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Lou Comenale's Blog (13)

Pride in Oil and Paint

Ever smell a smell or hear a song and it brings you back to an old memory?  The smell of linseed oil always brings me back to my grandfather’s cottage shed.  My grandfather was a carpenter by trade and a volunteer firefighter.  His relied on his tools to put food on his family’s table for decades.  Long after retirement the tools all hanging in that shed he built, still looked like they came off the shelf at the hardware store.  He took pride in his work and it…


Added by Lou Comenale on July 25, 2016 at 12:39pm — No Comments

To stretch or not to stretch?

To stretch or not to stretch....

A call for a structure fire comes in, whether it be the odor of smoke sight unknown or a bedroom fire, what action does the first engine in take upon arrival?  With the latter scenario its easy to answer, stretch in and put the fire out, but what about the other possible scene? This is where the question comes in, do we or don't we stretch?  Always follow whatever your department’s SOP/SOG’s state, but what happens when a department leaves it…


Added by Lou Comenale on May 17, 2016 at 1:43pm — 1 Comment

Buildings, battleground or enemy?

Previously in my fire service career I took a college course on Dr. Francis Brannigan’s book Building Construction for the Fire Service. As a Company Officer, I feel it never hurts to gain new information, so I recently took a class on Lightweight Construction.  

One of the first slides in the new course quoted Dr. Brannigan’s book “the building is your enemy, know your enemy” the course continued with another quote, “...buildings constructed with lightweight wood…


Added by Lou Comenale on December 29, 2015 at 11:44am — No Comments

Tradition. Pride. Dedication. Self-sacrifice.

Tradition. Pride. Dedication. Self-sacrifice.  These are some of the reasons we embark on a career, volunteer or paid, in the fire service.  If your department holds these values essential, then I applaud you.  I have unfortunately experienced first hand, by seasoned members, an absence of ownership, lack of mentoring, and general disregard toward the enthusiasm of the upcoming generation.  

Sadly this occurs at any level in the fire service.  For example a senior member or…


Added by Lou Comenale on May 23, 2015 at 5:44pm — No Comments

Milwaukee, Louver, Rochester Peak, Syracuse, Tee Pee Cut. What is right for us?

Milwaukee, Louver, Rochester Peak, Syracuse, Tee Pee Cut.

What is right for us?

I had the opportunity to attend FDIC the past month and was fortunate enough to take the eight hour HOT class Urban Essentials.  If you ever get the chance to go to Indianapolis for FDIC take Urban Essentials, lots of skills that you can take back to your home department and implement.  At Urban Essentials one of Milwaukee’s finest truck companies…


Added by Lou Comenale on May 3, 2015 at 6:16pm — No Comments

Know Your Ladders!!

Know Your Ladder Lengths/Heights!!!

We always use the scenario that in 0300 hours we need to perform like it is 1100 hours.  We try to promote muscle memory but sometimes I think we tend to lack on the mind part of the memory.  Firefighters perform the skill efficiently for each task…


Added by Lou Comenale on April 12, 2015 at 11:58am — No Comments

Old Dog, New Tricks

Many departments across the country have a in-house maze for SCBA Confidence training.  These mazes are great for instilling confidence for the brand new fire fighter and maintaining proficiencies for the 20 year veteran.  The issue that I have heard not just in my own department but departments across the county in which I reside is, “I can do this maze in my sleep” statement.  A lot of mazes are constructed modular so different paths can be taken; the maze will also be slightly different…


Added by Lou Comenale on February 26, 2015 at 8:46pm — No Comments

Chauffeur Drill for Minimum Staffing

We are not all Big City Fire Departments

Chauffeur/Driver Drill.

It has been almost a year into my first year as a company officer of a three man Quint.  I have taken time off from writing to learn the “job”, more reading, and developing drills for the company and the department.  

One of the last blogs I wrote was the Chauffeur/Driver position of our Quint. …


Added by Lou Comenale on February 9, 2015 at 1:26pm — No Comments

Absent Lately

Haven't been writing lately I have been busy learning the ins and outs of being a Lieutenant with my new promotion.  I have been keeping busy reading books and training material.  I'm sure the trials and tribulations of being a new officer will be great stuff for future blogs to come.  Stay tuned and stay safe

Added by Lou Comenale on March 23, 2014 at 7:16pm — 1 Comment

Why the Quint Works for us; The Driver

Why the Quint Works for us; The Driver

By Lou Comenale and Justin Ientilluci

A couple of posts ago we wrote how the Quint works for our department.  That really was a quick overview of our operations and training using the Quint.  If we were to dive deeper into our operations using the Quint we have to look at each position.  Many people could make an argument for the officer sitting shotgun being the most important personnel on…


Added by Lou Comenale on December 16, 2013 at 10:18am — 1 Comment

Gates Fire District Rope Rescue from rooftop.

Rope Rescue in Gates

By Lou Comenale

Illustrations and Equipment  Photos by Lou Comenale

On Scene Photos by John Spaulding

There has always been some questioning of the purpose of spending thousands of dollars in rope rescue equipment.  The Gates Fire District really doesn’t have the topography that would warrant a rope rescue incident, we do have some vertical embankments along the Erie Canal that makes…


Added by Lou Comenale on December 2, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments

Why the Quint Works for us.

Why the Quint works for us.

By Lou Comenale and Justin Ientilluci

In many firehouses across the country you mention the word “Quint” and you might have well just insulted that firefighters favorite football team.  Even in our own department some guys still wish we would run just a Ladder Truck.  Slowly the culture is changing and the reality is setting in that running a Quint actually works in our department.…


Added by Lou Comenale on November 22, 2013 at 2:34pm — No Comments

We are not all "Big City Fire Departments"

We are not all “Big City Fire Departments”

By Lou Comenale and Justin Ientilluci

We see the hats, t-shirts, posters and even TV shows that advertise the “Big City” fire departments.  The reality is, we all can’t be the big city.  Most of us work or volunteer,  in comparison, small towns, in all types of departments (Paid, Combination, Paid on Call or all Volunteer).  It’s nice to think we can operate like a big city but in…


Added by Lou Comenale on November 14, 2013 at 1:56pm — 2 Comments

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