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Nick Ledin's Blog (16)

SAFE Fireground

        While the title of this piece is obviously absurd and impossible, this doesn’t stop us from striving to make it a little safer through training. This is obviously evident since life safety, both for them and for us, is our primary goal. Seems simple enough, right? Well, for some, the rub comes when we start discussing whose safety is more important… theirs or ours? Over the past couple of decades some have stated that the focus on firefighter safety is, at…


Added by Nick Ledin on April 15, 2016 at 12:30am — No Comments

Quality Matters

        Whether it’s halligans, hooks or hoses, the unfortunate truth is that too many firefighters are using inferior tools and equipment on the fireground…and this needs to stop. To most of the brothers and sisters that will take the time to read (and watch) this, this is old news; but to many of our brethren, this is the first they’re hearing of this.…


Added by Nick Ledin on July 16, 2015 at 12:30am — No Comments


        Growing up, probably like most of you, I used to play a lot of sports, although by the time I got to high school I realized that I wasn’t very good at most of them. Nonetheless, throughout high school I was on the wrestling team - all 112 pounds of me. Doing some quick math I figured that I spent about 175 hours on the mat during the high school season. In the summer I dabbled in…


Added by Nick Ledin on April 19, 2015 at 11:51pm — No Comments

Look Up, Look Out

       I know I don’t need to tell you this, but your department doesn’t have all the answers; neither does your Chief, your Training Officer or you. For that matter, no fireground or emergency scene has ever, or will ever, go flawlessly. We’re human. We’re imperfect. And that’s okay, although this doesn’t mean that we should be satisfied with the status quo, but instead we should strive for excellence. If you’re reading this,…


Added by Nick Ledin on November 12, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Weapon X

       My wife and I were watching a movie a couple of nights ago (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) where they referenced 'Weapon X'. For anyone that hasn't seen Origins, 'Weapon X' is a clandestine research project that genetically engineers humans and mutants, making them into super weapons. They take the best (or the worst, depending on your perspective) parts of numerous individuals to make one fully, badass…


Added by Nick Ledin on August 4, 2014 at 11:30pm — No Comments


        For the past handful of years, through ongoing fire dynamics research, we've been deconstructing the fireground. This Fireground Genome Project has undoubtedly led us to a much better understanding of fire dynamics and the fireground. An untoward effect of this research is that the fire service is seemingly devolving into a bipartisan system. We can all sense the division. A schism has formed and too many firefighters are spewing their polarizing rhetoric…


Added by Nick Ledin on June 11, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Expect Training, Expect Sweat

        This job isn't easy, and there's no secret to being good at it. The recipe has only two ingredients: training and sweat. Over the past generation or so our responsibilities have snowballed to the point where the spectrum of our services is near infinite. We are the ones called when someone is trapped following a traffic accident, when grandma passes out, when there's a mudslide, a chemical spill, ice rescue, etc., etc...and I haven't even mentioned fire yet. Even though our duties…


Added by Nick Ledin on April 25, 2014 at 12:00am — No Comments

Training to Fail (Part 2)

        First of all, a quick correction to Training to Fail, Part 1; it appears I was wrong about Peyton Manning studying his enemy in preparation for the Super Bowl. I apologize, from now on I will do my due diligence...just kidding Bronco fans.

        This short little blog is not meant to cure the fire service of the problems of training to…


Added by Nick Ledin on March 18, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments

Training to Fail (Part 1)

        If you've read any of my other pieces you've undoubtedly heard me on my soapbox, I've repeated myself over and over again: "Train more!" I've said this so many times it's become my mantra, and pretty much everything I've ever written on here follows that simple theme, but there's more to training that just checking boxes and going through the motions. I've preached about the benefits of training and the dangers of failing to train, but training to fail can be just as…


Added by Nick Ledin on January 30, 2014 at 2:30pm — 2 Comments

Contaminate Your Crew

CDC Current Intelligence Bulletin 67: Fire Service Epidemic

        There's an epidemic in the American fire service, and terrifyingly little is known about it. Some estimate that as many as 1% of your brothers and sisters might already be infected, while others claim that number is as high as 10%,…


Added by Nick Ledin on November 30, 2013 at 8:30pm — 3 Comments

Firefighter Renaissance

     We are living in an incredible time in the fire service; the fact that our knowledge of the fireground is evolving at an unparalleled rate, combined with the fact that at no other point in history has information been shared as fast and freely as it is today, this truly is the Firefighter Renaissance. Twenty years ago (pre-digital big bang and infinite internet), I remember searching for hours, even days for the answer to a given question. I would first look in a dictionary, then ask my…


Added by Nick Ledin on October 23, 2013 at 4:00pm — 2 Comments

The Holy Grail of Fire Attack?

With all the recent fire studies conducted by UL, NIST, ISFSI, etc. the fire service is undergoing a renaissance...or at least that's what I thought. The aforementioned organizations have pumped out volumes of empirical data that we can consume and digest to make our profession smarter, more effective and most importantly, safer. Although over the past couple of months I have heard too many people spout misinformation regarding the findings of these studies. Specifically, I have had…


Added by Nick Ledin on September 23, 2013 at 12:00am — 7 Comments

The Most Important Person on the Job

This phrase has been used countless times in the fire service to describe nearly as many positions: from the chief, the company officer, the senior firefighter, to the guys riding the backstep; although in my experience the most important person on the job is the training officer.

Being a firefighter today is not an easy job; our shareholders (the citizens we serve) expect us to be experts at everything from haz-mat mitigation, to wildland firefighting, to paramedicine, to vehicle…


Added by Nick Ledin on July 30, 2013 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

Tactical Efficiency: RIC

       Tactical efficiency means getting the most accomplished, in a timely manner, with the personnel that you have on the fireground. As I've mentioned in previous posts, with the prevalence and abundance of synthetic fuels and lightweight construction, fighting fires in 2013 and beyond is, and will be, different than fighting fires in past generations. The enemy is more formidable and the battlefield is less…


Added by Nick Ledin on May 3, 2013 at 8:30am — No Comments

30 Years for 30 Seconds

      Throughout your career there will undoubtedly be times when it’s hard to stay focused and on the top of your game. It’s easy to get complacent…too easy! Complacency starts out innocently enough; you’re tired, so you relax for a little while on the couch, and the couch feels sooo good…AND there’s a James Bond marathon on TV, so you consequently think to yourself…will it really matter if I…

Added by Nick Ledin on April 19, 2013 at 9:30pm — No Comments

A Call to Arms

We are all aware that for the past couple of decades, our enemy has been getting bigger, faster and more deadly. This has hopefully led you to the realization that we now have less time on the fireground to accomplish all of our critical tasks. But before we get into the meat and potatoes of this article, let’s look at the basics of the above premise. The two biggest reasons that the fireground has changed so much in the last generation or so, are that the fuels have changed, and so have the…


Added by Nick Ledin on April 19, 2013 at 9:30pm — No Comments

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