Commentary

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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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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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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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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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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