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The End of the Fire Service's "Killer B's"

Back in the early 1990s, the Pittsburgh Pirates had Barry Bonds, Bobby Boniilla and Jay Bell and we affectionately here in Pittsburgh, admired them as our “Killer Bs”. And later in the 1990’s, the Houston Astros also were known to have the “Killer Bs”, with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell at the center of attention then. I am at the tail end of the baby boomer generation and I’ve always said that my generation yielded some of the best sports players of all time. I joined the fire service as…


Added by Andy Marsh on October 16, 2017 at 9:11pm — No Comments


This cartoon was never meant to be a caricature of Chief Brunacini when I drew it in 2009, but he certainly inspired it (which is why I subconsciously drew a resemblance, I suppose). A…

Added by Paul Combs on October 16, 2017 at 10:06am — No Comments

The Fire Service Mentor

When I entered the fire service twenty years ago things were much different than they are today. We must ask ourselves, why are things different? We have to stop our backward slide or the fire service, as we know it, will die. When I began my fire service career, I had a lot of people that were willing…


Added by Jason Fullmer on October 13, 2017 at 6:56pm — No Comments

Watered Down Standards

Warning: Firefighting is a dangerous occupation. You will be exposed to low visibility and high heat situations. You will be expected to perform with professional athletic performance at the sound of a bell. No warm up. No do overs. No disappointed fans. This is life or death. “That’s no line man.”

Standard. Noun meaning “a level of quality or attainment”.  

Fire departments across the United States have physical fitness standards that must be met to hire on.…


Added by Clay Magee on October 13, 2017 at 11:24am — No Comments

Leadership Tunnel Vision

Webster’s Dictionary defines Tunnel Vision as:

  • constriction of the visual field resulting in loss of peripheral vision
  •   extreme narrowness of viewpoint : narrow-mindedness; also : single-minded concentration on one objective

In the Fire service, we often associate “tunnel vision” with the narrowing field of view during an incident based on a…


Added by Robert Owens on October 10, 2017 at 2:40pm — No Comments


Placards are used to help us identify what a vehicle is hauling. They usually have a corresponding number in the ERG to let us know what to do when we encounter the corresponding material.

However would you be surprised to know that people have placards too? Would you even be further surprised to know YOU have…


Added by Robert Owens on October 10, 2017 at 2:29pm — No Comments

4 B's of the 360

Read any NIOSH report and failure to do a 360 is usually mentioned as a contributing factor. Unfortunately this has turned the 360 into a check box item rather than something to do in order to gain the entire fire ground picture. I have personally seen critical issues missed on structures due to the first in officer omitting the 360.

This leads to the question, What to look for on a 360? People teach various methods and I have one that was taught to me that is simple to remember, easy…


Added by Robert Owens on October 10, 2017 at 2:27pm — No Comments

Las Vegas Shooting Underscores Toll of Trauma on First Responders

Whenever we hear about a major tragedy in our nation like a terrorist attack, shooting, or natural disaster, our minds go right to the safety and protection needs of those who are affected. As a nation, we grieve their pain and suffering. The most recent tragedy is no different, as America woke up to hear news of a massive…


Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on October 6, 2017 at 10:30am — No Comments


Disclaimer: I am not a trained physiologist, licensed therapist, experienced marriage counselor, nor wise in the ways of relationships… I'm barely housebroken! So, posting an illustration about marital matters is more than a little uncomfortable for me, especially since my perspective here is from the…


Added by Paul Combs on October 5, 2017 at 8:26am — No Comments

Bad Ass

I've been blessed to sit through Chief Dave McGrail’s (Denver Fire) class on Engine Company Standpipe Operations and High Rise Command and Control multiple times. During his class, Chief McGrail introduced us to his Categories of Excellence. It is a six level scale. As follows:

1. Total BAD ASS! = Frighteningly Awesome!

2. Top Shelf Fireman = Does his job with excellence, and is consistently “into and engaged in the job”

3. Good Guy = Does his job, does it well, may or may not be… Continue

Added by Clay Magee on October 1, 2017 at 10:28pm — No Comments

Diversity in the Fire Service - An important discussion

When you examine the cause of litigation in the fire service there is one important fact that we need to address. We sue ourselves internally as opposed to be sued by outside sources with the following statics obtained from Curt Varone’s website.

  • A fire department is 9.1 times more likely to be sued by a subordinate than by our customers: A fire chief is 12 times more likely to be sued by a subordinate than by a…

Added by John K. Murphy on September 30, 2017 at 10:00am — No Comments

"Leaving this job better than you found it" Part II

The church is full with standing room only. A sea of class A uniforms, badges covered with mourning bands and fellow brothers standing at parade rest outside. As a flag draped casket is pulled from the hose bed of an engine everyone snaps to attention, bagpipes bellow out amazing grace as the casket enters the church. The casket is positioned at the front of the church and the honor guard folds the flag. As a firefighter walks toward the pulpit everyone is silent as they reflect on the… Continue

Added by Jason Fullmer on September 28, 2017 at 6:40pm — 1 Comment

Volunteer Fire Service Recruitment

How do we get new members into the volunteer fire service? To answer this, we must fully explore the problem that exists in many communities. We must understand three things our people, our department, and our community.…


Added by Brad Nair on September 27, 2017 at 12:26pm — No Comments

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…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on September 26, 2017 at 6:14am — No Comments

Creating Your Own Peer Support Group for Firefighters

Firefighters don’t fight fires or respond to emergencies alone. For the safety of themselves, their peers, and others, they approach crisis situations as a team. The emergencies that firefighters respond to affect them emotionally, long after the crises are under control. Firefighters in the upper ranks have seen first-hand that job-related stress in the firehouse can lead to more serious problems like excessive…


Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on September 25, 2017 at 12:41pm — No Comments

How A Meme About Ventilation Went "FDNY Viral"

I made up a meme on Facebook recently on the need for ventilation to be "Controlled, Communicated, & Coordinated". I think we'd all agree that this is a good tactical practice to observe. The meme generated a lot of discussion about the practice of ventilation in general and several FDNY "Heavyweights" like Chiefs Vin Dunn & John Salka, Capt. John Ceriello, and Lt. Bob Pressler weighed in. Now these are all guys who have forgotten more than I know, so I just sat back (with a…


Added by Kevin F. Burns on September 25, 2017 at 12:24pm — No Comments

Pearls of Wisdom from the Past: Door Control & Isolation

When it comes to search, door control (isolation) is not just for VES, it can be utilized during conventional operations…

Added by Nicholas Papa on September 24, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments



“If you don’t hustle, I don’t accept it. If a player shows up the club, I show up the player.” Billy Martin.

NY Yankees Coach Billy Martin said this after making a pitching change and sending Paul Blair to right field to replace Reggie Jackson. Boston’s Jim Rice had poked…


Added by Warren Cersley on September 24, 2017 at 1:29pm — No Comments

Risk little to save little

Risk little to save little

We’ve all heard it. Probably the first time you heard it was in recruit school right? “Risk little to save little. Risk a lot to save a lot.” What is “little” though? Who gets to decide that? That question can only really be answered based on perspective. Depending on the person answering the question, the perspective is going to change. If you ask a lot of structural firefighters across the United States they are going to tell you that the “little” is… Continue

Added by Clay Magee on September 22, 2017 at 10:22pm — No Comments

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