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Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast

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Are You Ready for Firefighting in the WUI? with Brian Fennessy

If you’re a structural firefighter, you’d probably rather not deal with wildland fires at all. That’s normally not really a problem, until the flames reach the wildland-urban interface, which is happening much more frequently than in the past. Then you guys from the cities need to know stuff like the 18 Watch-Outs. Or to be ready to go on a run that lasts 12 hours. Decades ago, city firefighters didn’t have to be concerned with this. Welcome to the New Normal. Here to discuss that with me is...


Finding Resources for Better Training with Jason Caughey

Training is critical to performance, especially these days, when there are fewer real-world fires but the ones that do ignite burn hotter and faster. Problem is, a lot of training is not very realistic. Classroom only goes so far, and hands-on costs money. It also takes equipment, and some departments don’t have it to spare. Here to offer some ideas is Jason Caughey.Jason is the chief of Laramie County Fire District #2 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Before he arrived in Cheyenne in 2011, he was the...


What Qualifies a Volunteer to be a Chief Officer? with Ed Dolan

What qualifies someone to be a battalion chief? If they’re in a career department, it’s pretty clear. They need a specific amount of experience, they have to pass a written test, and probably an oral board of some kind.But what about volunteers? That’s a whole ‘nother deal. The volunteer BC may simply have more “time in grade” before being allowed to promote. This may be a person who shows up for more required training days and more responses than others. But does that qualify someone to run...


A Firefighter's Life is the Same Everywhere with Ulrich Koellner

I got an email a few days ago. It was full of comments about the show, like a lot of other emails I get. But this one was different. It came from a firefighter in Germany, and he wrote mostly to discuss the Eurohelmet debate. Their regulations require the new helmets for interior attacks, and a lot of firefighters there don’t like them, either. I was interested to read how things are done there…and much is the same as in the U.S. So I decided to ask the guy who wrote me to come on Code 3....


Are You Really Cut Out to be a Company Officer? with Kelly Lemmons

Let’s say you wanted to become a company officer. In your interview, you probably told them it was because you felt your leadership could help the department, and you meant it. Even if you also felt that a promotion would give you a raise. Or more prestige. Or, mistakenly, less work. But if those were your real reasons for wanting the job, you’re headed for trouble. Here to explain why and what a company officer really needs to know and do is Kelly Lemmons. Kelly is the Deputy Chief of the...


Special Report- Reflections on 19 Heroes

June 30, 2019, marks the sixth anniversary of the LODD of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, who were killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire southeast of Prescott, Arizona. The 20-man crew, the only certified IHC that was part of a municipal fire department (City of Prescott), was trapped in a canyon when the fast-moving flames overran their position. The flames were so intense that their emergency shelters were not enough to protect them. One man, Brendan...


Admitting There's a Problem with Volunteer Departments with Billy Goldfeder

Volunteer firefighters make up most U.S. departments, by far. Yet the state of volunteer firefighting is in serious trouble. The NFPA issued a report in March that said there were 46,000 fewer volunteers in 2017 than a year earlier. There just aren’t enough people willing or able to answer emergency calls any more. And it’s not just limited to rural areas. Response times are going up and the number of people responding keeps falling. It’s past time to start finding solutions. Here to discuss...


Flowing While Advancing with Jonathan Brumley

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...


Earning the Job with Chris Baker

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...


The Great Helmet Debate with Jerry Helm

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...


Swiftwater Rescues in the Desert with Kevin Keith

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...


How to Deliver a Great Roof Report with Gibby Gorman

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...


Fighting Fires in Self-Storage Facilities with James Kirsch

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...


On Becoming an Officer in a Volunteer Department with Tom Merrill

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...


Can firefighter shooting deaths be prevented? with Marc Bashoor

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....


A Female USFS Firefighter's Story of Harassment with Abby Bolt

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,...


The Fire Officer’s Guide to Occupational Safety and Health with Ron Kanterman

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...


Finding Hidden Fires with Danny Sheridan

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...


When Firefighters Visit Therapists with Courtney Stewart

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....


Retaining Volunteer Firefighters with Ed Dolan

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.