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Preview: Firefighter Blogs - The Latest on Firefighter Nation - My Firefighter Nation

Firefighter Blogs - The Latest on Firefighter Nation - My Firefighter Nation





Updated: 2017-12-16T07:33:29Z

 



Volunteer vs. Paid Firefighters: The Battle Continues

2017-12-07T14:10:14.000Z

Ask twenty different people and you will receive twenty different opinions on rather they feel volunteer firefighters or career firefighters are the better professional.  So who really is better trained, better equipped, and even better qualified to answer the public’s calls for assistance? In reality, if we could look past the differences, the fire service as a whole becomes stronger and provides a higher level of service to the public.  After all, isn’t that what our ultimate mission is?… Ask twenty different people and you will receive twenty different opinions on rather they feel volunteer firefighters or career firefighters are the better professional.  So who really is better trained, better equipped, and even better qualified to answer the public’s calls for assistance? In reality, if we could look past the differences, the fire service as a whole becomes stronger and provides a higher level of service to the public.  After all, isn’t that what our ultimate mission is? “To protect lives and property,” was ingrained to our heads at the beginning of our fire service career. Volunteers risk the same great amount that career firefighters do when answering the same calls.  Volunteers are often just as qualified as many of the nation’s career firefighters and I often hear the phrase, “I would do my job for free, if someone could cover my bills.” The public doesn’t care who answers their calls for help, only that someone shows up and makes their problems go away.  In short, firefighters seem to commonly find this division between the paid and volunteer service when in reality, energy could be spent to help both sides of the issue with the same positive results ultimately resulting in less firefighter injuries and even deaths. An Introduction                                                                                                                           Since the inception of the first paid firefighter in the early 1900’s, tensions between volunteers and paid firefighters have grown to substantial heights.  Paid firefighters were created to answer a growing number of responsibilities placed on firefighters as city populations thrived.  This began giving paid members the upper hand when it came to benefits, gear, equipment, and training.  Volunteers quickly grew to resent this favoritism and tensions quickly arose.  Blatant examples have been seen, for example when firefighters in Maryland erupted into a physical altercation in the front yard of a burning home in 2015.  Citizens stood by as their property burned and watched firefighters fight over who was responsible for putting out the fire.  There is no reason for such hatred and animosity among those we routinely call our brothers and sisters.  Some think that paid firefighters have more of a vested interest in the profession because it is not only a hobby, but rather their livelihood.  Volunteers on the other hand are typically seen as being more consumed with family life, work, bills and the other daily hassles in addition to their volunteer hobby.  There is nothing wrong with this, but as individuals volunteers need to realize that we are continually adding more things to our schedules, while the number of hours in the day stays unchanged.  Although there are pros and cons to both type of service, both paid and volunteer firefighters perform the same tasks.  Rather than work against one another, we could become stronger as a whole and provide a higher level of service if we work together. A Brief Look at the history of the Volunteers             Volunteers began serving the public at a time when fires were common, but not common enough to warrant a dedicated full-time fire department.  People that lived and worked in their communities would close down their small businesses or farms and respond to their neighbor’s calls for help.  Voluntee[...]



What Do You Do After Planting a Seed?

2017-12-05T19:00:48.000Z

Just over 1-1/2 years ago, I planted a "seed." What did I "plant?" It was my podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force." Although I was only able to serve in the fire service for eight, short years before an injury forced me to leave, I have never let the fire service leave me. Since 1985, I have tried to stay up-to-date with the growth and evolution in firefighting, leadership, funding, education, etc. One way or another, I kept pace.…

Just over 1-1/2 years ago, I planted a "seed." What did I "plant?" It was my podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force." Although I was only able to serve in the fire service for eight, short years before an injury forced me to leave, I have never let the fire service leave me. Since 1985, I have tried to stay up-to-date with the growth and evolution in firefighting, leadership, funding, education, etc. One way or another, I kept pace.

Through friends on Twitter, I am proud to say that our roster of guests includes some of the best mentors, instructors and leaders in the fire service today. They include the late, Chief Alan Brunacini, Chief Dennis Rubin, Chief (ret) Bobby Halton, Chief (ret) Marc Bashoor, Batt. Chief Jason Hoevelmann, Asst. Chief Todd LeDuc. Chief Robert Fling, Lt. Ryan Pennington, Capt. Joe DeVito, Capt. Robert Owens, Capt. Andy Starnes and many more. Moreover, we currently have over thirty (30) episodes "in the can" and have future guests carrying us into Spring 2018. With that, it is time for us to grow a bit more. Until now, I have personally shouldered all the costs for this podcast, equipment, broadband, hosting, etc. If I was still in the workforce, this would not be an issue. However, I have been disabled since 1992 due to a back injury that most likely occurred in 1978 at a state fire college training burn.

The goal for the podcast is simple - generate enough revenue to allow us to attend between two and four of the national fire service conferences, purchase two cameras, one still and one video, to use at the conferences and cover the basic operating costs of the podcast.

To achieve this goal there are several avenues that one could follow:

1. A Banner Sponsor - "This podcast is brought to you by...." The sponsor is mentioned at the opening and closing of the show, plus a number of times during. (Rating of Desirability on a 1-10 scale: 10)

2. Charge listeners to hear or download each episode - a "subscription," so to speak.

(Rating - ZERO! Do not want to do this to my brothers and sisters)

3. Affiliate with Patreon - Patreon is a business that allows followers of podcasts to pay towards a podcast, either by charging per episode, or a subscription fee as in #2 above, or allowing a follower to make a voluntary donation.

(Rating: 5)

4. Commercials - There are several companies that work to match a podcast with advertisers. Then, instead of airing public service announcements, we air the commercials like most other radio and television networks,

(Rating: 2)

That is where I am. I have no idea what the future holds in this regard however, I will unequivocally state that "5-Alarm Task Force" will continue as long as I can make it a worthwhile endeavor that will benefit the fire service in a positive manner.




Use the Holidays Time to Boost Fire Education & Prevention

2017-11-29T16:53:00.000Z

While most firefighters know that October is the "designated" month for fire prevention programs, now is a great time, as well.

We can educate our communities about the need for keep live trees moist and green, inspecting lighting strings carefully, not overloading electrical sockets, times, or extension cords and much more.

This is not a task just for those in your Fire Prevention Office, every firefighter can and should play a role in this effort, starting with your own…

While most firefighters know that October is the "designated" month for fire prevention programs, now is a great time, as well.

We can educate our communities about the need for keep live trees moist and green, inspecting lighting strings carefully, not overloading electrical sockets, times, or extension cords and much more.

This is not a task just for those in your Fire Prevention Office, every firefighter can and should play a role in this effort, starting with your own family and friends.

Let's teach everyone to "Live for the Holidays, Not Die Because of Them!"

Best wishes to all for a very happy and safe holiday season!




Ethical Leadership

2017-11-21T10:59:14.000Z

Introduction             Leaders play a decisive role in the success of the organization activities. The contributions made by the top management in terms of ethical leadership play a key role in the achievement of annual and monthly goals of the companies. Apparently, the creation of an ethical culture within a corporation needs the involvement of the top management. The employment of specific employers or managers to ensure the creation of ethical culture within the… Introduction             Leaders play a decisive role in the success of the organization activities. The contributions made by the top management in terms of ethical leadership play a key role in the achievement of annual and monthly goals of the companies. Apparently, the creation of an ethical culture within a corporation needs the involvement of the top management. The employment of specific employers or managers to ensure the creation of ethical culture within the organization is a key role that the leadership needs to implement. Ideally, large corporations maintain, manage and control ethical culture through the employment of the chief compliance and ethics officers to executive positions. The activity facilitates the delivery of quality services that work at ensuring that ethical behavior is maintained amongst workers in an organization. The paper gives a detailed discussion about ethics and leadership within an organizational setting. Characteristics of Ethical Leadership             Justice is a key characteristic that ethical leaders need to have in possession. The need to treat each employee and colleague equally is essential within the organization. Respect for others makes up a vital aspect of ethical leadership in an organization. The leaders need to show respect to all people within the environmental settings (Leigh, 2013). Honesty makes up an important virtue that needs to be withheld by the leadership and management of the organization the need to communicate honest information to employees is relevant for the maintenance of an ethical culture within the organization. The focus on key activities such as team building makes a key part of the management that needs to be observed by the leadership of the company. The activity involves creating the team spirit that is essential in the achievement of organizational goals and objectives. Therefore, ethical leadership is essential for the success of the organization. Relationship between Ethical Leader and Follower             The need for an interactive relationship between the leaders and the followers is essential. The interactive relationship enables the leader to understand the behavior of the followers in broader perspective. The factor plays a key role in the formulation of organization policies that need to work for the mutual benefit of the flowers and the entire organization (Calhoun et al 2014). Communication plays a key role in the relationship between the two parties the abilities of the two parties to communicate on a regular basis plays a key role in ensuring that the management works at creating a suitable social environment in which both parties can carry out their activities. The communication also enables the passing out of duties and distribution of roles amongst the followers. In conclusion, the relationship that exists between the leader and the follower is vital for the success of the organization. Relevance of the Relationship to the Organization             The existence of the relationship is vital to the success of the organization activities. The need to create the relationship fosters a positive working environment. The management would develop a difficult time coming up with a management program that focuses in the creation policies that do not favor the employees (Langlois, 2011). The relationship enables the management to understand the needs and wants of the employees leading to the c[...]



Does a Health & Wellness Program really work?

2017-11-09T14:58:06.000Z

If so how do you know? We already know the overall economic impact of work-related injuries and illness are high in the fire service and is ranked as one of the most hazardous occupation. Unfortunately many programs have not been around long enough to provide any evidence. Worse yet, some… If so how do you know? We already know the overall economic impact of work-related injuries and illness are high in the fire service and is ranked as one of the most hazardous occupation. Unfortunately many programs have not been around long enough to provide any evidence. Worse yet, some programs are unable to collect any data due to limited resources. A few years ago I was asked to break down our worker compensation numbers and justify not only my position but also to discover if our program actually worked. During that time we discovered the following: • We looked at the 5 years prior to my arrival and then my first 5 years, here is what we discovered: • We averaged 91 injuries per year prior to my arrival, then in the first 5 years working full time we averaged 90. Let’s be honest this is not a huge savings but again firefighting is a difficult job and injuries will happen. • Average claim per injury did not change before hiring a full time coach, but over the 1st 5 years we did see a reduction of $629 per claim per year. This was an average savings of roughly $57,000 per year (not including increase medical costs). Fast forward today, recently I had to analyze our numbers again to ensure our program was heading in the right direction. Here is what we discovered. • Total injury costs have been steadily declining: From $1.2 million down to $740,000 in the past 5 years. • Average Injury Rate is currently 84 - down from 91 the previous time we analyzed our numbers. The last two fiscal periods have been averaging 72 (peak at 104) Now the big question! According to research exercise causes the most injuries in the fire service, but the researchers did a follow up and discovered that although “1/3 of injuries are due to exercise, they still reduced the severity of the injuries on the fire ground”(1). Our numbers actually show this as well but with a few differences • Over the past 5 years: the average injury rate per year was 17. The highest being 23 and the lowest being 10 (and everyone does exercise in some manner). • The average claim due to exercise is still lower ($4,716) than an injury occurring while performing job specific tasks ($10,000). Our lowest year per claim based on exercise was $647!!!! Of course there were some outliers that increased the cost but overall we can still see the benefits. If we were to compare the research to our current numbers within our organization exercise equaled about 20%. With that being said, “Having no exercise would make it worse due to the severity of injuries that would occur without a health & wellness program.” The next question to answer was “what type of exercise cost the most?” Within our organization, RUNNING cost the most per injury; more specifically running on a treadmill. We broke up our analysis to include: Basic Weightlifting, High Intensity power training / Circuits, Cardio 1. Cardio based training (ie treadmills) averaged about 24% of all injuries to exercise 2. High Intensity power training averaged about 22% 3. Basic exercise average about 42% Although, basic lifting had a high injury rate the overall cost was significantly lower than the other two categories. According to our numbers for every injury associated with High Intensity Power Training was equal to 3 injuries during basic lifting. In other words the severity associated with this type of training is much greater. Finally, we looked at total injuries by body part, and of course back injuries were the highest. We average about 30 Low Back Injuries per year, Ave Cost per year is roughly $400,000 and average claim per year is rough $1[...]



TAKE US TO YOUR LEADERSHIP

2017-11-06T16:28:48.000Z

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It may be an unsolvable mystery.

NEW November Fire Rescue magazine editorial: Take Us To Your Leadership.

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To see more Drawn By Fire, go to:…

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It may be an unsolvable mystery.

NEW November Fire Rescue magazine editorial: Take Us To Your Leadership.

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To see more Drawn By Fire, go to:
http://artstudioseven.com/page-fire-ems-prints2.htm

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Listen to Our Podcast - Right Here on MyFirefighterNation.com!

2017-11-02T14:50:16.000Z

That's right - You'll now be able to access and listen to our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force" from MyFirefighterNation.com. You'll be able to access the latest podcasts while keeping up with some of biggest news in the Fire Service or while chatting with friends.

Just follow directions where you'll see this code. And don't forget, if there's a topic you would like us to address on an upcoming show or if you would like to be a guest, drop us a line to…

That's right - You'll now be able to access and listen to our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force" from MyFirefighterNation.com. You'll be able to access the latest podcasts while keeping up with some of biggest news in the Fire Service or while chatting with friends.

Just follow directions where you'll see this code. And don't forget, if there's a topic you would like us to address on an upcoming show or if you would like to be a guest, drop us a line to Dalmatprod@Outlook.com.

Stay Safe and enjoy!

src="https://www.podomatic.com/embed/html5/podcast/5468097?style=normal&autoplay=false" style="width: 504px; height: 208px;" allowfullscreen="true">




CHIEF ALAN BRUNACINI

2017-10-30T14:57:41.000Z

(image) My very first encounter with Chief Alan Brunacini was not what I would have hoped for. I was attending my first FDIC and was sitting through a presentation on how to submit articles to become a Fire Engineering author. Being the introvert that I am, I naturally sat in the back row while taking notes. Chief Lasky had…

(image) My very first encounter with Chief Alan Brunacini was not what I would have hoped for. I was attending my first FDIC and was sitting through a presentation on how to submit articles to become a Fire Engineering author. Being the introvert that I am, I naturally sat in the back row while taking notes. Chief Lasky had already set the fire under my tuchas two days earlier to make a difference, so I wanted all the info I could gather. About 15 minutes into the panel discussion and older gentleman wearing a brightly colored shirt shuffles in and sits next to me (leaving a polite empty chair between us). Not long after taking a seat, he fishes through his pocket to produce a small nail clipper - which he begins to use. I take all of about 20 seconds of this before I lean over and say "sir, do you mind?" - I'm sure my face was saying "dude, for Christ's sake, STOP!" As fate would have it, I called enough attention to the incident that Bill Manning (the head of Fire Engineering at the time), noticed the gentleman and said to all - “What a pleasure. Chief Brunacini - come on up and join us.”

I knew the esteemed name of Chief Brunacini and the importance of his lessons, now I had met the man - I sunk as far as 6'1" could in an awkward plastic chair!

After the presentation I was slinking out of the room trying to be as inconspicuous as possible when I felt a gentle slap on my back - I turned - and Chief Brunacini was standing there chuckling. Not a word was said... just those fatherly eyes... that snarky smile... and the quiet understanding that I was a novice in the land of legends.

Nearly 14 years would pass before I would have an opportunity to teach at a conference with Chief Brunacini, and be honored to sit with him during a Q&A panel. Me… with Chief Brunacini … with Capt. Gagliano… talking fire (sound smart, sound smart, sound smart…)!

I have a few more stories, but I share this one because of what it represents about the man and his mission - about his legacy. Take time to learn, to practice, to share, and to give. Take the moments that life gives you and learn from them, grow from them, and then move on to the next moment. He died doing what he loved to do, and knowing that makes me smile.

This cartoon isn’t much, but it’s a small gesture to a larger than life man. Simply said, thank you for everything you gave us, Chief - we will pass it forward.

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Hello All

2017-10-18T16:48:15.000Z

I'm back after a long absence, just had no real time as I was helping others and I even had an absence from the other group I blog on. Just retired from being a NY State Fire Instuctor. Have been doing some traveling and now going to start doing some Military hops. But hey you need to keep busy when you retire otherwise you will go crazy just sitting around. Hope all of you have been safe and doing some training and driving to and from safe.

I preach driving safe a lot. We just had a…

I'm back after a long absence, just had no real time as I was helping others and I even had an absence from the other group I blog on. Just retired from being a NY State Fire Instuctor. Have been doing some traveling and now going to start doing some Military hops. But hey you need to keep busy when you retire otherwise you will go crazy just sitting around. Hope all of you have been safe and doing some training and driving to and from safe.

I preach driving safe a lot. We just had a Buffalo Police Officer (K-9) officer die in the line of duty while he was drilling with the underwater rescue team. Very sad so please keep him in your prayers and thoughts.

Bob Allard




SCARY THINGS

2017-10-17T22:49:27.000Z

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NEW Fire/Rescue Magazine October editorial cartoon: Scary…

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NEW Fire/Rescue Magazine October editorial cartoon: Scary Things!




Redefining the Healthy Firefighter

2017-10-17T18:08:12.000Z

The topic of health and wellness in the fire service has been growing over the years. This can be attributed to a number of factors: workers compensation, absenteeism,, injury reduction, and or improved fitness to decrease adverse health risks/events to help our firefighters.. All of these things are positives in… The topic of health and wellness in the fire service has been growing over the years. This can be attributed to a number of factors: workers compensation, absenteeism,, injury reduction, and or improved fitness to decrease adverse health risks/events to help our firefighters.. All of these things are positives in helping our greatest resource - the firefighter. However it does also open the door to a lot of problems if not properly addressed. For example, the two most asked questions I often get it “What is your policy?” or “ What is your fitness standard that establishes them fit for duty?” Both questions are excellent but often times not that easy to answer. Now you may be thinking “Yes they are easy to answer....” but over the past 9 years I have come to realize that they are multiple factors to take into account when identifying the minimal fitness needs of firefighters. For example we need to understand the rights of the firefighter, we need to have union approval, and we need to establish what we gain from implementing a health and wellness program. These are just a few of the things that need to be answered, but most important we need to define what a healthy firefighter is or rather “what does it mean to be fit for duty”. I have come across many different definitions for “fit for duty” or “health and wellness policy” but none of them actually satisfy me because they are too and do not account for differences in physical demands and personnel composition across departments. There are a number of resources available to help develop these items but they too are too vague. The idea of “mandatory, non-punitive” never really made sense to me....how do you make people do something without having an action occur. According the recommendations of the IAFF / IAFC Wellness Fitness Initiative a firefighter should have a VO2max score of 42 ml·kg-1·min-1 for aerobic fitness. But what if they have an aerobic capacity of 30 ml·kg-1·min-1. Are they considered unfit for duty? Do we just leave it to them to correct it? Do we force them to correct it? Do we leave it alone? Is it a valid means of stating they are “Fit for duty”? My point is either way you look at it; a decision needs to be made via Senior Administration, Local union, or District / City Officials. (Good, bad, or indifferent). How about body mass index (BMI)? We know based off research that BMI is a good predictor of injury and a possible screening tool, but that does not mean they are “fit for duty”. I mean how do I know a firefighter who has a high BMI and is out of shape can’t do the job? I know plenty of firefighters who are overweight and never exercise and do the job very well, and contrary to that I know a lot of firefighters who eat well, exercise all the time but are not very good firefighters. So it is not fair in my honest opinion to look at body mass index, body composition, or even any isolated area/test of fitness. Ok, so you are thinking “what about specific task aimed at firefighting”? Again, this is not really a good indicator of “Fit for Duty”. Why? Some departments have used the star drill to assess their firefighter’s level of fitness. Yes it is difficult and yes it is firefighter specific, but has it been validated by science. Will it hold up in court if challenged by a member of the department? What if you found someone who struggled with it? Is it due to a lack of trai[...]



The Fire Service Mentor

2017-10-14T00:19:35.000Z

When I entered the fire service twenty years ago things were much different than they are today. We must ask ourselves, why are things different? We have to stop our backward slide or the fire service, as we know it, will die. When I began my fire service career, I had a lot of people that were willing to help me and… When I entered the fire service twenty years ago things were much different than they are today. We must ask ourselves, why are things different? We have to stop our backward slide or the fire service, as we know it, will die. When I began my fire service career, I had a lot of people that were willing to help me and wanted me to succeed. I've worked with some really great officers and likewise some really bad officers. As that probie firefighter you are a sponge and you soak up everything possible, both good and bad. When a new firefighter enters this profession they are looking for someone who will show them the way. I understand that all departments and probationary periods are different but one thing that should be the same across the fire service is our willingness to help the new firefighter. I have spent many late nights and early mornings on the apparatus bay floor with new firefighters going over the rigs, equipment, and answering questions. Not only does your willingness to help show that you care, but it keeps you up on your skills and knowledge. If you are a senior firefighter, engineer, or company officer and your direction for a new firefighter is, "go figure it out", then shame on you. I have had officers tell me, "that's what I was told when I was a probie so I'm just passing it on.” If that is your response then you need to leave the fire service. Even the greeter at Wal-Mart is willing to help customers. If this is how we are treating the new firefighters then we are breeding bad attitudes. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that we all have things to do throughout the shift but instead of sitting in the recliner all night get out there and help the new firefighter, put your favorite TV show on record.I had a Captain tell me one day, "I will never ask you to do something that I myself wouldn't do". He lived what he preached, he would help train the new firefighters, help wash the engine, clean the dishes, mop the floors and do it with a smile on his face because he understood the fire service. I have worked with officers that will not even check their own SCBA at the beginning of shift. Is washing the engine enjoyable, maybe not but it shows department pride and it shows the new generation the right thing. If you are the training officer or in charge of training and you have your crew out pulling hose and you don't even dress out, let along participate, then what are you showing your crew and the new firefighters? You are showing them that you don't care. I have witnessed this many times and have had other firefighters both new and senior approach me and say "some kind of leader that guy is.” This kind of stuff needs to stop in the fire service. If you feel that you know everything in the fire service, then it's time to retire. If you are a two person crew and before shift change the engine needs to be washed and you feel it's more important to hide in your office than help wash the engine, that proves you don't care and that you have no pride. The new firefighter is seeing all this and taking notes. Hopefully that new firefighter will realize they need to gravitate to those who will help them succeed. If you are a senior firefighter, engineer or captain then ask yourself, “am I a leader or a boss?” I have worked with both and I prefer working for a leader. I appreciate it when my officer trains with the crew, assists with station duties[...]



Dichotomy of Attitudes, Behaviors, and Culture

2017-10-13T16:06:14.000Z

The great dichotomy within today’s fire service is all about perceived culture. The improvement of our culture as a whole within the emergency services is relative to our specific paradigms. Much can be done as has been implemented already… The great dichotomy within today’s fire service is all about perceived culture. The improvement of our culture as a whole within the emergency services is relative to our specific paradigms. Much can be done as has been implemented already but there is so much more work to do. It's the whole nature vs. nurture argument. As leaders we have a burden of command. We have to balance young aggressive firefighters to ensure that specific tasks are completed in the safest manner possible while battling their perception of what is heroic or cowardice! There are varying definitions or understandings of fire service culture. Some would lead us to believe that culture is not very important within an emergency organization because it only effects the “what” of our actions. I would like to argue that culture is a vital component of the “why” within every aspect of our decision making processes. Our culture by default becomes our identities. Fire service culture varies throughout the country and depending on where or how old the organization is, will determine how entrenched a specific culture has become. This deep rooted belief system will impact operations, both strategically and tactically. In the Northeast where I have been raised in the fire service, the culture is very rooted in tradition. Many of the strategies are based upon the “what” we have always done in the past with various levels of successes or failures. We hold these traditions so close to our beliefs that they often define our values. “Cultural responsibility at the department level is probably the most difficult to infuse in today’s society.” (Ford, T., 2012, pg. 21). Steps that can be taken to improve upon our culture include attitudes, behaviors, and education. Our personal attitude is synonymous to our personal accountability. We must become better at accepting our roles within the organization as vital ones. The times of simply acting as a drone or a good foot soldier must come to an end. We have become increasingly better at this because of our changes in behaviors. In order for our attitudes to improve, we must also redirect our behaviors to support those within our organizations who are seeking to build upon a newer culture or sets of values and beliefs. “In order for cultural change to take place, leadership has to have a mind-set that supports open communication and an open-minded approach to change.” (Ford, T., 2012, pg. 24). Such behaviors as attending conferences, outside training opportunities, and formal education are great ways to help support the paradigm shift we need. It has been my experience that organizations that embrace a formal educational process have a better understanding of the importance of shaping the future. Critical thinking that is developed by higher learning institutions is exactly what will help our profession achieve future success. The ability to step back and institute the APIE process (analyze, plan, implement, and evaluate) will most assuredly help our future leaders develop other future leaders and create that ripple effect. This is extreme ownership at its best. In closing, many people have pontificated on how to change a culture within the fire service. I am one of those people. I’m blessed to travel the globe teaching my programs at conferences. I have been published in trade magazines and websites. I also happen to be an Advocate for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation here in NJ. [...]



Coming Up on "5-Alarm Task Force!"

2017-10-12T18:25:58.000Z

Coming up in the next few weeks on our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Responders:"

1. We talk with Jeff Dill from the Firefighters Behavioral Health Alliance to discuss the difficulties some of our brothers and sisters go through on the job; some facing such troubling issues that they take their own lives.

2. We'll be at the Great Florida Fire School it Ft. Myers FL to catch mini-interviews and sound bytes from some of the top fire instructors in…

Coming up in the next few weeks on our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Responders:"
1. We talk with Jeff Dill from the Firefighters Behavioral Health Alliance to discuss the difficulties some of our brothers and sisters go through on the job; some facing such troubling issues that they take their own lives.
2. We'll be at the Great Florida Fire School it Ft. Myers FL to catch mini-interviews and sound bytes from some of the top fire instructors in the country and we'll be on hand for a big surprise at the Banquet.
3. We'll chat with Capt. Andy Starnes of "Kill the Flashover" and talk about smart firefighting.

Tune in to listen to our more than 20 episode anytime by subscribing to us on iTunes (Search for 5-Alarm Task Force) or follow out link, 5-Alarm Task Force

REMEMBER - If you would like to be a guest on "5-Alarm Task Force," drop us a line to Dalmatprod@outlook.com and please include your name, rank, department and the topic you would like to discuss.

Stay Safe and let's make sure that Every One Goes Home!




THE POLARIZATION PREDICAMENT

2017-09-12T14:34:25.000Z

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NEW FireRescue Magazine editorial: The Polarizing Predicament.
 
Way too much of this going on! It's something we are all guilty of from time to…

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NEW FireRescue Magazine editorial: The Polarizing Predicament.
 
Way too much of this going on! It's something we are all guilty of from time to time, because it's so easy to be sucked into negativity instead of trying to solve the problem. It's harder to fix the dysfunctional group than it is to join them.
 
Nothing gets solved if everybody is willing to continue the ship's destructive course - regardless of clearly seeing the iceberg ahead!
 
STAY FIRED UP, and always treat each other with respect!
 

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To see more Drawn By Fire, go to:
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How To Become The Best Version of YOU! Identifying Morals, Values, and Principles

2017-09-04T14:30:42.000Z

There are plenty leaders standing alone on the proverbial organizational island. It has been said time and time again “the higher up the food chain we ascend, the lonelier we may become.” Why is this so? Perhaps we may have lost sight of how vital our values and principles transcend any leadership style. Let’s identify a few of… There are plenty leaders standing alone on the proverbial organizational island. It has been said time and time again “the higher up the food chain we ascend, the lonelier we may become.” Why is this so? Perhaps we may have lost sight of how vital our values and principles transcend any leadership style. Let’s identify a few of what may be many examples of the values and principles that are exemplified by outstanding leaders in the fire and emergency services. The subjectivity of the human condition when discussing values is evident and absolutely normal. The ideology behind our value systems has been cultivated in the timeless debate of nature versus nurture. The environment that we have been raised within as young children most certainly cultivates our lives as we evolve and grow into adulthood. This is where and when our values were cultivated. The roots and foundation are grown and poured to help us build our own unique personal values. There is a cumulative effect of exposure albeit either positively or negatively as we further develop our own values into principles. Once we can identify what true morals, principles, and values are, we can place the purpose of them into the context of personal, organizational, and community environments. Let’s start with the definition of morals. Morals – A standard of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable, relating to principles or teaching a concept of right or wrong. Morals can be equally thought of as character. It can be further defined as the “what” we do when nobody's watching us. Our moral compasses and character is what we hold self-evident and display which speaks volumes about our morals. Why do we make the decisions we do? How do we know what is right and what is wrong? We can all agree that lying is wrong yet many of us do this with ease in many different situations. The most egregious lie of all may be to ourselves. By not following our intuitive moral compass we may find ourselves lost and on the wrong path of self-righteousness. Once we can truly identify what our individual morals are, such as honesty, kindness, and empathy we can build a solid foundation upon leadership principles and styles. “Style refers to the manner and methods that a leader uses to interact with other people, especially those whom they lead and especially when making decisions” (Thiel, A. K., & Jennings, C. R., 2012, p. 196). The morals that we exemplify directly correlates as to the “why” behind our decisions. So now that we understand the “why” let’s translate the “what and how” into our leadership style. These principles will affect how we practice personal and organizational leadership. Principles – Rules or laws that one has identified and accepted which governs one’s personal behavior. Once we can identify the foundational norms, values, and beliefs that represent what is desirable and positive for a person, group, and organization; we can communicate these principles into leadership actions. Such principles as: integrity, tact, bearing, knowledge, and judgement just to name a few of the many; are the “how” we will come to a decision crossroads intertwined with our morals. Hopefully, we can start to see a pattern, a continuum. It is a[...]



Leadership Exemplified - How to BE the Example

2017-08-31T13:50:14.000Z

Most of us in the fire and emergency services would agree that leadership matters and is vital to the successful outcomes of any organization. We could also agree that many so called leadership gurus and fire service personalities are out on the circuit pontificating their tricks of the trade. There is certainly no shortage of people instructing or… Most of us in the fire and emergency services would agree that leadership matters and is vital to the successful outcomes of any organization. We could also agree that many so called leadership gurus and fire service personalities are out on the circuit pontificating their tricks of the trade. There is certainly no shortage of people instructing or promoting their own “how to” guide to get other people to accomplish tasks that you want them to do. It can be said, that the old adage of “setting the example” is only half of the algebraic equation. So if we as leaders are challenged for “solving for X” what is the formula? The answer may be a lot simpler than we may think. In order to set the example we as leaders must first be the example. Attitude I’m certain that there is much to agree upon with the qualities and traits that are necessary to exemplify true leadership. It would be futile to try and list them all within this blog post. So instead, let’s focus on a few that we as leaders have direct control over every day. Our attitudes, behaviors, and culture. Our attitudes directly control the temperature of not only ourselves but everyone around us as well. Is it possible to maintain a positive attitude every time all of the time? Of course not! We are human, and as such there will be times that we have moments that we will want to choke out a poodle (inside joke). This is perfectly normal! Now before PETA gets their leashes in a bunch; no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog! The last thing I want is Sarah McLachlan making a commercial about me, but I digress. We must remember that we are in total control of how our attitudes are perceived. Is it okay for our people to see us angry, burned out, and cynical? I say yes, but we must maintain our tact and bearing. For those who have served in the military you know exactly what I’m talking about. Think about the fireground for a moment. When things get hairy and the incident commander starts to lose their bearing by screaming on the radio does this not set a course of actions into play? Tensions rise and errors may occur. Same goes for our leadership profile. Be angry, however remain in control. Do not take that anger out on others especially those whom we are leading. Behaviors This is the Holy Grail of leadership! I have a huge problem with so called leaders who say that “I’m not here to be their friend, I’m here to make sure things get done!” As leaders, and as exemplified by the Navy SEALs we must be focused on the TEAM life. Does this mean that we have to be the most popular person on our platoon? In our organization? Of course not. If a leader has to tell you that they are the BOSS, they most certainly are not behaving like a leader. Collar pullers need not apply! “Without recognizing the balance between getting the work done and being popular, a leader will simply create roadblocks to leadership success and teamwork” (Karpluk & Quan, 2013, pg. 112). The problem with being the popular leader or better known as a charismatic leadership style is this, the only people who will follow your lead are those who are likeminded and have a similar mindset. Albeit either positive or negative in nature.  Our beha[...]



Sleep: The Silent killer part 2

2017-08-27T22:28:28.000Z

In our last article we discussed sleep within the fire service and hopefully provided some insight into how the job itself will affect their overall quality of sleep, which will lead to a number of health issues (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, etc…), In this article our goal is to discuss how the poor sleep will affect the brain as well as hormones, and provide some simple strategies that may help improve your well being. What are hormones? Simply stated, they… In our last article we discussed sleep within the fire service and hopefully provided some insight into how the job itself will affect their overall quality of sleep, which will lead to a number of health issues (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, etc…), In this article our goal is to discuss how the poor sleep will affect the brain as well as hormones, and provide some simple strategies that may help improve your well being. What are hormones? Simply stated, they are the engine for behavior and personalities; they affect everything from appetite to emotion to reproduction. The are created by glands in the endocrine system: • Hypothalamus: regulate body temperature, hunger, moods, and controls thirst, sleep and sex drive • Pancreas: produces insulin to help control blood sugar • Thyroid: hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate • Adrenal: control sex drive and CORTISOL (stress hormone) • Pituitary (Master gland): control other glands and makes the hormones that help with growth • Pineal (thalamus): produce serotonin derivatives of melatonin • Ovaries (only women): secret estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone • Testes (only men): testosterone, sperm Although each gland is important we are going to focus on a specific group of hormones that are often affected in the fire service: Cortisol, Melatonin, and Leptin/Grehlin. Why? Because they are often affected by the stress and lack of sleep / recovery that is associated within the fire service. CORTISOL: The two faces….. When we talk about sleep within the fire service, what we are really trying to say is “manage stress” because in reality we cannot change their sleeping habits while on shift, and if we try to change it we may be creating other issues because firefighters are very unique and very self regulating. For example, most firefighters will adapt to the shift schedule and call volume in the first 5 years. This naturally occurs and a very important process so they can handle the job in the future. Its part of the process……However, we can help provide alternatives on their days off. Cortisol is your stress hormone and most people look at as bad, but in reality it can be helpful in certain situations because it is your “Fight or Flight” hormone. For example, if a bear were to attack you, you will either stay and fight or run (aka “Fight of flight). So we want your cortisol high during intense exercise and stressful situations, but low when you are not. Under the right circumstances, cortisol will help burn fat. If your workout consists of short intense exercise, cortisol will naturally increase along with growth hormone and catecholamine's which will lead to increased body fat to burn. We often recommend firefighters walk slowly or perform some type of low intensity exercise for 10 minutes to help cool down properly after an intense workout and to allow the cortisol to come down. How does it work? As we sleep the body repairs first physically, then emotionally as we go through the sleep cycles. When we rise cortisol is[...]



Maintaining the Work and Life Balance in the Fire Service

2017-08-20T23:00:00.000Z

In my fire service career, I have worked various different shift schedules.  When I first started as a volunteer, I signed up for 24-hour shifts on a Kelly Schedule as a paid… In my fire service career, I have worked various different shift schedules.  When I first started as a volunteer, I signed up for 24-hour shifts on a Kelly Schedule as a paid reserve.  About a year later, I received the opportunity to be a wildland firefighter and transitioned to the 72-hour shift schedule.  As a wildland firefighter, I soon discovered what strike team deployments were; which involved chasing campaign fires all over the State of California.  The next shift assignment I worked was a little different and it was a rotating 12-hour schedule between day - night shifts.  My body really never knew what time it was and I learned that I could sleep just about anytime during the day. My last shift assignment was more common, called the 48/96 schedule with working two straight days in a row.  This assignment is known as the “commuter schedule” and I was indeed a commuter for three years.  My residence was three hours one way from my duty station and this commute made it extremely difficult working in a very busy system.  On this schedule, I drove my personal vehicle three hours to work and I was driving the fire engine for a total of 24-48 hours at work.  There were some nights where you were known as the “Sleepless Knights” and didn’t get any rest while on duty.  I would drive home at the completion of my shift and literally sleep a full day once I got back home. The reason why I am sharing all of these different shift assignments is to paint a picture of all the various work schedules one could have in their Fire Service career.  In my earlier years as a seasonal wildland firefighter, I would work a whole 28 days in a pay period.  This was known as “Blocking out” a pay period.  If you were really fortunate one could block out two pay periods in a row if you were on a lightning siege or on a major campaign fire in Southern California.  During this schedule, I met my soon to be bride and discovered that there was more to life than just being a firefighter.  Over the last seven years I have been married to my bride, I have struggled with maintaining the work - life balance for various reasons.  The demands of a public servant are extreme with overtime, shift trades, mandatory training, off duty community events, union meetings and of course vacation - sick coverage.  It is extremely easy to pour yourself into the demanding role of a public servant in the fire service.  It is also very easy to let the fire life consume you! Then life happens with starting a family and you begin settling down with children.  This is when life and its responsibilities sink in. Then you start struggling with this whole work - life balance concept.  You want to be at home with your family and you also want to be a dedicated public servant at the same time.  I almost felt like I was living two different lives.  One of those lives was at my home residence with my family and the other life was at the firehouse with my work family. A very wise mentor shared with me that it is necessary to manage my time better just in case there were any unexpected events.  He would always give me hints that things happen and you have to leave room in your schedule for these events.  Everything was starting to make sense, when sure enough, life happened and I was again struggling to maintain this work - life b[...]



How is your sleep? Probably not to good....

2017-08-19T17:34:44.000Z

  How is your sleep? This is a common question that often comes when discussing a firefighters health and wellness. Over the years it has become clear to me that the real enemy is not heart disease, fire, or the traumatic exposures but rather the poor sleep quality. It is not uncommon to hear from a firefighter “Coach I have changed my eating habits and started to exercise but I can’t lose weight” and in reality if they do have poor sleep they are climbing an uphill battle. So…   How is your sleep? This is a common question that often comes when discussing a firefighters health and wellness. Over the years it has become clear to me that the real enemy is not heart disease, fire, or the traumatic exposures but rather the poor sleep quality. It is not uncommon to hear from a firefighter “Coach I have changed my eating habits and started to exercise but I can’t lose weight” and in reality if they do have poor sleep they are climbing an uphill battle. So what can we do?   Over the next 4 weeks we will be discussing the consequences of prolonged sleep restriction, hormonal imbalances that exist, health concerns, and strategies to help improve the firefighters sleep.   A little story……   It was about ten years ago when a Fire department I was working for was asked to be a part of National Sleep Study. I was excited and honored to have our department chosen, but over time I started to realize something, “It didn’t matter how much we look at their sleep; all you have to do is a 24 hour shift to know firefighters have poor sleep.” I often thought “We cant change the job, and we cant really improve their sleep while on the job. If the tones go off, they have to respond.” This thinking lead me to look at things differently. Instead of focusing on sleep quality while on duty, maybe we should look at improving sleep off duty. More important “what actually occurs when you have chronic sleep restrictions?”   About 10 years ago I attended the IAFF Redmond Symposium in Chicago to learn as much as I could about the fire service. During that week one fact really stuck in mind “firefighters have heart attacks between the times of 3pm-5pm.” I found this to be odd, as the general public usually have heart attacks first thing in the morning (some believe its due to the elevated cortisol). I proceeded to engrain myself even more in the culture and decided to do a few 24 hour shifts. While I was observing the firefighters go throughout their day I started to realize something, work during the day is basically “filler” and that their job actually does not start until later (6pm). If you ever spent time at a fire station, the day time is usually filled with training, food shopping, inspections, house chores, cooking, and your occasional call. Those things really do not bother the firefighter (they like to be busy). Think about it, when do most people call 911? Daytime of nighttime? Nighttime is the correct answer because most of the world is at work during the day. So in reality a firefighter’s work schedule is flipped upside from the rest of the working population (we sleep when they work).   This idea was always a theory of mine, but in 2010 Skidmore College published a study that only reaffirmed my logic. Dr. Smith and her team looked at cardiac events in the fire service and wanted to find the best method to mitigate the risk. They observed two separate fire departments: Oxnard FD (West Coast) and Boston FD (East Coast). Both are polar opposi[...]



"5-Alarm Task Force" Podcast's Special Guest

2017-08-15T13:00:00.000Z

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Chief (ret) Bobby Halton. If you're a member of My Firefighter Nation, a reader of Fire Engineering, Fire-Rescue Magazine and others; dammit, if you're a firefighter today you have to know who Bobby Halton is. One of the best, well-respected, and well-learned teacher and mentor to the fire-rescue services.

Normally, our podcasts are about an hour long. Luckily and thankfully, my talk with Chief…

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Chief (ret) Bobby Halton. If you're a member of My Firefighter Nation, a reader of Fire Engineering, Fire-Rescue Magazine and others; dammit, if you're a firefighter today you have to know who Bobby Halton is. One of the best, well-respected, and well-learned teacher and mentor to the fire-rescue services.

Normally, our podcasts are about an hour long. Luckily and thankfully, my talk with Chief Halton went nearly three hours. Moreover, I did minimal speaking just so that I could devote myself to listening and learning, to him and from him. This is not just a podcast you should listen to, this is a podcast you must listen to. It is still done in three segments; there are just a little longer than usual!

Episode 21 with Bobby Halton will be available next Monday, August 21st on iTunes and our Host Page 5-Alarm Task Force,

 Stay Safe & Let's Make Sure Every One Goes Home!




Become a Volunteer and Serve In Your Community

2017-08-15T01:00:00.000Z

When I first started my career in the fire service, I started as a volunteer and this original experience taught me the importance of volunteerism.  One of my most rewarding volunteer experiences is when I… When I first started my career in the fire service, I started as a volunteer and this original experience taught me the importance of volunteerism.  One of my most rewarding volunteer experiences is when I traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010.  I have volunteered for several organizations over the years and this trip to Haiti was one of those experiences that reinforced why it is important to become a volunteer.   I will forever remember this humbling experience.   I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach at some of the schools regarding earthquake safety.  During these teaching sessions, I stressed the importance of having an emergency plan.  And also having a safe location for everyone to assemble at during an emergency.  These teaching sessions wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the excellent translators that were available to translate for our team.  Some of these translators would walk ten miles per day for the opportunity to translate.   I had the unique opportunity to deploy to Haiti with a team of doctors, nurses and firefighters from all over the world.  I spent ten days on the ground in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, assisting our team of health care professionals with the logistical needs of setting up mobile care clinics.  Some of the remote locations of the mobile care clinics were orphanages and schools.  Due to the devastation from the earthquake our team of firefighters had to carry all of the items needed for our team to conduct these clinics. The last day of my deployment, I had the opportunity to “scrub in” as an operating room technician at the Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti.  This was also one of the most humbling moments of my entire life.  In the operating room, I assisted a group of surgeons from Italy and Greece from the organization Doctors without Borders.  I was extremely exhausted on the last day of this deployment.  And to this day, I am not sure how I found the energy and the determination to keep going to serve the Haitian people. You don’t have to travel to a third world country to become a volunteer.  You can volunteer in your local community.  Prior to my deployment to Haiti, I had the opportunity to volunteer in the emergency department at my local hospital.  I have also had the opportunity to volunteer at my local community college as a skills coach for the emergency medical technician program.     Do you want to make a real difference?  Become a volunteer and serve in your community.  Learn first hand the importance of volunteerism.  I will forever be a volunteer throughout my public safety career.  Please join me and seek opportunities to serve your local community as a volunteer.  There are many organizations that are in need of volunteers. Photos Courtesy: Lauren Lombard Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination and career fire departments in California. Currently, he serves as a Fire Captain with the River Delta Fire District and Public Information Officer for the Rio Vista Fire Department. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer. He is a California St[...]



Farewell to extinguish the traditional the current

2017-08-12T01:12:57.000Z

Elnhrawy project

Farewell to extinguish the traditional the current

To whom it may concern

 have a new system suppresses all major fires and it is patented by the Ministry of Scientific Research in Egypt in August 2016 and is protected by force of law for 20 years.…

Elnhrawy project

Farewell to extinguish the traditional the current

To whom it may concern

 have a new system suppresses all major fires and it is patented by the Ministry of Scientific Research in Egypt in August 2016 and is protected by force of law for 20 years.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/eln7rawyproject/detail/recent-activity/shares/(image) (image)




Starting Our Second Season!

2017-08-10T17:22:43.000Z

Right now, I'm in the studio editing our inaugural episode of Season 2 of "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Reponders. This episode features my good friend and a business partner, Tom Mitten, a long-time PIO from Elsmere DE. Tom discussed the duties and challenges of the Public Information Officer's position. What if you're in a smaller combo or volunteer department. Do you need a PIO? How would you go about finding one? Tom fills you in on those questions,…

Right now, I'm in the studio editing our inaugural episode of Season 2 of "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Reponders. This episode features my good friend and a business partner, Tom Mitten, a long-time PIO from Elsmere DE. Tom discussed the duties and challenges of the Public Information Officer's position. What if you're in a smaller combo or volunteer department. Do you need a PIO? How would you go about finding one? Tom fills you in on those questions, too! Look for Episode 20 next Monday, August 14th on iTunes or our podcast page, http://bit.ly/5-AlarmTFPodcast.

But don't stop there! Next week, I have the honor and pleasure of interviewing one of the most prominent names in the American Fire Service, Chief (ret) Bobby Halton. We're going to cover some of the key topics in the fire service today and they effect each and every one of you. Chief Halton's podcast will be available on Monday, August 21st - Total Eclipse Day! (And while we're at it..remember DO ONT ATTEMPT TO WATCH THE ECLIPSE WITH ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE SPECIALIZED GLASSES OR APPROVED VIEWING FILTERS!! YOU COULD SEVERELY DAMAGE OR EVEN LOSE YOUR SIGHT. You'll know the difference between correct filters classes and cheap sunglasses or phony filters - if you're wearing the correct filters, you will not be able to see anything around you unless you are looking at the sun!

Coming Attractions: We have some terrific guests coming up in the second season of "5-Alarm Task Force!" Joining us will be Instructor John Dixon, Instructor Andy Starnes, and  Lt. Ryan Pennington of "Jump Seat Views," We'll announce more in the near future!

Stay safe!




Why I Became a Public Servant

2017-08-08T12:00:00.000Z

I will never forget the day, I signed up to be a volunteer firefighter for my community. In 2005, I can recall watching the devastation on TV from the natural disaster Hurricane Katrina and Rita in the… I will never forget the day, I signed up to be a volunteer firefighter for my community. In 2005, I can recall watching the devastation on TV from the natural disaster Hurricane Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Region of the United States. I felt like I needed to help in some form or fashion, I wanted to do something. At the time, in my local area of California, I visited my local volunteer fire station and signed up to become a volunteer firefighter. I really didn’t know that I would soon be embarking on my future career in the Fire Service. I attended training on Wednesday evenings and weekends for eight months at the Firehouse. I graduated from my departments firefighter basics program and became an official probationary firefighter. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of every training class in the firefighter basic program over the course of those eight months. I consumed and digested every piece of information regarding the fire service. Every magazine on the coffee table at the firehouse, I must have read three times from cover to cover over the period of my first year. I even asked the senior firefighters at my station if I could take home the old magazines to glean the valuable information they contained. I became a student of the fire service. Over the next year following the department sponsored training program, I attended various emergency medical and fire service related training class. I will never forget my first call some ten years ago as a volunteer firefighter. After that first call, I came to the realization that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. I approached the crossroads of my life and I had to make an important decision. I wanted to become a public servant. I wanted to help my community. In December of 2006, I served my first paid shift as a reserve firefighter. And in my first year, I signed up for a total of 96 - 24-hour shifts at the firehouse, in addition to my regular full time day job position. Why should you become a public servant? Do you feel the desire to help your fellow neighbor in their time of need? Have you ever had a bad day and needed to call 911 for help? I am sure everyone reading this article has requested the aid of a public servant. I have always been thankful for the Good Samaritan that has assisted members of my family in those difficult times. Are you interested in pursuing a career in the fire service? If so, stop by your local firehouse and ask your local firefighters in your community "why they became a public servant?" I am positive they would be more than willing to help you with any questions you might have. Cover Photo: Author Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination and career fire departments in California. Currently, he serves as a Fire Captain with the River Delta Fire District and Public Information Officer for the Rio Vista Fire Department. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer. He is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator. Chris i[...]



Back to Work on the Second Season of "5-Alarm Task Force!"

2017-08-04T14:35:36.000Z

We returned home this week and got straight to work on Season Two of "5-Alarm Task Force."

We've racked up some great guests for this season, including Chief Bobby Halton, Capt. John Dixon, Captain Andy Starnes, Capt (ret) Dennis Tucker and many more.

Don't forget you can find us on Twitter at either @Dalmatprod or @Cause_Origin. If you're new to Twitter and following us, our second ID, @Cause_Origin was originally created to help generate interest and support in a new project…

We returned home this week and got straight to work on Season Two of "5-Alarm Task Force."
We've racked up some great guests for this season, including Chief Bobby Halton, Capt. John Dixon, Captain Andy Starnes, Capt (ret) Dennis Tucker and many more.

Don't forget you can find us on Twitter at either @Dalmatprod or @Cause_Origin. If you're new to Twitter and following us, our second ID, @Cause_Origin was originally created to help generate interest and support in a new project we've been working on, with a pilot script for a limited-run television series and a just complete script for a feautre-length film.

The projects concern a dramatic story that features the Philadelphia Fire Department and their Arson Investigation Division. We're proud to tell you that both the Department and the City Office for Film & Television are on-board to work with us once we have a "pick-up" for either of the two versions.  If you would like to see a high-quality TV show or feature film about the American Fire Service, let us know about it. And if you know someone in the production biz, be sure to let them know about it, too!

Remember, you can find our shows either on iTunes or on our podcast page at 5-Alarm Task Force.

Stay Safe and Let's Make Sure Everyone Goes home!

Steve Greene




Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 6

2017-08-02T12:00:00.000Z

The stage is set. In the audience are family members, friends and mentors patiently watching you on stage for your pinning ceremony. … The stage is set. In the audience are family members, friends and mentors patiently watching you on stage for your pinning ceremony.  There are few milestones in life that are held in such high regard.  The moment when you find the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and marry to become your significant other.  The birth of a child is also a moment that you will truly treasure and never ever forget.  And this day, when your dream career profession came true and you were pinned with the badge of a public servant. The oath of a public servant is an oath of dedication to a lifetime of customer service.  Remember this moment when you made the commitment to serving your community.  The work of a public servant is never ending in the pursuit of service.  At the end of every call is an opportunity to positively engage members of our community.  There is no greater reward than a lifetime of service. My challenge is for you to find an inspiring mentor in this profession.  Allow yourself the opportunity to become his or her mentee.  Develop into the firefighter and leader that you desire to become.  Accept constructive criticism in stride and strive to become a better person daily.  Respect their wisdom with grace and listen to their feedback with enthusiasm.  Leaders lead by effectively developing future leaders from within their ranks.  The role of every firefighter should be to help the future firefighter receive their dream career position.  Pay it forward and give back daily to the future of the fire service.   Find those golden opportunities to inspire the members of your community to also become future public servants.  The future of our profession requires all of us to actively engage these future members in a positive and meaningful way.      Your experiences throughout your career are yours and yours alone to mold.  Be sure to make the most out of each experience to elevate your future success.  As a public servant, it is up to you to continue this lifetime commitment of service beyond self.  The future of the fire service rests firmly on your shoulders.  The culture of the fire service is currently in the state of a leadership vacuum.  The highly experienced and knowledgeable senior members of our organization have reached the twilights of their careers.  There is a current demand for the future of our organization to make the commitment of pursuing continuous positive improvement.  Now more than ever the future of our profession requires the future leaders of tomorrow to start leading throughout probation and beyond. Photos Courtesy of Author's Family.   Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination and career fire departments in California. Currently, he serves as a Fire Captain with the River Delta Fire District and Public Information Officer for the Rio Vista Fire Department.  Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer.  He is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator.  Chris is[...]



Leading Throughout the Probationary and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 5

2017-07-24T12:00:00.000Z

Last week we discussed two very important character traits; those traits were maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative.  This week we are going to cover two more equally important… Last week we discussed two very important character traits; those traits were maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative.  This week we are going to cover two more equally important character traits that will help you achieve success throughout your fire service career: You must maintain a positive attitude, and Have the mindset of sharing this with others while on duty.    The academy and the probationary period can be compared to a pressure cooker.  You will be pushed beyond your physical and mental limits.  However, having a positive attitude with the correct mindset will enable you to overcome this pressure. There will be bad days.  There will be days where you will be completely broken down.  You will find out what you are made of and what your limits are during this process.  It is important to know what your pain threshold is and also what you are capable of achieving under pressure.  This is a profession where you will be under pressure your entire public safety career.  It is essential to learn how to improvise, adapt and overcome in this stressful environment.  Remember, this is the best job in the world.  Everyday we are on duty is an opportunity to help someone that needs us to mitigate his or her emergency. Passion is contagious and so is negativity.  One is motivating and the other is a disease.  Stay out of “Negative Town” city limits.  Don’t allow yourself to be consumed with negative energy.  Focus all of your energy on building positive meaningful relationships with your fellow academy classmates.  Lead your own mindset and don’t allow yourself to be a victim of the mental trap of negativity.  You are in control of your own thoughts and the ability to overcome any mental obstacle.  Rise above the negative environment and be aggressively positive.  It takes leadership to be a follower.  First you have to lead yourself.  Everyone can be a leader by first leading themselves.  Followership is leadership.  Remember this concept while in the academy and beyond in the probationary period.  Be the best follower that you are capable of being for your fire officers and senior firefighters.  When you are at your best, your leadership can be at their best.  It takes a team effort to be effective on the fire-ground.  Remember, it is our citizen’s worst day in their lives when they place the call to 911.  We have to be at our best for them. Take pride in every thing that you do.  There is an opportunity to leave your unique set of fingerprints on everything you touch throughout your public safety career.  Take pride in knowing that you are making a positive difference.  Take pride in this profession.  Take pride in serving your community.  Take pride in your appearance.  Every action is an opportunity for you to demonstrate just how proud you are of being a public servant. The probationary firefighter displays leadership qualities by maintaining a positive attitude with the correct follower mindset.  There is greatness within you.  During the probationary period y[...]



Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 4

2017-07-18T13:00:00.000Z

There are two character traits that will help you stand out from the rest throughout the probationary period; those traits are maintaining a… There are two character traits that will help you stand out from the rest throughout the probationary period; those traits are maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative.  When it is time to go to work, you have to roll up your sleeves, because work is always the answer.  Take initiative when something needs attention around the firehouse.  Don’t walk past any job that you can handle, especially the empty toilet paper rolls or the overflowing kitchen garbage can.  The moment that you identify something that needs to be taken care of, nominate yourself to accomplish these simple tasks. While in the probationary period you must maintain a sense of urgency when you are performing work around the firehouse.  When your officer or senior firefighter requests your presence, take initiative and move with a sense of purpose.  There is a term called fire-ground pace in the fire service.  A fire-ground pace is defined by moving with a sense of urgency.  Start off probation by maintaining this sense of purpose and urgency in your movement.  It is up to you to keep this fire-ground pace throughout the completion of the probationary period and beyond in your fire service career. During an emergency call move to the rig with a sense of purpose and wear your appropriate turnout gear.  Take initiative by locating the address on the map board and map out the call to help your fire apparatus engineer.  Make sure and wear your ANSI approved traffic safety vest when working near or on the roadway.  Always bunker up and buckle in for every call – Period.  You are in charge of your own safety.  Make sure and mask up if you are in an IDLH environment.  Wear your appropriate personal protective equipment for the emergency.  You have to lead yourself when selecting what to wear for each specific emergency.  Purchase a pair of safety glasses for EMS related calls to protect your eyes from harmful exposures. Have these safety glasses with you at all times during EMS calls.  Keep an extra pair of EMS gloves in your duty pants just in case you need an extra pair.  During the overhaul process of any incident, it is an opportunity for you to roll up your sleeves and go to work.  This isn’t the time to go and hide.  However, this is the time to maintain the important character trait of a strong work ethic.  Be the first one to step forward and raise their hand when something needs to be done.  When you return back to the firehouse after the call, several tasks need to be completed in order to return back to service.  This is an opportunity for you to hustle and get ready for the next call.  The community and the citizens you took an oath to protect are waiting for you to put the apparatus back in service.  Move with a sense of purpose. Take the initiative in maintaining a parade finish on your duty boots and take pride in your appearance.  You have the best job in the world.  Allow your duty boots to reflect just how proud you are of this opportunity to serve your community.   You can learn a lot from someone just by looking at the finish on his or her [...]



"On the Road Again,,,"

2017-07-11T18:36:25.000Z

We're taking a brief break from our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force" and will return to production the first week of August.

As Willy Nelson's song, says, "On the Road Again." And we'll be heading to NC next week. Along the way, we hope to have the opportunity to visit some firehouses along the way.

If you're in the Guilford County/Greensboro or the Boone/Blowing Rock areas, drop us a line to DalmatProd@Outlook.com and we'll try to set up a brief meeting to record your thoughts…

We're taking a brief break from our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force" and will return to production the first week of August.

As Willy Nelson's song, says, "On the Road Again." And we'll be heading to NC next week. Along the way, we hope to have the opportunity to visit some firehouses along the way.

If you're in the Guilford County/Greensboro or the Boone/Blowing Rock areas, drop us a line to DalmatProd@Outlook.com and we'll try to set up a brief meeting to record your thoughts about today's fire service. We'll air these interviews on the podcast, this Fall.