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Mark J. Cotter
  • Male
  • Salisbury, MD
  • United States
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Latest Activity

Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Water Rules - Summaries of the recent UL studies Part 2 - Air Entrainment

Continuing this series of reviews of the UL’s Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival, having previously reviewed the results of Water Mapping (https://ulfirefightersafety.org/docs/DHS2013_Part_I_Water_Mapping.pdf), this installment will cover Air Entrainment (…See More
Apr 4
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Water Rules - Summaries of the recent UL studies Part 1 - Water Mapping

The nozzle is the fire service’s iconic and essential tool, like the rifle to the soldier, the hammer to the carpenter, or the knife to the chef. While we have many other tools, and vital roles that don’t even involve water, when on the fireground most of them support or depend upon use of this appliance. Forcible entry clears its way, and ventilation clears its results. The protection of life and property relies on its expert use, and salvage protects the building and contents from the effects…See More
Mar 28
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Vertical Ventilation Video - What do your eyes tell you?

The following video clip was sent to me by a reader who was responding to my last post regarding vertical ventilation: https://youtu.be/iK-ZpPWJIj4In it, you will see two firefighters vigorously cutting a roof as fire burns below. The provider of this link pointed out the immediate improvement in interior conditions as evidenced by the lift in the smoke layer that occurred as the fire vented. Taking a contrary position, I would point out that the smoke…See More
Mar 12
Mark J. Cotter and Michael Dombroski are now friends
Mar 7
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Cutting Roofs - Our beloved, dangerous waste of effort

I generated a bit of discussion a few years ago when I posted a blog expressing my viewpoint that vertical ventilation, except in the presence of pre-made openings (rooftop scuttles or bulkhead doors) was a tactic that had little utility on the modern fireground (http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A620250). This was based on our then-new knowledge that…See More
Mar 5
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Inciting Bravery - The realities of promoting risk-taking; Part 4: Summary

My inspirations for starting this series investigating the feasibility of increasing firefighters' danger tolerance included the suggestion that the modern fire attack (MFA) technique of exterior streams was evidence of cowardice, as well as recent rants regarding firefighters “not doing their jobs”, at least as defined by the person posting the rant, which generally involve the perceived hesitation of other firefighters to perform interior operations. To me, the idea that we all merely need to…See More
Feb 19
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Inciting Bravery - The realities of promoting risk-taking; Part 3 - Should we increase it?

So far in this series exploring the practical limitations inherent in any attempt to motivate firefighters to think less about their own safety and more about the lives and property we are sworn to protect; to display more boldness and less caution, I have suggested that the concept of heroism is so vague as to render it virtually useless as a tool for either change or measurement, and have proposed that the route to maximizing effort is to educate, demonstrate, and support the desired…See More
Jan 29
Mark J. Cotter posted a blog post

Inciting Bravery, Part 2 - The realities of promoting risk-taking - Can we increase it?

Having cited the limitations and contradictions of the concept of heroism in my last post (i.e., unmeasurable, and essentially bestowed upon all of us simply for joining the fire service), is there another attribute that might allow us to be more effective in our attempts to protect life and property by inspiring bolder searches and fire attacks? Might it be feasible to at least increase our collective acceptance of risk? And, if so, what would be the best method for accomplishing this…See More
Jan 8

Profile Information

Lives in:
Salisbury, MD
Department:
Salisbury Fire Department
Title/rank:
Engineer
Years of public service:
45
Agency structure:
Combination fire department
Top issues in your department:
Staffing, Training, Preparation, Hazard Analysis
Professional Qualifications:
Bachelor of Sciences in Health Sciences, Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 1977
Physician Assistant - Certified, since 1977
Maryland Professional Qualifications Board Certified as:
Firefighter II
Fire Inspector I
Fire Instructor III
Hazardous Materials Operations
Fire Officer I
Additional Maryland Fire Rescue Institute Courses:
Emergency Medical Technician - Basic
Emergency Vehicle Operator
Pump Operator
Truck Company Operations
Aerial Apparatus Operator
Advanced Cardiac Life Support Instructor since 1978
Topics you provide training for:
Single Company Operations
Emergency Service Myths
Modern Fire Attack
Areas of expertise:
Single Company Operations - obtaining maximum efficiency and effectiveness from small firefighting crews;
Emergency Service Myths - seeing beyond hype and habits;
Modern Fire Attack - application of fire dynamics and simulations research to fireground tactics;
Bio:
Third generation firefighter, with grandfather the Fire Chief of Anaconda, Montana, and maternal uncle Fire Chief in Richland, Washington. Born and raised in Summit, NJ, a bedroom community in the NY metropolitan area. Joined town's volunteer first aid squad as a junior member in 1972, then the combination fire department as a volunteer in 1974. Attended Physician Assistant school from 1975 to 1977, working one year as a driver for an inter-hospital commercial ambulance company, and joined a volunteer fire department (Coal Township, PA) during my internship. Married in 1978, moved to Philadelphia, fathered a daughter and son, and worked two years as one of four EMS Field and Training Coordinators for the Philadelphia Fire Department, earning EMT-Paramedic and Instructor certfications. Moved in 1980 to northeastern Pennsylvania to resume medical practice in freestanding emergency room, and joined volunteer fire departments in Wind Gap, then Pen Argyl, PA., where I rose to the rank of Fire Chief. Also assisted in establishment of regional Advanced Life Support service. Began writing feature articles for fire and EMS publications. Moved to current location in 1987 to join practice providing staffing of local emergency room, and continued writing and teaching. Joined combination fire department in Salisbury, MD, as a volunteer in 2002, rising to rank of Captain, and currently serving as Engineer.

Mark J. Cotter's Blog

Water Rules - Summaries of the recent UL studies Part 2 - Air Entrainment

Continuing this series of reviews of the UL’s Impact of Fire Attack Utilizing Interior and Exterior Streams on Firefighter Safety and Occupant Survival, having previously reviewed the results of Water Mapping (https://ulfirefightersafety.org/docs/DHS2013_Part_I_Water_Mapping.pdf), this installment will cover Air Entrainment (…

Continue

Posted on April 4, 2018 at 3:02pm

Water Rules - Summaries of the recent UL studies Part 1 - Water Mapping

The nozzle is the fire service’s iconic and essential tool, like the rifle to the soldier, the hammer to the carpenter, or the knife to the chef. While we have many other tools, and vital roles that don’t even involve water, when on the fireground most of them support or depend upon use of this appliance. Forcible entry clears its way, and ventilation clears its results. The protection of life and property relies on its expert use, and salvage protects the building and contents from the…

Continue

Posted on March 28, 2018 at 6:49am

Vertical Ventilation Video - What do your eyes tell you?

The following video clip was sent to me by a reader who was responding to my last post regarding vertical ventilation:

https://youtu.be/iK-ZpPWJIj4

In it, you will see two firefighters vigorously cutting a roof as fire burns below. The provider of this link pointed out the immediate improvement in interior conditions as evidenced by the lift in the smoke layer that occurred as the fire vented. Taking a contrary position, I would point out…

Continue

Posted on March 12, 2018 at 5:53am — 12 Comments

Cutting Roofs - Our beloved, dangerous waste of effort

I generated a bit of discussion a few years ago when I posted a blog expressing my viewpoint that vertical ventilation, except in the presence of pre-made openings (rooftop scuttles or bulkhead doors) was a tactic that had little utility on the modern fireground (http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1219672%3ABlogPost%3A620250). This was based on our then-new knowledge…

Continue

Posted on March 5, 2018 at 8:00am — 4 Comments

Inciting Bravery - The realities of promoting risk-taking; Part 4: Summary

My inspirations for starting this series investigating the feasibility of increasing firefighters' danger tolerance included the suggestion that the modern fire attack (MFA) technique of exterior streams was evidence of cowardice, as well as recent rants regarding firefighters “not doing their jobs”, at least as defined by the person posting the rant, which generally involve the perceived hesitation of other firefighters to perform interior operations. To me, the idea that we all merely need…

Continue

Posted on February 19, 2018 at 8:00am

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At 11:01pm on April 27, 2009, Chris Leier said…
Hey Mark, we met out in FDIC at the NIST booth as I work for them, I am out in Salisbury quite a bit as my girlfriend goes to school out there and would love to see the station and that beautiful new ladder truck in person. Maybe we can work something out, if you are ever in PG let me know as I am a member at station 12. Nice to meet you and hopefully we can keep in contact.
 
 
 

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