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Great discussion points online from Andy Fredericks Training Days 2013

Starting in 2009 in Alexandria Virginia, the Andy Fredericks Training Days has become one of the most popular small-scale fire service education events that have large-scale reach.  Organizers keep the weekday event focused on Andy’s legacy of fundamental fireground operations and through event registration provide financially for the Fredericks Family Fund.

The event, which has growing attendance each year (surprisingly since it is not a weekend event), is a no-fluff, all-meat time of discussion about the basics for firefighters and company officers. If you ever had the privilege to meet Andy or take a class from him, you knew what his focus was – fundamental firefighting.

Below are some of the best Facebook posts quoting the events various speakers. You could spend weeks talking about them in your house.  Take a look, grab one or two, and make the dayroom discussion better.

From "Stretching and Advancing Handlines; Part 1" published in Fire Engineering in March 1997
"Even after a long and difficult hose stretch, the real work of the engine company has yet to begin. This is where experience and training really pay dividends. As the late senior member of Engine Company 48 in the Bronx used to say, "Never run to the rig when turning out for an alarm; if you run to the rig, you`ll run at the fire, and running leads to shouting and the job won`t get done." Experienced firefighters know how to pace themselves--both physically and mentally; this conserves energy, prevents needless injuries, and enables them to maintain a focus on the task at hand without losing sight of the big picture. Advancing a handline at a tough fire requires discipline, concentration, and some intangible factors--courage, mostly--to see the job through." ~Andrew A. Fredericks

"7 words that will kill any fire department: That’s the way it’s always been done."

""Nothing Showing" means nothing. Ventilation limited fire did not produce much smoke."

"One resounding theme in all of these studies: Fast Water. Maybe instead of RECEO we should have WRECEO. Add the "W" and make people understand how important water and that first line is."

""It's not about free-lancing, it's about free-thinking." It's about thinking what do, not just doing. Think about your actions."

"What will be the results of the ventilation you perform? You have to be able to answer that. The bottom line is that if you create an opening you are ventilating."

"Firefighters do well in any fire condition. We don’t do well when conditions change. Fuel - Air - Heat We have three tactical options: Open it up, Close it up, Cool it off."

"Heat/Air/Fuel - You have to get one leg of that. You have to control the heat or you have to control the air. You rarely can control both."

"If you're doing a lap as a special service and see a window break out on it's own that is a clue. That compartment has enough heat in it to break that window and you need to let that initial engine officer know about it."

"In many of the examples of improper ventilation the tactics used aren't necessarily bad, but they are poorly timed. Are personnel in place with a line and water?"

"You always have to address trust issues. Always. Any issue that affects trust has to be addressed immediately within your company."

"Leaders (not always the officer) must work to keep members out of the mundane and routine. Keep members in the mode where they like the job. Make their time productive."

"Conflict is not always disloyalty, it might be someone trying to do you a favor. Productive conflict can move you in the right direction."

"Talking about competence: Everyone must be "headed somewhere" in their abilities. If you're not moving forward you're dying a little."

""The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway. You're going to get broken so let's talk about resilience. The more solid the company is before the event, the more resilient it will be in the face of adversity."

"Every company has a bell curve of competency. It's your responsibility to push that curve forward toward excellence and away from mediocrity"

"If you're at the firehouse, BE AT THE FIREHOUSE! Check the rigs, know your area, be present. Don't go there to hang out. Do work."

"Be responsible for your own attitude. Your attitude is infectious. Take every opportunity to learn."

"Our time in the fire service is short. Make the most of it. Don't spend your days with your face in your smart phone."

"Do we see things all the way through in our training? Do you pull up short and say things like, "well we would do this if it was a real call." See it all the way through. Do it in your gear. This promotes success."

"The TIC does not replace good job skills. It gets used in conjunction with all of those skills."

"Talking tactical proficiency and the benefits of creating good basic habits as part of your preparation. When you check out your SCBA in the AM put it on your back. Check it out the way you will use it not facing it in the seat."

"When you pick a tool, understand WHY your taking it. Know what it's going to help you do."

"We can’t bring Chicago tactics back to rural Missouri. We can bring Chicago skills back to rural Missouri but we don’t have the people to support the tactics. We have to have perspective on those differences when we take information back to our departments."

"Tactical Patience: We have to move the line as quickly as possible but we have to have some patience. Patience doesn't mean slow down or stop. You take the time to do the right things AND do them right. Wear your gear, button up, deploy accordingly."

"Tactical Patience. Doesn't mean you have to sit at the front door doing nothing but you should know how many people you need to make a successful hose stretch; get the people, make the stretch."

"Get complacency out of your firehouse. We are not punching the clock. We are not making widgets. Seconds count and it could mean life or death."

"If you want to borrow something from another department big or small then borrow it because it works for you, not because it's cool or you think that department is cool."

"Kerber challenging the audience to 1) Think More and 2) Ask Why. Between IFSTA Essentials 1st Edition (late 1970’s) & 2nd Edition (1983) a whole lot of the “why” in the 1st Edition changed to focus on “how” in the 2nd Edition. A lot of that “why” went away. Two important things changed in that time period: Turnout gear and SCBA."

"Today you show up to a fire and you see smoke you can’t assume you are still in the growth portion of the fire development curve. You may be arriving post flashover with a house full of un-burned fuel (smoke) waiting on one thing: more air."

"Failures in a our training systems. Concrete burn buildings with pallets and excelsior creates fuel limited fires. Is this realistic? When we open the windows things get better in these scenarios. This is not realistic when we encounter ventilation limited fires on the street."

"Good Truckies pay attention to timing. Holding glass until the engine is ready is some of the best truck work you can do."

"The best chance of victim and FF survival is behind a closed door. Time and time again. Don't write off a piece of that house until you know the status of those interior doors. Consider VEIS."


And that is just a few of them.

Great instruction from Dan Shaw, Doug Mitchell, Tony Carroll, Dave Barlow, Jason Hoevelmann, Dan McMaster, Robert Knabbe, Steve Kerber and Mike Ciampo.


Follow Andy Fredericks Training Days on Facebook and stick close to their website for next year’s event registration.

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Bill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/,, and Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George's County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville where he met Chris Hebert and Dave Ianonne, the creators of Bill went to work for them back in 2001 and after they transitioned away to new, bigger projects, he was hired by them again in 2009.  Bill's writing has been on, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine,, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of "Fire Officer: Principles and Practice", The Secret List and

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