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5-Alarm Task Force!
News & Issues for First Responders
Category: Training
Location: Greater Ft. Lauderdale
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Former firefighter/EMT; President & Executive Producer of Dalmatian Productions, Inc., a production company dedicated to create...


by Steve Greene
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February 20, 2020 09:04 AM PST

When we’re on the fireground or other emergency scene, most of the time we work as a great team. We know what to do, how to do it and what to do when we’re done. Sure, from time-to-time we may wonder about a particular task we’ve been assigned, but for the most part, it’s smooth running. However, back in the firehouse, it’s often a different story. Each firefighter is encouraged to ask questions, bring up new topics and propose new ideas. Too often though, a newer or less-experienced firefighter’s ideas or thoughts are dismissed out-of-hand. Why? Frequently, it’s because of another “herd of elephants” in the room – the egos of some of those firefighters with more experience.

My guest on this podcast is Capt. Nick Peppard of the Holley-Navarre Fire District in Santa Rosa County, FL, located on the beautiful Florida Panhandle. Nick discusses the scenario described above. The newer, less-experienced firefighters are too often shut down or told to hold their ideas to themselves, too often due to one or more, senior firefighters and the egos they have. As we discuss, there is no room in the fire service for egos; while one firefighter may have twenty years on the job and another has five, the ideas they share should be of equal value. Each and every firefighter should be included in every firehouse general discussion and, should be encouraged to ask questions or bring up an idea!

Egos all too often not only get in the way of healthy discussion around the firehouse kitchen table or dayroom, they often get in the way of firefighters taking proper care of their health. They are so “eat up” with themselves, they believe they’re almost invincible! Sadly, especially when it comes to their health, when they finally admit they have a health problem, it’s often, too late. Make the change in YOUR firehouse: IDEAS Over Egos!

February 13, 2020 06:44 AM PST

In any organization, morale is one of the most important facets of the group, whether they are volunteers at a religious facility, workers in a mill, or the staff of a huge law firm encompassing an entire floor of a high-rise. Yet, it plays an even more important role for a cadre of first responders, especially, the fire service.

Most of us have seen a fire department, maybe our own or a neighboring, where morale is low. While vigorously trained to fight structure fires and perform death defying high-level or collapse rescues, this group often loses morale when they do not respond to those types of call in a period of months or for some, years! Thus the question: “How do we boost their morale?”

My guest, Capt. John Lovato, Jr., understands the predicament. In this podcast, Capt. Lovato shares his ideas of using required drill time to allow the “troops” to use many of those skills that they learned and developed. While live burns are rarer these days, he has his crews, drop feeder lines, throw ladders, stretch hoses, and more. And, there is little doubt that, whether day or night, these drills will often result in firefighters who are better prepared for many of the challenges that they will face. As you listen to Capt. Lovato, ask yourself, “Can my department think along these same lines for us?”

February 03, 2020 01:04 PM PST

Every first responder must remember that any and every emergency scene remains fluid. No matter how hard we practice, review, prepare, etc., there is always an “unknown” factor that can, and often does, come into play. For the fire service, when that happens, we call a “MAYDAY!” Nevertheless, when we do, the scene often devolves into chaos.
My guest on this episode is retired Chief Don Abbott. Chief Abbott runs the ProjectMayday.net website and, along with his group of various professionals, that have reviewed over 6,000 MAYDAY audio files and many videos, as well. This group is able to listen to every radio transmission on a given scene and analyze that traffic from before the emergency was declared, replies to the firefighter(s) and the transmissions subsequent to the emergency being mitigated.
As we discussed this very important topic, I learned that still have a lot to learn about our tactics, how we treat radio traffic from our radios when we are in the midst of our assigned tasks and how we respond when a MAYDAY is sounded. Here is just one of their facts – over 60% of MAYDAYS called, are NOT heard the first time they are declared! Take this episode to heart – it may just save your life or someone else’s.

December 17, 2019 05:44 AM PST

PHOTO CREDIT TO Battalion Chief (ret) Keith Helms)

As firefighters we constantly face challenges, however not all of them are at an emergency scene. Many of these challenges occur every day; often before we ever leave the station. And many of those challenges deal with our attitudes. You might be surprised at the toll that a wrong attitude can have.

My guests for this episode of “5-Alarm Task Force,” are Sean Duffy and Pablo Gener, of the “Build Your Culture,” training group. As with most choices we face in life, there is a “right way” and, let’s just call it “another way,” of doing things. However, as firefighters, we are held to a high standard for everything we do. And Sean and Pablo believe that, no matter if you’re a career, volunteer, wildland or paid-on-call firefighter, you should always be on your “A-game,” because in this business, anything less, could result in dire circumstances.

My guests pose the question, “If you truly want to build your firefighting culture, do you do so with professionalism or minimalism? What’s the difference between the two? What are the results? Listen to this podcast in its entirety and a clear picture will emerge. Then you will have a better idea of where you stand!

Listen to “5-Alarm Task Force” on our website, www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast platform.

December 11, 2019 06:26 AM PST

As long as we have had two-way radios in the fire service, the first arriving officer (or whomever was in a “right seat”) would provide some sort of report upon arrival. In my active years in two different departments from ’77-’85, the FAO might give a 15-30 “quick view” to dispatch. I remember being assigned to “recon” a structure file, a few times and report back to the ranking officer on scene. And mind you, in those days we had two radios: one fixed in the apparatus and one for the person in the right seat. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then!
For this special “Panel Discussion” episode of “5-alarm Task Force,” I am joined my Commissioner Jared Renshaw, Battalion Chief Andy Starnes, Captain Andrew Roach and Lt. Jason Liska; four, seasoned and well-experienced officers. Together, we discuss the critical importance of the good report; preferably one derived from a 360. We concede that there will be occasions where a quick, “windshield” size-up will be expedient to expedite an initial ops plan; however it must be followed up with a more complete size-up, 360 preferred, if possible. Our discussion is backed-up by the results of numerous post-LODD NIOSH reports.
While my guests and I always believe that every episode is a “learning tool” for the listener, this panel and I see this episode as one that is as important for the line firefighter as it is for the chief officer. This one might very well save a firefighter’s life.

December 03, 2019 06:39 AM PST

Many of us in the fire service believe that, for the most part, most fire departments in North America are the same, other than size and run numbers, with some being career and others volunteer. Part of that broad statement is that many of us still face major organizational problems. How we deal with them might make a difference.

Chief Stan Metcalfe of the Beaverlodge Fire Dept., in Alberta Canada explains that while many departments might have similar problems, it is how we approach these problems that can often set one department apart from others. In this podcast, Chief Metcalfe breaks his topic into three segments, “Setting Expectations for Success,” “Developing a Leadership Culture,” and “Maintaining Momentum Through Training.”

Each of these sections is easily applicable to most departments across North America, especially our volunteer departments. As you listen to Chief Metcalfe, don’t be surprised if what he discusses sounds like your firehouse! Better yet, the Chief offers concrete suggestions for overcoming the obstacles discussed. Think about it, then pass it on!

November 22, 2019 10:58 AM PST

Brad Davidson is a Canadian Fire Executive with 38 years serving, “Mrs. Smith.” Brad has a strong love and passion for the fire service, underscored by his years of experience and his certifications. Through out chats on Twitter and by phone, I shared my passion regarding the Fire Service Cancer Initiative with him. And with that, he was off and running.
He has done several years of research since our first conversation on the topic and has tried to be as proactive as possible in promoting the Initiative in Canada. Yet, outside of the country’s major metropolitan areas, it is still a “tough sell.” But that won’t be a hindrance to Brad.
Join us as we talk about our friendship and his strong efforts to support and spread the word on both the Cancer and Behavioral Health Initiatives in our neighbor to the north.

PLEASE TUNE IN at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast platform.

November 18, 2019 06:50 AM PST

I will honestly say that this episode of “5-Alarm Task Force” is one of, if not THE best episode we have ever produced. It is informative, tragic and dark, yet also demonstrates inner strength and recovery.
My guest is Chris Fields, a retired Major with the Oklahoma City Fire Dept. While his name may not be familiar, a world-famous photo of him carrying the body of a toddler killed in the bombing of the Federal Building on April 19, 1995, may jog your memory.
Chris shares his story from his first day as a rookie, his ongoing journey growing as a firefighter and then, through the tragedy of the bombing and through the deep and dark segment of his life, as he suffers AND successfully recovers from PTSD. PLEASE listen and KEEP this podcast. I guaranty that you will learn from it and, it might help you if you find yourself in a similar position.

November 01, 2019 06:05 AM PDT

If you have a year or two more “under your belt” you know that learning in a classroom is nothing compared with learning on an active fireground. A good firefighter is ready for almost anything as he/she dismounts from the apparatus, because the fireground is an ever-evolving, ever-changing, location with massive changes that can occur in just seconds. And if you’re not ready for it……
My guest on this episode is Lt. Mike Daley. He is a nationally known instructor and writer for the trades. With over 30 years on the job, Mike knows this business and he knows the fireground. Mike shares that knowledge with us, discussing both the basics about the fireground, then moving to the size-up and finally, going into action with the knowledge you’ve gained from his first two segments.
This episode is truly a teachable “moment” for every firefighter and every line officer. Sure, you may have heard some of this before, but you will hear it differently today!

PLEASE TUNE IN at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast platform.

October 19, 2019 12:44 PM PDT

Over the last several years, we have seen more openness, understanding and assistance appear regarding behavioral health issues in the fire service and, for that matter, for all first responders! We know the issue has been there. It’s another case of the “elephant in the firehouse;” everyone sees it, but no one wants to talk about it! Add to that the fact that we’re losing far to many first responders to suicide and issue is as pressing as is the Cancer Initiative.

My guest, Mark W. Lamplugh, Jr., is well versed and studied in this area and has been working with first responders for at least, the last 10 years. On this podcast, Mark announces a new, online, anonymous platform, geared specifically to first responders. You will want to listen to this podcast carefully, to hear about this program, as well as several others that once can access in private and with complete anonymity.

If we can put up a great fight against cancer, we can save the lives of our friends and colleagues who are facing other demons!

PLEASE TUNE IN at www.dalmatianproductions.tv or on your favorite podcast platform.

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