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January 2017 Blog Posts (27)

Frustration and desperation are two of the best motivators for change.

One of the questions that I am often asked is, “I’m am a newly promoted officer and I want to make some changes but I am encountering a lot of resistance, what should I do?”

Resistance can come in many forms – a micromanaging boss, a lazy or complacent culture, a core group of over inflated egos with “inner circle” mentality, and the all too common “because that’s the way we have always done it” mentality. Each…


Added by Frank Viscuso on January 30, 2017 at 2:38pm — 1 Comment

Addiction and Helping A Struggling Firefighter

Addiction is a mental disorder which affects millions of Americans across the nation. Addiction is characterized by a chronic inability to refrain from behavior which is harmful to the addict. The user feels a compulsion to continue engaging in this behavior, despite repeated bad experiences. Often, the addiction, in fact, continues to grow out of control, with the addict taking increasingly greater measures to ensure access to their preferred method of stimulation, and willing to…


Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on January 30, 2017 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

Bring your Best in 2017 by Building the Mind

By: John Spera

"The mind is the battleground. It is here that the future is told." 


Goals are destined to be lost if the mindset to reach them is not built first. Our lives are a reflection of our mindset and have been built through our beliefs and perspectives of the world, to include ourselves in it. We have complete control over the mindset we choose to have on any given day—it’s up to us to create the…


Added by The First Twenty on January 25, 2017 at 12:44pm — No Comments

MFA Tools and Rules - Upgrades

Product development and performance improvement are two processes that are alive and well in the fire service, resulting in a continuous stream of proposed “advancements” for our consideration.  Stronger, lighter, smaller, safer, and faster are typical descriptors of “upgrades”.  Most of these "new" items or methods are actually just modifications of equipment or procedures we already have on hand, with only a few being novel, such as the Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) or Rapid…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on January 24, 2017 at 1:26pm — No Comments


What is passion? What does it look like, sound like, feel like? Is it something we instinctively know when we are around its presence, or can it be palpated like a strong radial pulse? Every so often a person comes into our lives whose passionate light shines so bright that comets pale in comparison, and much like a blazing comet or shooting star, their…


Added by Paul Combs on January 24, 2017 at 10:46am — No Comments

Inspection Liability

Question: Is your department performing inspections in your respective jurisdiction and under what law, ordinance, policy or assumed responsibly provides the reason and authority to conduct these inspections?

Inspection Liability – Facing the large loss fire in Oakland (CA), the fire attorneys have discussed the advantages of routine fire inspections of high hazard facilities, special…


Added by John K. Murphy on January 21, 2017 at 12:39pm — 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 8:00am — No Comments

Turning Your Down Time - Positive

Happy New Year Fire Engineering Family.   From our  FETC Tactical Training Notebook

Today during some down time between runs I took my company out on a building familiarization tour. The tour included looking at a really large, 4 story lightweight residential dormitory being built in our first due. The tour affords firefighters with the opportunity to get out and mingle with contractors, see new…


Added by Fire Chief Billy Greenwood on January 17, 2017 at 2:30pm — 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 7:35am — No Comments

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Adapting Innovative Techniques to the Needs of your Department

Take a look around the fire service and you will find that many of our operational guidelines, practices, and equipment all have roots in other areas outside of firefighting. Things like our command Structure, breathing apparatus, and vent saws were all around prior to being repurposed to fit our operational needs. The same opportunities exist today.  Don’t reinvent the wheel—make the tools fit your specific department, response area, and resources.

Over the last few months, I…


Added by AB Turenne on January 16, 2017 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Dr. King and the Power of a Vision

     Today, January 16, 2017, is the day set aside to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the powerful change that he helped bring about in this country. We often think of leaders as those in a position of authority, or holding a title or rank and possessing official power to enact their wishes or create change by issuing orders or writing policy. Dr. King had none of this. He had no official authority or power. Leadership has nothing to do with title, position…


Added by Chris Langlois on January 16, 2017 at 11:30am — No Comments

MFA Tools and Rules - Having vs. Using

Continuing with our examination of MFA tactics as additional “tools in the toolbox” for the control of structure fires, today’s post will consider the issue of ignoring viable options.  This topic is pertinent to every fire department because, thanks to the hard work of the ISFSI, UL, and many others in developing and distributing information about improvements to firefighting inspired by fire dynamics research, and the fact that these changes are merely modifications of traditional tactics…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on January 16, 2017 at 10:00am — No Comments

Going 0-100 Daily Will Take its Toll On Any Firefighter.

It’s 0400, and the alarm goes off. The synapses crackle to life. Adrenaline, rushing through your brain. The amygdala fires off and muscle memory takes over. It’s a blur as you rise to wakefulness and body your way through the hall to the ready room and from there, the crew carrier, the engine, or the ambulance. This is the life of the first responder. One moment, dead asleep, exhausted. The next, firing on all cylinders, your mind racing, reviewing your SOP’s internally. The teeth clench,…


Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on January 16, 2017 at 10:00am — No Comments


A pendulum swings to the extreme far right and to the extreme far left, and in the fire service, as in politics, common sense is somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately there is so much divisive chatter going on that it feels as if common sense is an ugly four-armed green-headed alien stepchild. Quiet the chatter and do what's right... my guess is you instinctively…


Added by Paul Combs on January 13, 2017 at 12:04pm — No Comments

MFA Tools and Rules - Shiny new things

Note: This is the second in a planned series of blogs using the "tools in the toolbox” model to explore the many facets of the profound changes inspired by ongoing fire dynamics research.  As discussed in my first post in this format, I am a big fan of viewing MFA tactics as additional “options” to use for controlling fires in structures.  Besides being non-threatening and accurate, it allows me to break down the various components into more manageable, blog-sized,…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on January 13, 2017 at 8:11am — No Comments



While participating in a leadership open forum recently, a fellow panel member told the story of a seminar speaker who engaged him about the responsibilities of his job. After rejecting everything that my friend described as his job as being secondary, the speaker told him that his one job, his sole purpose, was to make the Fire Chief of his department look…


Added by Warren Cersley on January 11, 2017 at 12:34pm — No Comments

MFA Tools and Rules - Introduction

Note: With the dawn of a new year, I'm determined to become a better blogger.  The Modern Fire Attack series has been running as a self-posted blog for about a year and a half now, and I have simultaneously, though less often, been submitting more general fire service articles under the title of my old column "From the Jumpseat".  Other than the topics, the size of the two (and the effort I put in to them) are roughly the same.  Having long ago begun writing for emergency…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on January 10, 2017 at 1:02pm — 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 9:33am — No Comments

Making Fire Department Training More Cost Effective


Added by AB Turenne on January 10, 2017 at 9:30am — No Comments

Get Paid to Get Fire Rescue Fit in 2017!

Over $2,500 in cash and prizes will be given away to Firefighters, EMTs and Medics! 

YOU can Win and more importantly Motivate Others!  

Don't wait, get your program and get started today!

The purpose of the contest is to motivate Firefighters, EMTs and Medics to change the…


Added by Aaron Zamzow on January 10, 2017 at 9:21am — No Comments

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