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 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.

Memo to iWomen: Stay Home!

Boycott of Fairfax County

And where's the "call out" for all the male firefighters in Fairfax County? Where have they been for the past two years--since Nicole Mittendorf's suicide? Why are they not standing up for their "sister" firefighters and demanding the fire chief's firing?

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Continuing Leadership Problems in a Fire Department

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer This is the title of a recent post from my fire service colleague and attorney, Curt Varone, on his blog, Fire Law: Fairfax County’s Highest Female Officer Resigns From Women’s Program Officer Position WOW! There’s no other word that even comes close to describing my thoughts after reading Chief Stanley’s letter of resignation. After ...

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Rape in the fire service: A story revisited

Sexual assaults and rape being perpetrated on our sister firefighters by their colleagues–and in many cases their leaders–isn’t a women’s issue that they can solve.  It’s a failure of fire department leadership and that means it’s up to the men who occupy the majority of leadership positions in the fire service to eradicate this blight from our profession. 

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Role Model Qualities for an Effective Company Officer

In today’s blog, I’m going to discuss what I believe is the fundamental role for any company officer: Being an effective role model. Every single day. Why do I believe that? My experience has shown me that a company officer’s success in any of their other roles, e.g., supervisor, teacher, mentor, fire ground commander, is predicated on the level of respect and confidence that they’ve developed with their firefighters.

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Data Matters for Fire Departments Across the U.S.

One of my former mentors, Deputy Chief (Ret.) Jim Graham of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department, was a huge proponent for the use of information whether it was on a fire ground operation or developing a new training program or addressing budget reductions. One of his favorite sayings—one that stays with me to this day—was: “We must constantly strive to become better at data-driven decision making, instead of following the ‘I think, I feel, or I believe model.” But he usually followed that up with a caveat that we should also strive to ensure that we had good information, not just any information.

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Barriers to Inclusion: A Case Study

By Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Bringing more women into your fire department is not going to add value or capabilities to your organization unless your department’s leadership recognizes and addresses its barriers to inclusion. In a recent piece for FireRescue1’s on-line trade journal, 7 steps to an inclusive fire department culture, I wrote: Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion ...

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Firefighters: Always be Humble and Kind, Especially to Each Other

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Humble and kind. Firefighters are known and respected for their caring and compassionate nature whether dealing with human tragedy on a call or standing outside in the rain to “Fill the Boot” for MDA (the Muscular Dystrophy Association) over Labor Day Weekend. So, why can we be so unkind to each other? A couple ...

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Diversity and Inclusion: What’s Your Fire Department’s Plan?

Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion is about making people count. Diversity is about the ingredients, the mix of people and perspectives. Inclusion is about the container – the place that allows employees to feel they belong, to feel both accepted and different. To achieve success today and tomorrow in meeting the challenges it faces, a fire department needs a group of people who think differently – in a place that's safe to share those differences.

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