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Mark J. Cotter
  • Male
  • Salisbury, MD
  • United States
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Latest Activity

Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Results of UL Fire Attack Studies Published

Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute (ULFSRI) last week released their three reports on the Fire Attack Study - Water Mapping, Air Entrainment, and Full Scale Experiments. They can be accessed from the Fire Engineering home page, or at www.ulfirefightersafety.org. These were the experiments that looked at the effects of interior attack, among other things, in order to provide more realistic comparisons amongst tactics…See More
Tuesday
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Cowards and Morons - Seeing past labels

Sticks and Stones/Axes and Halligans. Firefighters have the means to put a serious hurt on somebody, but we use our tools instead for good. Our words, on the other hand, are wielded, at least by some, with much less regard for the human damage they can inflict. The internet has proven itself fertile ground for zingers and put-downs, allowing a well-timed and -phrased comment to create a virtual worldwide chain-reaction of effects, which can be amusing and/or hurtful, depending upon the…See More
Dec 4
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Divisions and Distractions - Exploring hot-button topics

I stirred up more than a little controversy recently when I questioned the feasibility of increasing our effectiveness by decreasing our caution (See "Worth Dying For?!" at http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?xg_source=activity&id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A641725).  Many who contacted me were supportive and encouraging, with some describing their own…See More
Nov 27
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Passion vs. Pragmatism

A lot of discussion was generated by my last post (Worth Dying For?! at http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?xg_source=activity&id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A641725]), both pro and con, and much of it quite strongly-worded.  (To me, the most amusing comments are from those who claimed to stop reading my post when they reached a point with which they…See More
Nov 6
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

MFA Tools and Rules: Worth Dying For?!

 One of the more powerful sentiments I have been hearing and reading in response to suggested firefighting tactical improvements is that it is understood and expected that firefighters risk their lives in the course of their work, and that they need to put their self interests behind in order to save lives and property.  Essentially, the “suggestion”, typically provided in an admonishing tone, is that anything that gets in the way of interior operations constitutes a dereliction of duty, and is…See More
Oct 23
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Farewell to the Chief

The fire service’s sensei has passed from this earth, having left us smarter, safer, and kinder.  Chief Alan Brunacini was a leader on many fronts, while remaining disarmingly, yet sincerely, humble.  Probably the best evidence of the range of his impact and influence will be the plethora of stories you will read from those who had the good fortune to cross his path and benefit from his wisdom.  My direct contact with him was meager, yet he provided me with substantial guidance throughout my…See More
Oct 17
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

MFA Tools and Rules: Changing Too Fast!?

Even to this zealot, the arguments against the tactical improvements inspired by fire dynamics research can, at first, sound persuasive:"The aggressive interior attack has proven effectiveness."; "Experiments have little application to the 'real world' of structure fires."; and "Nothing works everywhere” are common examples.  Furthermore, I have heard and read these and similar statements from many fire service leaders, and such pronouncements generally garner more applause - or the digital…See More
Sep 26
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

MFA Tools and Rules: Bridging the Tactical Divide

I returned from FDIC 2017 with the nagging impression that the American fire service remains divided into two general camps regarding our tactical approaches: those who embrace the results of research, and have modified their methods accordingly; and those who have little accord for experimental evidence, and continue to embrace familiar methods.  There was even a significant imbalance in the reactions to the different viewpoints: presenters who spoke of the duty, honor, and sacrifice inherent…See More
Jul 18

Profile Information

Lives in:
Salisbury, MD
Department:
Salisbury Fire Department
Title/rank:
Captain
Years of public service:
41
Agency structure:
Combination fire department
Top issues in your department:
Staffing, Training, Preparation, Hazard Analysis
Professional Qualifications:
Bachelor of Sciences in Health Sciences, Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 1977
Physician Assistant - Certified, since 1977
Maryland Professional Qualifications Board Certified as:
Firefighter II
Fire Inspector I
Fire Instructor III
Hazardous Materials Operations
Fire Officer I
Additional Maryland Fire Rescue Institute Courses:
Emergency Medical Technician - Basic
Emergency Vehicle Operator
Pump Operator
Truck Company Operations
Aerial Apparatus Operator
Advanced Cardiac Life Support Instructor since 1978
Topics you provide training for:
Single Company Operations
Emergency Service Myths
Modern Fire Attack
Areas of expertise:
Single Company Operations - obtaining maximum efficiency and effectiveness from small firefighting crews;
Emergency Service Myths - seeing beyond hype and habits;
Modern Fire Attack - application of fire dynamics and simulations research to fireground tactics;
Bio:
Third generation firefighter, with grandfather the Fire Chief of Anaconda, Montana, and maternal uncle Fire Chief in Richland, Washington. Born and raised in Summit, NJ, a bedroom community in the NY metropolitan area. Joined town's volunteer first aid squad as a junior member in 1972, then the combination fire department as a volunteer in 1974. Attended Physician Assistant school from 1975 to 1977, working one year as a driver for an inter-hospital commercial ambulance company, and joined a volunteer fire department (Coal Township, PA) during my internship. Married in 1978, moved to Philadelphia, fathered a daughter and son, and worked two years as one of four EMS Field and Training Coordinators for the Philadelphia Fire Department, earning EMT-Paramedic and Instructor certfications. Moved in 1980 to northeastern Pennsylvania to resume medical practice in freestanding emergency room, and joined volunteer fire departments in Wind Gap, then Pen Argyl, PA., where I rose to the rank of Fire Chief. Also assisted in establishment of regional Advanced Life Support service. Began writing feature articles for fire and EMS publications. Moved to current location in 1987 to join practice providing staffing of local emergency room, and continued writing and teaching. Joined combination fire department in Salisbury, MD, as a volunteer in 2002, currently holding rank of Captain.

Mark J. Cotter's Blog

Results of UL Fire Attack Studies Published

Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute (ULFSRI) last week released their three reports on the Fire Attack Study - Water Mapping, Air Entrainment, and Full Scale Experiments. They can be accessed from the Fire Engineering home page, or at www.ulfirefightersafety.org. These were the experiments that looked at the effects of interior attack, among other things, in order to provide more realistic comparisons amongst…

Continue

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 5:08am

Cowards and Morons - Seeing past labels

Sticks and Stones/Axes and Halligans. Firefighters have the means to put a serious hurt on somebody, but we use our tools instead for good. Our words, on the other hand, are wielded, at least by some, with much less regard for the human damage they can inflict. The internet has proven itself fertile ground for zingers and put-downs, allowing a well-timed and -phrased comment to create a virtual worldwide chain-reaction of effects, which can be amusing and/or hurtful, depending upon the…

Continue

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 7:10am

Divisions and Distractions - Exploring hot-button topics

I stirred up more than a little controversy recently when I questioned the feasibility of increasing our effectiveness by decreasing our caution (See "Worth Dying For?!" at http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?xg_source=activity&id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A641725).  Many who contacted me were supportive and encouraging, with some describing…

Continue

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 7:25am

Passion vs. Pragmatism

A lot of discussion was generated by my last post (Worth Dying For?! at http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?xg_source=activity&id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A641725]), both pro and con, and much of it quite strongly-worded.  (To me, the most amusing comments are from those who claimed to stop reading my post when they reached a point with which they…

Continue

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 6:26am

MFA Tools and Rules: Worth Dying For?!

 

One of the more powerful sentiments I have been hearing and reading in response to suggested firefighting tactical improvements is that it is understood and expected that firefighters risk their lives in the course of their work, and that they need to put their self interests behind in order to save lives and property.  Essentially, the “suggestion”, typically provided in an admonishing tone, is that anything that gets in the way of interior operations constitutes…

Continue

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 7:12am — 6 Comments

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At 11:01pm on April 27, 2009, Chris Leier said…
Hey Mark, we met out in FDIC at the NIST booth as I work for them, I am out in Salisbury quite a bit as my girlfriend goes to school out there and would love to see the station and that beautiful new ladder truck in person. Maybe we can work something out, if you are ever in PG let me know as I am a member at station 12. Nice to meet you and hopefully we can keep in contact.
 
 
 

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