next exposure was a large jewelry store, and Goldhaber’s four-person crew from Ladder 7 had just been ordered to vertically ventilate that particular store. Goldhaber noted that the fire had not yet penetrated the wall separating this store from its neighbors, but there was a considerable amount of black smoke pushing hard from under the front eaves. Captain Goldhaber turned to his most experienced fire fighter, Ted Hackman, and asked him what he thought of the order they had just been given. In the postincident investigative notes, Goldhaber reported that Fire Fighter Hackman had simply rolled his eyes and said nothing. In those same notes, Hackman said that he “knew this was a bad situation,” but didn’t say anything because “I’m just the fire fighter.”
After Ladder 7 climbed onto the roof from the rear of the building, the truss structures in the involved stores failed, pulling the wall of the jewelry store down and subsequently collapsing the jewelry store roof. Miraculously, the roof failed in a rearward direction, and the crew from Ladder 7 literally slid into the parking lot with minor injuries.
Compare and contrast the case studies in an effort to describe highly effective organizations.