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May 2014 Blog Posts (62)


By Mark vonAppen

Be careful with the word potential.  It has a misleading connotation.  We often refer to potential as a positive thing, an imaginary upside that exists solely in our minds if only we could tap the…


Added by Mark vonAppen on May 21, 2014 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Attached Garage Fires - Read the Smoke

Smoke conditions on your arrival at an attached garage fire will tell you a lot about interior door positions. Excessive smoke in the home indicates an open door between the garage and home. Little to no smoke in the building says the door is closed. Sounds simple! However, it's what you do with this information that makes a difference to firefighters and the homeowner.

With fire in an attached garage and no smoke in the home, crews should attack the fire through the garage.…


Added by Devon Wells on May 20, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

Where were you on 9/11?

I often ask probationary firefighters one question when they have desires of joining the department.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

With the opening of the 911 Museum, I've found myself looking at old videos and tapes of that day. Not only the events that unfolded in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania, but in our response area.

September 11th for our department opened with a cool foggy morning that started off on Lens Creek Road in Hernshaw. The roadway is…


Added by Jerry McGhee on May 19, 2014 at 3:28pm — 1 Comment

Extrication Quick Tip #5 (TOOL STAGING)

Do you currently stage your equipment/tools on extrications? If not, it is a great method to reduce extrication times. Far too often, we see rescuers going back to the apparatus to get additional equipment throughout the call. My driver is the tool runner. After we start operations, he will continue to bring the tools, light the scene, and fill in where needed. Stage the tools you may need for the rescue at hand, it will greatly increase your overall scene time.…


Added by Isaac Frazier on May 19, 2014 at 8:54am — No Comments

It's More Than Just a Seat

The “Chauffeur”, or "FADO" (Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator) position in any fire department is without a doubt, one of the most critical jobs in the fire service. In department’s all across the country, Chauffeur’s are assigned or tested positions, increasing the company’s operations and situational awareness.  A good Chauffeur has qualities of adaptability, not only on the fire ground, but one that can perform in several positions at any given time.  One must understand that career or…


Added by Jeremy Rebok on May 18, 2014 at 2:32pm — No Comments

Preplanning the Vacant

We all have them.  Some districts have more than others.  It’s the vacant home, trailer or business.  Kids play in them, people squat in them and we have fires in them.  As aggressive firefighters we understand that VACANT does not mean UNOCCUPIED.  Nearly ever week we see rescues made out of these “vacant structures”.  …


Added by Grant Schwalbe on May 16, 2014 at 9:34am — No Comments

Mutual Aid Departments

I'm confident our department isn't alone, but how many departments have to deal with that mutual aid department that knows everything?

They arrive on scene wearing Superman capes and teach you how to fight fire. Set up ventilation. Salvage and overhaul. They may even try to take command.

They may run 4 or 5 fires a year, but the only thing they know is this.

You're doing it wrong.

At the end of the day, you know how your department trains, works and understands…


Added by Jerry McGhee on May 15, 2014 at 6:30pm — No Comments


When things go wrong, too many fingers are typically pointing in every direction except the one place they should be - at you!  If you're the problem, stop blaming others, step up, man up, fess up, and be accountable for your actions.

Besides, you're a little old to be claiming the dog ate your homework!

Click link below to see more of Paul's…


Added by Paul Combs on May 15, 2014 at 3:14pm — No Comments

Ending the War on Women Firefighters

Periodically I talk to women firefighters about the issues they are having in their departments related to the male firefighter mindset against them in their departments. The behavior borders on discrimination, harassment, hostile workplace, hazing and bullying coupled with plain rudeness making many women firefighters fear for their safety.

 I just got off the phone this morning…


Added by John K. Murphy on May 15, 2014 at 2:15pm — 2 Comments

Hump Day SOS - Is Was Supposed To Be Vacant

This week is another retro-SOS from my original first few months. These were pictures only so now that we are broadcasting out to the FE community and in full blog mode I will add some commentary. Again, if you already saw this one I hope you get another laugh or affirmation that you are not alone in your…


Added by David Rhodes on May 14, 2014 at 7:36pm — No Comments

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the following firefighter fatality: ME

It is in great sadness, that we as a Brotherhood, post the 38th Line Of Duty Death for 2014 from the United States Fire Administration. Fellow Brother Firefighter & Captain-Safety Officer David Millett has made the ultimate sacrifice in love for their fellow man. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and our Brothers & Sisters with the Norway Fire Department.…


Added by Brad Hoff on May 14, 2014 at 2:58pm — No Comments

Running On Empty

By Mark vonAppen

I've heard it way too often lately, “Dude, I'm…


Added by Mark vonAppen on May 14, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Outside the Box Fire Flows

Handlines. The essential tool in our arsenal, literally the object we use to fight fire. Big lines, little lines, booster lines, trash lines we all have them, but do we TRULY utilize them to their full potential? When I was just a rookie, going through my initial pump…


Added by Ian Schulte on May 13, 2014 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Size Up Dilemma

My departments size up and building descriptions have always been relatively straightforward; one story, two story, taxpayer, garden apartment etc.

Architects have used their creativity; FEMA has adopted guidelines, consumers have requested more. This has all drove the construction of today away from the standard straightforward size up’s.

Recently, we experienced a fire in a private dwelling that was under construction. The original home was destroyed by hurricane Irene. The…


Added by P.J. Norwood on May 12, 2014 at 2:28pm — No Comments

Why Firefighter Suicides Should Not Be Considered as LODDs

Put aside the emotion when considering adding to a number we try to lower each year

The topic of firefighter suicides is one that gets raised once or twice a year and is full of intense but quiet emotion. Quiet because the subject of suicide is one that people do not like to discuss; intense because when it is discussed some people make the mistake of passionately identifying these deaths as part of the sacrificial duty of a firefighter and consider them…


Added by Bill Carey on May 12, 2014 at 12:05pm — No Comments

Rural water conservation soapbox

 I come from a rural area where are infrastructures is a generation or two behind what other places 2 counties over have. The part of our infrastructure that affects us the most is water supply. Where some have 42inch mains we at most have 8s and often times all the plugs in a given city are fed by one of those 8 inch mains. In short we have very few hydrants and what hydrants we do have often are very weak, if not broken.


I often hear (as many of you readers likely do as…


Added by Chris Willis on May 12, 2014 at 11:48am — 2 Comments

Turning Your Commute Into a Classroom!

One of the biggest things I always here about why firefighters do train everyday is time! To be honest I get it! Most firefighters in the country are volunteer and are working a full-time job, raising families, and still trying to find time to serve their volunteer departments and communities.

The same can go for career firefighters who often have one or more part-time jobs, and families. I myself have my full-time fire department job, a part-time job, and 2 beautiful boys who…


Added by Robert Owens on May 12, 2014 at 11:37am — No Comments

Where's The Disconnect?

Conversations swarming over fire and emergency services organizations these days have defined a need for mentoring the future leaders of this business and passing on the crucial information needed for the planning process.  However, there are debates everyday about building our next generation and how current Chief Officers are not conquering this particular task.

As I was rummaging through my old magazine subscriptions, I merely opened up an old Firehouse Magazine, June 1996 Ed., and…


Added by Jeremy Rebok on May 12, 2014 at 10:35am — No Comments

Doing our part through donation.

It's all about doing our part. $1,200 dollars from this weekends class donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. RFB

Added by Isaac Frazier on May 12, 2014 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Extrication "Quick Tip" 4 (PEDAL PULL)

On many entrapments, pedal-foot entanglements can be a common problem. This method is an easy alternative to cutting. Prior to removing the front door, loop the pedal to be displaced with webbing. Then wrap the excess webbing on the door frame (with the door almost shut). Hold the webbing wrap and open the door to displace the pedal towards you. This method can be also used on the passenger side door for displacement in that direction.…


Added by Isaac Frazier on May 12, 2014 at 7:20am — No Comments

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