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March 2014 Blog Posts (44)

Absent Lately

Haven't been writing lately I have been busy learning the ins and outs of being a Lieutenant with my new promotion.  I have been keeping busy reading books and training material.  I'm sure the trials and tribulations of being a new officer will be great stuff for future blogs to come.  Stay tuned and stay safe

Added by Lou Comenale on March 23, 2014 at 7:16pm — 1 Comment


How many times have you seen it (or participated in it)? A tragedy happens where a firefighter gets injured or killed and the comments begin to fly about what went wrong - and how they would have done it differently, of course. Let’s take an incident that hit close to home for me. The Toledo Fire Department lost two brothers during an apartment fire this past January.…


Added by Paul Combs on March 21, 2014 at 11:13pm — 3 Comments

Implementing Fire Dynam…SQUIRREL!

By now it’s no secret that the fire service has accumulated a considerable “body of knowledge” as a result of the fire dynamic research from NIST and UL.  And now we’re into the “what are we going to do about it,” phase of evolution.  We are starting to see examples of departments implementing tactical changes based on the research, including my own department, developing its SLICERS concept.  And while we’re making good progress in bringing the research lessons to the fire ground,…


Added by Eddie Buchanan on March 20, 2014 at 12:07pm — 2 Comments


Me No Hable

Ours is a beautiful country with a beautiful language that is made even more beautiful and rich by our different accents and dialects. Even within each state, our speech and language is flavored with our varied regional influences. I like it when people try to guess where I am from, based upon my speech.…


Added by Warren Cersley on March 20, 2014 at 9:04am — No Comments

"Pinning the line"

1996 was the year I entered the fire service as a volunteer, this was also the first year I read an article by Andy Fredericks. In his 19962 ½” Handline article for Fire Engineering Andy laid a foundation of support for an incredibly…


Added by Brian Brush on March 20, 2014 at 12:00am — No Comments

No Fear in Firefighting

Fear. That feeling of uncertainty, doubt and despair that people get when situations are out of control; there is danger in their lives either physically, emotionally or economically. Part of our job (as we all know) involves putting our lives in inherently dangerous situations for the well-being of those who are at most in need. I have come up in this service within the…


Added by Ian Schulte on March 19, 2014 at 5:02pm — No Comments

Lets back up a minute Search Scenario

I must apologize.  Over the weekend, it dawned on me that I again, have put the apple cart before the horse.  All too often, I get an idea and get all pumped up only to realize that there is a key component or part I allowed to be missed. 

I did start out with simpler scenarios – yes that’s a fact.  I gave progressively more difficult scenarios - again, yes that’s a fact.  But this weekend I realized I should have started out from a more basic point. 

So, lets back…


Added by Skip Coleman on March 19, 2014 at 4:04pm — 8 Comments

Its all about credibility.

As another promotional process creeps up on the horizon I am reminded of something. On the last day of a recruit class I recently taught I had a recruit ask me: How can I prepare to become an officer in this dept.? My first thought was, how about finish probation first!! I didn’t say that to him, but it really made me think about something.


Every couple years we have a promotional process in our department. You are all aware of them. That time of year when productivity seems…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on March 19, 2014 at 8:42am — No Comments


I can’t remember what I am supposed to do at a fire anymore. The acronyms keep coming and I don’t want to screw anything up so I’m going to suggest we use OMAHA just like Peyton Manning. If you get to a point where all the acronyms run together and you are about to panic just take a deep breath and call,…


Added by David Rhodes on March 19, 2014 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Training to Fail (Part 2)

        First of all, a quick correction to Training to Fail, Part 1; it appears I was wrong about Peyton Manning studying his enemy in preparation for the Super Bowl. I apologize, from now on I will do my due diligence...just kidding Bronco fans.

        This short little blog is not meant to cure the fire service of the problems of training to…


Added by Nick Ledin on March 18, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments

Record, record, record

The Sunday Preach:

"Record, Record, Record..."

Ever wonder how long it takes and what you look like getting your PPE on correctly? How about the team making a search? Stretching a line from the apparatus? What you sound like on the radio?

Can we "see" where we can streamline our personal and company operations? I guarantee at least 75% of your members has a device in their pocket that can help the team.

From page 249 of "25 to Survive: Reducing Residential Injury…


Added by Douglas Mitchell, Jr. on March 16, 2014 at 8:10am — No Comments

REALLY You Have Got To Be Kidding Me?

I was on the Internet this morning and saw this picture posted on Facebook. It was bad enough that someone posted it, but the number of likes was even more disturbing. I will preface the rest of this blog with that I AM A REFORMED FIREFIGHTER. I was not always Combat Ready and I used many excuses to justify to myself my BAD habits and complacency.


None of…


Added by Richard Riley on March 15, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

can one have too many rules?


In a recent discussion with a friend regarding SOG's and SOP’s, an ugly mannerism reared its face, “we are just a Volunteer Department. Keep that in mind.”




This brings to mind another statement I have heard in passing more than once.

Too many rules are a bad thing to have.


Can we have too many rules?


Can rules hinder an operation?


Can a guideline be truly…


Added by Chris Willis on March 14, 2014 at 10:41am — No Comments

A Missing Plane, Mitigation Speech and The Fire Service (Part 1) On The Fire Ground

As I see all the news reports about the missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370 I wonder how they got off track. Did anyone in the cockpit notice they were off course?  Maybe and maybe not.  If they did recognize the problem, did they speak up to the Captain?  When they spoke up were the comments clear and direct or were they passive hints and suggestions that the pilot never picked up on?


Malcolm Gladwell, in his book “Outliers”, introduces us to what is known as “Mitigation…


Added by Grant Schwalbe on March 14, 2014 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

We Cannot Afford The Wrong People

The only constant in this industry is the element of change. We work in a dynamic environment that demands our very best at all times. In a post 9/11 fire service, we are the front line of defense for our nation’s citizens. It is absolutely imperative that we have the best people staffing our departments; whether in a rural area surrounding a national park or a major metropolitan department, we simply cannot afford to have the wrong people working for our fire departments.



Added by Steven Stein on March 12, 2014 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Close Call much?

Close calls happen more often than we admit

In my short career of just over 10 years, I have unfortunately been involved with two close call incidents. For a long period of time, I was simply unable to speak about those incidents. If I needed to talk about them, I joked about them or brushed them off like it was nothing. Many of my closest friends don’t even realize how these two incidents truly affected me. I actually didn’t communicate my thoughts about my situations until I was…


Added by Justin Graney on March 11, 2014 at 8:02pm — No Comments



The “Triple Cross” is in Richmond, Virginia. It is said to be the only place in the United States of America and possibly the world where three Class 1 railroads cross at different levels over the same spot.

Near the “Triple Cross” stands Main Street Station, the…


Added by Warren Cersley on March 8, 2014 at 5:09pm — No Comments

Company Officer 101

As a company officer, one of the earliest things to accomplish with each individual firefighter on your crew is to have a one-on-one meeting and ensure they fully understand what your expectations are.  After this is accomplished, you sit down with the entire crew and discuss the goals and vision and invite them to weigh in on what the team can do to meet those objectives.  Getting their buy in, listening to their thoughts and ideas, and allowing them to be a part of the team direction is a…


Added by Paul Strong on March 7, 2014 at 1:02am — No Comments

Clear Expectations or Pet Peeves

I have been an officer on an Engine for almost 9 years. In that time I have worked with different crews and many different personalities.  As my crew changed, I also had to change my style to fit the crew.   What I has taken my nearly all 9 years to figure out is that when people don't do what I want or what I expect, it is most often because they didn't understand what I wanted.  That was tough for me to recognize because I think I am being very clear.  So I am the problem? Yes, at least a…


Added by Grant Schwalbe on March 6, 2014 at 6:00pm — 2 Comments

4 Story Older Apartment Building

Lets go back for a while and practice on some more residential occupancies we all may have. 

The exterior load bearing walls are wood with brick veneer.  It was built about 1900. there are four apartments on each floor. Three stairs serve the building. One of the "A" side, one the "B" and one on the "D" sides as well.  There is no egress in the "C" side. 

All units are believed to be occupied with an unspecified number of occupants.  However, while returning from runs and other…


Added by Skip Coleman on March 6, 2014 at 9:39am — 8 Comments

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