Tag Archives: leadership

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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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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Creating an Atmosphere that Supports Motivation in Your Organization

We can provide a sound organizational structure with policies and procedures that are congruent with an organization’s vision, mission, and values. And we can attempt to modify undesirable individual behavior, when necessary, using progressive discipline. But I don’t think that we can make anyone do something that they don’t want to do.

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A few rotten apples…

Chief Avsec and his surgically repaired shoulder. Note from Chief Avsec: As I continue to rehab from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff, I came across this post from Brian McAsey, Assistant Deputy Chief of the Fire & Rescue Services Division at Calgary (Alberta) Fire Department, on LinkedIn. Chief McAsey graciously accepted my invitation to post his blog ...

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Memo to iWomen: Stay Home!

Boycott of Fairfax County

And where's the "call out" for all the male firefighters in Fairfax County? Where have they been for the past two years--since Nicole Mittendorf's suicide? Why are they not standing up for their "sister" firefighters and demanding the fire chief's firing?

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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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