Men could stop sexual harassment in the fire service tomorrow

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Or today, if it’s early in the day. Men in the fire service need to “step up” and call out sexist and misogynistic behavior by their fellow male firefighters. Women in the fire service is not the problem. A former law enforcement colleague told me one time if you want to commit the perfect ...

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Why aren’t fire departments getting better at inclusion?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer So, I was on the road headed towards FDIC 2019 in Indianapolis and some random thoughts began running through my head concerning fire service organizations and sexual harassment and inclusion and how are these things all intertwined. And how does the fire service work to eliminate that entanglement? Former U.S. Forest Service Battalion Chief ...

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Firefighter Cancer Presumption Laws Are Not a Silver Bullet

Firefighters will very well find themselves in the same position in the future as a growing number of firefighters develop cancer from doing their job will find themselves being crushed financially paying for cancer-related treatment and cancer-related deaths prompted by firefighter cancer presumption laws. When that happens, we should not be surprised when efforts begin to reduce or even dissolve the social compromise between firefighters in those governments.

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What’s Different About Warriors Heart and Why Firefighters Need to Know

The primary goal of the foundation (a registered 501(c) nonprofit organization) is to support Warriors Heart—the first private, fully licensed, and dedicated residential treatment facility for the healing of our nation’s warriors--in meeting its mission. And that’s the only populations that they serve (Note I said “populations”—that includes firefighters and EMS personnel and law enforcement officers. Just want to make that clear!).

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Cleaning Your SCBA: Are You a Caveman or a Transformer?

During these types of events, and particularly during interior structural firefighting, the SCBA unit can be exposed to a toxic “soup” of chemicals, chemical compounds, and known carcinogens while it protects the firefighter’s respiratory system from those same hazards. And while much is currently being discussed and written about how to protect firefighters from those hazards, there is much to be learned about how to keep SCBA units clean and decontaminated after each use and ready for the next emergency.

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The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

But perhaps the greatest threat to our psychological well-being is reluctance on the part of many in the emergency services field to accept that these hazards exist and that their negative impact on our lives, our families, and our organizations are real.  In many respects, to quote the adage, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

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