Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

David Polikoff's Blog (26)

New Rookie coming, now what?

Soon the recruits will be graduating and coming to the field. Once they are assigned a shift and station, they will start training and learning the craft for their year of probation. There is a resounding complaint throughout the fire service that the new generation of firefighters do not possess the work ethic needed to be in the fire service, or the new firefighters are only here for a pay check. How can we change this perceived observation? For starters we must keep in mind that the new…


Added by David Polikoff on March 24, 2017 at 7:45am — No Comments

The not so common calls

Training on the basics is vital to our fire ground operations. The basics must be converted to muscle memory. Often we over the look the importance of the not so basic skills. These are skills we don’t use on a daily basis, most likely on a monthly basis. Think about the operations we don’t perform often like:



METRO incidents

Rope rescue (horizontal and vertical)

Air bag and cribbing

Vent Enter Search

Bangor Ladder



Added by David Polikoff on March 10, 2017 at 6:36am — No Comments

New officer. Help wanted.

As officers, how do you prepare your firefighters to become officers? Firefighter can move from FF III to Lt. by taking a test. As officers are you doing a disservice by not working with your people? Are you ensuring that the day they are promoted they have the tools to function? Many station officers are putting fighters who are on the promotional list in the officer’s position on the apparatus, while riding behind them to give guidance. This is a time old and great practice. When we think…


Added by David Polikoff on February 28, 2017 at 7:01am — No Comments

The hard part of the job.

The hardest thing to do in the fire service is administrative work. Let’s face it, we would all like to be running calls. The reality is paper work fills up our days. Of all the admin work we do the hardest is discipline. We have had employees that are not performing at a level that is the standard. As an officer you can’t tell your chief that FF Doe can’t do the job. There must be paper work documenting their sub-par performance. Their IPPA (annual evaluation) must reflect poor performance.…


Added by David Polikoff on February 17, 2017 at 6:44am — No Comments

All Hazard Duties

Today’s fire service is called upon to more and more. The term “All Hazards service” is thrown around in the fire service. This means we as Firefighters are tasked to handle any and all emergencies from a sore toe to an active shooter situation and everything in between.  I want to dig down to the company level. Our fire apparatus is being set up to do multiple tasks. The names of the fire service apparatus are changing to fit the growing responsibilities:

Engine Tanker



Added by David Polikoff on February 10, 2017 at 6:43am — No Comments

To layout or not to layout

You are the officer of the engine and you are dispatched first due for a house fire with reported people trapped. You have several decisions to make, among them is laying out going in? There are some who say that it takes time to layout and that is time the fire continues to burn and trapped occupants are in a hostile environment. There are others who say that they would lay out with a 4 man crew and leave the 4th man to wrap the hydrant and run back to the scene, or jump on the…


Added by David Polikoff on February 3, 2017 at 7:16am — No Comments

Advice to the new officer

Being a leader is a full time job and we can't afford to be complacent in this job. Every day you have to prove that you are worthy to be a leader in this organization. Respect and loyalty is something that is earned every day. Putting on the gold collar brass and a badge does not come with a can of respect spray. Your actions in the station and on the incident will define what type of leader you are. There are times you have to hold the reins tights and other time you can ease off. Being a…


Added by David Polikoff on January 20, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Don't skimp on checking for extension

When checking for extension once a fire is knocked, you have to pull ceilings walls door and window moldings’. Most know this, but as officers you have to approach each room with a 6 sided approach. This means not only all 4 walls but the ceiling and floor. It is not uncommon for fire to burn down through a floor and ignite the floor space. The same holds true for ceilings as well as the attack. Knowing basic building construction will saving you from a rekindle. How will fire spread in…


Added by David Polikoff on January 17, 2017 at 6:35am — No Comments


When conducting a primary search, the Officer must take several things into consideration very quickly:

  • Size Up
  • Building occupancy
  • Fire location
  • Search Priorities
  • Search type


Size Up

While en-route to the call you need to monitor the radio. Listen to where the fire is located.  Know the type of structure and occupancy you are responding too. As you arrive on the scene, look at as many sides of the building…


Added by David Polikoff on January 10, 2017 at 8:33am — No Comments

Brothers in Blue

Do you have the capability to listen to the police on your radios? You can glean crucial information from the police. Have you ever been dispatched on a call for a sick person that ended up to be a person that is having a mental crisis and ultimately required police intervention?  There are times we are dispatched to assist the police, but you are giving very limited information. By monitoring the police channel you can get the missing information. There are call that may require the fire…


Added by David Polikoff on January 6, 2017 at 8:19am — No Comments

Are you listening

The dispatch speakers in the fire house have a volume control. All the speakers in the fire house should be set at a level that they can be heard at all times. Giving the excuse, “if they need us they will dispatch us” is a lazy excuse. Situational awareness applies to all and it is important to know what is going on in the county at all times. Major incidents that you are not due on may impact the next call you are due on. Aggressive companies will know if they are next up if a fire…


Added by David Polikoff on January 3, 2017 at 7:32am — No Comments

New Year

As 2016 winds down, it is time to think forward to 2017. Most make resolutions that they never follow through with. To my fire service brothers/sisters I want to challenge you, make a resolution that will strengthen you, your shifts and the fire service in general. Keep your fire service resolutions for the entire year. Don’t give up 2 months in. Remember complacency kills. Below are some ideas, but please feel free to come up with your own:


  • Train every…

Added by David Polikoff on December 30, 2016 at 7:04am — No Comments

The Home Team

It is Football and Hockey season and we love to root for the home team. We get mad when our team is not playing well and we cheer when our team does well. Sometimes we get a little animated when we are watching the game. I was on a plane heading to Fla. I was listening the Ravens game, they scored a touchdown and I said (a little too loud) YES with a fist pump! This caused my wife to look at me as if I was her 3rd child that spilled cherry Kool Aid on the carpet. My actions…


Added by David Polikoff on October 18, 2016 at 7:13am — No Comments

Has the mission changed?

In 1999 Andy Fredericks asked “is the fire service straying away from its core mission”? Do we place more emphasis on peripheral issues/training as opposed to bread and butter skills?  RIT training is important and needs to be a part of our training, but shouldn’t we put more effort into not getting into those situations in the first place. I know there are unforeseen circumstances that happen on the fire ground. Knowing how to fill out triage tags is a skill we should know, but do we need…


Added by David Polikoff on September 27, 2016 at 8:20am — No Comments

Passive CO Meters

Here on the east coast, soon we will be entering the colder months. As the cold settles in the furnaces will come on, and with this comes potential carbon monoxide (CO) issues. When a 911 call comes in for a CO alarm in my county a unit that carries a 4 gas meter is dispatched. There are times that a call comes in for a sick person and only an ambulance is dispatched. Fortunately all our units have passive CO meters on their EMS bags. These small meters are always on and will alert when…


Added by David Polikoff on August 9, 2016 at 8:22am — No Comments

My first Speech

Below is the first speech I ever gave. I was asked by Chief Rodney Twyman to be the guest speaker at the Ridgley Volunteer Fire Dept. in WVA:

Good evening. My name is David Polikoff and I am extremely honored to be here. I am Battalion Chief in Montgomery County Maryland, life member at Kentland Volunteer Fire Department in PG County Maryland, and volunteer at Sykesville Fire Department in Carroll County Maryland. I am also an instructor with Capitol Fire Training. I…


Added by David Polikoff on July 22, 2016 at 6:54am — No Comments

Managing the MCI

As incident commanders (IC) we are tasked to run a gambit of incidents. There are some incidents that can cause anxiety, of those 1 in particular can overwhelm IC’s quickly, the mass casualty incident (MCI). These incidents grow quickly and in order to manage it an IC needs quickly wrap his/her hands around it and dole out tasks. Below is a quick action guideline to assist you in with these incidents:


  • Quickly scan the incident for hazards to fire and rescue personnel…

Added by David Polikoff on June 24, 2016 at 7:36am — No Comments

NIMS and Command

There are many things that can impact poorly on an emergency incident: poor communication, disregard of SOP’s, poor tactical decisions and lack of command, just to name a few. I will focus on command. A strong command presence can overcome most issues on an emergency incident. Most think that command starts once a chief officer arrives on the scene; this ideology can prove to be detrimental to a successful outcome on an incident. The fact is, during an emergency, the incident…


Added by David Polikoff on June 3, 2016 at 6:33am — No Comments

Garden Apartments

Fighting fires in garden apartments present some unique challenges to fire fighters. The main challenges fire fighters face are the construction of the building, the building’s location from the street, the layout of the apartment unit, adequate resources needed, basic strategies and tactics, and a solid incident command system. If one of the above components is missing, the results could be tragic.




Garden apartments can host varying methods and types of…


Added by David Polikoff on May 17, 2016 at 9:01am — 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

Policy Page

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page HERE. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Talk Radio

Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. EDT



Susan Tamme and Angie Hughes


1-877-497-3973 (Toll Free)
or 1-760-454-8852

Check out the schedule of

Ricky Riley, Dan Shaw, Doug Mitchell & Nick Martin

© 2017   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service