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Got Stickers?

Got Stickers?


Firefighters, absolutely love stickers and decals.  I know that you know what I am talking about, and… it’s ok.  It is absolutely fine to be proud of who you are as a firefighter, be you a career or volunteer member.  You should be proud of your fire company and your fire department. Affixing decals and stickers to your personal property is just one way for you to show that pride to others.  I’ve seen fire department decals not only on personal vehicles, but boats, golf clubs, I’ve even seen decals on coolers… and so on and so on.
I’ve also seen some sort of decal on almost every rig I have come across.  Some are big, some are small but they mean something to the members who put them there.  I’ve seen decals with company slogans and nicknames, department mascots, company patches, memorial decals, the stickers run the gamut.  While they all serve as reminders to the members, either in memory or to elicit a source of pride, but in aiding our functionality for fireground, eh…well the decals are really just for show.
Recently, I have taken notice of a few stickers and decals on rigs and placed on certain tools that are absolutely excellently placed for OUR increased safety, and will aid our operations on the fireground.  Now, I will certainly not take credit for inventing any of them, I’m just not that smart.  I just thought that they were great ideas and they can be incorporated into most companies and departments quickly, easily and relatively inexpensively.  A sticker, believe it or not may just save a life!
Take a good look at the lead picture above and those below, courtesy of my friend Joe Brown from firehouse pride (www.firehousepride.com).  Ladder and tool wraps can greatly increase visibility of such important landmarks on the fireground.  Also, they are great identifiers for your tools and equipment.
Another useful sticker found on fire apparatus that I have seen is this RIT/FAST one.  In reality the sticker isn’t for your members, they should know where all the equipment is on your rig… its is for everyone else!  You never know when an additions compliment of RIT/FAST supplies may be needed at an incident.  With this decals placement, there is no need to “compartment hunt” looking for the RIT/FAST pack or associated RIT/FAST tools.

Label your RIT/FAST compartment

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, RIT / Survival, Tips & Skills, training-development, Truck Company, Uncategorized | Posted on 14-02-2012

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I Have Five Little Rats

Among other things, at a fire a good truck company makes a lot of additional egress points, searches, and removes any victims. Ok, so the truck has forced multiple doors, placed the aerial, has portbale ladders up, and has made windows into doors. Now we’ve found a victim. How are we bringing that victim out?

“I Have Five Little Rats” is a useful mnemonic for remembering the order of preference in our removal options – under most circumstances.

  • I – Interior Stairs. The interior steps under many circumstances are the fastest and safest means of removal. They are often the way we came in and we can’t really fall off of them. However fire conditions, the victims location, or the location of operating members may make the steps less preferable, or impossible, at some fires.
  • HHorizontal Exits. Removing the victim to another wing of the building, into a tower ladder bucket, etc.
  • F – Fire Escapes. Fire escapes seem like a great idea until we consider that they have been on the outside of the building for quite a while and we have no idea how well they’ve been maintained – they’re structural integrity could be in question, especially when we add a victim to the FF’s weight. In addition, they’re usually quite narrow, making movement of the FF and victim difficult.
  • L – Ladders. Civilians are not good with ladders. Conscious or unconscious, removing a civilian via the aerial or portable ladder will be a difficult and dangerous process for both parties.
  • R – Rope. Rope rescues from the roof or an upper floor are extremely dangerous and require immense coordination and practice. In rare scenarios, this may be the only way to save our victim and we should be practice and prepared to execute this skill, but only as a last resort.

This is just another topic that is something our shift/company/crew should discuss BEFORE the fire.  Perhaps this concept might need special modification to fit your department’s staffing, operations, or response area.  Let us know your thoughts and what YOUR plan is for removing the victim.

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Tips & Skills, Truck Company | Posted on 16-06-2011

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Helmet Cam Training Video: Removing Window Mounted AC Units During Ventilation

Here is the latest in our Voiceover Training Tips Video Series” straight from the fireground to your computer screen. In this video Traditions Training Instructor Joe Brown takes us through some of his thoughts and actions when approaching a window mounted air conditioning unit during ventilation. The fire is on the second floor of a 2-story brick end-of-the-row home, Joe is part of the Outside Vent Team on DCFD Truck 17 and his actions are in conjunction with the Interior Search Team and Suppression Teams. As you watch the video think about what your actions may have been and how they might vary with different building constructions in your District. Leave us some feedback and open some discussion at your firehouse kitchen table or computer screen. As always, stay safe out there.


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Posted by | Posted in Blog, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, fires, Tips & Skills, Training Resources, training-development, Truck Company, videos | Posted on 26-01-2011

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Watch Your Step on the Roof!

Nighttime operations on the rooftop have many inherent dangers.   With smoke perhaps even further reducing our visibility, we must use eve more caution.  This photo is of the top floor roof area between two rowhomes in DC.

Note the gap between the two houses.  Remember that while the fronts are often even, the backs are often staggered.  WATCH YOUR STEP.  Carry a big light, and have it on.  Check the area you’re about to step on with your hook BEFORE you commit your weight to it.

Remember – you can’t un-fall.

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 17-12-2010

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Forget the Excuses – Just Get to the Roof!

Many initial operations depend on firefighters accessing the roof early in the incident.  Providing a report from the rear and sides, assessing lateral extension, opening natural openings and cutting a hole may all be potential tasks, but our first task is to GET TO THE ROOF.  The truck’s aerial is of course a preferable option and ground ladders are a close second – but what about if you can’t get either up?

This was the case at a fire on Kennedy St, NW in DC the other night.  First-in companies found fire in a church on the 1st floor of a 3-story occupancy.  The building sat about 20 feet back from the curb with power lines running along the curb.  These prevented use of the aerial, even though the truck was able to position right on side A.  Ground ladders would have been difficult because with the building’s height a 35 would have been unlikely to make the height and the 45 would have been unwieldy in the area of the wires and companies making the stretch through the front door.

Like many others, I too have seen people encountered with such a situation just give up – it’s easy to fall back on the explanation of why you didn’t do it.  But a COMBAT READY out-of-the-box-thinking fireman will forgo the excuses and just get the job DONE.  This was just the case for Truck 11’s tillerman, who quickly thought to use the adjoining building’s porch roof.   By quickly placing a 24′ ladder to the porch roof, the 14′ roof ladder was used to go from the porch to the fire building roof.  In hindsight it seems like a simple and obvious idea – but this kind of creativity is more difficult in the heat of the moment.  Pay attention to your buildings, plan for fires before you go to the fire, and think outside of the box!  (photos courtesy of D. Smith, DCFD T-11)


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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, fires, news, Tips & Skills, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 13-12-2010

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Books…and their Covers

Many of us were taught the old adage “never judge a book by it’s cover.” When it comes to building construction and and the “exterior look” of the building, we should also “never judge a book by it’s cover”.  We have to get out there, we have to know the buildings in our first due, and we have to stay aware of trends in building construction as it relates to our first due.


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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Engine Company, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, RIT / Survival, Tips & Skills, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company, Uncategorized | Posted on 14-10-2010

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PLAY LIKE YOU PRACTICE: Part 1 “Introduction to the concept”


A concept which seems to be increasingly lost on today's fire service

Complacency is the foundation on which many great fire service debacles have been constructed.  Many good, sometimes even great firefighters, have allowed themselves to fall victim to complacency.  If this occurs, often it provides them with a front row seat to the “domino effect” it can cause on the fire ground.  Actively training during times of peace is not itself enough to ensure success in war. Regardless of the training regimen employed in the class-room and out in the field, failure to carry that performance onto the emergency scene will no doubt lead to a less than desirable result.

The fireground is the battlefield on which firefighters wage war on a very experienced and aggressive adversary.  The enemy has no care of what you think you know; it worries no more of a 30 year line officer than of a 6 month rookie. It hasn’t the slightest worry for GPM debates, friction loss equations, risk/reward analysis or ISO ratings; it will fight the good fight just like it has done for thousands of years.  It is the burden of the firefighter to stop it.

Just as in battle, the enemy does not always present itself as one might like.  It may hide in wait preparing to ambush its attackers, or it may flex its muscle for all to see, as if to say, “Here I am, what are you going to do about it?”.  To achieve victory the firefighter must meet his enemy swiftly and effectively, connecting adequate training with appropriate timing to knock the enemy down into submission. The key to this concept is appropriate timing.  One single misstep at the onset of an incident will often dictate the next 10 corrective actions it will take to reverse the downward spiral of the situation.  Adversely, one correct, well timed action at the onset of an incident will set the tempo for the rest of the firegrounds journey towards a positive outcome.

(Positive outcome= fire goes out, those in danger get rescued, no more property is burned than when we arrived.)

“Play like you practice” is an adaptation of the better known “Practice like you play” concept which equates to the fact that firefighters must train with as much intensity and purpose as if it were the real deal. Being “Combat Ready” and training with a purpose is absolutely the goal to which all firefighters should strive in their skill building. However this saying alone leads one to believe that a firefighter will automatically perform well on the scene because they practiced before the fact. “Play like you practice” should be a concept used in conjunction with the previous in order to connect all the dots and mount a stout attack on the enemy when it counts.


Spot hydrants, stretch lines and leave room for other units even if everything seems "normal"

Play like you practice, what do you mean?  I’m referring to the fact that a company can be as well rounded in training as is possible, but if they are complacent when the run comes in, it can be disastrous.  Every member can stretch lines quickly and effectively, they know various ladder throw techniques, forcible entry is second nature, ventilation concepts are repeatable on command and the intricacies of their areas streets and buildings are like a glossary index in their minds.  Their preparation can be flawless, but if they show up to a “fire reported out” without stretching lines and throwing ladders the best way they know how then the tempo is already on the side of the enemy when it finally decides to show itself.

We have all seen it done and we have all heard the excuses, “it sounded like BS, it was 2 in the am, we were tired, we didn’t want to rerack all that hose for nothing…” the list goes on and on.  All of these are big, bold examples of how “Complacency” can turn good companies into lawn ornaments when things aren’t as they seem.  Playing “catch up” is no place for a fire company to be when lives are on the line, especially when the flip side is so easily obtainable with correct discipline and effort.

Say you don’t stretch a line or bring ladders to the building for a reported “food on the stove”.  Say you turn out to be right, there really is no fire, it really was so called “BS”, what have you accomplished?  What have you gained?  True, we didn’t waste any extra effort:  True, we don’t have any hose on the ground or tools to be stowed:  True, we can leave immediately for another call.  To these facts I say big deal! Effectiveness is our mission, as such effort is not only a prerequisite but a continued requirement.  So… we have hose on the ground and tools to be stowed, are we serious? This mindset is simply a poor excuse for an excuse.  How long does it really take to disconnect or rerack a line?  How long does it really take to put a ladder back on the truck or equipment back in its compartment?  If the answer is any more than a few minutes then I would say you should probably become more efficient at that also, through practice.

the push

The abandoned school you've run 100 times for alarm bells might look like this on trip 101. Show up ready to play.

Even though there was no fire, still what have we lost?  We lost one more opportunity for our members to use their skills, one more opportunity to “practice like we play”, and one more opportunity to prepare for that time when we open the door for food on the stove and find a kitchen off with people trapped in the rear bedroom.  Complacency and laziness breed further complacency and laziness, and the only way to stop it is by removing it from our mindset. We do this by treating every call as if it were a working fire, we do this by practicing our positioning, our techniques and our size-ups on each call whether we think it is “BS” or there is fire showing.  We must place the wheels in motion for a positive outcome from the onset and ensure that we are giving our crews every possible advantage over the enemy we fight.

A well rehearsed fire scene is pure poetry in motion, effectiveness and efficiency, on display for the community we serve.

A complacent fire scene looks more like a beaten force routed by its enemy, with ineffective actions scattered sporadically across the fireground in a desperate attempt to turn the tide of incompetence.  Firefighters must “Play like we practice” if we are going to match our adequate training with appropriate timing and effective action.

Part 2 will look into some techniques to accomplish this objective on a daily basis and help keep your company at the top of its game, fire showing or not. Stay Safe.

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Engine Company, firefighting-operations, Tips & Skills, training-development, Uncategorized | Posted on 10-06-2010

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New Helmet Cam Training Video from Traditions Instructor Joe Brown

Last week, prior to leaving for FDIC, an interactive discussion began on the Traditions Training facebook page based on a single picture, one moment in time. The picture was placed with a scenario and the readers were asked to give their thoughts and approaches to the scene. The picture was actually a freeze frame from Traditions Training instructor Joe Browns helmet cam footage from a fire that occurred earlier that same day. The below video is that helmet cam footage coupled with voice over training tips to help viewers identify with what is taking place. We have received a lot of positive feed back from Joe’s last video (found here) and how it has helped viewers’ better train and prepare for that next fire. We are pleased to be able to bring you another installment in the never ending process of becoming better firefighters.    

This video is filmed from point of view of DCFD 17 Truck’s outside vent man (OVM) position on a 2 story middle of the row home with fire on the second floor. For more detailed information on the fire visit http://www.30engine.com/fullstory.php?106159. Please feel free to share your thoughts, tips and comments with us in the comments section. Stay safe and enjoy.      


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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Combat Ready, Commentary, firefighting-operations, fires, Tips & Skills, Training Resources, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 28-04-2010

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Truck Company Ops in Brunnerville, PA

While some members of the Traditions Training staff boarded a plane for FDIC 2010, Instructors Dan Doyle, Scott Kraut, Mike Stothers and Joe Brown were with the volunteers of Brunnerville for Truck Company Operations. Although the Brunnerville Volunteers do not have a Truck, the officers and members understood the need for traditional truck company duties on the fireground. The 2 day class covered such skills as:

  • 27069_1363961617050_1171912233_31001466_2417685_nForcible Entry Techniques
  • Street Smart Ground Ladders
  • Through-the-lock
  • Primary Search Techniques
  • Vent Enter Search
  • Victim Removal
  • Tool Selection
  • Crew Management

For day 2 the Truck Company from Lititz VFD was on hand to enhance their close working relationship on a first due Brunnerville fire. Students learned the importance of thinking of the fireground in terms of duties to be completed instead of the apparatus styles they arrived on. Drawing from their previous Traditions Training class on engine ops, the double engine house quickly adapted to multiple scenarios and arrival positions, including splitting their crews and completing both initial engine and truck ops effectively and without delay.

An abandoned school provided plenty of scenario options for day 2 as the Traditions staff tested the newly acquired skills of the Brunnerville Volunteers. Scenarios closely mimicked possible situations the students may find themselves in, from arriving together and finding fire and multiple people trapped to arriving alone for a fire alarm and requesting additional units for a discovered fire. Crews where faced with multiple forcible entry challenges, traveling smoke, search obstructions and multiple victims just to name a few. The Traditions Training staff had a great time and look forward to their next trip to Brunnerville.

26986_10150173814195571_114240140570_12058188_6246429_n IMG00765

To learn more about this or other Traditions Training classes, please click here or contact us.

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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighting-operations, news, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 26-04-2010

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TT Heads West – Tower Ops in Iowa, June 26 & 27!

The staff of TT is excited to head to some new territory this June.  We will be putting on a “Two-Team Truck & Tower Ops” program for the Johnston Fire Department, just outside of Des Moines, Iowa.  The program will be held on June 26 & 27 and consists of two parts:

  • Sat, Jun 26: An interactive seminar on two-team truck operations and tower ladder operations.  Tips on making the most of your limited resources and understanding the pro’s and con’s of various aerial apparatus.
  • Sun, Jun 27: An 8-hour hands-on program implementing many of the concepts from Saturday.  Use of the TL bucket in defensive and rescue operations, as well as various inside/outside truck company skills!

The program features instructors from the DCFD, FDNY and Kentland VFD.  This will be an exciting and informative program and, since “truck work” is performed on ALL firegrounds, will be applicable for departments with or without aerial apparatus.  If your in the western states, we hope to see you there!

For more information and registration, please click here!


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Posted by | Posted in Blog, Company News, fire-rescue-topics, firefighter-safety-health, firefighting-operations, Training Resources, training-development, training-fire-rescue-topics, Truck Company | Posted on 26-03-2010