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David DeStefano's Blog (12)

Sizing Up from the Tip

     Many excellent articles are written and classes presented that include valuable size up information from the perspective of the chief or company officer.  However, while much of this material is directly transferable to the firefighter, few would argue that the firefighter maintains a different physical and mental perspective during incident response and operations.  The size up process holds just as much significance for members literally "on the line" as it does for supervisors and…


Added by David DeStefano on June 26, 2017 at 8:43am — No Comments

Small Department/ Big Challenge

     Those of us in the  fire service who respond with less than the minimum recommended levels of company staffing understand the challenges of arriving short-handed.  How do we overcome adversity and leverage our resources to our best advantage?  The aggressive application of our capabilities applied to the most urgently needed tactics to achieve life safety is the clear answer.  Understanding our capabilities and utilizing our resources efficiently is a challenge.  However, expecting too…


Added by David DeStefano on April 21, 2017 at 2:35pm — No Comments

When in Rome, Convert the Empire

     "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."  A well known piece of advice to ease someone's assimilation into a group or situation.  But what if the Romans have it all wrong?  Another follower joining the ranks would just reinforce the negative.  Especially if that newcomer is a recently promoted, or transferred company officer. 

     Few in the fire service are promoted to the rank of lieutenant or captain without merit.  Whether its testing, interviews, job performance evaluations, or…


Added by David DeStefano on March 14, 2017 at 8:53am — No Comments

Timely Plans or Perfect Plans?

     There is a quote by General George Patton that while set in the context of war parallels our battles on the fireground with a lesson on decisive action.  "A good plan violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."  While not an endorsement to rush into an incident without proper thought or size up, the quote should provide a reality check that we are in the business of delivering the safest and most effective emergency services with the resources available, not the…


Added by David DeStefano on February 6, 2017 at 1:32pm — No Comments

No Half Measures...

      Our ultimate success during any incident is a direct result of the effort applied by available resources.  Incidents for which we have adequate resources (personnel, equipment, training) will usually have the most successful outcome possible given the circumstances.  How we choose to apply the resources at hand to mitigate an incident is generally the factor of which we have the greatest control once an incident begins.  Company officers and chiefs who direct operations from…


Added by David DeStefano on December 14, 2016 at 11:01pm — 1 Comment

Expect Fire

      I would rather anticipate a fire 1000 times and not have one, than be surprised once.  Because we don't respond to a working fire every time we leave the firehouse some firefighters may begin to expect each incident to be mundane, uneventful, or routine.  Allowing this thought process to take hold undermines the safety of every member of the company as well as the public, and may put the outcome of an incident in jeopardy.  Remaining focused and vigilant usually isn't the easiest…


Added by David DeStefano on December 2, 2016 at 9:49am — No Comments

The Strength of the Group...

     Vince Lombardi once said "the strength of the group is the strength of the leader."  Great advice for a football team and possibly life-saving advice when applied to the fire service.  The leadership role played by the company officer can not be over-stated.  This first level of supervision is the closest to the action, the first to spot potential problems on and off the fireground, and the first to mitigate these issues.   In order to have a strong company the officers must…


Added by David DeStefano on October 17, 2016 at 1:20pm — No Comments

Training your Replacement

     Leadership in a levels of the fire service is in a constant state of transition.  Yesterdays' firefighter is today's company officer and last week's battalion chief assigned to operations is the new assistant chief in administration.  No matter what level in the chain of command, retirements, promotions, and transfers may all create change in an organization.  Whether or not that change causes turmoil and a major disruption in operational performance is largely a result of the quality…


Added by David DeStefano on October 12, 2016 at 5:31pm — No Comments

The Working Company Officer

     Many fire departments throughout the nation operate with fire companies that are considerably  understaffed.  Officers assigned in these companies have the added responsibility of performing firefighting at the task level during nearly every incident.  Whether pulling ceiling, stretching a line, or chasing kinks,  the company officer needs to remember his/her primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the members and location in which they are operating. 

     Being a…


Added by David DeStefano on September 23, 2016 at 9:58am — No Comments

I'm Responsible

     Its easy to pass the buck.  Many in our society deflect responsibility as often as possible to avoid having to answer directly for their actions, or lack thereof.  In the fire service passing the buck can be game with deadly consequences.  When we assume any role in the fire service we must be prepared to shoulder the responsibilities associated with our job.  These responsibilities involve obligations to ourselves, our families, our subordinates and superiors, our organization, the…


Added by David DeStefano on August 13, 2016 at 8:06pm — No Comments

It Takes Two...

     Hopefully the decidedly ambiguous title has piqued your interest to read on.  It takes two parties to accomplish many things in life and in the fire service.  We operate in teams of at least two for almost all fireground functions.  It takes two to have an argument, and it takes at least two parties to form a cooperative effort to achieve a goal.  Cooperation towards a goal is the purpose of this discussion.  Specifically, the most important of all the goals in the fire service;…


Added by David DeStefano on July 28, 2016 at 2:35pm — No Comments

Always Return a Favor

     Call it good manners or the Golden Rule, it is simply polite to return a favor or help someone in turn who has helped you.  This rule applies to the fire service as a community as much as any one individual.  Throughout our careers we all  experience the many benefits that make the fire service the unique brother/sisterhood that creates lifelong bonds, trains and develops us from recruit to retirement, and preserves the ideals that guide us through good fortune and adversity.   As the…


Added by David DeStefano on July 20, 2016 at 7:38pm — No Comments

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