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Episode 033 - Fast Track Or The Wrong Track?

Fast Tracking…Lateral Transfer…Whatever you want to call it…The idea of bringing persons into your organization who are already trained (and possibly experienced) can be pretty enticing. It eliminates the insecurity of putting someone through a lengthy academy (which you have no guarantee they will graduate.) It’s vastly cheaper than spending $50,000 per recruit to hire and certify a firefighter (one metro-Atlanta department’s estimate), and it takes a fraction of the time. So it’s a...


Episode 032 - Connor's A Peach

Most of us probably have someone that we call a “mentor,” but that’s a really vague label for something that we probably haven’t thought enough about. If someone else considers you a mentor, are you living up to that person’s expectations of that relationship? Are you even aware that they consider you a mentor? And are you really mentoring, or are you coaching? For this episode, we use a TedTalk (that Bill prepared as a class assignment) as a jumping off point for a discussion on mentoring...


Episode 031 - When Does Hollywood Get Firefighting Right?

Some of us had never really considered that some of our listeners might not be firefighters, up until one of those listeners asked us to talk about the reality of fighting fire vs. what shows up on television and film. In this episode, the crew goes over what they think about some of the better-known firefighting films and discusses how those films might negatively affect the non-firefighting public. We also talk about the irony of Hollywood exaggerating aspects of the job for the sake of...


Episode 030 - How Close Is Too Close?

How well do you know the person above you in the chain of command? How about the person below you? When your buddy got promoted, did you think he changed? In this episode, we discuss how close you want to be with the people you work with in the department. It’s a sweet spot that is ridiculously hard to find, especially if you promote and end up supervising some of those people you are really close to. Will being too close affect your ability to supervise? We also discuss social media, free...


Episode 029 - Wives Hang In The Balance

We’ve joked that this was possibly the most dangerous podcast we’ve ever recorded. Turning the microphones on and encouraging our wives to turn the filters off was a little bit of a risk, since we didn’t know what they would say, but it’s a risk we’re really glad we took. Our wives, Shannon (Shane), Robin (Hatch), Nicole (Pabel), and Paula (Bill) tackle how they’ve dealt with us, our careers, and the effects it has had on life. Holidays celebrated at the fire station. Missed birthdays and...


Episode 028 - Shane's Mulligan

Our Mulligan Series continues with Shane’s tale of regret about an apartment fire that probably should have gone a little better. But like all of our mulligans, we let bad early decisions, shortcuts when we know better, and our own egos get in the way of doing a great job. It happens to the best of us. What also happens to the best of us is that we learn from our mistakes and become better firefighters. Learn from this one.


Episode 027 - 16 Minutes Under a Collapse in a Structure Fire with Clark Glass

16 minutes doesn't sound like a long time, unless you're pinned under a collapse, unable to move, and running out of air. In that situation, every second becomes an eternity. And there were 960 of those agonizing seconds. In this episode, we sit down with Clark Glass and talk to him about his MAYDAY. A MAYDAY he was unable to declare for himself. A MAYDAY that he had absolutely no ability to self-rescue or aid in his rescue. A MAYDAY where all he could do was control the space between his...


Episode 026 - Hatch's Mulligan Part Two

In this follow-up episode, Hatch gives us a second mulligan involving his role as Safety Officer at a particularly aggressive fire. His first mulligan episode was about a weak leadership moment, centered around something he said that he shouldn't have. This mulligan is where Hatch wishes he had said more.


Episode 025 - Hatch's Mulligan Part One

In this episode, Hatch surprises us a little when he reveals his mulligan. It wasn't exactly within the parameters we had established for the mulligan episodes, but that's kind of Hatch in a nutshell. And it ended up being a really interesting story that we think will seem pretty familiar to anyone that's been in a supervisory role before.


Episode 024 - House Dues And Don'ts

We've never heard of a station that doesn't have some form of house dues, and most of us have been at a station where someone questioned whether or not they should have to pay them. Some don't drink coffee. Some don't use salad dressing. Some watch television more than others. On this episode we use the issue of house dues as a starting point to discuss what it means to be part of a station. Does separating yourself over house dues do harm to your role on the team? And are there other ways...


Episode 023 - What Motivates Someone To Be Unmotivated?

A listener wrote to us about some senior firefighters being disengaged with less experienced firefighters in the station and basically asked why won't they share their knowledge? Is it deliberate or just lazy? Are they holding their knowledge hostage as a means to retain power? Or are they simply at a point where they just don't care about the newer firefighters? D) All of the above.


Episode 022 - Bill's Mulligan

Yes, that’s Shane in the red helmet. And yes, that’s the second and third floor in the garage he was in. Mistakes. We all make them. And if you've been a firefighter long enough you probably have a few fires in your mental rolodex that you wish you could go back in time and do again. There's a clinical term for it: regret. And while none of us have that ability to relive the past, we do have the ability to try and ensure that other firefighters don't make the same mistake we did. This...


Episode 021 - Lessons From 30,000 Feet

In this episode, we explore the lessons that can be gleaned from Captain Tammie Jo Shults' radio traffic after her Boeing 737 lost an engine on April 17, 2018, killing one passenger and endangering the remaining 148 souls on board. Her radio traffic has been held up as an example of how to remain calm in truly desperate circumstances. So what lessons in that radio traffic are there for the fireground? Clear and concise communication is a must, right? Well, if you know our podcast, you know...


Episode 020 - Moneyballing It: Leadership Lessons Of The Film Moneyball

Moneyball is the story of the Oakland Athletics' 2002 season; a season in which General Manager Billy Beane used the unconventional theory of "Sabrmetrics" to field a competitive team. It's a compelling sports film filled with drama, humor, and suspenseful moments that was nominated for Best Picture. But we also think it's a really good movie for the fire service. On the surface, the team's situation at the beginning of the film is quite similar to many of our own departments: you are...


Episode 019 - Scott Stroup And The Catch Seen Round The World

It's a once in a career moment, and it actually happened twice on this one fire in DeKalb County GA. Two children, in desperation, were thrown from the third floor balcony into the arms of firefighters below. Only one of those catches was captured on a helmet cam, but the images were so striking they literally made it around the world. For this episode we sit down with Capt. Scott Stroup who made the catch caught on the video. He'll be the first to tell you that he just happened to be in...


Episode 018 - Outtakes: Active Shooter

This outtake comes from our session with Cale Hamilton. Here we talk about the role of the fire service in active shooter or active threat situations. It didn't really fit within the rest of the podcast, but we think there is some good discussion here, so take a listen.


Episode 017 - Frank Martinez In His Own Words

This audio was compiled from the interviews we did with Frank Martinez. We assembled this to use in a class because of how profound Frank's words are. We are putting it out here on the first anniversary of his passing for that very reason as well.


Episode 016 - Firefighter Perspective vs Chief Perspective with Cale Hamilton

Cale Hamilton was a self-described mediocre firefighter until a 2010 mayday incident prompted him to explore what it means to be more engaged in firefighting as a profession. Since that time he has become more "plugged in" within the department he works for, but he is still very much a firefighter's firefighter. So he was an obvious choice for us to sit down with and talk about some of the differences between how the firefighter sees the scene and how the chief sees it.


Episode 015 - Professional Development with Lt. Colonel Bill Smith

The fire service is a para-military organization. But what does that mean? Are there things the military does that we should be doing? For this episode, we sit down with Lt. Colonel Bill Smith (United States Air Force) to talk about a couple of things that the military does much better than the fire service: professional development and recognizing our own people for their great work. Our military does an excellent job of setting the path for anyone within their ranks that wants to promote;...


Episode 014 - Criticism, Condemnation, and Complaining

Is there a place for criticism in your fire station? It might seem like a somewhat silly question, and most of those of us who consider ourselves do-ers within our departments might reflexively say "Hell, yes!" But if we dig a little deeper and ask ourselves who gains by criticism, the answer to that question gets a little more muddy. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is on 3 of 4 of the reading lists on our site. Mr. Carnegie advocates avoiding criticism at all...