DiscoverCode 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast
Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast
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Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast

Author: Scott Orr

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The twice-weekly podcast for and about firefighters, "Code 3" covers topics of interest to those in the fire service, through interviews with those who know it best. From Chiefs to Probies, Engineers to Firefighters, and Paramedics to EMTs, award-winning journalist Scott Orr talks with them all. Show notes at Code3Podcast.com
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Today’s topic is flowing water while advancing the line. Some departments always do it. Some don’t. There’s pretty good evidence that flowing while advancing is safer than dragging an uncharged line into a burning structure. Studies support water on the ceiling to reduce super-heated gases and cool it down. You can even change the fire’s flow path with a handline. Here to explain that and more is Jonathan Brumley. He is a firefighter with the Denver, Colorado Fire Department, having just left Houston, Texas. Since 2009, he’s worked as both a paid and volunteer firefighter. He recently presented at Firehouse World, is an instructor, and is behind The Fire Fight blog.
If you want to become a firefighter, the first thing to understand is that it isn’t easy. There’s a lot of school required nowadays, and it can take several years to get there. But there are some things to know that’ll make the process easier. Here to talk about them is Chris Baker. Chris has over thirteen years of experience in volunteer, combination, and career fire departments in California. He instructs on fire and EMS topics in college classes. You can hear him on his own podcast, The Future Firefighter, where he’s a co-host. And he runs Chris Baker Consulting, which provides training on techniques and career planning.
The battle over the traditional fire helmet and what I’ll call the Eurohelmet is growing as some U.S. departments make the switch.It’s hard to nail down exactly why firefighters are unhappy about wearing the new helmets. They’re safer. They weigh less. And they offer better eye protection. The older style is undoubtedly iconic. But is that a reason to keep wearing them? Here to explain why his department chose the Eurostyle helmets is Jerry Helm. Jerry is a training and recruitment captain with the Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue in Washington state. It’s a combination department. Jerry headed up the effort to make the switch to these helmets.
Swiftwater rescues are among the most dangerous that you will face. That may sound obvious, but some departments that haven’t seen many swiftwater incidents have been taken by surprise. Out west, we have unique situations where dry riverbeds or washes accumulate trash and broken branches for months before they turn into raging rivers during the wet seasons. But no matter where you work, there are some principles of water rescue that simply should not be ignored or downplayed. Here to talk about them is Kevin Keith. Kevin is a Captain and Paramedic at Prescott Arizona Fire. He’s been on the job for nearly 20 years. He’s a swiftwater rescue expert as well as a technical rescue technician.
When you go to the roof, what do you include when you make your report on " conditions? Right. Every department’s truckies report something different, depending on SOPs. Sometimes, there’s even a difference between truck companies. Thing is, the truck company officer is in an excellent position to give the IC a better size-up on the fire…as long as he makes a complete report. Here to explain what should be reported and why is Gibby Gorman. Gibby has over 30 years of experience in the fire service. He’s currently a battalion chief for the city of Maricopa, Arizona, Fire/Medical Department.Before that, he worked for Tempe, Arizona Fire and Medical for 27 years, where he was a captain of a busy downtown truck company. He developed regional ladder training programs. He was also a member of Tempe’s Technical Rescue Team for 12 years and the department’s SCUBA rescue team for 8 years.
Self-storage units present a unique challenge in case of fire. The come with the hazards found in a hoarder house, but worse. Making entry can be tough—nowadays, the simple padlock has often been replaced by an electronic lock. And while many of these storage units are constructed of block, a lot of them –especially in buildings converted to storage facilities may have sheetrock walls between the units. And who knows what’s stored in them? With me today to talk about the hazards is Jim Kirsch, a 35-year veteran of the fire service who retired as a captain in the Bergenfield, New Jersey Fire Department. He is a former volunteer chief, a New Jersey State certified level II fire instructor, drill ground instructor, and fire prevention official. Jim is an instructor at the Bergen County New Jersey Fire Academy.
If you want to be an officer, it may come as a surprise that not everyone does. That may be a good thing. You probably also know that not everyone’s cut out for the job. In a career department, it might be more attractive because of the pay raise and other assorted perks that come with being an officer. But in a volunteer department, the reasons you might want to be promoted are different. There’s definitely a need for good leaders, and if you think you could be one, then this episode is for you. Here to discuss that is Thomas Merrill. He has nearly 40 years in the fire service. He’s a former chief of the all-volunteer Snyder Fire Department in Amherst, New York. Tom is a fire commissioner for the Snyder Fire District and he’s presented at FDIC.He runs his own podcast, The Professional Volunteer Fire Department. He’s also a fire dispatcher for the Amherst Fire Alarm Office.
On May 15, Appleton, Wisconsin Engineer Mitch Lundgaard was shot and killed while on a medical run. A police officer was shot and survived, as did a bystander who was also hit. The call, a man having a seizure on a bus, came out at 5:30 p.m. When the engine crew arrived and started treatment, the patient got off the bus and walked away. The specifics are still fuzzy, but the man produced a gun and fired; police shot back and killed him. Here to discuss this tragic situation is Marc Bashoor. With 37 years in emergency services, Marc is currently the Highlands County, Florida, public safety director. He spent six years as chief of the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Fire/EMS Department and five years as emergency manager in Mineral County, West Virginia. He’s the executive editor of FireRescue1.com and Fire Chief.com.
Battalion Chief Abby Bolt was a 22-year veteran firefighter in the US Forest Service. She quit last month, posting a version of her resignation letter on the internet. In it, she says a “toxic dynamic of leadership, which made my job, which was my life, a complete misery” caused her to leave. Abby said the usual response to her repeated complaints about bullying and other mistreatment was that she could leave if she didn’t like it. After she filed a gender discrimination complaint in 2014, that harassment increased, she said. Anonymous notes began to show up in her mailbox, telling her that she was an example of why women didn’t belong in firefighting. An investigation by management went nowhere. Some people may find it hard to believe that this behavior still goes on, but, at least in the US Forest Service, it apparently does. Abby was a District Assistant Fire Management Officer on the Kern River Ranger District of California’s Sequoia National Forest.
How safe are you as a firefighter? Do you don all your gear before you make entry, or do you take a risk, thinking you may save someone else? What about something as simple as wearing your seatbelt? I know there’s a certain faction of firefighters who long for the days of riding the tailboard. These are the guys who say it’s possible to be too safe. But if you want to make sure you go home, and have a longer career, safety is the one key element. That’s why my guest today wrote a comprehensive book on how to be safe. It’s titled “Fire Officer's Guide to Occupational Safety & Health.” It’s written by Chief Ronald Kanterman of the Wilton, Connecticut fire department. Ron has 40 years of service, having been both a volunteer and career firefighter. He’s worked for the FDNY, as well as a Fortune 500 company’s emergency services division. Ron’s written books and dozens of articles and been on staff at FDIC.
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