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September 2013 Blog Posts (37)

THE MILWAUKEE METHOD = A panacea for all steep pitched roof operations?

First of all, let me be clear that this is not an indictment of the method itself. You will not read any dispute or argument here against its effectiveness and rapidity. Nope, it’s good alright. A solid ventilation operation was born out of the necessity and a belief in the importance of peaked roof ventilation. These firefighters developed, evolved, and refined a vertical ventilation method that accomplishes the tactical requirements and at the same time keeps the brothers on solid working…


Added by Colin Kelley on September 16, 2013 at 8:15pm — 6 Comments

Gold Stars

By: Mark vonAppen

Come with me to the land of make-believe.  Once upon a time, I thought I was a pretty good firefighter.  I could pull pre-connected hose line, tie a few knots, and strap my SCBA to my body in well under one…


Added by Mark vonAppen on September 16, 2013 at 8:00am — No Comments


Keep your enthusiasm alive, regardless of what the ol' status quo group says.

Added by Paul Combs on September 12, 2013 at 4:53pm — No Comments

Here's What We Forget When We "Never Forget"

Another year has come and gone, and we firefighters have paused to remember the brave 343 who gave their lives on that spectacularly horrific morning in Manhattan.  We re-live the nightmare by peering at images from that crisp morning, reading gut-wrenching stories from survivor families, and admiring the ceremonies, plaques, and walls of remembrance.

It is right that we do this.

And, even without the t-shirts, helmet stickers and seemingly parroted rote…


Added by John Mitchell on September 12, 2013 at 11:20am — No Comments

Reality Firefighter TV

We all know that reality TV is huge with our generation and when one show makes it big, a dozen variations of the same show come out shortly after it. A big one that I have been hooked on are all those save our restaurant shows. You’ve heard of them “Bar Rescue, Restaurant Impossible, Kitchen Nightmares” just to name the big ones. They are all very similar and follow the same basic flow. Its starts with a failing business with crappy bookwork, a blown budget and best of all stubborn old owner… Continue

Added by Justin Renner on September 11, 2013 at 11:43am — No Comments

9/11 SCARS - DRAWN BY FIRE Flashback

We will always remember the service and sacrifice of our FDNY brothers 12 years ago today.

Added by Paul Combs on September 11, 2013 at 8:38am — No Comments

9/11 SCARS - DRAWN BY FIRE Flashback

We will always remember the service and sacrifice of our FDNY brothers 12 years ago today.

Added by Paul Combs on September 11, 2013 at 8:36am — No Comments

Whose job is it anyways?

I have been in quite a few fire houses where the troops are just sitting around watching sportscenter or shooting the breeze with conversation. At some point one of them will say "what are we going to train on today?" or "what’s going on next drill night?" At that point someone will say either don’t know or that there wont be a training officer around so we will just talk about football, hockey (Go blackhawks), or our latest…


Added by Chris Willis on September 9, 2013 at 11:33am — No Comments

T.P.P. and Functionality??

How functional are your "turn-outs"? It seems that most fire departments do a great job of ensuring above standard thermal protective performance (T. P. P.) but tend to come up short in the area of functionality! The "cut", internal pocket arrangement, and external fasteners can really make you gear work for you when you need it the most!…

Added by Colin Kelley on September 8, 2013 at 9:48pm — No Comments

A Culture of What?

There has been a lot of talk recently, the last few years especially, about the culture of the fire service. There have been all kinds of cultures thrown around: a culture of safety, a culture of extinguishment, a culture of tradition, a culture of nexters, etc. I think you get the point.

I'm going to keep this short.

First, cultures are created over long periods of time by attitudes, beliefs and habits. Cultures of anything are not easy to change or fix, if that is the…


Added by Jason Hoevelmann on September 7, 2013 at 8:12pm — 1 Comment


Firefighter/Technician Steve Brookbank, (Air Unit No. 1, Wash. DC) sent these two photographs in. This standpipe configuration is located on the upper floors of a high rise building. 

The photograph on the left is of a 2 1/2" riser connection in the middle of a hallway corridor. You may notice that…


Added by Chief Anthony Kelleher on September 6, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments

CONTINUED EFFORT (Quick Drills, In-depth Lessons)

In the fire service there are a number of companies and individual firefighters/officers that are always "going for the gold", trying to find better ways to accomplish our job and strive to assure the "basics" are always fresh in the minds of others.

This certainly plays true for Captain Daniel…


Added by Chief Anthony Kelleher on September 6, 2013 at 10:03am — No Comments

Search Scenario #1 Bungalow

When I teach, I usually bring up the point that “there is always more than one right way to fight a fire and conversely, more than one wrong way to fight a fire”.  What works (or worked) in Toledo may not work in New York and vice versa.  

In my third book, “Searching Smarter” (published by Fire Engineering/Pennwell, 2011), in Chapter 2,  I discuss the four types of search I am aware of; those being “Standard Search”, “Team Search”, “Vent Enter Search (VES)” and the “Oriented…


Added by Skip Coleman on September 6, 2013 at 10:00am — 12 Comments

Practicing Basic Skills is Key

When your department is short staffed and your Training Division is short staffed it makes it difficult to conduct quality training in the basics. That is why it is imperative that at the company officer level training in the basics continues. Although plentiful overtime is good in the short term in the long term it can lead to fatigue and lack of consistent training sessions. One of the things that the Training Division must balance is the amount of work hours firefighters are putting in…


Added by Antonio Almodovar on September 5, 2013 at 7:35am — No Comments

A Letter From The Rookie

By Mark vonAppen

This letter came to me from a firefighter in a major metroplolitan department here in the USA.  If this rookie had a voice, this is what he would say.


Added by Mark vonAppen on September 4, 2013 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

A Department In Need





As a firefighter for the City of Charleston, SC for almost eight years (2005-2013), I saw many things both good and bad.  But for the most part the Charleston Fire Department has been continuously plagued by numerous problems.  It is these problems that are the root cause for the departure of dozens of firefighters new and old, who have left to pursue careers with other departments as well as non fire…


Added by Scott Jainchill on September 4, 2013 at 11:07am — No Comments

Search Scenarios

For the next few weeks I am going to post blogs that ask questions concerning searching.  Of everything we do on the fireground, I believe Search is the poorest evolution we conduct.  I have my ideas why but that’s another  blog for another time.

I will embed video in the blog that shows a fire problem.  In each of these, assume you are operating in your jurisdiction with your resources.  If your staffing is 5 plus an officer or two, whatever - it’s what you have to work with.  Bring…


Added by Skip Coleman on September 3, 2013 at 3:46pm — 2 Comments

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