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Dan Miller's Blog (13)

Want To Be A Fire Service Leader? Start Now.

Want to be a respected fire service leader some day? Start now.

Be a leader in front of others. Not an a**. Not a complainer. Not someone who sits out of things they disagree with or think they know already.

A leader has to practice leadership throughout their career. Take advantage of the extra education and training that comes along - and yes there is a difference. Even if this is the fifth time you've conducted the same drill in the last three years, it doesn't mean the rest…


Added by Dan Miller on April 2, 2017 at 9:18pm — No Comments

Does Certification Equal Performance?

Candidates for certification, whether individuals or organizations, should be required to demonstrate alone and as a team those skills and judgements that will be required when they hit the street. As instructors and leaders, that is our ultimate responsibility.

The fire and EMS world is ruled by certifications. These certifications are supposed to represent a referenced level of knowledge, skill, and ability, verifying that an individual can indeed perform to that level. In most…


Added by Dan Miller on April 18, 2016 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Pressing the Safety Engine Into Action Early

Many fire departments designate one engine company as RIC on first alarm to a building fire. This is done to ensure that the responsibility of RIC is established early in the game and takes the place of the Initial Rapid Intervention Crew (IRIC) which is the “two-out” part of two-in, two-out. The use of a first alarm engine company as a dedicated RIC is an example of the Safety Engine concept in action.

Some but not all SOPs call for the replacement of this early dedicated RIC with a…


Added by Dan Miller on February 8, 2016 at 12:00am — No Comments

The Multiple Methods of Maydays, Part 1 - The MBE Connection

Maydays can and do occur in several different ways. Firefighters must master the skills needed to initiate a Mayday in any situation at any given time, depending on the circumstances. Before everyone carried portable radios and PASS devices, firefighters were frequently trained to initiate a Mayday by tossing their helmet out the window, hoping to get the attention of others that there was a problem. It was the best option at the time. Never saying that tossing a helmet…


Added by Dan Miller on October 26, 2015 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Your Uniform as a Symbol of Leadership

I used to be the guy, like a lot of guys I think, who quietly resisted wearing button up shirts on the job - ever. They were hot, stuffy, and not “cool” like the navy blue t-shirts with the big white letters on the back. When it came to my Class-A uniform, I would avoid almost any situation that would require me wearing it. I didn’t do it in a subversive sense, but I did harbor a little bit of fear of dress uniforms in general. I didn’t really feel like I fit-in when wearing the uniform, and…


Added by Dan Miller on September 25, 2015 at 11:00pm — No Comments

God Bless the Peer Support Volunteer

God Bless the members of the tight-knit rescue company completing their morning checks, making sure that everything is ready to perform at its highest level. The saws, the spreaders, the SCBA.

God Bless the single mother, going off duty after her busy shift on the engine company, driving through the rain to pick up her kids from their father’s house, so he can go to work.

God Bless the paramedic who holds the hand of an elderly lady on her last ride to the hospital, as she…


Added by Dan Miller on March 31, 2015 at 8:30pm — No Comments

When "Not" to Assume Command

The first officer on the scene, often a company officer from an engine or truck, establishes command upon arrival to all types of incidents, day in and day out. Ranking officers, usually chiefs, whether they show up simultaneously or some time later, often assume command out of hand.

When officers get comfortable and competent with managing incidents with all their many facets, whether high or low frequency, high or low risk, there is a reward system that exists in every one of us. It…


Added by Dan Miller on February 6, 2015 at 1:00pm — 2 Comments


Captain Laura Larson volunteered to help instruct the Omaha Fire Academy Class of 2012.  As the Chief of Training, this is where I had the distinct pleasure of working side by side with Laura.  Lasting 17 weeks, this academy took place during one of the hottest summers on record with temperatures regularly in the upper 90s and low 100s, and would be a challenge for all.

Laura Larson was hired by the Omaha Fire Department as a part of the recruit Class of 2000, and was assigned to…


Added by Dan Miller on December 16, 2014 at 12:00am — No Comments


It’s Saturday afternoon. You are watching your favorite college team play football on TV and you notice the freshman quarterback shows flashes of great athleticism, but rushes throws, and makes some not-so great decisions that cost your team first downs and points.  Yet when the veteran running back gets the ball, there is rarely a hitch in his game.  He always makes yards, hangs on to the ball, and makes the big plays needed to get the “W.”

In the sports world you will often hear…


Added by Dan Miller on November 25, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Search Happens

Much has been written and discussed about the tactical implications of ventilation, or anti-ventilation of structural fires.  One big change is a heightened awareness of the timing and the flow path of ventilation – ensuring that the fire department controls both, when possible, in order to limit oxygen infiltration and influence the direction of the flow path to their advantage.

Search is one tactic that was acutely affected by the recent recommended changes based on UL & NIST…


Added by Dan Miller on October 24, 2014 at 12:00pm — No Comments


One very common problem with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is their propensity to be way too long.  Therefore the only people that read them are those who absolutely have to.  Administrative SOPs (policies) sometimes have to be long due to the fact that there is often legally required information included.

Operational SOPs, on the other hand, are SOPs that address incident scene response or on-scene procedures.  When these become lengthy the objective can get lost in the text,…


Added by Dan Miller on September 25, 2014 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Science Doesn't Care

 I'm going to steal the words from my brainiac kids here - "Science doesn't care what you think."  So I'm going to apply science to some of my earlier writing regarding heavyweight tactics on lightweight apartment "externally-ignited" fires.

 In the June, 2014 edition of Fire Engineering Magazine I wrote about the critical need for heavyweight tactics when faced with a lightweight apartment building fire, especially when the fire starts on the exterior (…


Added by Dan Miller on September 7, 2014 at 7:22pm — No Comments

"Training" - What does this word mean to you?

“Training.” “Training.” What does the word “training” mean to you?

Too often in the busy life of [INSERT YEAR HERE] we are consumed by tasks of the day that put pressure on us as chief officers, training officers, company officers, and even peers, to give less time and credence to our daily, weekly, and monthly training.  Hurrying the training process to allow time for meal preparation, inspections, incident response, returning home to family, or other reasons often shortcuts the time…


Added by Dan Miller on June 29, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

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