Author Archives: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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 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,

A few rotten apples…

Chief Avsec and his surgically repaired shoulder. Note from Chief Avsec: As I continue to rehab from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff, I came across this post from Brian McAsey, Assistant Deputy Chief of the Fire & Rescue Services Division at Calgary (Alberta) Fire Department, on LinkedIn. Chief McAsey graciously accepted my invitation to post his blog ...

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Men could stop sexual harassment in the fire service tomorrow

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Update: I’ve updated this post because I was moved by the courageous post I read today from a fire service colleague, Angie Hughes, Captain (Ret.) Baltimore County (Mary.) Fire Department. Or today, if it’s early enough in the day. Men in the fire service need to “step up” and call out sexist and misogynistic ...

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Why aren’t fire departments getting better at inclusion?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer So, I was on the road headed towards FDIC 2019 in Indianapolis and some random thoughts began running through my head concerning fire service organizations and sexual harassment and inclusion and how are these things all intertwined. And how does the fire service work to eliminate that entanglement? Former U.S. Forest Service Battalion Chief ...

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Firefighter Cancer Presumption Laws Are Not a Silver Bullet

Firefighters will very well find themselves in the same position in the future as a growing number of firefighters develop cancer from doing their job will find themselves being crushed financially paying for cancer-related treatment and cancer-related deaths prompted by firefighter cancer presumption laws. When that happens, we should not be surprised when efforts begin to reduce or even dissolve the social compromise between firefighters in those governments.

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What’s Different About Warriors Heart and Why Firefighters Need to Know

The primary goal of the foundation (a registered 501(c) nonprofit organization) is to support Warriors Heart—the first private, fully licensed, and dedicated residential treatment facility for the healing of our nation’s warriors--in meeting its mission. And that’s the only populations that they serve (Note I said “populations”—that includes firefighters and EMS personnel and law enforcement officers. Just want to make that clear!).

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Cleaning Your SCBA: Are You a Caveman or a Transformer?

During these types of events, and particularly during interior structural firefighting, the SCBA unit can be exposed to a toxic “soup” of chemicals, chemical compounds, and known carcinogens while it protects the firefighter’s respiratory system from those same hazards. And while much is currently being discussed and written about how to protect firefighters from those hazards, there is much to be learned about how to keep SCBA units clean and decontaminated after each use and ready for the next emergency.

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