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Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast

Arts & Culture Podcasts

The weekly podcast for and about firefighters, "Code 3" covers topics of interest to those in the fire service, in about 20 minutes, 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.

The weekly podcast for and about firefighters, "Code 3" covers topics of interest to those in the fire service, in about 20 minutes, 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.


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The weekly podcast for and about firefighters, "Code 3" covers topics of interest to those in the fire service, in about 20 minutes, 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.






Support for the LAFD with Wade White

This time, I’m doing something a little different. It’s been a tough fire season here in southern California and it’s not over. I’m helping out my friends up the road at the Los Angeles Fire Department. They’re doing a fundraiser, selling "LAFD Strong" t-shirts to buy more and better equipment. So, if you’re in SoCal, listen up. If not, you are, of course, welcome to listen too, as I talk with Assistant Chief Wade White, who oversees the LAFD’s Supply and Maintenance Division. I think this...


ICs: Command is a perishable skill with Nick Martin

How would you grade your most recent Incident Commander’s performance? Solid or...timid? Solid is an IC who has been trained and seasoned—and one more element: practiced. Timid is someone who is maybe trained, but not especially seasoned, or inexperienced, and especially – a little scared. They’re afraid someone’s going to get hurt or killed. Today’s guest argues that a timid IC is worse than simply inefficient: they’re incompetent. That’s what Nick Martin posted on Facebook recently. If you...


Why Mentors, Not Drill Instructors, Need to Teach Today's Probies with Jacob Johnson

The way we used to train newbies, in lots of jobs, not just firefighting, could best be described as “tough love.” That’s being charitable. We were downright mean to them, and if they came back, then maybe they were suited for the job. But newbies, or in this case, probies, and different nowadays. They’re smarter. And if you treat them the way we used to, they’re likely to quit. You may say “Good riddance,” but if we built these folks up instead of trying to tear them down, we could end up...


When Your Volunteer Firefighters Don't Fight (Much) Fire with Joe Maruca

You probably know that recruiting has become a real problem at many volunteer fire departments. That’s true. But what’s worse is when you get someone to join, get them qualified, and then in a year or two they quit. The NVFC says its happening at least partly because volunteers are being lured in by the big red trucks and then find they’ll spend a lot more time doing EMS work. That makes sense. If they joined because of the video or poster of firefighters in turnouts at a structure fire,...


Are Transitional Attacks Smarter Firefighting? with Nick Salameh

I just had Pete Van Dorpe on the show, a couple of weeks ago, talking about his article from 2015 titled, “Mounting an Intelligent Interior Attack.” Coincidentally, Nick Salameh, a previous guest on this show, wrote an article this month for Fire Engineering that referred to Pete’s story. He called it, “Why Aren’t More Firefighters Making the Change to Intelligent Firefighting?’ In it, he suggested that some of today’s firefighters “after a decade of findings, are still doing the same things...


Put the Fire Out First with Peter van Dorpe

There is always an on-going discussion about how aggressive firefighters should be at structure fires. Inevitably, the argument gets into interior attacks vs. transitional. That discussion bypasses a real question, which is, how do lives get saved fastest? Today’s guest says the answer to that is: Get the fire out first. If that sounds like an old-school answer, you’re right. Because this guy is old school—but not always. Peter Van Dorpe is vice-president of the International Society of Fire...


Reflections on Sept. 11, 2001 with Rick Lasky

This episode previously ran on Sept. 11, 2019. I talked with retired Fire Chief Rick Lasky about the events of that horrible day in 2001 and what he recalled about it. Support this podcast


Which Line for Which Fire? with Mark van der Feyst

How do you select a handline when you arrive at a fire? Do you have an all-purpose go-to that usually gets pulled? Some departments routinely pull the reel line. You know, the booster line? Or so I’ve heard. Of course, if you choose the wrong line, there’s rarely a chance to correct the mistake. Using a line that’s too small will make a quick knockdown into a major hassle. But you also don’t want to have to lug a 2-1/2 around the fireground if it’s not necessary. Here to give us some ideas...


Funny Videos, Serious Messages with Jason Patton

If you spend any time on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the videos posted by Fire Department Chronicles. If you haven’t, you need to. Go there right now and look them up. I’ll wait.The man behind these videos is Jason Patton. Jason’s covered a lot of ground on these videos, from whether TV shows about firefighters are realistic … what do YOU think he found? …to how to get fired. But the one that caught my attention most recently was one in which he critiqued a Wall Street Journal video about...


Learning from YouTube with Dave Traiforos

You may have heard this oldie-but-goodie already, but bear with me: A smart man learns from his mistakes. A really smart man learns from others’ mistakes. No where is that more accurate than in the fire service, where a mistake can kill you. But the problem with learning like this lies in the way you do it. How many YouTube videos have you seen where something goes wrong and there are dozens of comments written explaining how this would never have happened, if they had just...


What an EMS Liaison Knows with Roger Dyjak

This show is a little different. We’re going to talk about prehospital care from the point of view of an EMS liaison. He sees the results of good treatment in the field. He sees what happens when treatment is done poorly. And he’s also able to see the differences between the care provided by career and volunteer departments. He can tell you what results in the best patient outcomes. Roger Dyjak is a firefighter and an EMT-B for the Memphis, Michigan Volunteer Fire Department. He works at two...


Justifying the Cost of Your Fire Department with Rich Marinucci

Once upon a time, there was a really cool video game called SimCity. The goal was for the player to build up his city by adding improvements and such. If you simply went wild and added everything you could want, the tax rate would go up and the citizens would get angry. But if you didn’t have enough amenities and services, bad things like crime sprees, traffic jams, and fires would cause a mess in your city. I think of that game from 25 years ago when the topic of fire protection versus...


Core Values as a Real-World Standard with David Bullard

It’s easy to become jaded or cynical when the fire department administration comes up with a new list of core values. They sound good, but you know and I know and the American people know that those core values get printed up on posters, sent around to each fire house, pinned to the wall…and then ignored. They just hang there and fade…until the next administration comes along and issues new ones. But what if these core values were actually put into practice somehow? What if they actually...


An Inconvenient Truth About Fires with Daniel Byrne

Since 1977, firefighter line-of-duty-deaths have been dropping. You know that already, right? And structure fires as a whole are decreasing as well, which you also know. Here’s something you may not realize: more civilians are dying in fires. It’s true. Since the 1980s, the rate of fire deaths is up six percent. This statistic is readily available—the source will be in the shownotes—but it’s not been publicized much. How did we get into this situation? And what will it take to fix it?...


Rural Firefighting: Minutes Make a Difference with Justin Bailey

If you’re a firefighter in a large metro department, you might find today’s topic a little unfamiliar. Because for firefighters in rural or even suburban areas, the challenges can be very different than yours. And if we’re talking about a volunteer department, that adds a level of difficulty. Today’s guest is the chief of a volunteer department that covers a rural community. He knows that any call may be hampered by longer response times, a lack of manpower, and even lack of water. Yet his...


Don't Believe Your Own PR with Ken Himel

Everybody knows THAT guy. There’s one in every firehouse. He’s easy to spot. He knows and is happy to lecture you on every fire science topic, but never seems to have time to help wipe down the rig. But as Chief Brunacini reminded us, egos eat brains. That’s why it never pays to believe your own PR. My guest made captain and then figured out that he’d become THAT guy. Ken Himel has almost 30 years in the fire service. During that time, he’s served in volunteer, combination, full-time, and...


Water Always Wins with Curt Isakson

With today’s rapid fire growth, it’s more important than ever before to get water on the fire as fast as possible. Flashovers, for example, can occur in just minutes now. But another factor these days works against us: limited staffing. Decisions about what jobs get done first need to be based on that reality. My guest today says getting water on the fire is the primary goal. Even more than search and rescue. I’m pleased to have Curt Isakson back on Code 3 today. He is currently a Battalion...


Behind These Walls May Lurk Unexpected Danger with Jack Murphy

Here’s some easy math for you. What percentage of your time is spent on the rig and available? Now what percent do you spend looking at the exterior of buildings in your first-due area, planning for future responses? Now—and this is the tricky one—how much time do you spend stopping by these buildings to look inside? Today’s guest says that’s critical when you’re looking at a tilt-up concrete structure. That’s because this style of construction can be deceptive. The outside doesn’t...


Introducing "True Fire"

Today, I am introducing a new podcast. Don’t worry, this one’s not going anywhere.The new show is called True Fire, and it’s different from any other podcast available. It’s also quite possibly the most important one ever. Each episode breaks down, in detail, a line-of-duty-death fire. We know how these men and women died. True Fire tries to answer why. If you think it’s as important for people to hear as I do, then please go to and click on the Kickstarter link. I have a...


How To Be Aggressive Without Being Reckless with Duane Daggers

I’ve noticed a lot of chatter on social media over the past months about the idea that fire departments aren’t aggressive enough anymore. The next poster will comment that we’re no longer in the stone age, and we can’t be so reckless anymore. Then someone will bring up Danny Dwyer, and things will get personal. Now, look: if my house is on fire, I want the firefighters who respond to save my wife, if she’s trapped. Period. If she’s out, save my stuff. Don’t stand outside and call it a...