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,

Are Fire Departments “cutting off their noses to spite their face” with Age Discrimination?

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer I participate in several fire service-related Groups on Facebook whose target audiences are women in the fire service. One, Female Firefighters & Male Champions of Change, even let me join because of my previous advocacy for women firefighters in this space and others where my writings have appeared. How many fire departments are missing ...

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Gordon Graham: The “Go to Guy” for Understanding Risk Management in Public Safety

I first heard Gordon Graham speak about risk management in the realm of public safety many years ago when he was the keynote speaker at the Mid-Winter Conference of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association. From that moment I became a true believer in one of Graham’s core tenets “Predictable is preventable,” along with his concept of evaluating risk in public safety by asking two key questions. What’s the level of risk for an activity or operation? What’s the frequency for that risk?

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Why do firefighters continue to work 24-hour or longer shifts?

During the Question-and-Answer segment following the presentation, one of the first questions posed to me was “Why do firefighter keep working 24-hour shifts?” The second question was “Why would firefighters want to work a 48-hour shift?” The latter question was prompted by the segment of my presentation that described the 48-hours on, 96-hours off, schedule that some fire departments have adopted. And I did not have a satisfactory answer for either question.

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5 Wishes for the Fire Service in 2023

As we begin the year 2023, “wish lists” for the coming year will be a popular topic for many writers and I’m no exception. Hopefully, we’ve learned some things in the past twelve months and can use those lessons to make 2023 a safer year for firefighters. So, without wasting any time, here are my “5 Wishes for the Fire Service” in 2023.

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An Epiphany About Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations

I recently had one of those “I never thought of it that way,” moments about diversity and inclusion in an organization, particularly fire departments, because I did serve with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years before retiring as a battalion chief. See if any of what I'm about to share with you “strike's a similar chord.”

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What you need to know about fire safety for active construction sites

It’s somewhat “newsworthy” when a week goes by that we don’t see or hear about a significant fire in a building under construction, renovation, or demolition. That’s because such fire incidents take place more often than most of us realize. In recent months, there have been fires in commercial buildings being renovated in Idaho, in a former Sony building in New Jersey being demolished and in multiple apartment buildings under construction across the U.S., including high profile incidents in Las Vegas and Texas.

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