Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast-logo

Code 3 - The Firefighters' Podcast


The 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 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.


United States


The 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 Freedom House Ambulance Service with Ben Thompson

On this episode, we’re talking EMS history. I’m embarrassed to admit I was unaware of this background until I heard it on another, non-fire-related podcast. It’s the story of the first civilian EMS program in the U.S. Nope, not New York. That was 1968. Not Miami. That was 1969. Not even L.A., home of the “Emergency!” TV show. The law that allowed them to practice was passed in 1970. No, the first U.S. paramedics were from the Freedom House Ambulance program in Pittsburgh. In 1967. And they...


Managing Your Promotion with Ian Emmons

There’s a lot of advice out there about how to get promoted. There’s a little less about what to do when you are promoted. Suddenly, friends on your shift are your subordinates. So how do you work with them? Your first couple of days will set the tone for how you’ll relate to them for some time to come. If you screw it up, it could take months to repair the damage. My guest today has some insight about what they expect of you … and what you should do when you arrive at work in your new role....


When Your Volunteers Don't Want To Be In The FDNY with Dan Rogers

My guest on this show, Dan Rogers, created a firestorm online with his article, “’And that’s okay:’ Not all volunteers want to operate like FDNY.” Here’s a quote from the article, which appears on the website: “We often try to ‘push’ pride in our department onto the younger members. But many of them weren’t raised with the same sense of community as we were, so they will likely never carry that pride. And that’s OK.” Readers, as they always do, came to different conclusions...


What Fuel Are You Using in Your Burn Building? with Jack Regan

When you set up your burn building, burn room, or burn trailer for training, what do you use for fuel? In my experience, sometimes it’s just a few old wooden pallets or some leftover 2x4s. And, sure, that makes smoke and flames, but how realistic are they? Modern furniture burns faster and hotter than the older stuff. Since structure fires are becoming less common, it’s important that the training simulations are as realistic as possible. That’s where our friends at Underwriters Laboratory...


Firefighting in the 21st Century with Stan Tarnowski

Just about every firefighter enjoys reading about the experiences of other members of the brotherhood. That’s why books written by veteran firefighters are so popular. Plus, they give potential new recruits valuable real-world information on how to get into the fire service. My guest today is Stan Tarnowski, who is back on Code 3 to talk about his new book, (“Firefighting in the 21st Century.”) It’s part memoir, part textbook, and it’s all interesting. This is Chief...


Why Customer Service Matters with Chad Costa

Your department has probably been described, at least informally, as an all-hazards department. That usually means things like water rescue, hazmat, high-angle rescue, and so on. But over the years, and especially since the time of the late Chief Alan Brunacini may struggle with it. It may not relate strictly to firefighting. My guest to discuss the value of customer service –and what it is --- has been on Code 3 before. Chad Costa is a battalion chief with the City of Petaluma, California...


When You Have to Operate Aerial Apparatus Alone with Ryan Johnston

If you’re not a career firefighter in a major city, this is going to be a familiar topic. If you do work in a major city, get ready to hear something a little scary: A lot of volunteer and smaller combination department ladder companies are just two…or fewer…people. And given the declining numbers of fires we’re seeing, those firefighters may not have much experience setting up their apparatus. As always, training is the key. But it has to be worthwhile training. Here to talk about how to...


What to Know When You Marry a Firefighter with Mike & Anne Gagliano

It’s not easy to be married to a firefighter. Whether you’re the wife or a husband of one, you know it can be tough to deal with emotionally. And if you’re thinking of marrying a firefighter, you need to understand that there’s more to it than the one-hour orientation class the department offers you. A lot more. That’s why Mike and Anne Gagliano wrote a book and frequently speak around the country about how they’ve made it work for 35 years. Mike retired as a captain with Seattle Fire after...


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...