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All Blog Posts (3,184)

It's the Small Things

I was listening to a recording of firefighters explaining how they feel like there is sometime not enough recognition being spread among the ranks. They were explaining how things like a simple hand shake and a job well done can go a long way. I agree with them 100%. This is something we all need to keep in mind. I feel like I don’t thank my guys enough for the work that they do. Award ceremonies and public recognition are all great ways to recognize people. I have noticed during my…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on November 24, 2015 at 3:59pm — No Comments

To Be Up or Down

IMG_3757 2


In my years as a younger firefighter, both as a volunteer and during my career training, it was driven home that we enter building fires with a low profile.  More specifically on our hands and knees.  I was never going to question my instructors, the books or the more veteran firefighters that mentored me.  However, the more fires I got to fight, the more I started to…


Added by Jason Hoevelmann on November 23, 2015 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Guest Blogger Alyssa Hurd (My Daughter) :)

Firefighters: they’re the iconic men and women that make a difference in our community through simple things such as educating children and community leaders on fire safety to rescuing someone from a burning building. Despite all the heroism, they’re people just like you and me. They shop in the same grocery stores and walk the same streets. They have families to take care of and kids they have to spend lots of money on. . . Between saving lives and keeping up with a family, firefighters…


Added by Jeremy Hurd on November 23, 2015 at 3:03pm — No Comments

Progressive Discipline

Question – My department is disciplining me for a charge that an alleged comment on the training ground offended a probationary firefighter. The charge was that I was “too tough” on the candidate requiring him to repeat certain basic firefighter skills that he had a hard time completing. The alleged comment was related to his performance and not directed as him as a firefighter. The penalty assessed by the department was 15 days off without pay, a letter of reprimand and I…


Added by John K. Murphy on November 23, 2015 at 9:00am — No Comments

Duck on Water

Several years ago, I was having conversation with a friend of mine who is a seasoned Company Officer from an agency I use to work with.  I was inquiring on how he always seemed to be calm, cool, and collective on incident scenes.  I was always impressed by his demeanor and command presence on any incident, but especially on those significant ones.  His was reply was simply I’m a “Duck on Water.”  I looked at him with a blank stare and said what does that mean?  He said I make myself stay…


Added by Ben Ojinaga on November 22, 2015 at 5:04pm — No Comments


The Sunday Preach:
"I" Save Lives
I, I, I, I, I... There we said it. Not to add the "I" for personal gain, fortune, create a new blog page or cult following... but just to tweak an old friend to help those who help others.

Added by Douglas Mitchell, Jr. on November 22, 2015 at 9:25am — No Comments

Are You "Fit" To Lead?

Today I had to go in to do my annual physical. You know the one where you get poked, prodded, wired up, and ran ragged on a treadmill. We all suffer through them and after 35 years you think it would be routine. But every year, at least for me, it is more of a challenge. But I am proud to say once again, I managed to remain in the ranks of the healthy and qualified fit for duty cadre. Now before you all applaud (or jeer), what I just went through is or should be, a normal annual event for…


Added by Michael D. Staats on November 20, 2015 at 5:04pm — 1 Comment

The mentor effect

"Meeting gentlemen that you think are the older version of yourself, or the version of the man & firefighter you want to become, is a fundamental necessity in the day and age of mediocre firemen."

-Captain Gabe Angemi

Who do you aspire to be? Who do you lean on for advice and who do you look towards in order to become better? These are tough questions that strong, alpha male fire service types may not admit publicly, but we all have a dude that we say "damn if I knew half…


Added by Zach Schleiffer on November 18, 2015 at 10:32pm — No Comments

Assessing your standard level of competence

Why are basics so important? They are the foundation for everything we do. 

If we all have a standard level of competence, all that is required is good communication to have a successful operation. Our terminology might be different, but taking the two seconds to say "I'll search the left, you search the right" will prevent a cluster and can ultimately save lives. You might ask yourself, "well how often does this come into play?" 

Whether your a professional or a volunteer,…


Added by Zach Schleiffer on November 18, 2015 at 10:29pm — No Comments

Building Renovations: the hidden dangers

Having an understanding of building construction is one of the best tools a firefighter can have to help them perform safely and efficiently at a fire. It may not be possible to know the specific details of a building’s layout before a fire, but by studying how buildings are constructed, we can predict how a fire will behave, travel, and react in different types of buildings.…


Added by David Topczynski on November 18, 2015 at 2:46pm — No Comments

Training Tip: Build a House in 30 Minutes

Training Tip:  Build a House in 30 Minutes

Lt. Brad French


Almost every jurisdiction in the United States has some form of active building construction going on at any given time.  Whether it be a new housing development on the edge of town, some urban in-fill housing spattered throughout an older residential district, or just simply a random house going up on a…


Added by Brad French on November 18, 2015 at 1:22pm — No Comments

Have you had “The Talk” with your crew?

Many of us run on short-staffed units.  We arrive on scene and begin the stretch with just an officer and a firefighter on the line.  Throw in a corner or two this can be a difficult stretch for just two people.  But what if you come across a victim?  Do you have a plan?  Have you talked about it with your crew?  Stats tell us that over 1/3 of the time civilians are found while trying to escape or control the fire.  With odds that great we should plan and practice for…


Added by Grant Schwalbe on November 16, 2015 at 6:30pm — No Comments

My Happy Place

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Being that my interests have been very specific, I loved to read fire books.

So it only makes sense that the National Fire Academy’s Learning Resource Center is the “holy grail” of fire literature. Contained within its historic walls are over 208,000 books, video, research papers and publications.

THIS is my happy place.

If you have not personally been to the National Fire Academy, the campus and its top notch…


Added by Stephen Raclaw on November 16, 2015 at 4:47pm — No Comments

How the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge Changed my Life

How the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge Changed My Life


We all have that defining moment, the event that changed us. The moment that changed our lives, changed our paths, changed the way we view the world.  Some people have more than one.  And for some of us, we find something that continues to change and shape our lives.  For me, that discovery was the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.



Added by The First Twenty on November 16, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

Company Officer Complaints Go Up, but Not Down!

There will come a time in a firefighter’s career where they look at themselves and their career and have to decide if they want to move up the chain of command and add more bugles to their collar. These promotions are big steps in anybody’s career because the higher you go; the more work you will take on. This work isn’t always fun and when going to a Company Officer role you really have to make sure you are prepared to step into that position and lead as a positive forward thinking…


Added by Chad Menard on November 15, 2015 at 11:03am — No Comments

fire down below...

The Sunday Preach:

"What's in your Basement?"

"Basements, like garages and sheds, are full of anything and everything that you don't necessarily want in the main living space of your home." (Ch 11, pg. 112.)

With a basement fire, you never know what you may encounter. It may be unfinished and contain strictly storage, or…


Added by Douglas Mitchell, Jr. on November 15, 2015 at 10:56am — No Comments

Using, cleaning, and troubleshooting fire service portable radios

*This will be a multipart topic covered over several posts, all focusing on the use and maintenance of the fire service portable radio*

Arguably, the fire service portable (aka the handie-talkie or portable) is the most used piece of equipment at our disposal as a firefighter. I would also argue that it is the most under maintained piece of equipment. This series of blog posts will focus on the use and maintenance of the fire service portable radio, and will cover checkout…


Added by Samuel Villani, III on November 14, 2015 at 6:44pm — No Comments

Leadership: Nature vs Nurture

United States Army Manual defines the leader as “anyone who by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals.”


The Air Force Doctrine Document 1-1, Leadership and Force Development describes leadership as “Leadership is the art and science of influencing and directing people to accomplish the assigned…


Added by Brian Ward "FireServiceSLT" on November 14, 2015 at 3:16pm — 2 Comments

Fighting the Good Fight - Promoting Residential Sprinklers

In case any of you have missed my preaching on the benefits to the fire service of Modern Fire Attack (MFA) knowledge and methods over the past few weeks, my excuse is that my writing efforts have instead lately been directed toward fire safety in my own community.

The State of…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on November 14, 2015 at 10:11am — No Comments

Passing command


There are times when you arrive on the scene of a working fire and what you are faced with may hinder you from taking command. You as the first due unit officer are able to pass command over the radio 1 time. Ensure you are not giving it to the RIC or any special service. The most important things that have to happen on the fire ground is fire fighter safety and ensuring the first line gets to the fire.


Added by David Polikoff on November 13, 2015 at 7:46am — No Comments

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