Author Archives: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec and his wife of 30+ years now make their home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, rpa1157@gmail.com.

What really happened in this 911 Center?

Most 911 centers in the U.S. are chronically underfunded and understaffed. The former means that centers often don't have enough authorized positions for the workload and/or they can't afford to pay employees a salary that commensurate with the job and its responsibilities; while the latter forces employees to work involuntary overtime.

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Wanna know what the cost of bullying is in a fire department?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer The short answer is: Human capital. I received the following message from a colleague who was a fire chief until recently. A real bright and shining star in the fire service leadership world, IMHO. I had sent this person information about a course development project for which I was seeking developers to work on. ...

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How Cutting-Edge County Bought Its First SCBA Washer

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Note: The story you’re about to read is true in every respect except one: There is no Cutting Edge County Fire and EMS Department. All that you’re about to read about—meetings, discussions, decisions—really took place in early August 2019. Unfortunately, the county where this all took place has a strict policy against any county ...

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Is your community “inoculated”​ against preventable fires?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer https://thesaurus.plus/img/antonyms/217/inoculate.png Well, is it? Are you and your family inoculated against preventable fires? You may think that it’s enough that you inform yourself about how to prevent fires and act to improve and protect your environment (e.g., your home or business) from a preventable fire. But you probably live in a community with other ...

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The Turnout Gear Myth

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Photo Source: http://tinyurl.com/y5vllmj2 One of my earliest memories from my Hazardous Materials-Operations course was hearing the instructor say, “Your structural firefighting PPE is not acceptable chemical protective clothing.” That was true in the mid-1980’s when I took that course and it’s still true today. As concern within the fire service about firefighters developing cancer ...

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What’s wrong with this picture?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece entitled, Stop Romanticizing Firefighting. Apparently some people didn’t get the memo. Source: YouTube, https://youtu.be/znBtV5t4j9U This video was posted on a Facebook Group I follow with the caption “Fearless.” Along with a bazillon hastags: #firefighter #fireman #rescue #firstresponder #thinredline #firedept #firelife #firefighters #firerescue #firetruck #firestation #firemen #fire#wildlandfirefighters #firstrespondertaskforce For me, fearless is not the first word that came to ...

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Making Rapid Intervention Crews even better

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Read a great piece, and even better guidance and direction, on this critical issue from my fire service colleague and Situational Awareness Matters guru, Richard Gasaway! I recently was contacted by a fire officer asking whether their mayday procedure should include a provision for a dedicated mayday channel for the distressed crew to transmit ...

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PTSD notes from the other side

When I last wrote a post for Fire & EMS Leader Pro (March 2017), I was freshly retired from my 32-year career. I was between therapists. I wasn’t taking any medication for my new friend depression. I was, in a nutshell, miserable.

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