What inclusiveness does, and doesn’t, look like in a fire department

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer I’m doing research for a future article on inclusiveness. I know, I know, everyone is writing about diversity and inclusiveness in the fire services organizations. But I’m taking a different course. I want to hear real-life examples of situations where you felt inclusiveness and situation where you felt the exact opposite. I believe it’s ...

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National Fire Prevention Week 2020: 51 weeks and counting

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer So, we’re wrapping up National Fire Prevention Week for 2019. The open houses have been conducted at fire stations and fire halls across the U.S. and Canada. The public displays (e.g., firefighters and their apparatus) at shopping malls, festivals, and sporting events where those firefighters have engaged adults and children to talk about this ...

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Build inclusiveness in your fire department and they will come

By: Marlene Kostyrka, Assistant Chief, Charleston (SC) Fire Department As I scroll through social media these days there seems to be a glaring issue with people skills, in the fire service.  My motivation for writing this blog is a personal mission to provide information on inclusiveness and how the lack of it creates an internal risk that will take years ...

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What really happened in this 911 Center?

Most 911 centers in the U.S. are chronically underfunded and understaffed. The former means that centers often don't have enough authorized positions for the workload and/or they can't afford to pay employees a salary that commensurate with the job and its responsibilities; while the latter forces employees to work involuntary overtime.

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Wanna know what the cost of bullying is in a fire department?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer The short answer is: Human capital. I received the following message from a colleague who was a fire chief until recently. A real bright and shining star in the fire service leadership world, IMHO. I had sent this person information about a course development project for which I was seeking developers to work on. ...

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How Cutting-Edge County Bought Its First SCBA Washer

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Note: The story you’re about to read is true in every respect except one: There is no Cutting Edge County Fire and EMS Department. All that you’re about to read about—meetings, discussions, decisions—really took place in early August 2019. Unfortunately, the county where this all took place has a strict policy against any county ...

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Is your community “inoculated”​ against preventable fires?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer https://thesaurus.plus/img/antonyms/217/inoculate.png Well, is it? Are you and your family inoculated against preventable fires? You may think that it’s enough that you inform yourself about how to prevent fires and act to improve and protect your environment (e.g., your home or business) from a preventable fire. But you probably live in a community with other ...

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The Turnout Gear Myth

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Photo Source: http://tinyurl.com/y5vllmj2 One of my earliest memories from my Hazardous Materials-Operations course was hearing the instructor say, “Your structural firefighting PPE is not acceptable chemical protective clothing.” That was true in the mid-1980’s when I took that course and it’s still true today. As concern within the fire service about firefighters developing cancer ...

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