If you’re a firefighter and you’ve visited the City of Philadelphia, then I hope you took some time to visit one of the most important sites in American firefighting history – Firemen’s Hall. While this top-shelf museum deals mostly with the history of the Philadelphia Fire Department, it is also closely connected with the very first, organized volunteer fire department in, what was then the colonies – the Union Fire Company, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1736. In front of the museum is the carved, stone trough used to provide water to the horses.
The Union Fire Company was actually a, “bucket brigade,” and they did the best they could do with that they had. However, today’s volunteer and combination fire departments are a far cry from those of long ago. Yet, many of today’s volunteer fire departments are still working off the model that Franklin created, “neighbors helping neighbors.”
My guest on this podcast, Chief John M. Buckman III, is a past-president of the IAFC and one of the great leaders and mentors in the volunteer fire service. And with so many volunteer departments dealing with severe recruitment, retention and staffing problems, Chief Buckman is calling for a sweeping change in the “model” or “foundation” for the operation of today’s volunteer fire service.
If you are a member of a volunteer, combination or a paid-on-call department, you need to hear Chief Buckman’s message. And not just listen to it, but dive into it and learn from it. Then, bring it back to your department; encourage your fellow members, your officers and yes, even your chiefs, to listen to it. For if the volunteer fire service is going to survive as we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, changes are going to be necessary, some very difficult changes!
Tune in at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or search for “5-Alarm Task Force” on your favorite podcast platform.
If you are a first responder, you know that there are times when the first dispatched units arrive on the scene of a call and realizing the enormity of the task at hand, they call for mutual aid. With proper advance planning, neighboring first responders answer the alarm and soon arrive to assist. However, what happens when your asked to respond half-way around the globe to assist the fire service in another country, on a different continent??
This is exactly what happened to Chief Jason Moore of the Bloomington IN Fire Department. In this podcast, Chief Moore relates the story of how he was asked to go to the country of Sierra Leone, on Africa’s west coast. However, to do so, the department would have to determine what had to be done and how to underwrite the effort. And what happens when they arrive to see a fire service unlike any other, these experienced firefighters had seen before.
This podcast educates all of us who are part of the firefighting/first responder family, that this very “family” is much larger and sometimes, more severely challenged, than we ever imagined. As a matter of fact, this podcasts tests each of us when it asks, “Are you ready to help fellow firefighters, as part of our “family,” even if they are on the other side of the globe, in a country wracked by poverty and civil war?
Since his first appearance on "5-Alarm Task Force" my guest (and friend) Mark Slafkovsky, co-creator of the Nestorbar, has been busy "spreading the news" about this unique tool across both the fire-rescue services, as well as the building and contracting service. And if you have a half-dozen or more years on the job, you'll understand why the Nestorbar is similar to several other tools that we've carried for years, that were "comfortable" in different workshops, as well.
Mark was able to stop by after having the opportunity to spend a couple of days at the Louisiana Instructors & Firefighters Training conference. As he explains in this podcast, people will often scratch their heads when he first presents the tool. After he explains, they're still scratching their heads, but this time, they do so as they strive to think of even more ways it would be useful to them!
If you haven't yet heard about the Nestorbar, you'll want to listen to this podcast carefully!
Most of us who have or now serve as first responders have passed out stickers with emergency numbers, fire prevention pamphlets and posters that we hand-stamped with our name and address, key rings and much more. Why? To establish a connection between you and the community you serve. In a word, you are “marketing” your organization!
Few people think that a fire, police or EMS organization, volunteer or career, needs a “New York City 5th Avenue advertising and marketing plan. But if you think again, what hard could a marketing program do? Sure, you drive around the fire district on Santa Saturday and collect a few dollars; some of you have a pancake breakfast or barbecue dinner. All of that is marketing, too!
My guest on this episode of “5-Alarm Task Force,” is Lt. John Kowalski, with the Lone Oak Volunteer Fire Department outside of Chattanooga. John’s vocation is on communications and marketing. However, once he joined his small department (18 members and two pieces of apparatus) he saw a way to help them both market and brand themselves to their community. It’s worked so well, that neighboring departments have asked for his and his department’s help.
After you listen to this episode, visit his website at www.babacita.com. If you’re interested in purchasing his program, you can save 20% off the regular price, visit our website (www.dalmatianproductions.tv)and go to John’s Guest Page entry for a special coupon code for listeners of “5-Alarm Task Force.”
Tune in at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or iTunes® , Google Play® , Spotify® or your favorite podcast platform. And remember – Stay Safe & Stay Well!
Returning guest, Deputy Chief (ret) Kevin Burns of the Framingham MA Fire Dept., joins us on this episode to discuss, “21 Tips for the Company Officer.” If you follow Chief Burns on Twitter (@burns227) or you have heard his first episode with us, “The Shift Commander,” you know that Chief Burns is well-experienced and very well-versed in the career firefighting life and ops.
In today’s podcast, Chief Burns presents his “21 Tips for the Company Officer.” The easiest way to explain this topic is this – being a company officer is a lot more complex than sitting in the right seat of the apparatus. You might want to be the one to “floor” the pedal for the “Q,” or yank the line for those Grover airhorns. However, Chief Burns provides a great set of concepts for the current or future company officer, that goes far and above a “co-pilot” role.
Be smart and have a pad and pen or pencil handy to take notes on Chief Burns’ discussion.
Tune in a www.dalmatianproductions.tv or iTunes® , Google Play® , Spotify® or your favorite podcast platform.
From cigarettes to well-water and from X-rays to cooking pans, almost everywhere we turn over the past forty years or so, we see warnings for cancer. And while we may be surprised by other products that we may be warned about, the last place we ever expected to find carcinogenic compounds was in our protective bunker gear! How the hell could that have happened? Did the manufacturers know what was happening? And there are many more questions we have!
Being dedicated followers of @yourturnoutgear on Twitter, we were able to invite Dr. Graham Peaslee of the University of Notre Dame, who, for the past year or so, has been conducting particle-level research on the amount of PFOA (a fluorine derivative) in used bunker gear. Dr. Peaslee explains his research and provides us will a few more surprises regarding this basic chemical, that has been in our water and toothpaste for decades.
If you are following all of the “chatter” regarding the Firefighter Cancer Initiative and making the effort to keep yourself healthy, than please make time for this abbreviated podcast! This is one of those that just might save your life!
Tune in at
www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast streaming platform.
So you want to be a firefighter? Sure, you like all the lights and sirens; the excitement of barreling down the roadways, making others get out of your way! But do you really know what it takes to be a firefighter? Do you know what you have to do to become a firefighter (career or volunteer)? What is life in a firehouse like?
My guest on this podcast, Mauro Porcelli, is a former firefighter with a 25-year career. He worked for a smaller, county department and for a large urban department. He has written the book, “Surviving the Firehouse” It takes that interest to be a firefighter and provides a step-by-guide from your first steps like, where to learn, almost to the day you wave goodbye to your friends as you head towards a well-earned retirement.
Some of the topics include, “Do you need to be a paramedic, as well as a firefighter?, Where to learn to be a firefighter? What’s the rookie year like? What are pitfalls I should avoid? And many more. You cannot go wrong reading this book no matter where you are in the process, even if you already have a few years under your belt. Not only is does the book provide a great deal of information, it’s a fun read and gives the reader a good peek “behind the curtain!”
Let Mauro be your guide to this great profession or avocation. You’ll be glad you did.
Tune in at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast streaming platform.
The make-up of each firefighter is different, whether career or volunteer, some love humping that hose and always busting through the breach. With a few years under their belt, others start looking for leading that first group on the fireground or other emergency scene. Then, there are those who have their sights on a higher goal, the command level. A group of them remain committed to directing personal at scene of urgent need. Then, there are those whose bugles on the collars bring them to highest posts in the department – command administration and “the buck stops here!”
No matter the size of a department and no matter if it’s a career, volunteer or paid-on-call, someone has to run the show. However, being at that command level involves much more than directing the lower officers and firefighters. In reality, that chief becomes the CEO of a corporation (sometimes, literally if that department hold a not-for-profit corporate designation).
My guests, Chief (ret) Dan Jones and his business partner, Kelly Walsh have seen these problems first hand. Chief Jones has extensive experience as a command officer and Kelly comes to the table with years of HR experience, especially in the fire service. Together, they have created both a company and a methodology to help fireground officers of all levels, who decide they want to set higher leadership goals. Through seminars, websites and one-on-one connection, they have the ability to help guide you through the maze of executive tasks that are often unexpected to the line officer who finds him/herself as the leader of a department.
Tune in to “5-Alarm Task Force,” at our website, www.dalmatianprodcutions.tv , on iTunes®, Google Play®, Spotify®, or your favorite podcast platform!
From an outside view, the life of first responders looks glamorous and exciting. The red, white and blue lights flashing, “busting” the speed limit, sirens screaming. However, when those first responders arrive on the scene, they often find sadness and desolation, the darkest side of humanity or tragic, unnecessary loss. Now, imagine facing those situations day-after-day or on almost every shift. As we are about to close the second decade of the twenty-first century, our first responders see this dark side far too often. Add to that the pressures of everyday life in today’s “I need it now” society and some reach a breaking point.
They don’t wear capes, nor do they have super powers, for those first responders are our neighbors, members of our church or synagogue, shop at the same grocery store that we do. And when we do see them in public, whether in uniform or not, there will probably always be a smile or a friendly nod. However, if we could look deeper, we just might see a very troubled individual.
My guest, Mark Lamplugh, Jr., is a former fire captain and knows of what I describe above. And he has dedicated himself to helping those first responders who suffer from the trauma of the profession, that truth be told, they love. For the past ten years, Mark has answered phone calls and emails from first responders around the county, reaching out from the darkness for help.
In today’s episode, Mark discusses the issues that many first responders face and how he has helped them deal with these behavioral health problems. Additionally, he has taken that experience to create a non-profit agency, to allow first responder agencies or their communities to have their own, private and secure website, customized specifically for that agency or community, where those first responders can turn to learn or for help that has already been vetted to not only work with first responders, but will also accept the insurance coverage of the responder. Learn more with my guest, Mark Lamplugh, Jr.
There are few greater issues facing not only the fire service today, but all manner of first responders. To address these important matters, I am proud to present four current or past chiefs, who share their own experiences and views.
Joining me is Chief Anthony Correia (ret.) Burlington Township NJ Fire Dept., Commissioner Jaren Renshaw, Western Berks Fire Dept., PA, Chief Brian Soller, Monticello NY Fire Dept. and Chief James Tornebene, TX.
As the roles and demands of our ever-changing society push and pull us in diverse directions, so have our abilities to be able to serve our communities, not only as first responders, but in serving those civic and religious organizations that we once devoted free time to. This ever stronger “push-pull” requires new ideas and approaches as we look to both increase and retain those who wish to serve their communities as members of career, volunteer or paid-on-call departments.
These four gentlemen share their experiences over their many years of service. They have seen this evolution of society, as well as the fire service over the past forty years and how our job descriptions and requirements have changed many times over. With that much change, we might also see confusion and high turnover in our departments. Each of these chiefs share with you the listener, what they have seen and/or done, within their own or neighboring communities.
Be ready to take notes! This is a podcast the likes of which we have never done before!