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All Blog Posts (3,722)

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


It has been a while since I’ve posted a new illustration. To be honest, since the loss of my friend to a car accident I have been in a two-month creative canyon (think Mariana Trench) where nothing seemed funny…


Added by Paul Combs on March 21, 2017 at 10:16am — No Comments

Compassion Fatigue; Are Firefighters At Risk?

"Compassion fatigue" is a term that may be unfamiliar to some, but is rapidly becoming a recognized issue in our society.  One day, fire culture may see compassion fatigue listed and treated as a mental hazard along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Indeed, the two are often parallel .  But what is compassion fatigue?


            One of the pioneers of our understanding of compassion fatigue was Dr. Charles Figley, who defined it as follows:



Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on March 20, 2017 at 11:00am — No Comments

Intolerance, Discrimination and the Heart of the Fire Service

I am a white male, born in America, enjoying the rights and privileges afforded to me by circumstances. In hindsight, I was born lucky. I have not been discriminated against, as far as I know: I have not experienced segregation, treated as inferior, objectified, regulated, persecuted, nor denied entry or re-entry into my own country. I have white male privilege.

My ancestors immigrated from Ireland, Canada and Germany.…


Added by John K. Murphy on March 16, 2017 at 5:30pm — No Comments

The Reality of the Fire Service

Have you ever loved something so much it gives you chills thinking about it? The sense of excitement and overwhelming adrenaline that encompasses your body? That is how I feel about the fire service and I think it is safe to say that there are people out there that still have these same feelings. There are still children that get excited when they see fire trucks coming down the road and there are still adults and children visiting firehouses, the future is still there. So, what is…


Added by Jeremy Perrien on March 16, 2017 at 2:14pm — No Comments

Weekend with Bruno

“Weekend with…


Added by Joseph Kitchen on March 14, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

When in Rome, Convert the Empire

     "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."  A well known piece of advice to ease someone's assimilation into a group or situation.  But what if the Romans have it all wrong?  Another follower joining the ranks would just reinforce the negative.  Especially if that newcomer is a recently promoted, or transferred company officer. 

     Few in the fire service are promoted to the rank of lieutenant or captain without merit.  Whether its testing, interviews, job performance evaluations, or…


Added by David DeStefano on March 14, 2017 at 8:53am — No Comments

MFA Tools and Rules: Put the Wet Stuff on the HOT Stuff

"Don't spray water on smoke" has been uttered as a dismissive command from generations of instructors, officers, and senior firefighters attempting to stop what was viewed as a useless action, and to instead encourage progress to reach and extinguish the seat of a fire.  A result of the fire service's movement from using almost exclusively exterior streams to the currently-standard interior attack (an evolution that has been ongoing for the past 50 years or so, and which, by…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on March 13, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Building Mental Toughness: Focus on the Process

So there I am with a fellow firefighter talking about an upcoming promotional testing process. He tells me how he wishes he could do the things I do physically, but he is just not as gifted.

Truth is, I'm not any more gifted than the next guy around the firehouse. I just want it more and am willing to endure more to achieve it. I have wanted whatever it is more than most other people since my early childhood years. That’s where my path to mental toughness began…years ago. At a young…


Added by Tom Johnson on March 10, 2017 at 10:08am — 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

Professionals: Walking the Talk

Professionalism is a very common adjective used in the sphere of the modern fire service.  It is a word that is taken in a myriad of contexts and used to describe (or sometimes denounce) much of what we do as firefighters.  As the emphasis of service shifts in importance to all aspects of our modern-day society, the fire service is no different.  Many fire departments and organizations,…


Added by Paul M. Rank on March 9, 2017 at 2:30pm — No Comments

'2 Minutes'

The greatest asset we deploy on the fireground is our people. Perception of passing time can be distorted by stressors and friction points on the fireground. How many times have you felt this?

Have you ever felt pressured by command to rush through tasks and give reports that are not fully investigated/completed. As though they have a checklist that they just want to have all the boxes ticked and the fire will go out and we can go home! We know that is not the case (at least we hope…


Added by Douglas Mitchell, Jr. on March 6, 2017 at 1:02pm — No Comments

How the year 1933 can help you size up a Type III structure

The year 1933 has a significant meaning to me as that was the year my mother was born, this year also was the commencement of the winds of war as Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor in Germany, the world was changing rapidly and our greatest generation was just starting to make their mark on our history. So how you may ask does all this relate to us in the fire service? On March 10th of that year a 6.4 magnitude earthquake measuring 6.4 hit the Los Angeles area, damage measured…


Added by Joseph Pronesti on March 6, 2017 at 9:30am — No Comments

S-T-R-E-S-S Those Letters Can Kill Firefighters

Firefighting has always been an occupation fit only for the brave.  In the firefighting community in America today, we face unprecedented new challenges.  There is no escaping the reality that the fire situation is getting worse, particularly for firefighters on the ground.


Firefighters are increasingly being asked to cover more areas of expertise in more complex fire environments.  Many fire departments are now required to cover Advanced Life Support incidents if they want…


Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on March 2, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments

Early Warning Signs of a Conflict at Your Fire Crew and 9 Tips to Resolve It

One thing we are not always taught – identifying conflict in its early stages and taking proactive steps to resolve that conflict early and quickly. The results of our not doing so are low morale, loss of productivity, high absenteeism on the part of those involved in…


Added by Steven M. Mehler on March 1, 2017 at 4:23am — 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

MFA Tools and Rules: Needed changes

I thought it time to leave for awhile the references to tools in the Modern Fire Attack (MFA) arsenal and instead look at a few of the new tactical rules that should be guiding our actions.  First, though, a few words regarding the whole idea of attempting to create strict edicts for something as dynamic and variable as structural firefighting.  Since one of the things that characterizes a true MFA proponent is avoidance of the words “always” and “never”, pretty…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on February 28, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Surviving a Leaderless Environment

We’ve all been there, working in an organization that seems to be leaderless as you rarely see the Chief or members of his or her immediate staff and you respond to a series of Directives or Policies that make you scratch your head.

I have worked for Chief’s that bury themselves in seemingly meaningless activates, sitting in their offices emerging only when there is a major crisis or attending a Board or Council meeting and are seriously out of touch with their…


Added by John K. Murphy on February 26, 2017 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Why Bother?


“You can do everything right on this job and still get killed.”

~Captain Paddy Brown, FDNY


He’s right.

But would you ever stop learning, studying, training…being a student of our craft, because you can still get killed no matter what you do?  I certainly hope not.

So if asked you: Is it ok to avoid maintaining your health and wellness because you may suffer a tragic health event anyway?…


Added by Dan Kerrigan on February 24, 2017 at 7:00am — No Comments

Journal Entry 45: I Can’t Have Cancer, I’m Way Too Busy!

Ron Kanterman, February 2017


That’s exactly what I said to the urologist on the day after Christmas, when he told me that my tests came back positive and I have prostate cancer. Actually, he said I had a “little cancer” to which I asked, “is that like being a little pregnant?” After we both had a chuckle, he started to drone on about the test results, what they mean and possible treatments. For the first 30…


Added by RON KANTERMAN on February 22, 2017 at 8:32am — 1 Comment

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