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Andy Marsh's Blog (25)

False Alarms; No Such Thing

Communication is key in much of our daily life. As much as we try, we sometimes have that “failure to communicate”. That said, to avoid some confusion, there is a need to let go of the term and the concept of “false alarms”.  Smoke alarm or smoke detector activations related to “culinary mishaps”, burnt popcorn, or burnt whatever in the microwave or a pot of food on the stovetop, are not false alarms. Those devices did their job. Even in the case of when steam sets those devices off, those…


Added by Andy Marsh on August 18, 2023 at 1:58pm — No Comments

Community Fire Prevention; Take Care of the Little Things

If you have read my fire prevention missives in the past, you have learned that, in my opinion, preaching the good word supporting public fire and life safety education is part of our mission of saving lives and protecting property. Consider how much property can be saved with the effective use of a sprinkler system, or a fire extinguisher. In the restaurant and commercial occupancy world, an Ansul system, or a FM 200 system and the like, can also prevent some damage loss and protect…


Added by Andy Marsh on June 21, 2022 at 8:10pm — No Comments

Responsibilities and Pride of the Helmet

Do you remember your thoughts or feelings when you put on a fire helmet for the very first time? Maybe your feelings were different than the ones being written about here, but you can follow along and reminisce. On that day, there may have been happiness, excitement, exhilaration, and anticipation on what was yet to come. Calls for help, emergency responses. Red lights, sirens, and air horns oh my! There may have been some angst, nervousness, and shyness, even…


Added by Andy Marsh on February 24, 2021 at 12:09am — No Comments

In other news; Working Smoke Detectors Save Lives.


In case you missed some of the news stories, this week of October 7th is National Fire Prevention Week. There’s a lot of history behind this week. I encourage you to read how and when it all started. Many fire stations nationwide hold open houses, provide station tours, respond to requests of visiting this school or that school and for some, at the end of the week, those events are tucked away until next year. I’ve stated as well as many others have, that Fire Prevention…


Added by Andy Marsh on October 10, 2018 at 6:28pm — No Comments

The End of the Fire Service's "Killer B's"

Back in the early 1990s, the Pittsburgh Pirates had Barry Bonds, Bobby Boniilla and Jay Bell and we affectionately here in Pittsburgh, admired them as our “Killer Bs”. And later in the 1990’s, the Houston Astros also were known to have the “Killer Bs”, with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell at the center of attention then. I am at the tail end of the baby boomer generation and I’ve always said that my generation yielded some of the best sports players of all time. I joined the fire service as…


Added by Andy Marsh on October 16, 2017 at 9:11pm — No Comments

Baptism by Fire

Way back in 2009, during a church service, my Pastor got me to thinking. He was preaching about baptism. He was explaining to us his belief that some faiths baptize at too early of an age. Now before you spout off how wrong he is, or whatever opinion you may have about baptism, or other faiths, hear me out first. I will try to relate and tie in what he had to say in terms of being a firefighter. I mean this not to be a lesson in religion as the pastor did, simply an analogy, nothing…


Added by Andy Marsh on September 20, 2016 at 10:25pm — No Comments

Fire Prevention; It's Just Not for Kids Anymore

( I wrote this 7 years ago, much of it still applies. I updated it a bit as well.)

So much has been discussed about firefighter safety lately. We tend to think about firefighter safety as it relates to the fire ground, accountability systems, offensive vs. defensive fire strategies, rapid intervention teams, and the list goes on. What often times is left off of that list is fire prevention. Fire prevention…


Added by Andy Marsh on August 25, 2016 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Lead by Example

If you go back in time, especially with Fire Engineering, you’ll most likely find hundreds of articles on leadership. And you’ll find hundreds more on firefighter safety, both on the training ground and on the fireground. Many great fire service leaders who have gone before us and the ones who are among us still today, have most likely told the many of us to “lead by example”. It’s a simple message that carries with it so many lessons that young and inexperienced firefighters can place in…


Added by Andy Marsh on August 20, 2016 at 11:27am — No Comments

Why We Train

“Why We Train”

I was asked, during a conversation with an older firefighter, one night, “Why it was “so necessary to train so much?” My best answer to that question, goes something like this.

Along with many others, I attended a "Fire Dynamics" set of classes recently, at my local county fire academy, here in my part of Pennsylvania. These classes were based on the science that N.I.S.T. is bringing to the table of America's Fire Service. N.I.S.T. has countless…


Added by Andy Marsh on July 20, 2015 at 3:53pm — No Comments

Accountability Systems; Here We Go Again

Up until 1995, the term accountability system seemed like it would be a passing fad, much like spandex, big hair, and beta tapes. However, on February 14th, 1995, a tragic event killing 3 local firefighters seemed to change the way we thought about accountability. From there, the local fire services and the nation’s fire service worked to change the way we had been thinking. To this day, a lot of departments keep accountability to the forefront. And now there are quite a few…


Added by Andy Marsh on April 30, 2015 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Instructions for Use and Care

We’re sitting here in 2015 amidst all of the technology, articles, blogs and videos of “modern” firefighting, most of which is built off of “traditional” firefighting, and yet we struggle with some of the simplest tasks. Two very important tasks that I am particularly writing about here are the ones called listening and providing feedback and acknowledgement of what’s been said. These are two very important components of what is known as the “communications circle” and more importantly,…


Added by Andy Marsh on February 13, 2015 at 5:04pm — No Comments

Driving On; Under the Influence

I took some time to visit a friend who is recuperating from surgery. This friend is a longtime friend, someone who is twenty + years my senior and someone whom I met as a result of joining a volunteer fire department, a very long time ago. I consider this friend a mentor and someone who helped me grow as a person and as a firefighter. And I told him today that he was an important part of my growing up. We sat and talked for about an hour and a half, along with a family member, who was…


Added by Andy Marsh on August 13, 2014 at 6:34pm — No Comments

Generation Gaps

In 2009, I wrote an article for the “Everyone Goes Home” Newsletter. In it I wrote about the generational differences that we have to overcome, in order to get good fire prevention education out there. Fire Prevention supports our mission of saving lives and protecting property, but we still need to understand how best to get out those “safety messages” with one general concept in mind ( Life Safety), yet in the language that each generation can embrace and remember. There’s still a…


Added by Andy Marsh on August 8, 2014 at 4:17pm — No Comments

What I Brought Back in 2008 and Re-Gift to You Now

To all,

There may be some of you that won't care to see another blog, e-mail or tweet from me or may not take the time to read this and that's okay. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm quite passionate about firefighting and attending training. I'm also quite passionate about instructing, firefighter safety, situational awareness, giving it forward and the whole nine yards. I came into the fire and emergency medical services to "help someone", like many of you have done.…

Added by Andy Marsh on February 14, 2014 at 10:06am — No Comments

Turn Out the Turnout Gear

Here we sit in 2012 and there is still a need to address. discuss or simply admonish the lack of turnout gear on incidents. We are still seeing chiefs or incident commanders of some sort running into buildings and homes or walking about a mvc with the sole protection of their hand held radios. Then we see firefighters jumping off the rigs wearing a leather helmet and tennis shoes or a ball cap and turnout pants. It makes for a fine commercial for that particular brand of shoes or hat, but…


Added by Andy Marsh on September 23, 2012 at 10:53pm — 2 Comments

" Leave Room For the Truck "



Life safety is the most important task on the fireground. That term “Life Safety” is in the fire service’s mission statement and it is found in the mission statements of most career and volunteer departments as well. Most of us have probably heard that statement; “ Look out for #1!” and know that the # 1 we’re talking about is us the firefighter. We then look out for our partner or crew and then take care of the victims in the…


Added by Andy Marsh on July 15, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments

Thankful for Independence, our Soldiers and God

The initial "Stars and Stripes" represented and accounted for the 13 colonies that were then known as the  "United States of America" . It originated in a time when we battled one country for freedom and independence. The flag and our independence were also raised on a foundation and a belief in God. Today, the meaning of the flag maintains just that, yet it has a farther reach and deeper meaning. For  not only does it represent that initial war, its victory and its human losses…


Added by Andy Marsh on July 4, 2012 at 1:05pm — No Comments

" It Happened Here "

I write this in gratitude of the response our local emergency services provided during a mass casualty shooting yesterday and also to the school my sons attend. I also write this to my colleagues in Public Safety as a gentle reminder that training does pay off.

" It Happened Here "

Yesterday, March 8, 2012, a mass casualty incident occurred at the Western Psychiatric Institute Clinic. There were several people shot, a police officer injured and…


Added by Andy Marsh on March 9, 2012 at 10:28pm — No Comments

History, Knowledge and Power

There is a saying that states, " With knowledge, comes power." History is an important part of that knowledge. Recently, I attended a class on the history of the fire service. And with the exception of the instructors assembled, everyone in that class had 5 or less years of experience. I represented the dinosaurs with 30+ years. A portion of that class involved us watching a…


Added by Andy Marsh on February 2, 2012 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

So that they Survive ( My remembrance of 09-11-2001 )

We all have our own memories of that fateful day of 09-11-2001, ten years ago. And for those of you who may have been too young to remember, I encourage you to engage in at least one of the programs on television today, or use the internet to understand the history of that day, the politics of the times, the thousands of lives lost and millions of lives affected. My own memories of that day include getting myself some coffee at a convenience store, as I prepared to assist, as an…


Added by Andy Marsh on September 11, 2011 at 11:23am — 1 Comment

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