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P.J. Norwood's Blog (47)

Fire Prevention Challenge – Close The Door, Making Your Message Visual for FREE

With Fire Prevention month right around the corner you should be looking to finalize your plans. I would like to challenge you to take time this year to change what you have done in the past. I challenge you to put a focus on the close the door message. I also challenge you to make it visual and enjoyable for all those you get the privilege to speak to.

By now every firefighter understands the importance of door control until we have water on the fire. We need to take that message…


Added by P.J. Norwood on July 24, 2017 at 9:17am — No Comments

Stop Believing Start Knowing on Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 Sean Gray and I had the privilege to be guests on Capt. Mike Gagliano’s and Capt. Mike Dugan’s Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio Show. Sean and I are grateful and humbled by this opportunity and want to encourage you to listen to the archived show.

To help encourage you we wanted to give you an idea the topics we discussed.

  • We started the discussion on what does and where did Stop Believing Start Knowing begin. Some feel the name is offensive and…

Added by P.J. Norwood on January 6, 2017 at 9:49pm — No Comments

The Fire Tetrahedron

When we enter the fire service we attend a lesson on fire behavior. This lesson may be taught many different ways, but the concepts are generally the same. Traditionally, this lesson is scheduled as a mere four block of the Firefighter I curriculum.

The lesson invariably covers the fire tetrahedron and basic fire behavior terminology (flashover, backdraft, rollover etc.), along with some…


Added by P.J. Norwood on September 30, 2016 at 7:09am — No Comments

Job Related Hazards

When I first became married senior firefighters were quick to inform me of the dangers of wearing my wedding band while working. I defied the warnings and continued to wear my ring. I have seen photos over the years of “degloved” fingers and other injuries related to wearing jewelry on the fireground.

This week a mentor of mine who…


Added by P.J. Norwood on January 15, 2016 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

The Foundation of Your Department

The members of your department skill set starts when they enter the service. Through their recruit or initial training they begin to build a foundation that will carry them through their career. This training and education is the foundation they will build upon.

Just like a home, the foundation is only the beginning. Through training, education, experience of others passed down and being lead not managed they begin to become well-rounded functioning firefighters.



Added by P.J. Norwood on December 14, 2015 at 6:30am — No Comments

Are You Courageous Enough?

This week’s Fire Engineering Google Hang out brought together a wealth of information that firefighters and officers can do today to reduce their risk to cancer. On behalf of Chief Bobby Halton we hosted Tim Elliott and Keith Tyson from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN).

We had a very lively and spirited discussion surrounding a taboo topic in many firehouses. Every firefighter needs to clearly understand that firefighter cancer is a looming personal catastrophe for each…


Added by P.J. Norwood on August 27, 2015 at 11:06am — No Comments

Being a Mentor, By John Fogg

The following words are not mine. They are from Firefighter John Fogg from Harrisburg Pennsylvania. He posted the below on a FaceBook page and it grabbed my attention. While they are not my words I agree 100% with him.

I encouraged him to re-post his thoughts here on the Fire Engineering Training Community. He asked me to do it for him.

So here you go in the words of John Fogg, well done Brother!



Added by P.J. Norwood on August 13, 2015 at 8:01pm — No Comments

"VEIS is for second floor windows only"

Sometimes as an instructor you will struggle to find the right way to answer an attendee without embarrassing him or her. Recently, while lecturing at a seminar I was told the vent, enter, isolate, search tactic (VEIS) is for second floor windows only. I asked the attendee to explain why he felt that way. His reply was more mind boggling then his original statement. "We only train for VEIS for second floor windows"!

This was a valuable lesson for me as an instructor. If I engaged…


Added by P.J. Norwood on April 2, 2015 at 8:30pm — 1 Comment

FDIC International 2015 - The Bridge Between Research and Tactics

The fire service is evolving everyday and this couldn’t be more evident in a recent illustration by Brother Paul Combs. This past month’s illustration gives us insight on the necessity to understand, study and learn more about fire behavior.

The fire and the building its within is our enemy and we must know as much as possible about…


Added by P.J. Norwood on March 22, 2015 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Ventilation Factors We Cannot Control – Part 4 Taking It To The Streets

This multi-part blog series has focused on the ventilation issues that occur on our fireground and their impact on the tactical assignments. We have discussed when doors and windows fail and the devastating impact a failure can have on companies operating inside that environment. 

In this last part, I want to discuss the officer’s role in predicting these events that will help keep their members safe. However, it must be stated this is not just the officer’s role. Every member has the…


Added by P.J. Norwood on February 2, 2015 at 1:01pm — No Comments

Narrowing The Divide

The fire service is full of debates and animated conversations the same way it was long before we all started riding the big shiny trucks. Many of these debates will outlast all of us. Some of these debates will be put to bed but new ones will emerge. This is all part of a cycle where we learn new things and then begin to apply them to the changing fireground.

Sean Gray and I have been accused of creating a divide between the “sides” of fire attack. This blog is not being written to…


Added by P.J. Norwood on January 27, 2015 at 9:38am — 4 Comments

Ventilation Factors You Cannot Control, Part 3 - Tactical Considerations

This multiple part blog has been focusing on the ventilation factors that are present on the fireground. The factors in which we cannot control but have a significant impact on the operations. Part 1 focused on door failure while Part 2 focused on window failure during testing. If you have not read those parts please go back as the information presented are necessary pieces of the puzzle.

Part #1 - …


Added by P.J. Norwood on January 13, 2015 at 8:24am — 7 Comments

Ventilation Factors We Cannot Control - Part 2

In part 1 we focused on window failure. Now we will be focusing on door failure. When I was first taught to enter a second floor window without the protection of a hand line to search a bedroom (VES) I was taught to immediately close the door. I was also told if there was no door, find a door, take it off the hinges and put it in place. Today, many beat the drum that there is no reason to include the “I” (isolate) into the VES acronym. We have all heard it “if you were taught the right way…


Added by P.J. Norwood on January 6, 2015 at 10:00am — No Comments

Ventilation Factors We Cannot Control - Part 1

There has been recent talk, debates and training on vertical and horizontal ventilation on the fire ground. The focus has been identifying what we do on the fireground that directly impacts fire behavior, therefore impacting our tactical considerations. 

This focus on ventilation is results of testing, both laboratory and acquired structure throughout the U.S. and unless you have been under a rock you are aware testing has occurred and the scientific data gathered is having a positive…


Added by P.J. Norwood on December 28, 2014 at 8:00pm — 2 Comments

Door Control - There are options!

By now we are all familiar with the terminology "flow path". We have read the blogs, picked apart the studies, watched videos, begun seeing and recognizing the dangers of not controlling the flow path. We have had discussions and have considered our tactical options to mange the flow path. Many departments have begun to change their policies, procedures, SOP’s etc. However, there is still a piece of controlling the door…


Added by P.J. Norwood on November 1, 2014 at 7:00pm — 1 Comment

Are you dedicated?

Seriously, are you truly dedicated to the fire service?

Before we debate your dedication to the fire service lets first look at the definition of dedication.

Dedication - the quality of being dedicated or committed to a task or purpose.

You will quickly notice it does not mention or measure someone’s dedication. There is no calculation to quantify your level of dedication.  There are many levels that different individuals dedicate to the fire service. Some put themselves…


Added by P.J. Norwood on August 27, 2014 at 8:04pm — No Comments

What's changed or changing in your district?

Rooftops are considered prime real estate for many companies and many building owners know the value of these locations. Many building owners look to secure long-term contracts with private companies that provide a significant positive financial impact.…


Added by P.J. Norwood on August 20, 2014 at 8:35am — No Comments

The Little Things - Part 2

As much as we’d like to think that the fire service is heralded as being public servants, all too often the fire service receives a black eye in the news. Often the media is quick to report the mistakes made by some. If its not the local media outlet, social media will be sure to catch up and highlight some negative thing that occurred or appeared to have occurred! Rarely do we see positive stories such as the one that prompted this blog.

What have you done this week that…


Added by P.J. Norwood on June 16, 2014 at 10:46am — No Comments

Controlling the Flow Path and Door Control

Co-written by P.J. Norwood and Sean Gray

By this point we have not found anyone that does not debate the importance door control. Heck, we have been preaching door control during fire prevention talks for many years. We just never tied it into our tactical mind set outside of trying to keep fire in its compartment. Truck company firefighters have been practicing door control during search and VES for many years!

Understanding and realizing we need to control the door for many…


Added by P.J. Norwood on May 28, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Size Up Dilemma

My departments size up and building descriptions have always been relatively straightforward; one story, two story, taxpayer, garden apartment etc.

Architects have used their creativity; FEMA has adopted guidelines, consumers have requested more. This has all drove the construction of today away from the standard straightforward size up’s.

Recently, we experienced a fire in a private dwelling that was under construction. The original home was destroyed by hurricane Irene. The…


Added by P.J. Norwood on May 12, 2014 at 2:28pm — No Comments

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