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March 2017 Blog Posts (17)

One, Two, or Three Sides: Laddering the Building

When it comes to ground ladders, some say throw them until one of two things happen:

  • You run out of ladders.
  • You run out of windows.

I must say, I do agree with this opinion. The placement of ground ladders allows firefighters to access areas they wouldn’t be able to, create a means of egress if needed, give roof access for ventilation crews, allow firefighters to search rooms, and give…


Added by Chad Menard on March 31, 2017 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Stuck In the Middle With You

       As not to sound as averse as the title; no one is truly stuck in the middle as a fire officer. Many of us whom have promoted in a formal process made an independent decision to move up the chain based on a number of indexes including salary, leadership strengths, career challenge, and technical merit. However, this article is meant to represent so many of us nationwide who are labeled as “middle management” in the fire service and sometimes feel our…


Added by Floyd A Wise III on March 30, 2017 at 10:06am — No Comments

How to Impress an Interviewer and Get a Fire Engineering Job If You’re a Recent College Graduate

There’s this strange lurch that happens when you finish university. Suddenly, from a world of academia and studies, you’re thrown into a wholly different place, where the goal is no longer to fill your brains but to fill other people’s pocket books.

To be honest, I feel the universities are at least partially responsible. Many of them are focused on teaching…


Added by Steven M. Mehler on March 30, 2017 at 9:21am — No Comments


All hockey fans understand the significance of the penalty box. After all, it's a prime opportunity for your beloved team to score a goal with the sinister opposing squad short by one player on the ice, and the penalized team has to form a protective Death Star defense around the goalie in a desperate attempt to stop a frozen rubber rock…


Added by Paul Combs on March 28, 2017 at 9:26am — No Comments

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 and no amount of motivation could convince my hand to create.…


Added by Paul Combs on March 21, 2017 at 10:16am — 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 Bruno”


Rock ‘n’ roll has Elvis…


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 11:08am — 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 7:36am — 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 3:30pm — 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 2:02pm — 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 10:30am — 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 conflict, and, ultimately, a high turnover rate. Avoiding all of this requires that supervisors and…


Added by Steven M. Mehler on March 1, 2017 at 5:23am — No Comments

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