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, [email protected].

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.

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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 ...

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Attend Class at The National Fire Academy

This past Friday and Saturday, I attended the 32nd Executive Fire Officer and Leadership Symposium at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. It was the first time I'd returned to NFA since about 2005 or 2006. This was my first time, however, returning as a freelance writer and not an active fire officer with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and EMS Department, where I served for 26 years. Nonetheless, I still got the same “chills down my spine” as I drove onto campus (After having my car inspected by campus security), that feeling I was returning home to what I and many others consider “the home of the American Fire Service.”

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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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