Author Archives: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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 and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail,

Don’t Miss the 5th Annual Conference Presented by the Fire Service Professional Psychology Association!

By: Robert Avsec, Battalion Chief (Ret.) and FSPA charter member The mission of the Fire Service Psychology Association is to provide the best standard of psychological care for fire service personnel and their families. The Fire Service Psychology Association (FSPA) will host its 5th Annual Conference on October 7, 2022 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm PST. The conference will be an online event ...

Read More »

Retired Battalion Chief–And now published author!

If you’ve come upon this book expecting to read about emergency calls, I responded to during my 26-year career with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and EMS Department, I'm afraid you might be a tad disappointed. But if you want to learn about the greatest single assignment that I had the pleasure and satisfaction of serving in during my career, you have the right book. Because in this book you'll learn about how a single project that I was a part of that created not one, but two transformational changes in our fire and EMS department.

Read More »

What I’ve done since I retired as a fire officer

It took me five years before I found my “2nd career) as a freelance writer. During those first five years, I took positions as an operations chief for a small private ambulance company, a fire instructor and course developer at the Georgia Fire Academy, and finally as a contractor with a management services company providing services to U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command (Where I got to do an 11-month stint as a staff officer for the Army's Fire Chief).

Read More »

Protecting the Minds of Young Firefighters

The following was posted on LinkedIn by my fire service colleague, Ellen Morrison Yarborough, whose LinkedIn headline reads, "Educator, Fire Chief, Consultant “Schoolhouse to Firehouse” recruitment." And Ellen is certainly a person who "puts her money where her mouth is" when it comes to informative and insightful posts on LinkedIn. Read Ellen in her own words in this article.

Read More »

It’s not the only cultural change needed in the fire service

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer I just finished reading an article written by Chief Daniel Folks of the Hammond (La.) Fire Department, ‘It’s time to embrace a new culture – a culture of search and rescue’ with a subtitle of “Have we gotten so consumed by firefighter-centric safety culture that we lost focus on the civilians under our ...

Read More »

Chat with Lt. Chris Collins about getting out there and meeting your community

Chris Collins St. Albans Fire Department

Today I met a friend in fire service colleague for another “lunch and chat session” at Sokolata. one of our nice eateries in South Charleston, West Virginia. Whenever I finish one of these sit downs with Chris Collins, a lieutenant with the St. Albans (W.Va) Fire Department whose current job is that of Fire Marshal, I come away refreshed and excited about the fire service again. See, Chris is pretty much a “one man band” as the Fire Marshall doing fire safety inspections, code enforcement, fire investigations, and public fire and life safety education presentations. And he does all that with a level of commitment, passion, and enthusiasm that I wish I could bottle and sell!

Read More »

Book review: “Hot zone”–Memoir of a Professional Firefighter

I've read many other books about the firefighter experience over the years, but none of those authors managed to give me that same feeling that “I was there,” like Dennis Smith's "Report from Engine Co. 82." But that came to a screeching halt when I started reading “Hot Zone” written Division Chief (Ret.) Chris Howes. Howes has written what I believe will become “the book” that accurately describes the journey of a person in a fire and EMS department from the day they start their probie (entry-level) training to the day they retire.

Read More »

Where are the Champions in the Fire Service?

I'm not referring to individuals or teams that have attained the #1 status in their sport. Rather, I'm going to discuss the dearth of champions in fire and EMS departments who can turn the word champion (the noun) into champion (the verb). The key difference between mentors and sponsors is that mentors are “one-way streets”, giving their chosen mentee a gift of wisdom, time, and advice. Sponsorship requires reciprocity and commitment; sponsors serve as champions.

Read More »