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December 2017 Blog Posts (28)

The Brotherhood's Not Dead

The Brotherhood’s Not Dead


            The Brotherhood. A fraternal order that has existed for centuries within the fire service; it’s a bond amongst firefighters unmatched to any other organization on earth. To gain admittance, one can’t simply get hired or join but must first prove ones worth. Not by talk, but by action. It’s the fellow brothers/sisters who say when and if you become a member. Once admittance is granted, you become a…


Added by Adam J. Hansen on December 29, 2017 at 11:15am — No Comments

Inciting Bravery - The realities of promoting risk-taking

Part 1 - What are we talking about?

Courage is considered by most to be a vital firefighter trait, and its lack has been cited by some as the cause of a decline in fire service effectiveness. Whether it's a perceived pre-occupation with safety, or a choice of fire control tactics that are considered less valiant, the willingness of our members to display sufficient bravery in the pursuit of protecting life and property has been called into question. Unfortunately, an…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on December 29, 2017 at 8:03am — No Comments

Schoolyard bully

Odds are at One point in time you've experienced encountering a bully by now. My nephew had been dealing with a bully in school and of course he followed what he was told and went to the teacher. Surprise nothing really ever happened with it unfortunately. It got to the point where he had to get physical and stood up to his bully.

What did he learn, well going the proper route doesn't work and he had to stand up for himself. And a lot of times, as a child, unfortunately altercations…


Added by John Lovato Jr on December 28, 2017 at 4:12pm — No Comments

Challenging the Paradigm

We have spent so much time talking about mental wellness issues with First Responders. Politicians, activists, writers, therapists and anyone else with a stake in this conversation has leapt up and screamed that we need support for PTSD.  

 And, we do.

But, there is a dilemma. We are focused on the wrong area to invoke real, long lasting change. With our unfortunate, myopic viewpoint, we are tackling a problem at its most difficult state. By the time ‘PTSD’ is on the table for…


Added by Nick Halmasy on December 28, 2017 at 3:51pm — No Comments

Lessons from the Fireground: Buffalo (NY) FD Box-191North Division and Grosvenor 1983

Lessons from the Fireground; December 27,1983 Buffalo, New York Five Firefighter Line-of-Duty Deaths

As Buffalo (NY) firefighters arrived at the scene of a reported propane leak in a four-story radiator warehouse (Type III Ordinary and Type IV Heavy Timber construction), a massive explosion occurred, killing five firefighters and injuring nine others, three of them critically. The force of the blast blew BFD Ladder 5′s tiller aerial 35 feet across the street into the…


Added by Christopher Naum, SFPE on December 27, 2017 at 8:08pm — No Comments

Trying not to change isn't always bad

     As I sit here on Christmas Eve at the firehouse by myself, something dawned on me that has nudged me to make my first ever blog post. I come from a small seaside community in Southeastern Massachusetts and am a Shift Commander and Training Captain in a department that averages 1800 annual responses with a staff of 7 full-time sworn personnel and approximately 55 paid on call sworn personnel. Our department has done a great job of holding on to the combination model and still providing…


Added by Jeff Dias on December 24, 2017 at 9:31am — No Comments


December Fire Engineering magazine illustration.

Here's a link to my previous post and memories of Chief Brunacini. Rest easy, Chief... and thank you!…


Added by Paul Combs on December 21, 2017 at 8:43am — No Comments

Searching for Something

On the topic of fire ground searches, I often hear a gross amount of misinformation and fear speak. This normally perks my ears and readies my mind for a conversation of great importance to me. After the talk, which usually turns into an argument that ends with “Well you just have to do what I tell you to,” I find myself thinking. Why should I have to convince firefighters to do a search? This topic of search culture usually leaves me searching for something else. Some of my associates think…


Added by William Brandon Lewis on December 20, 2017 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

Pass on Your Knowledge - A Method to Teaching New Skills

     As the fire service has evolved, we have had to adapt from our original conception of just putting out fires. In today’s fire service, we must be jacks of all trades! We are medical professionals, hazmat guru’s, technical rescue specialists, among many other things. With all of these different disciplines there is an abundance of knowledge that we have had to acquire/learn.

     How did we learn these skills? Some have gone through a basic entry level program, whether that…


Added by Tommy Goran on December 20, 2017 at 3:00pm — 2 Comments

The BlastMask

A great video on the BlastMask, which is featured in the Tech Today section of FE this month. If your department hasn't taken a look at the unbelievable training aid- now is the time! ; 

Added by Collin Blasingame on December 19, 2017 at 3:36pm — No Comments


There is a common understanding among the firefighter and EMT community that there are lives that can’t be saved or rescued. It’s a fact of life, and death. Usually those lives are lost due to circumstances beyond our perceived control, and most of us have come to grips with this certainty so we can focus on the next savable life. Understanding doesn’t make it…


Added by Paul Combs on December 18, 2017 at 11:49am — No Comments

The Senior Man

Let's look back to that very moment you received your gear after being voted into your local volunteer station or your first day at your career job. From those moments on there was always that person that's been on the job for quite a while, with years of experience that just took every new guy under their wing or anyone willing to listen. We can probably all look back and think about who our on the job mentors were or still are. They taught us about what it meant to be apart of this great…


Added by Casey Clinkscales on December 14, 2017 at 3:30pm — No Comments


Today I publish an illustration that was harder to draw than I thought it would be - and I knew it would be hard! The subject of alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and drunk driving is at times a taboo subject in the firehouse and our national conferences. We eagerly discuss tactics, obesity, cancer, suicide, depression, seat belts, speed, health and fitness… the…


Added by Paul Combs on December 12, 2017 at 1:28pm — 3 Comments

Fire Service Legal Issues - 2017 Year End Review

This year has certainly been interesting related to the legal issues facing the fire service. We continue to see the fire departments in the news for many high profile fires, rescues, service calls and the other good things we do on a daily basis.

We also continue to see the fire departments bogged down in legal controversies that reduce the effectiveness of organizational cohesiveness and at times polarize our personnel and departments especially in the area of personnel management…


Added by John K. Murphy on December 12, 2017 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Results of UL Fire Attack Studies Published

Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute (ULFSRI) last week released their three reports on the Fire Attack Study - Water Mapping, Air Entrainment, and Full Scale Experiments. They can be accessed from the Fire Engineering home page, or at These were the experiments that looked at the effects of interior attack, among other things, in order to provide more realistic comparisons amongst…


Added by Mark J. Cotter on December 12, 2017 at 6:08am — No Comments

Becoming a Better Version of Yourself

Today is  going to be about becoming a better version of yourself because you have to want it. If you're going to do it and it really starts with an end goal.

Where do you want to see yourself? Then you have to create the daily disciplines or habits and keep repeating them and then you're going to get closer and closer. Just like working out, you can't go to the gym one day and be as fit as you want to be. You can't go read one book and just be done with it. You can't go to one fire…


Added by John Lovato Jr on December 10, 2017 at 1:10pm — No Comments

Treating Toxic Teammates (5 of 5)

5.Lack of self pride/ station pride
Well lets first ask ourselves “where does pride come…

Added by John Lovato Jr on December 8, 2017 at 5:47pm — No Comments

Treating Toxic Teammaes (4 of 5)

4.Lack of professionalism . AKA not knowing equipment on the truck. Not knowing how much hose we carry or what our nozzles are rated at.etc

Added by John Lovato Jr on December 7, 2017 at 5:24pm — No Comments

Journal Entry 49: What a Year

Brothers and Sisters,

What a perfect day to sit down at the keyboard and write about this year. It’s December 7, Pearl Harbor day. Thank you all veterans for what you’ve done for our country.

As most of you know, I battled prostate cancer this year (surgery in March) and am very happy to report the blood tests are coming back clean. Like the folks who lived in Pearl Harbor and persevered through the attack and never saw it coming. I was back in the O.R. three times since March…


Added by RON KANTERMAN on December 7, 2017 at 3:30am — No Comments

Treating Toxic Teammates (3 of 5)

3.Complacency- not being prepared physically and mentally and unwilling to do anything about it.

Added by John Lovato Jr on December 6, 2017 at 6:56pm — No Comments

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