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.

Why interior firefighting will be obsolete by 2030

We've only seen the beginning of the firefighters developing cancer from their occupational exposures. The numbers for those cases are going to skyrocket in the next 10 years; and along with the number of cases will be an even more daunting rise in health care premiums (That many localities still pay for their firefighters) and workers compensation claims being paid by local and state governments.

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Overcoming the #1 Barrier to Cultural Change in the Fire Service

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Why does it take so long for new equipment or work practices to become the norm in the fire service? Case in point, the first commercial SCBA appeared in fire stations in 1920, though it wouldn’t be until the late 1970s before SCBA use began to gain widespread acceptance in the fire service in ...

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Pregnant women in public safety is not something new

Your efforts to recruit and retain women for your department are doomed to fail if you don't have those policies and procedures in place now. If every one of your male officers and firefighters aren't informed and educated about how a female colleague will be treated when she finds out she's pregnant, your efforts are doomed to fail.

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Climate change ain’t no hoax, just ask a California firefighter

As taxpaying citizens of the U.S., we all have “skin in the game” when it comes to how wildfires and all natural disasters in the U.S. are prepared for and handled when they happen. And if we don’t take climate change seriously and pressure our elected officials to take it seriously, we’ll only see more acres burn. We’ll only see bigger and stronger storms—from hurricanes to tornadoes to winter storms—affecting all parts of the U.S. And don’t even get me started on coastal areas that will become non-existent for future generations.

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Firefighter Gets Fitted for Hearing Aid

My hearing loss is for certain sounds in the high frequency range of speech; for me those sounds are predominantly th, s, f, and ch. Who knew that the sounds for different letters and letter combinations come out of our mouths at different frequencies? Did you?

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The Coming Firefighter Cancer Tsunami

The firefighter diagnosed with colon cancer today may have first been exposed 15 to 20 years ago (1998 to 2003). What did we know then? How well were we protecting ourselves then? These are questions that should be scaring the hell out of firefighters. They do me because my career spanned the years 1982 to 2007!

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Fire Psychology: The Dawning of a New Age

Said Wheldon, who has worked with firefighters in her private psychology practice, “In my own work, and in speaking with other psychologists who’ve treated firefighters, I’ve come to learn that that firefighters are different. They’re different from police officers, who I’ve also worked with, and they’re the general public. And I think they need a different kind of psychologist. They deserve a different kind of psychologist.”

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Fire retardants and their impact on firefighter health

Until I went the following year to a specialist who understood autoimmune issues and said that the previous tests were incomplete as most docs do not understand how to test for the full thyroid spectrum.  My former male fire officer [with Aurora Fire Department] also has Hashimoto's (though it’s much more common in women) and I know women firefighters that have had thyroid cancer as well as Sjogren's syndrome—a really terrible autoimmune disease, worse than Hashimoto's.

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