EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY – All Risk Taking is Cancelled Until Further Notice

By Larry Schultz At every teaching opportunity, I make it a point to spend plenty of time talking about risk assessment and risk management. For the sake of discussion lets focus strictly on fireground operations. My concern is and continues to be a growing and unashamed trending towards total risk aversion. I have theorized that there are many reasons for the rapid expansion in “risk avoider” cliques, some of which includes: wanting to be “progressive” fire department, a desire to be a “great fire service leader”, an inability to manage your members, ineffective at making your point through discussion and…

REALLY Are You Kidding Me?

I was on the Internet this morning and saw this picture posted on Facebook. It was bad enough that someone posted it, but the number of likes was even more disturbing. I will preface the rest of this blog with that I AM A REFORMED FIREFIGHTER. I was not always Combat Ready and I used many excuses to justify to myself my BAD habits and complacency. None of those excuses were valid and they were just my attempt to place the blame on inanimate objects and conditions. To change my ways and to make me a better firefighter took a…

So what does it mean to be a “Combat Ready firefighter”? Is it your certifications? No… Is it a cool paint scheme on your fire truck? Absolutely not. Is it a “holier than thou, step aside I got this, don’t question me I know my stuff attitude”? No it’s the total opposite. Is it your skill with a hoseline or Halligan? Kind of…

To Go or Not To Go Part II… By Larry Schultz

To-Go-or-Not-to Go (Part Two) In continuing from last week’s blog, I wanted to provide a few strategic and tactical considerations to consider when dealing with “known abandon buildings”. Even now, I hate playing the classification semantics at the risk of making things too simple. One thing I have learned over the past thirty years, the longer I am in the business, the less black and white things become; that quite frankly pisses me off. I am far more comfortable in the black and white with the grey area making me feel like I’m becoming more indulgent in my old age….

Small Town Volunteer Fire Department Operations (Part-2)…By Tim Bautz

By Tim Bautz One of the many challenges that smaller volunteer departments face is the lack of adequate manpower and resources on the scene early enough to coordinate an efficient fire attack – efficient being the key word. Our brothers who work or volunteer in the urban areas of the country are usually fortunate enough to have the Engine Companies and Trucks Companies arriving on scene, one on top of another, giving them multiple units and plenty of manpower early on. They have dedicated Engine Companies and Truck Companies to handle and complete all of the necessary tasks on the…

To Go or Not to Go…By Larry Schultz

Today’s blog is inspired by my nephew who I am incredibly proud of after following in my footsteps joining the DCFD. I was fortunate, that as the Chief of Operations, I got to go to a few fires with him and I watch him grow in to a solid firefighter. Unfortunately for him, this often exposed him to the daily serenades of “Uncle Larry’” Its been interesting managing the difference in fire department philosophy between my views (as the Boss) and his view’s as the one who has to endure the connection with Uncle Larry while still living and working…

Outside the Box Apparatus Positioning

By: Retired Chief Michael Horst, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Often times you only get one chance to make a difference when positioning a tower ladder. You can make best use of that one chance by training for it…by being “Combat Ready.” In the above photo Harrisburg Tower 1 recently worked a building explosion and fire at a local steel mill. Due to the magnitude of the adjacent exposures large caliber streams were required forthwith. Their positioning on arrival, albeit tenuous, made a difference and enabled operations to keep the fire to the building of origin. Hampered by a debris field…

Combat Ready – Sheperdstown, WV

Last weekend I was invited to present “Combat Ready Firefighting”to the firefighters of Jefferson County, WV. After a great class, the more than hospitable members were eager to show me their firehouses and apparatus. The pride in their departments and history was obvious (good thing!).

Combating Attic Fires

By: Larry Schultz If you are in to fire porn, then there is an unlimited supply to be found on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook these days. I would surmise that if you have an ounce of fire service passion left in you, then you too are a fan of fire porn. Over the last several months, I have watched many videos of fires where the fire was located in the attic area and more obvious in the void spaces of the knee-walls. As I always say, it is ridiculous that we reinvent how we deal with these fires over and…

New Officer Tips From the Land of Oz

In Traditions Training’s effort to assist the Company Officer we offer another set of tips, this time from the MidWest. These come from one of our long time supporters, Lt. Chad Cox of the Wichita, KS. Fire Department. This department has many great officers and firefighters, and does some work. Very proud to be able to call them our friends. Keep up the good work out there fellas… Ricky New Officer Tips from the Land of Oz 1. Expectations-Sit down with your supervisors and get their expectations for you. Then set your expectations for your crew (riding assignments, etc. if…

Company Officer Advice

I’ve been a line officer in Baltimore County Fire since 1999. If I had one piece of advice for a young officer, it’s this; When one of your guys crosses the line and knowingly does something wrong, the temptation is very high to try to soften the pain of discipline. That whole “looking out for your guys” instinct kicks in. As a blue shirt, I felt it was the officers duty to do whatever it took to look out for us. I’ve learned the hard way you are doing a disservice to your troops if you do that. When you…

Lessons the New Company Officer Can Take from the Rookie

Lessons the New Company Officer Can Take from the Rookie By: Liz Balinger The promotion to officer is one of the biggest steps an individual will take in his or her fire service career.  I heard this from my department’s Chiefs during my oral interview, read it in the study material, and have seen it on numerous fire service blogs.  Now that I have promoted I am living it.  In taking this step the one thing I keep on learning is how much I don’t know.  I have been learning lessons this past year from my chiefs, my crew, fellow…

Small Town Volunteer Fire Department Operations (Part-1)

Small Town Volunteer Fire Department Operations By: Tim Bautz, Erskine Lakes Volunteer Fire Department I truly believe that having success on the fireground all starts with what we do, or don’t do, long before the station alert or paging system goes off. The focus of this first article will be on what you can do to be fully prepared for your next fire. Don’t worry, we’ll get into tactics in the second article next week. Know your 1st due: You must know your 1st due response area. Streets, hydrants, building construction, running routes……..you name it, you need to know it…

Sharon Hill, PA. Entangled Firefighter

In surfing the Internet in the morning, I saw an incident in Sharon Hill, PA. that included a well advanced structure fire, and a trapped/entangled firefighter in the basement during the evacuation of the structure by the Incident Commander. They documented the incident on PhillyFireNews.com and I asked them to share their story with Traditions Training so we could get the word out to all our followers. So please read the narrative of the incident and the account of the firefighter in the basement. The following is their first hand account, we greatly appreciate the department sharing the information for…

Keeping Track

We all love going to fires.  We’d all agree we learn something at every fire we go to.  So how do we track what we’ve experienced and what we’ve learned?  If we don’t track this, how can we know where to focus for improvement?  As a company, most of us keep log books, Firehouse Software reports, NFIRS reports, or other official documents.  These track the official details of how our organization deployed at an incident.  But what about you personally?  Where is what you’ve done and how you’ve evolved tracked? About a year ago, I began informally tracking the incidents to which I…

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