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
196 Episodes
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.
Some structure fires are pretty easy to find. The seat of the fire is obvious. It’s the calls reporting a light haze of smoke that get tricky. The fire could be in any number of places, like in the wall. And if you try to anticipate and stretch a hoseline, you may be wrong and waste a lot of valuable time. So it pays to find the fire first. Here to discuss how to do that is Danny Sheridan. Danny Sheridan is a 33-year veteran of the FDNY, where he is a Battalion Chief. He’s a member of the FDNY IM and a well-known instructor nationally. He’s also a lead instructor with Mutual Aid Training Group which works to train firefighters in Latin America.
By now, you’ve heard over and over about the value of professional counseling. But, I know, you’re probably still skeptical. Maybe you think it’s too-touchy feely. Maybe you’re worried that word will get out that you’re seeing a shrink. Or it could be that you just don’t think a therapist will understand what you do for a living. That’s why, today, we’re going to talk about what exactly happens when you walk into a counselor’s office. Here to discuss that with me is Courtney Stewart. Courtney is a licensed professional counselor in Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as a law enforcement wife and mother. She works in corrections as a therapist and volunteers as a mental health consultant for law enforcement peer support teams.
A lot of volunteer fire departments are worried about the dwindling number of new recruits. But what about holding onto the members already in the ranks? That takes a little effort and it may require some structural changes, too. It may be necessary, though, because turnover is the enemy of a solid volunteer department. Here to discuss that with me is Ed Dolan. He’s been a member of the Catskill Fire Department in New York for 30 years, and he’s served 16 years as a chief officer.
When you hear the term “primary search,” what comes to mind? Is it something an engine crew does while they’re advancing the line? Or is it the job of the truck crew? And if you’re the first-in engine at a structure fire, and believe there might be victims inside, what’s your priority? Today’s guest says you might want to hash that out before the tones drop. Dave LeBlanc is a Deputy Chief with the Harwich, Massachusetts Fire Department. Dave started in the Fire Service back in 1986 as a Call Firefighter with the Dennis Fire Department while attending college. He’s also been a volunteer with the Allingtown and West Haven Fire Districts in West Haven.
Have you ever become lost in a burning structure? It ‘ll cause a pretty severe pucker factor, as my Air Force friends call it. And, yes, becoming lost in a fire can easily be fatal. Today, we’re going to hear from a captain in a volunteer department who found himself lost in a burning building. Captain Alex Davis of the Lower Providence Fire Department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania has some important observations about the experience.
You don’t have to be the senior man at your station to have learned some valuable lessons. The things we learn that improve how we do our jobs sometimes come from keeping an open mind and asking questions. My guest today condensed a few concepts he picked up that way into article. Charlie Evans has fewer than five years in the fire service, but he wrote about four lessons he’s learned as a firefighter in Lynchburg, Virginia.
This week was the premiere of A&E’s Live Rescue show. And this week, I’m reviewing it. Maybe I can help you decide if it’s worth your two hours every Monday night.
If you haven’t yet had the experience of having a victim of a structure fire die, all I can say is, you will. It’s not something anyone can really prepare for, and – especially if you were the one who pulled the victim out – it never gets any easier. Thankfully, most fires these days don’t result in fatalities. But what changes when you arrive at a working fire and a bystander tells you there’s someone inside? That’s what we’re discussing with today’s guest. John Lightly is a battalion chief in the Youngstown, Ohio fire department. He’s got over 20 years on the job, and he’s seen his share of civilian fatalities.
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