Thought Leadership

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 ...

Read More »

Interior Firefighting is Becoming Obsolete—We Just Don’t Know It

I’m not saying that firefighting as a whole is becoming obsolete, but I am proposing that we need to get out of the “pot” before we become boiled. Our approach to interior structural firefighting needs some serious restructuring lest we will only see more firefighters encountering flashovers upon arrival, structures weakened to their collapse point before firefighters arrive, and firefighters developing cancers more frequently from airborne and skin exposure hazards.

Read More »

Fire Chief Alan Brunacini

With Fire Ground Command, Bruno taught an entire generation of fire officers and firefighters how to take people, equipment, apparatus, water, etc., and bring it all together in a coordinated effort to extinguish fires.

Read More »

Accountability in the Fire Service

Creating a culture where employees are accountable means that first; the leaders must be accountable to the employees. Information sharing, discussions about challenges, and allowing everyone to engage in the dialogue is the first step in starting the change. Everyone makes mistakes, the difference is what the individuals do after the mistake.

Read More »

Firefighter humanitarian group expands aid to start 2nd decade

IFRM does not function as a disaster-relief agency. Rather, it’s goal is to solve chronically inadequate fire protection by working with local and federal officials to use the donation as a foundation for building a sustainable fire service. This often means it can take months, sometimes years, for a community to get the necessary pieces in place to be approved for IFRM donations.

Read More »

It ain’t my job. Or is it?

I hear what Dwight’s saying, which is even more reason for firefighters to get a good education on the fire code for their municipality during their entry-level training. We don't expect police officers to go out on the street without knowing the "rules of the game", right? I’m not proposing that every firefighter be trained and certified to NFPA 1031 standards, but I am saying that we as fire service leaders need start training firefighters to be more than firefighters—we need more fire preventers!

Read More »

Ten Lessons Learned During my First Year as Fire Chief, Part II

Be a leader not just a manager. Model the behavior you expect to see. Empower personnel to make decisions befitting their rank. When personnel and officers are given the freedom to do this with the expectation that they make decisions supporting the mission, vision, and values of the department and the town an amazing thing happens, they do the right thing every time.

Read More »

Ten Things I’ve Learned in My First Year as a Fire Chief, Part I

I made it clear that I set the bar very high for myself and others around me. I had a brief moment where I thought of lowering the bar, but I quickly removed that thought from my mind. I kept the bar high and made my people “reach for it” and achieve it. Which meant that I then pushed it even higher! So my advice to chiefs is: Don’t be afraid to continually raise the bar. You will be amazed at what can be achieved.

Read More »

Rethinking Fire Protection Strategies

Fire departments, large and small, continue to devote the large majority of their resources to big equipment, e.g., today’s engines and aerial apparatus, without a closer examination of the fire risk in their communities. And they’re doing so with less available staffing than ever before.

Read More »

Career Cut Short: Preparing for the “End of the Line”

Before losing that first job, I’d never experienced such a “loss” in my life. I’d been very successful in my first career as a firefighter, advanced through the organization and retired as a battalion chief. Losing that first job after retirement was a huge blow to my ego and my self-confidence.

Read More »