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Mark J. Cotter
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  • Salisbury, MD
  • United States
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Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Fastest Water Wins

Everybody knows you need water to control fire. (And, by “everybody”, I mean firefighters, scientists, politicians, civilians, immigrants, elementary school children, your spouse and kids. Everybody.) That’s why fire apparatus are primarily designed around the need to quickly transport water to the location of a fire, engineered as they are with the capacity to carry a booster tank, hose, pump, appliances, and the personnel needed to put it all to work. It didn’t take a series of high-tech…See More
Nov 5
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

You Can't Scare Firefighters

Fear is a lousy motivator for persons who have joined an organization that routinely confronts danger, especially when, for some, that danger was itself a motivator to join. Now, I am not suggesting that firefighters care less about themselves than your average citizen; just that they generally put the wellbeing of others ahead of themselves. This helps them face hazards that, without such a focus, would cause your average human to turn - if not run - away. Of course, we are also trained and…See More
Oct 31
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

“I” is for Ventilation - Using all available tools for controlling combustion

Contrary to the action-oriented, fix-it, can-do attitude of firefighters that make us so effective in most fire suppression and rescue situations, sometimes the best thing we can do to protect the lives and property of those we are sworn to serve is let some things alone. What makes this “hands-off” approach even more difficult is that the tactic I am here addressing - Ventilation - is one that we had been taught and believed was not only helpful and necessary, but a priority for…See More
Oct 1
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Water Rules: Summary of the recent UL Studies Part 4: Full Scale Experiments - Tactical Recommendations

Concluding my series of commentaries on the findings of the “Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival” collection of UL experiments, this installment will cover the 18 "Tactical Recommendations" from the "Full Scale Experiments" (https://ulfirefightersafety.org/docs/DHS2013_Part_III_Full_Scale.pdf). Inspired by the findings from this study, but also…See More
Sep 17
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Water Rules: Summary of the recent UL Studies Part 3: Full Scale Experiments - Findings

We have come to the point in this series that we will be looking at the results of the type of experiments the fire service has been clamoring for since UL and NIST first began releasing findings from their fire dynamics research that challenged longstanding practices. (To be fair, only some members of the fire service wanted these additional studies, in large part to address the concerns of other members who didn’t think the previous tests were valid. Regardless, both groups hope their…See More
Aug 13
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Water Rules - Summaries of the recent UL studies Part 2 - Air Entrainment

Continuing this series of reviews of the UL’s Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival, having previously reviewed the results of Water Mapping (https://ulfirefightersafety.org/docs/DHS2013_Part_I_Water_Mapping.pdf), this installment will cover Air Entrainment (…See More
Apr 4
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Water Rules - Summaries of the recent UL studies Part 1 - Water Mapping

The nozzle is the fire service’s iconic and essential tool, like the rifle to the soldier, the hammer to the carpenter, or the knife to the chef. While we have many other tools, and vital roles that don’t even involve water, when on the fireground most of them support or depend upon use of this appliance. Forcible entry clears its way, and ventilation clears its results. The protection of life and property relies on its expert use, and salvage protects the building and contents from the effects…See More
Mar 28
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Vertical Ventilation Video - What do your eyes tell you?

The following video clip was sent to me by a reader who was responding to my last post regarding vertical ventilation: https://youtu.be/iK-ZpPWJIj4In it, you will see two firefighters vigorously cutting a roof as fire burns below. The provider of this link pointed out the immediate improvement in interior conditions as evidenced by the lift in the smoke layer that occurred as the fire vented. Taking a contrary position, I would point out that the smoke…See More
Mar 12

Profile Information

Lives in:
Salisbury, MD
Department:
Salisbury Fire Department
Title/rank:
Engineer
Years of public service:
45
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, rising to rank of Captain, and currently serving as Engineer.

Mark J. Cotter's Blog

Fastest Water Wins

Everybody knows you need water to control fire. (And, by “everybody”, I mean firefighters, scientists, politicians, civilians, immigrants, elementary school children, your spouse and kids. Everybody.) That’s why fire apparatus are primarily designed around the need to quickly transport water to the location of a fire, engineered as they are with the capacity to carry a booster tank, hose, pump, appliances, and the personnel needed to put it all to work. It didn’t take a series of high-tech…

Continue

Posted on November 5, 2018 at 9:20am

You Can't Scare Firefighters

Fear is a lousy motivator for persons who have joined an organization that routinely confronts danger, especially when, for some, that danger was itself a motivator to join. Now, I am not suggesting that firefighters care less about themselves than your average citizen; just that they generally put the wellbeing of others ahead of themselves. This helps them face hazards that, without such a focus, would cause your average human to turn - if not run - away. Of course, we are also trained and…

Continue

Posted on October 31, 2018 at 10:30pm

“I” is for Ventilation - Using all available tools for controlling combustion

Contrary to the action-oriented, fix-it, can-do attitude of firefighters that make us so effective in most fire suppression and rescue situations, sometimes the best thing we can do to protect the lives and property of those we are sworn to serve is let some things alone. What makes this “hands-off” approach even more difficult is that the tactic I am here addressing - Ventilation - is one that we had been taught and believed was not only helpful and necessary, but a priority for…

Continue

Posted on October 1, 2018 at 8:30am

Water Rules: Summary of the recent UL Studies Part 4: Full Scale Experiments - Tactical Recommendations

Concluding my series of commentaries on the findings of the “Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival” collection of UL experiments, this installment will cover the 18 "Tactical Recommendations" from the "Full Scale Experiments" (https://ulfirefightersafety.org/docs/DHS2013_Part_III_Full_Scale.pdf). Inspired by the findings from this study, but…

Continue

Posted on September 17, 2018 at 7:37am

Water Rules: Summary of the recent UL Studies Part 3: Full Scale Experiments - Findings

We have come to the point in this series that we will be looking at the results of the type of experiments the fire service has been clamoring for since UL and NIST first began releasing findings from their fire dynamics research that challenged longstanding practices. (To be fair, only some members of the fire service wanted these additional studies, in large part to address the concerns of other members who didn’t think the previous tests…

Continue

Posted on August 13, 2018 at 8:56am

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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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