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.

Making the Case for the Fire Department Your Community Needs

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer So, I can across this informative and thought-provoking post from Eric Saylors the other day over on LinkedIn, Fire departments are response models, not production models. If you’re a fire service leader, especially if you’re the fire chief in your community, this is something you must read. More importantly, it’s something you should sit ...

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“We’ll Teach You a Lesson You’ll Never Forget”: The Rape of a Woman Firefighter

I was on duty with my team—we were a team of five, four firefighters and an officer—and rest time came about, and I went in my dorm to get some sleep. But that didn’t go as planned. My “team” walked in my dorm room. I thought I missed my pager or something, and before I could say a word, I had a hand over my mouth warning me to shut the fuck up or it would get ugly.

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Firefighter Pregnancy: Why is this so hard?

I believe that Federal Law does not provide adequate protection to women in the fire service. In other public safety careers, e.g., it can be much easier for a woman to either continue working their normal job or switch to another unit where they can get light duty.  For us firefighters, it is much harder, especially if you are in a smaller department.  Those light-duty opportunities are just not available.

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How I “Got” PTSD

I "got" trained to do what is needed to save lives. I didn't "get" PTSD. I had to do my job in situations where you cry just hearing about the "how horrible it must have been." I'm healing and adapting from PTSD. My human side just got tired. That's all.

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Who do you see at night?

That’s the only one that affected me in that way, and to this day, I have no idea why. There have been others that were worse calls, but I never had an issue afterward. It didn’t really bother me at the time, it was more of a, “Really? Why? Geez. Stop.”

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What the Fire Service Needs from Mental Health Professionals and Vice Versa

Firefighter mental health

The effects of post-traumatic stress (PTS) and job-related stress (because PTS is not the only source of stress) on firefighters and EMS personnel is one of biggest challenges facing individuals and their departments. And it’s a challenge for which many of those individuals and their departments are ill-equipped to handle on their own. But that doesn’t mean the challenges can’t be overcome. It’s just going to take a new way of thinking.

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Business Intelligence Software That Helps Fire Departments to “Crunch” NFIRS Data

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer A few months ago, I wrote an article for this space entitled Data Matters for Fire Departments across the U.S. where I discussed the importance of data collection for the present and future success of the fire service, and particularly data transmission to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). Of equal importance was ...

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Cases of Fire Departments Behaving Badly

How can any person feel that they’re doing a good job as a fire chief when their officers and firefighters are not being guided by policies—the governing documents for any organization—that are up-to-date, congruent with all federal and state laws, rules, and regulation, and focused on “doing the right thing”?

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