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October 2017 Blog Posts (24)

Firefighter Concussions

In the sports world there is an increasing awareness of collision induced concussions between football players, soccer players, kids on the playground and others engaged in contact sports other than dancing. There are many other ways to get a concussion. Some common ways include fights, falls, car crashes, and bike accidents. Concussions can also happen while participating in any sport or activity such as football, boxing, hockey, soccer, skiing, or…


Added by John K. Murphy on October 31, 2017 at 4:00pm — 3 Comments


My very first encounter with Chief Alan Brunacini was not what I would have hoped for. I was attending my first FDIC and was sitting through a presentation on how to submit articles to become a Fire Engineering author. Being the introvert that I am, I naturally sat in the back row while taking notes. Chief Lasky had already set the fire under my tuchas two days earlier to…


Added by Paul Combs on October 29, 2017 at 6:50pm — 2 Comments

Standpipe Packs: Denver vs FDNY

Today we will discuss the Denver Fold and the New York Fold.


These two are my favorite folds.  They meet all of the criteria laid out in last weeks article.  They are broken down into 50’ sections, they fold easy, and they flake easy.  The deployment of both is practically the same.  If you want to see how to deploy them, and I recommend that, go to YouTube and search for the Denver Fold.  There are plenty of videos from different departments including Chief McGrail of Denver…


Added by Clay Magee on October 28, 2017 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Truck Company Operations- The Keyboard Drill

Truck Company Operations- Keyboard Drill

By: Thomas D. Kuglin Jr.


            As much time that is involved in creating a musical masterpiece it is critical to have the knowledge and skill set to operate your equipment effectively.  Learning a new instrument takes time and practice.  Mistakes will be made and the end result is an unfinished, raw product.  However, over time and with more practice, you’ll be well on…


Added by Thomas D. Kuglin Jr. on October 25, 2017 at 11:16pm — No Comments

Do Your Job

Do Your Job


Those three little words. It's what citizens expect of you and your department. The citizens, that we took an oath for and swore to protect THEIR life and THEIR…


Added by Clay Magee on October 25, 2017 at 4:00pm — 1 Comment

BALL AND CONSEQUENCES - October Fire Engineering Magazine

We are reading more and more situations where firefighters are getting reprimanded, suspended, and in some cases fired for what is being shared and posted on-line. It's a brave new world of social media horizons and we must realize that all actions have potential consequences - whether intentional or not.

Be careful what you post, brothers and…


Added by Paul Combs on October 25, 2017 at 12:03pm — No Comments


...because what's life without a little Halloween silliness!

STAY FIRED UP, and keep it spooky.



Added by Paul Combs on October 24, 2017 at 1:11pm — No Comments

MFA Tools and Rules: Worth Dying For?!


One of the more powerful sentiments I have been hearing and reading in response to suggested firefighting tactical improvements is that it is understood and expected that firefighters risk their lives in the course of their work, and that they need to put their self interests behind in order to save lives and property.  Essentially, the “suggestion”, typically provided in an admonishing tone, is that anything that gets in the way of interior operations constitutes…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on October 23, 2017 at 7:12am — 6 Comments

What about the "E" in VEIS?

What about the E in V.E.I.S?

With all of the arguments regarding VEIS versus VES, it seems that we have forgotten about the “E”. Let’s talk first about mnemonic's. I’m not the biggest fan of them because my personal belief is that if you need a checklist to do your job you should probably become more engaged in your job. Do you need a checklist to do your side…


Added by Sean Gray on October 22, 2017 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

The 6th Sense...

The Sunday Preach:

Trust your instincts...

"The importance of analyzing our own human senses while we are in the fire environment is ever apparent. But is there some sort of sixth sense held by certain firefighters and fire officers? I am sure that you could recount many of your own stories here. These would be from past incidents in your careers that reflect an often eerie side of firefighting. Why did that firefighter tell us to move just prior…


Added by Douglas Mitchell, Jr. on October 22, 2017 at 9:45am — No Comments

Choosing a Standpipe Pack

Departments that have standpipe equipped buildings should put serious thought into choosing a standpipe pack.  The "we've always done it this way" mentality should not be a guiding factor.  There are multiple different options for standpipe packs. Some are good, some are bad.  Even the good ones have their positive and negative attributes.  


There are a few attributes you want to consider when deciding what fold to use.


1. Lightweight - There is no one size…


Added by Clay Magee on October 21, 2017 at 11:57am — No Comments

Put Your Pride Aside!!!

“Jacks of all trades and masters of all”.  As firefighters, our charge is to ensure we live up to this incredible responsibility.  The vast array of highly specialized disciplines we must not only comprehend but also more importantly, be proficient with is no easy task.  Being an officer does not make them the very best at everything.  What do you think happens?  A firefighter wakes up the day of their promotion, puts on a light blue shirt and all of a sudden has a higher power of…


Added by Adam J. Hansen on October 20, 2017 at 8:36am — No Comments

Farewell to the Chief

The fire service’s sensei has passed from this earth, having left us smarter, safer, and kinder.  Chief Alan Brunacini was a leader on many fronts, while remaining disarmingly, yet sincerely, humble.  Probably the best evidence of the range of his impact and influence will be the plethora of stories you will read from those who had the good fortune to cross his path and benefit from his wisdom.  My direct contact with him was meager, yet he provided me with substantial guidance…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on October 17, 2017 at 5:03pm — No Comments

The End of the Fire Service's "Killer B's"

Back in the early 1990s, the Pittsburgh Pirates had Barry Bonds, Bobby Boniilla and Jay Bell and we affectionately here in Pittsburgh, admired them as our “Killer Bs”. And later in the 1990’s, the Houston Astros also were known to have the “Killer Bs”, with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell at the center of attention then. I am at the tail end of the baby boomer generation and I’ve always said that my generation yielded some of the best sports players of all time. I joined the fire service as…


Added by Andy Marsh on October 16, 2017 at 9:11pm — No Comments


This cartoon was never meant to be a caricature of Chief Brunacini when I drew it in 2009, but he certainly inspired it (which is why I subconsciously drew a resemblance, I suppose). A few years ago he asked me about this cartoon and said I should…

Added by Paul Combs on October 16, 2017 at 10:06am — No Comments

The Fire Service Mentor

When I entered the fire service twenty years ago things were much different than they are today. We must ask ourselves, why are things different? We have to stop our backward slide or the fire service, as we know it, will die. When I began my fire service career, I had a lot of people that were willing to help me and wanted me to succeed. I've worked with…


Added by Jason Fullmer on October 13, 2017 at 6:56pm — No Comments

Watered Down Standards

Warning: Firefighting is a dangerous occupation. You will be exposed to low visibility and high heat situations. You will be expected to perform with professional athletic performance at the sound of a bell. No warm up. No do overs. No disappointed fans. This is life or death. “That’s no line man.”

Standard. Noun meaning “a level of quality or attainment”.  

Fire departments across the United States have physical fitness standards that must be met to hire on.…


Added by Clay Magee on October 13, 2017 at 11:24am — No Comments

Leadership Tunnel Vision

Webster’s Dictionary defines Tunnel Vision as:

  • constriction of the visual field resulting in loss of peripheral vision
  •   extreme narrowness of viewpoint : narrow-mindedness; also : single-minded concentration on one objective

In the Fire service, we often associate “tunnel vision” with the narrowing field of view during an incident based on a…


Added by Robert Owens on October 10, 2017 at 2:40pm — No Comments


Placards are used to help us identify what a vehicle is hauling. They usually have a corresponding number in the ERG to let us know what to do when we encounter the corresponding material.

However would you be surprised to know that people have placards too? Would you even be further surprised to know YOU have…


Added by Robert Owens on October 10, 2017 at 2:29pm — No Comments

4 B's of the 360

Read any NIOSH report and failure to do a 360 is usually mentioned as a contributing factor. Unfortunately this has turned the 360 into a check box item rather than something to do in order to gain the entire fire ground picture. I have personally seen critical issues missed on structures due to the first in officer omitting the 360.

This leads to the question, What to look for on a 360? People teach various methods and I have one that was taught to me that is simple to remember, easy…


Added by Robert Owens on October 10, 2017 at 2:27pm — No Comments

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