Mutual Aid Fire

Keep firefighters at work!
August 18, 2009, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Opinion

Letters / Chronicle-Tribune / Marion, Indiana
Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:06 AM EDT
Keep firefighters at work

Becoming a professional firefighter was a dream come true, as I relentlessly pursued this vision until it manifested itself in reality. When I first interviewed for the job I was told that it wasn’t a lucrative occupation, was physically and psychologically stressful and hard on marriages. The Chief stated that the reward comes from saving a life and serving the community. I was also told that it was the most secure job that I could ever have, as nobody had ever been laid-off in the history of the Marion Fire Department. Six months later I received a lay-off notice from the Assistant Chief and my world came tumbling down. Two other probationary Firefighters ( Larry Emmons and Fred McMullen ) were laid-off also.

I was in shock and disbelief, as I had a wife and three young children to support, in a tough economic climate. One of the happiest days of my life occurred a year later when the firefighters union president called me and advised me I was being called back to service. It is my hope that none of the young men currently on the M.F.D. will lose their jobs, as I would not want them to have to suffer through what I did in 1981.

If cutbacks in manpower are necessary, then perhaps this can be achieved through attrition. Ideally, additional sources of funding would be identified and used for public safety. This may require some thinking outside of the box, but anything is possible if the desire is strong enough.

Firefighters serve the public not only at structure fires, but respond to water related emergencies, medical calls, hazardous materials spills and leaks, vehicular extrications and numerous other calls. Teaching cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and first aid to the public, fire safety to area schools, performing business inspections with pre-fire planning, and conducting fund raising events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, are just a few of the ways that Firefighters reach out to meet the needs of the community. We can’t turn our backs to these young men as they would gladly give us the shirts off of theirs.

Brian P. Swanner, Gas City

Why we need our staffing (A must see video!)
July 26, 2009, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Opinion

We need to take a stand NOW before the politicians start to cut our staffing and reduce our budgets that PAY us to be ready at a moments notice(it’s already happening state & nation wide). We cannot allow those who make the decisions, to cut our budgets which directly relates to bodies on the trucks who risk it all for that one moment that pays off!

Hats off to the OFD boys they were ready & so should we, but we can’t do it with ANY LESS STAFFING!…OFD Tower 1(and all involved) “good job”

White firefighters win Supreme Court appeal
June 29, 2009, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Opinion

“WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.
The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.”

There is the problem.”no evidence it was intentional” fortunately in our small town area it’s not so much of an issue. Not to say that a few “big city” bros that I know did’t tell me about their own experience with “affirmative action”. It would be ignorent to say it doesn’t happen these days. Just like racism it goes both ways.

You know, I didn’t like the title in this story. This is not about “white firefighters” as much as it is about firefighters and promotion process PERIOD. It is likely to think the highest score wins the slot. What’s fair is fair and we need to keep it that way. Black OR white, young OR old…dare I say experienced OR not so experienced!…( I can hear you about the last one!!!)

If your dept. sets out promotion parameters than that parameter is your judge (BTW if the parameters suck then form a commitee and change it!). Sometimes hurt egos go along with the process such as “that kid is not_____ for this position, Chief liked so & so that’s why he’s promoted, His dad/brother/family had something to do with it!” , albeit sometimes true, the score should speak for itself(that is why all scores should be posted dept. wide for all to come to their own conclusion).

The REAL test comes when you hit the street. Prove yourself. I have been told by mentors before RESPECT is everything in the fire service. “Rank don’t mean SH!T if you do not have the respect of your brothers in the firehouse”.

So if there is a problem with your recent promotions(alot of retirements round these parts recently FWBFD included) let the newly promoted have their moment. Let them prove themselves. Only time can produce experience and experience exposes ability and ability determines respect.

If they have been on the job a while, get promoted, and still suck…_________________ (you fill in the blank)

The 4 ups
June 26, 2009, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Opinion

This was lifted from the Fools site check em’ out….
The 4 UPS

In our professional lives, especially for younger F/F’s, I have “borrowed” something from a Brother of mine, Tim Klett of the FDNY. It is called the 4 UPS.

The first is, Listen up: When you are first starting in the Fire Service, there is a lot going on. You are entering a culture that is unlike any other one on this planet. You will hear stories, tales and just plain BS. But listen carefully. That is our past talking. All of the information has value; it is up to you to determine how much value it has to you. Listen to the older, over-the-hill, past-their-prime, malcontents, for the little “pearls of wisdom” that aren’t in any textbooks. A lot of important information that will help keep you safe and alive on the fire ground is not written down. The fire service is very young. We are loosing our experience. The F/F’s that went to fires during the war years are slowly retiring. Talk to them before they leave. We are loosing our history, we are loosing our past. Don’t let this happen.

The second up is, Clean up: The firehouse is your second home. Treat it as such. And if you are the junior F/F working, you are the lowest on the totem pole. You get the dirty work, you get to do the dishes, and you get to mop the floors, and you get to clean the toilets. This is not based on any prejudices of race, sex, or religion. It is based on the fact that all the junior people before you did it, or should have done it. You do it until the next probie is assigned to that company. It is part of belonging, it is doing what you should be doing. And it is always pretty funny, because in my experience, the ones that piss and moan about doing the chores usually end up doing them by themselves for a long time. But the ones that just do it, the ones that are the first to get up to head for the sink after a meal, usually find that they have help. They become excepted into the “family” a little quicker.

The third up is, Step up: this goes hand in hand with the previous “up” but there is more. Be involved in your company and in your department. Attend company functions, help run them if possible. In NYC every company I ever worked in would have a company picnic in the summer, a Christmas party in the fire house in December, and a dinner-dance sometime during the year. Become a productive member of your Company.
Above all, go to funerals and services, especially the line of duty ones. Pay your respects. Become a part of the fire service by deed and not by mouth.

The last up is my favorite; Shut up. This one goes well with listen up, but actually goes a little further. Spend more time listening and doing than talking about it. Show by your actions and your deeds what type of F/F and member of this great Brotherhood you are.

In our personnel lives, DTRT, means take care of our families. Take care of your loved ones. Think before you act. And when all else fails, go with your heart, Do the right thing.
Say as you do; do as you say.
Say what you mean; mean what you say.
Remember, A man is only as good as his word. Talk is cheap; backing your talk up is priceless.

— Bob Pressler

ECFR’s controversial new Deputy Chief
February 10, 2009, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Opinion

Escambia County Fire Rescue puts Volunteer Deputy Chief in place over career firefighters…

“At least if you’re Escambia County Commissioner Kevin White and you want to promote Robert “Robbie” Whitfield to the No. 2 spot in the Fire-Rescue Department — the same Whitfield fired barely three years ago by the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office for lying about an affair with a subordinate and encouraging her to lie.”

I have seen it all. Proof politics do work…ECFR county officials have decided to hire a new VOLUNTEER Deputy Chief without reguard to qualification(lack there of) over other qualified & experienced applicants. It has stirred a firestorm of controversy for the west end Brothers. Check out the story from the PNJ here Please take a moment and read this story. It is a short read that, if you live in Escambia, YOU need to be informed.

Be careful what you ask for cause you just might just get it!!!

So you want to be a Fireman?
January 5, 2009, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Opinion

This commentary was lifted from a great site check em’ out!

By: D/O Chad Berg
Ladder co. 72

Snohomish County, WA

“Fireman?” Can we still use that term in the world of political correctness? You are probably telling yourself that we are all firefighters, and guess what? You’re right. But there are still firemen out there and better yet, there are still firemen coming up through the ranks. These firemen have nothing to do with being a man. This title does not recognize gender or race. In fact some of the firemen that I respect the most, are sisters.

Do you remember in the Academy your instructors were always chiming in about “Good Firemanship?” Well they weren’t referring to checking that coupling for a gasket, or tying off your halyard like it was painted on the rung. Being a Fireman is not something that you become when the Chief pins on your shiny new badge, and you don’t automatically earn it your first day off probation. Being a Fireman means honoring your job both on and off of the clock. It means striving to preserve and protect our heritage, and in being concerned on shaping the younger generation of firefighters whom will take your place when your last alarm is answered.

Honor this title, and strive to earn it. The following attributes make up a “Fireman.”

– Be loyal to your company, your station house, your shift, and to your department. With loyalty comes trust. When times get tough, remember who takes care of you and your family. “Back ‘em up!”

PRIDE – When asked, “Who is the best fire company around?” Make sure and tell them that it’s your company. But don’t forget to back it up.

BE HUMBLE – Be proud, but show humbleness during reward, and recognition. None of us are at “know it all” status. It’s easy to compliment those that don’t expect it.

BE AGGRESSIVE SAFELY – Get the job done quickly, and get the job done right. Be that guy/gal that every new kid wants to work with. More importantly, make sure that you and that kid go home at the end of the shift.

– You must come to terms with the fact that you will always be playing catch up to the ever evolving fire service and the dangers that you will face in our ever changing world. “You will never complete your training.” Do not settle for the quarterly minimum requirements.

REAL BROTHER/SISTERHOOD – Understand that real brother/sisterhood is not about pay status, metro vs. rural, city vs. county, or even a specific window sticker. Care about the people that do the same job as you and experience the same hazards. These are the only people who really understand you and what your about. They are your fire service family.

SHARE KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCES – If some “Old Crusty” shows you an old trick on the last job or during a drill, don’t hoard it and pretend that it’s yours. Show everybody you know and pass on what you have learned. The next generation of firefighters is depending on it. When you do pass it on – make sure to give that “Old Crusty” credit.

RESPECT THE “SENIOR GUY/GAL” – Who is the senior firefighter in you station house or on your company? It might not be the most inspiring person, or the one with the best work ethic or attitude. One thing is for certain, and the fact is that that individual has been on the job longer than you and has experienced more. They may have more years on the job than you have alive! They may not always do things the right way, but when the alarm sounds…pay attention to how he/she gets things done and learn from their experience.

HOSPITALITY – “Who’s at the door?” If an out of town brother/sister stops by to take a photo or ask for a patch or T-shirt, what would you do? You need to make that brother/sister the king/queen for the moment. Make sure that all of the station members know of the visitor, and that everybody comes to introduce themselves. Offer them up a cup of coffee or a spot at the beanery table at the next meal. Make these folks remember why they came into this job in the first place. Most of all make sure that they leave with that patch or T-shirt that they came for.

When family members of a firefighter stop by, should we treat them the same as visiting firefighters? No, we should do more! Invite the family in, offer the kids a popsicle or ice cream, and show them the apparatus and the neat things around the station house. Offer the adults something to drink and most of all; talk up their firefighter family member like he/she is the best leatherhead in the department. Tell the kids how lucky you are to work with their Mom/Dad, Aunt/Uncle, or Grandpa/Grandma. How would you want your family to be treated when they stop by a firehouse and you’re not there?

SHARE YOUR MISTAKES – Though mistakes can be tough to admit let alone tell others about, that’s what makes a good leader. If you truly care about your brothers/sisters, don’t let them make the same mistakes that you’ve made. Both for the sake of safety and for the sake of the department’s reputation on the next similar scenario.

SUPPORT YOUR COMPANY OFFICER – If you want to work under a good company officer, he/she will need your help. Never indulge in gossip or downgrading of your CO whether on the job or just out for beers. Make sure to point out his/her qualities to others that do not normally work with them. Remember that they have a tough job and that they depend on leadership from the bottom up. Remember… “Take care of the company & the company takes care of you.” Refer to LOYALTY.

GO TO A FUNERAL OF A FALLEN BROTHER/SISTER THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW – When a firefighter or Police Officer answers the final alarm in your neck of the woods…you should go. These folks have made the supreme sacrifice and they deserve the very least to have you dedicate a few hours to show your respect and appreciation. If you were to die in the line of duty, how many people would you want your spouse, kids, and parents to see coming to pay their respects? Help these families to remember that their firefighter or police officer was one of the best around.

IF THERE ARE 2 WAYS TO DO IT, THINK OF A 3RD – Always have another option to the routine plan. Prove them wrong when they say that there is no other way. If somebody shows you four different methods to chalk open a door…say thanks, and then show them a fifth and a sixth way.

DON’T LET YOUR DEPARTMENT’S SHORTFALLS BE AN EXCUSE FOR LACK OF TRAINING – “If my department isn’t paying me for it, then I’m not going!” Have you heard that one before? Yeah, he/she will show them. These folks are not willing to get better at their job unless they are on the clock or being paid overtime. Budget cuts are tough, but you must find alternate methods to receive your training. Be creative with ideas and don’t even be afraid to spend a little of your own money if need be. Consider it an investment in your career longevity. It’s a dangerous job; don’t blame somebody else for your stubbornness.

DON’T BE AN INBRED – This may sound funny, but it’s true. Get outside of your department and see what others are doing and how they are doing it. Many equipment purchases, PPE changes, apparatus specs, and training ideas in my department have been pulled from other departments from around the country. Ride along with other places and see how they get the same job done but maybe with a more efficient method. Take outside classes and get somebody else’s view on how it can be done. Always be willing to look at doing it better and more efficiently.

STAY PHYSICALLY FIT – Maintain your health, it’s the best tool in your toolbox. Your company is depending on you, and so is your family. Working out when on duty is not enough when you only work 7-10 days a month. You need to be keeping fit in your lifestyle at home, and no they will not reimburse you for that. Do it for you and do it for your brothers and sisters.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS GIVE YOUR BROTHER/SISTER THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT – It could be the latest station gossip, an unfolding story in the media, or just your own inclination, but until you know for sure, give him/her the benefit of the doubt. You know what kind of people that you work with and what they stand for as people within our society. They share many of the same attributes and values as you yourself. Remember that these folks are your family and they deserve your support and backing when things are getting ugly. You work with great people who do great things. Give them what they deserve.

DON’T FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM – When you get to be that “Old Crusty” and you’re feeling like you got a pretty good grasp on the fire service, what are you going to do when you see that new kid come through the door who looks younger than your bunker boots? Are you going to tease him about being a young green proby and continue to push at his buttons and make him respect you for your years of distinguished service and then leave him alone to dive head first into a Godzilla sized “Super Proby Book” and a stack of IFSTA manuals?……………….No!

You are going to tease him about being a young green proby, and you will proceed to tell him that your bunker boots are older than him. Soon after, you’ll pour him a cup of coffee, help him find a locker, and then show him around the place. At dinner, you’re going to tell him about your first big job as a new proby and a few other inflated war stories. In the following weeks and months of his probation, you’ll tell him about the mistakes that you made throughout your career and how to avoid them. You will take the time on the next alarm to show him an old trick that an “Old Crusty” showed you thirty years ago. You’ll have the responsibility to give this kid the tools and show him what the fire service is about and how the job should be done. He will depend on you for this. It’s your chance to shape the future of the fire service and to leave your little legacy behind. You owe it to the fire service and you are going to give it back.

You’re a FIREMAN!

Chad Berg

Chad Berg is a 17 year veteran of the American fire service. He specifically instructs the disciplines of Truck/Ladder company operations, and has taught at both the local, state, and national level including Firehouse World and Fire Rescue Magazine conferences. Chad is an active member of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society (F.O.O.L.S.), where he is the current President elect Currently Chad is assigned to Ladder company 72 of Snohomish County FD #7, in Washington State where he serves as a Driver/Operator.

Heavy fire= heavy water
November 22, 2008, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Opinion

Heavy fire = a solid bore?!!!!

After some observations of fireground uses of 2 1/2 lines for advanced fire attack ect. I noted a pretty consistant thing…the use of the fog nozzle on the 2 1/2 handline!


While on a family trip to Orlando recently, I was watching the local news and observed a clip of a Firefighter working a 2 1/2 with a fog nozzle on a routine house fire. I thought “even as advanced & busy as OFD is they are, even they are stuck on the use of the old fogger” I have great respect for OFD and they obviosly are more “seasoned” on the whole fire thing than us small towners and this is not a dis to those brothers at all, we are VERY partial to the fog in these parts as well….I’m just saying….

Is it necessary to have a FOG nozzle on the 2 1/2 line?!

Is there a legitimate use(other than for exposure protection) for the FOG on our 2 1/2 handlines?!

Does that big ole master stream, RAM, or deck gun really need a fog on it?! (IE: Fog tip on the elevated master stream????)


I have been shown and convinced that a solid bore is the ONLY nozzle needed for the “BIG LINE and BIG TIME”.

It seems to me, that when you break out the big guns you need big water, big reach, and big penetration. Not to mention the relief of less operating pressure, nozzle reaction, & nozzle fatigue. It’s not often that we use the big guns around these parts but when we do, I think we need to consider why we are pulling em’ off the truck in the first place. If it is to cover exposures it may be easier to switch out the fog over the solid…I’m just sayin’…

Crestview FD's bravest taking the easy route

Crestview FD's bravest taking the easy route

Just food for thought “work smarter not harder” that’s what I always try and live by!

(Notice I did not include the 1 3/4 on this one?…cause that is where the FOG has a home!)