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Jonah Smith's Blog (18)

The New Generation

Today in the fire service there are many different barriers that we all face everyday.  Technology, growing scope of responsibility, and life in general are challenges that each and every company officer, chief, and Administrator face when it comes to forming the fire department camaraderie of old.  We often hear the brotherhood is dead, the new generation is lazy, and on and on and on.  The fact is, we can complain (and firefighters will we know) or we can seek out new and innovative ways…


Added by Jonah Smith on December 5, 2018 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

Sizing Up the Situation

After we are dispatched to the call and speed to the scene to save the day, the most important part of the arrival of a fire apparatus besides pulling the first line and forcing the door is the size up by the first in officer and the initial actions that he/she orders. If everyone stays informed as they arrive and communication remains clear on the fireground, then the emergency will be mitigated much more efficiently. The first arriving officer or acting officer must paint…


Added by Jonah Smith on June 29, 2015 at 2:38pm — No Comments

Pride in Preparation

All accross this country, in firehouses everywhere, there sits a firefighter who feels that as long as hose is on the apparatus that it is good enough.  At times, company pride isolates itself to a cool Tee-Shirt, or a waxed apparatus.  However, in the best firehouses throughout the country, tools are sharpened, hose is laid out with a reason on the apparatus, and firefighters are thinking of how they can better serve their citizens every day.

There is no better way to judge the…


Added by Jonah Smith on June 4, 2015 at 3:00pm — No Comments

What's Your Alias

Each day across America, firefighters key up radios and transmit numerous emergency and non emergency messages across the airways above us.  Without this form of communications, the fire service and many of us would be lost.  With the new technologies that have been introduced into the communications realm, firefighters have been challenged and protected better all at the same time. 

The one thing I want to bring everyone's attention to is how are your radios aliased?  I know, I know,…


Added by Jonah Smith on August 5, 2014 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Curse of Caring

At times numerous firefighters feel alone while they are at work, despite having numerous people around them.  Each day, firefighters everywhere feel as though they are the only ones that care. Caring in the fire service is a great thing because it usually results in pride and dedication; but what no one tells you is that it truly can become a curse to many of us.  Caring can bring an unexpected loneliness some days, caring can bring heavy self criticism, but in the end it is a…


Added by Jonah Smith on July 8, 2014 at 9:00am — 3 Comments

Tool Discipline

Repeat after me…”This is my tool, there are many like it, but this one is mine.” If anyone ever asks for my tool at a fire, this is the response they will get. If you have been to at least one fire, you know how important a tool can be. If you have ever taken a real self-survival class, you know how important a tool is. The question is: Do you always carry one? Without a tool, you are just a well-dressed and well-informed civilian.

When I began Recruit School in my former…


Added by Jonah Smith on June 5, 2014 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Because We Can

Over my short career in the fire service, I have been asked many times: “Why do you care so much?” I often answer with: because I can.

Everyone should have that reason to get out of bed and get the day started.  Many days it…


Added by Jonah Smith on July 29, 2013 at 2:38pm — No Comments

What Do You Weigh?

As we all know, our job isn’t all about sitting around and reading novels, it can place us at an extraordinary cardiovascular level at a moments notice.  Due to this fact, we must prepare our bodies and our minds to overcome this demand to allow us to perform at an elite level.

We have all seen the firefighters who are in excellent physical condition who struggle to perform well at fire incidents, and many wonder why.  These firefighters train day in and day out to be able to increase…


Added by Jonah Smith on March 7, 2013 at 7:15am — No Comments

The Abilene Paradox

Recently, I was reviewing some fire service materials from a self-survival class, and read about a management challenge known as the Abilene Paradox. The author described how it could affect firefighting decisions, and how the challenges that this situation presents could prove tragic on the fire scene.…


Added by Jonah Smith on November 1, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Training For Fun or Training for the Fight

As firefighters, we all know the common apprehensions associated with in house or even academy sponsored training. Many firefighters fear they will fail, feel that they will learn nothing, or that it is only for people who haven't been there and done that. One problem I see is that many departments or companies decide to train only to "check the box". We all know ISO, NFPA or the CFAI require a certain commitment to company level or department sanctioned training in order to remain compliant,… Continue

Added by Jonah Smith on August 18, 2012 at 1:00pm — No Comments

3 for 1 deal

While surfing the endless world wide web not long ago, I came across this video of a very challenging fire that some firefighters encountered.  The point of me posting this video is to make each of you think about your actions if you were first in.  How would you address the multiple challenges that show themselves in this video.  In both my career and volunteer departments we have the exact same structures and could have the exact same fire occur in our area.  This post is meant to cause…


Added by Jonah Smith on August 2, 2012 at 8:33am — 1 Comment

The Passion For Excellence

Last shift, during my free time I decided to start a new book I had heard was excellent titled "Fearless" and is written by Eric Blehm.  This book chronicles the life of SEAL team six operator Adam Brown.  This book is good on many different levels, but it tells the story of a passionate man with a huge heart and the love for a career.

To summarize the book very briefly, Adam started out as the kid in school who was driven, passionate about success and a knack for…


Added by Jonah Smith on July 12, 2012 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

Keep Your Eyes Open

While carrying out perhaps my favorite fatherly duty of reading a bedtime story to my young son, I read a line that sparked a flurry of thoughts in my head.  The line came from Dr. Suess's book I Can Read with My Eyes Shut.  As with most Dr. Suess books, there isn't really a plot to follow just some good rhymes.  However, one line struck me that I related to the fire service, here it is: "There are so many things you can learn about, but you'll miss the best things if…


Added by Jonah Smith on July 1, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

How Do You Communicate?

This post came to me while continuing to design my class for the South Atlantic Fire Expo later this summer. I have always been a huge proponent of calm radio traffic. The calmer the traffic the better the incident generally goes. Sure I have yelled on the radio, sure I have said some dumb stuff on the radio, but with experience comes a calm radio demeanor. This expectation isn't just for the officer either, it should be for everyone who has a radio. These days audio is broadcast and…


Added by Jonah Smith on June 18, 2012 at 7:01am — 2 Comments

The Firehouse Meal

As you may or may not know, I'm a faculty member at a local Fire Science Bachelors program.  Currently, I'm in the process of designing a new class for our program about Fire Service Personnel Dynamics.  I find the topic fascinating, because the more you travel around and meet firefighters, the more you see how each department's culture is as different as it's equipment.  Some places everyone loves to promote, and other places people want to ride the back…


Added by Jonah Smith on June 14, 2012 at 10:27am — No Comments

The Best Advice

I am sure all of us could say we have worked for great officers and for bad officers. I also believe one could advocate that the bad officers teach you more about being a quality officer than the good ones. In my previous department, I had the fortune to work for an officer who was one of the best in the Department. He treated me just like a rookie should be, he gave me a hard time, pushed me to be better, mentored me, and most of all taught me about many parts of the service, especially…


Added by Jonah Smith on May 24, 2012 at 7:30pm — No Comments

All My Rowdy Friends

All My Rowdy Friends

While at the "Combat Ready" Class last week many of my fellow firefighters gave me a hard time about some things while we were there, including one of the instructors.  It was a great presentation that I took a lot away from including things that I can implement and live out at all of the fire departments I am associated…


Added by Jonah Smith on May 15, 2012 at 1:12pm — No Comments

Plan For what you can't control

Last week, I received notification that I would have an article I submitted to the Carolina Fire Rescue Journal published.  It is a topic that I am very passionate about and feel we all should address.  Here is the link to it on the Carolina Fire Rescue Journal Web site.

Plan for What you can't control

Added by Jonah Smith on May 10, 2012 at 9:23am — No Comments

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