Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Mike DeVirgilio's Blog (6)


What a great two dollar word.  Title of a new movie?  One of the symptoms of TMB?  The ability to see the future through walls?  No, I discovered the term in a book:   Klein, Gary (2001) Sources of Power, How People Make Decisions by Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press.  He wrote extensively on RPDM (recognition primed decision making).  Metacognition happens to describe something I've been doing lately:  thinking about thinking.  The formal definition of metacognition is an awareness and…


Added by Mike DeVirgilio on December 22, 2016 at 1:11pm — No Comments

Promotional exam - what?

Much to my chagrin, I've been charged again to run a captain's promotional exam.  Those circumstances are another story entirely.  However, whatever the irony and backstory, It's happening.

As I begin the process of assembling a team, updating the test, etc., a question forms as it always does when testing time arrives.  Does our testing process choose the best potential person for the job, or does it help us choose the best test taker?  I don't pose that question because I see that…


Added by Mike DeVirgilio on November 17, 2016 at 4:27pm — No Comments

Accidental Mentor

I went to a retirement activity the other day.  It was for a 42-year veteran Deputy Chief that was greatly admired in this area and beyond.  I had the opportunity to work directly for, and with, this individual for almost five years.  We had spent 25+ years in the same department (he was already a captain when I was hired), but my last five were spent directly reporting to him.  These kinds of retirement affairs (and they're increasing in their frequency for me) always cause me to reflect…


Added by Mike DeVirgilio on June 3, 2015 at 7:18pm — 1 Comment

"I'd bet my life I did much better on this Captian's exam!"

I heard this recently after the results of our captain's promotional process was completed.  I actually heard variations of it more than once, and sometimes with a tremendous amount of conviction and passion.  Maybe even more conviction and passion than was used to prepare for the test.  That is my explanation for the poorer scores.

As head of the training division, I was tasked with preparing and executing a promotional exam.  Preparing for and taking an exam for promotion is pretty…


Added by Mike DeVirgilio on May 27, 2015 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Training motivation. Why are you here?

I've been working recently on a presentation for my department about the change in our approach to exterior fire attack.  As in, we can, and should, do it when appropriate.  I was taught that this was the last thing you would ever do, and given many common sense reasons.  All of the NIST/UL information, and some recent fireground experiences prove that the reasoning behind that was wrong.  From a logical view, and given the years of successful fire suppression to back it up as further proof,…


Added by Mike DeVirgilio on May 3, 2015 at 3:08pm — No Comments

First-time attendee FDIC 2015 review.

I've always wanted to attend the FDIC conference.  Living in the Southwest, it's not a driving affair, so going is not only a monetary commitment, but a good chunk of time is required.  I've been to others on the west coast, and wished the FDIC would move to closer and more familiar environs, but it seems Penwell is impervious to not only my wishes, but demonstrate a lack of any real ability to read my thoughts.  It was always something.  Finally, all the pieces fell into place (my…


Added by Mike DeVirgilio on April 26, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments

Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2022   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service