Tag Archives: fire department management

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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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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Interior Firefighting is Becoming Obsolete—We Just Don’t Know It

I’m not saying that firefighting as a whole is becoming obsolete, but I am proposing that we need to get out of the “pot” before we become boiled. Our approach to interior structural firefighting needs some serious restructuring lest we will only see more firefighters encountering flashovers upon arrival, structures weakened to their collapse point before firefighters arrive, and firefighters developing cancers more frequently from airborne and skin exposure hazards.

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Bullying and Harassment in the Fire Service: A Video Misses the Mark

Bullying and harassment in the fire service, as those behaviors are in the general population, are about power and control. Those individuals who engage in bullying or harassment do so because they want to maintain the status quo or they're seeking to elevate their status among their peers or they're insecure in their position of official power (officers). In my opinion, these elements are inter-related just as fuel, heat, and oxygen are critical elements necessary for combustion. If we can successfully remove these elements in our organizations, we can make the fire (bullying and harassment) go out for good.

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