Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast Episodes
What’s a firefighter worth to the community? Now what’s a professional athlete worth? There’s no doubt that pro sports generates a lot of revenue for a city, not to mention intangible benefits. But my guest today has crunched the numbers, and found that pro athletes – despite their millions of dollars in salaries – don’t come close to the fiscal value provided by firefighters.
Just about everyone will find that there are the official rules in EMS – and then there are the unwritten rules. They’re often more helpful to know than the stuff you learn in class. For those EMTs or medics who are new on the job and want a jump on these real-world rules, my guest on this show wrote a column for Firehouse.com about them. Gary Ludwig has four decades of experience in the fire service. He’s currently chief of the Champaign, Illinois fire department, and he's responded to an estimated 25,000 fire, rescue and EMS calls during his career.
Leadership in a volunteer fire department doesn’t work the same way as it does in a career department. For starters, the officer positions may rotate, as frequently as every year. That means it can be tough to develop a consistent leadership culture. My guest today says there’s also been a change in attitudes facing those leaders, and it’s not a good one. John Sahatjian has been in the fire service for 17 years. He’s the Fire Chief at the South Wall Fire Rescue Company, Fire District #3 in Wall Township, New Jersey. John is a certified National Level 2 instructor.
The transitional attack. Some firefighters swear by it, some swear at it. The NFPA says it’s a way to soften the target. Does it help, or does it have the potential to make firefighting harder? My guest today says a transitional attack is like a bunt in baseball. Ray McCormack is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He publishes Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009.
My guest today has a new book, titled The Functional Fire Company -- Positioning Small Groups for Success & Survival. It’s intended to explain how to develop a culture of learning and training in your department. It’s working: his department has a record of retaining motivated firefighters, even though neighboring departments pay more. Some firefighters even take a pay cut to join his agency. Scott Thompson is a 35-year veteran of the fire service and chief of The Colony, Texas Fire Department. He has been a member of volunteer departments as well as worked for some of the fastest growing and most progressive departments in Texas. Scott has been a classroom presenter and hands-on instructor at FDIC International since 2002.
What do you know about acupuncture? Yeah, it involves needles. But do you know what it can do for you? Here’s one benefit: it can be used to treat PTSD. It’s also helped relieve depression, chronic fatigue, joint pain, and low back pain, and a lot of others. Plus, it works without drugs.That’s why my guest today says it’s perfect for firefighters, who may suffer from physical or mental issues. Dr. Nikki Kelly is a former firefighter. She was an engineer/EMT for the Tavares, Florida Fire Department for six years, where she was awarded Firefighter of the Year in 2010. Now she’s a board certified, licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who specializes in the treatment of first responders.
If you’re injured on the job, you’ll likely be prescribed an opioid pain medication. They’re a double -edged sword: it can be tough to get enough, even when you really need them. But you might be surprised how quickly you can become addicted to them if you do get what you want. And believe me, doctors are terrified of losing their licenses these days. That means they’ll cut you off in a hurry. What can you do if you become addicted? Here to discuss that is Mark Lamplugh. Jr. Mark is the communications director at Deer Hollow Recovery. He’s also nationally recognized in Crisis Stress Intervention through the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
If you’re a probie or you want to be, listen up. This show’s guest, Mauro Porcelli, has written a new book titled “Surviving the Firehouse.” It’s a guide to life as a firefighter for newbies, and it’s full of real-world tips and advice. Mauro retired from the Orlando Florida fire department with twenty-five years of fire service experience. He started his career with Marion County Fire/Rescue in 1988. At 23, he was the youngest, highest ranking professional fire officer in Florida, holding the rank of District Commander.
Habits can improve your health...and bad ones can screw it up. That’s why building healthy habits is so important for firefighters. This isn’t just some trendy idea. This stuff will prolong your career, and your life. Back with us again today is Aaron Zamzow, and he has five of them for us. Aaron is the owner of Fire Rescue Fitness, a company that creates workout programs and fitness articles that focus on getting Fire Rescue Athletes "fit for duty."
How fast do you get a knockdown on an average fire? Our guest on this show says you should see the effects in 30 seconds. If you don’t, he says, you’re not flowing enough water. Paul Shapiro is a back to talk about overwhelming a fire with massive water. Paul’s been involved with the fire service since 1981. He was an engineer with Las Vegas, Nevada Fire and Rescue for 28 years until he retired. He is a certified fire instructor III for Nevada and has served on the faculty of many fire academies throughout the United States. Paul wrote "Layin’ The Big Lines," a book on large flow water delivery.
Firefighters both train and work out. Though they share some elements in common, they’re two different disciplines. This show's guest says it’s important to do both well. Matt Page is an assistant chief with the Alpine Fire Department in Louisiana. He’s also a captain at the Lincoln Parish Fire Department.
Engine company riding assignments are the key to a ready arrival at a scene. They eliminate confusion. But some departments don’t actually specify who’s doing what, and my guest on this show says that’s a mistake. Chad Menard is a Captain/Paramedic for a city fire department in Alabama. He’s a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Managing Officer Program. He’s a USAR rescue technician with Alabama Task Force 3, and a Level II State Certified Fire Instructor and Fire Officer.
With recent increased attention on sexual harassment in the workplace, now may be a good time to address it in the firehouse. On this episode, we discuss what departments and officers need to know about sexual harassment with John K. Murphy. He’s a retired firefighter with 32 years of service who is now an attorney. He deals with cases concerning employment, firefighters, and fire departments.
I’ll bet your least favorite house fire is a hoarder house. They’re tough to navigate, have lots of fuel, and can hide some nasty surprises. If you haven’t dealt with one yet, you will. Compulsive Hoarding Disorder is a psychological mental condition that affects up to five percent of adults and the number is growing. My guest on this show wrote the book on fighting fires in hoarder houses. Ryan Pennington is a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Charleston West Virginia Fire Department. He’s currently assigned to Station 8 and is part of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR team. With over 15 years of combined Fire, Rescue and EMS experience, Ryan teaches firefighter safety around the country.
When you did your early training, did you make a lot of mistakes? If so, you likely learned more from the screw-ups than anything else. It was valuable experience. And hard to replace effectively. But my guest today says a lot of today’s younger firefighters are short-cutting that training— and missing the point—by using the internet. Benjamin Martin is a Lieutenant with a large metro fire department in Virginia. With over sixteen years in public safety, he speaks around the country on leadership.
With more and more firefighters being injured as they work to ventilate roofs during a structure fire, we need to ask:Why are we still putting crews up there in the first place? Is it time to admit that vertical ventilation is an obsolete concept? Our guest this week says it is. Mark Cotter is a third generation firefighter, who entered the fire service in 1974. He’s served in several departments, including one in which he rose to fire chief. In 2002 Mark joined the Salisbury Maryland Fire Department, a combination department, as a volunteer. He became a Captain, and currently is an Engineer.
If you or someone you know had a broken arm, you’d want it treated right away. Well, PTSD or clinical depression are no different. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you can ignore it. And just like a broken arm, it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Here to talk about why that stigma exists and how to overcome it is Todd Donovan. He’s a firefighter/paramedic for the Derry Fire Department and a Data Specialist for the New Hampshire Fire Academy and EMS.
Sometimes it seems that engine companies don’t always get the respect they deserve. It may be rescue squad crews or truckies that feel engine crews have a simple job: put the wet stuff on the red stuff. But this show's guest says he’s seen those guys have change of heart when they pay attention to what engine companies really do. Jarrod Sergi is a Lieutenant with Norfolk Virginia Fire Rescue. He’s been in the Fire Service for close to 18 years and has served in one of the city’s busiest Engine Companies.
We’ve been talking over the past few weeks on this show about whether firefighters have become too risk-averse. But there are also some department cultures that condone overly risky behavior. It’s not in the SOPs or SOGs – culture is an unwritten feeling or understanding of what firefighters expect to do. How do we balance safety with being aggressive firefighters? Scott's guest to discuss this is J. Travis Carricato.
If you’re of a certain age, you were probably strongly influenced to become a firefighter-paramedic by a couple of guys named Johnny and Roy, the two heroes of the 1970’s TV show “Emergency!” They played a couple of the country’s first firefighter-paramedics. The characters on that show were good role models. Our guest says we could use some of their attitude these days. Mike Rubin’s a paramedic in Nashville, Tennessee.
If you’re a company officer or a command-level officer, you know the job is all about decision-making. The trick, of course, is to make good, defensible decisions in a big hurry at a chaotic scene. How do you do it? Scott's guest has some ideas that could help you make the right decisions under pressure. Nick Salameh is a 36-year veteran of the fire service. Thirty-one of those years were spent with the Arlington County, Virginia, Fire Department.
We’ve talked several times on this show about working with younger firefighters. But we haven’t heard their viewpoint. That’s about to change. Millennials are sometimes a mystery to previous generations. They learn differently, they react differently. They relate differently. Here to offer some advice to the new guys is a millennial who’s been around long enough to have seen the mistakes young firefighters make. Tom Redden is 26. He’s been a Firefighter/ EMT with the Flanders Fire Department in East Lyme, Connecticut since 2017.