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5-Alarm Task Force

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News & Issues for Today's First Responders A podcast primarily for fire-rescue and EMS in particular, and all first responders, including law enforcement and tow/removal personnel, in general, stressing safety, fitness-for-duty, health and wellness.

News & Issues for Today's First Responders A podcast primarily for fire-rescue and EMS in particular, and all first responders, including law enforcement and tow/removal personnel, in general, stressing safety, fitness-for-duty, health and wellness.
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Coral Springs, FL


News & Issues for Today's First Responders A podcast primarily for fire-rescue and EMS in particular, and all first responders, including law enforcement and tow/removal personnel, in general, stressing safety, fitness-for-duty, health and wellness.








Hoods for Heroes - Part I

For most folks, especially those who are first responders, if they someone in pain or truly distraught, they won’t have the heart to just pass it by and go on with their shopping, run, picking up the dry-cleaning, etc. My two guests on this podcast, Jeff Rountree and Bill Hamilton, are “cut from the same cloth.” This past May, while first-timers at promoting International Firefighters’ Day in Clay County, Florida, they found out about the scourge that is devouring great firefighters every...


The Firefighter Cancer Initiative - Part II

It is what it is! This job that we love to do has inherent risks and now, besides everything else, we know, all too well, that one of those risks is cancer. It’s a fact that firefighters have higher occurrences of cancer than the average American. However, we also have excellent medical and research teams around the country who are doing everything they can to learn about our behaviors, exposures, the equipment we use and more, in the herculean effort to help us reduce these risks. One of...


New Water Enhancement Product From "Fire Rein"

When we have one “cookin,” we know we’re going to need water and lots of it. In most cases, if you’re located in an urban or metro area, water will probably not be a problem, but perhaps pressure may. But, what if we could use less water and what we do use, would have a greater effect on our efforts to extinguish the blaze? My two guests on this podcast, Quincy Emmons and Peter Sells, discuss their product which, they say, can actually accomplish the statement in the last sentence above –...


"The Evolving Fire Ground"

When you’re on the fireground, it often looks like organized chaos. Why? Because, rarely does the situation remain stagnant. Things are always changing. Whether its redirecting a hose line, raising the stick, one crew heads out to rehab, while a fresh one gets ready for entry. Change in wind direction, etc. My guests on this podcast, Dep. Chief PJ Norwood and Capt. Sean Gray, have seen this occur over and over again through their years of experience. However, more than the simplistic view...


Size-Up & 360 for First Arriving on Scene

If you’ve been riding the apparatus for as little as a few months, you already know that there is something special about being on the first arriving piece at a “worker!” That’s the first arriving piece, not the first due piece. Traffic, construction, etc., can and does often get in the way, making the first due the second or even third to arrive. As our guest, Capt. Joe DeVito points out in this podcast, there is a great deal of responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the first...


Proper Blocking on Active Roadways

Looking back over the last several months, there have been several firefighters, EMS workers, LEO’s and recovery personnel, who have lost their lives on the scene of an emergency, on active roadways. Sadly, this is nothing new. As the number of distracted and/or drivers under the influence have increased, so have the numbers of deaths and injuries to emergency and recovery workers. This issue hit very close to home for Chief Victor Conley and the members of the Irving TX Fire Department,...


A Visit to the Irish Fire Brigade & More!

When we think of the fire service, we think of the one where we live. But how often do you think about the fire service in other countries? Luckily, many of our listeners are spread out across the globe. And in this podcast, a good friend of the show, Exec. Asst. Chief Todd LeDuc shares with us hos recent visit to the Irish Fire Brigade. Chief LeDuc traveled to Ireland on behalf of the IAFC-SHS (The International Association of Fire Chiefs – Safety, Health and Survival) Division. While...


A New "Wonder Tool?" The Nestorbar(R)

What happens when you’re the co-creator of a new tool that, although you see it works very well for its original purpose in construction and demolition, you have the feeling that it could do so much more? That’s exactly where co-creator of Nestorbar®, Mark Slafkovsky found himself. He had this new, remarkable tool that combined a standard pry bar with a doubled claw hammer, in three different lengths and, which created its own fulcrum point wherever it might be used. After Hurricane Sandy,...


Interested in a Promotion in a Busy Department?

Our nation’s capital, Washington DC, is actually a relatively small parcel of land. At the same time, DC Fire usually can be found in the top 12 for total runs and several of its engines and ladders run in the top 5! Our guest today, Capt. (ret) Jimmy Partridge, knows all about that, having served over thirty years in DCFD. In our podcast today, Jimmy starts off telling us about several of the challenging calls he ran, including the last call of his long career. As you listen, you’ll hear...


The Need for Decon On Scene

Smoke from any type of fire has never been good for a human, even long before we could actually know what was in it. All it took was a good “snootfull,” and we were coughing, hacking and crying…all at the same time! Today, nearly 20 years after 9|11 and after losing so many brothers and sisters who worked the pile or anywhere near Ground Zero, we now realize that smoke from almost any combustion, isn’t just bad for us – it’s deadly! Firefighter/Engineer/Paramedic/PIO Brad Bihun, is doing...


The Importance of Firefighter Health & Wellness

The job of being a firefighter has never been a “lightweight, even going back to the days of hauling canvas buckets of water. Over a hundred years later and even with all the tools we have, the job still demands that we fit and healthy. That’s hard enough, but factor in today’s lifestyle and what we face when we fight fires that we cannot even see, this job demands that we are in the best shape possible. My guest today, Dr. Lance Walker, knows quite a bit about firefighter health and...


Critical Thinking & Fireground Deceision Making

This job (whether you are career, volunteer, wildfire or paid-on-call) that we love to do, is rarely a “walk in the park.” No matter how simple the dispatch or phone call appears to be, it often turns out to NOT be that simple or easy and that requires us to think it through and fast! My guest on this podcast is Nicholas Higgins, the editor and frequent contributor to the Firehouse Tribune website (firehousetribune.com), a long-time supporter of the show and a repeat presenter at FIREHOUSE...


Our Turnout Gear - Safe or Sorry

It’s there, hanging on the rack, next to our bunk, in the backseat or trunk of our car. What is it? Our bunker or turnout gear; part of our entire PPE ensemble. It is designed to protect us from sharp or pointy edges, to prevent the heat from reaching our “civilian” bodies and to not allow wetness to pervade into the inner layers which might cause us suffering steam burns. Besides our boots, coat and pants, it includes our hoods and gloves – all playing a critical role in protecting us from...


The Value of Education in the Fire Service

Over the years, many men and women have entered the fire service with little or no prior training other than perhaps being a “junior” firefighter, an Explorer® or perhaps the departments basic training program. Yet, as we are all well aware, we are quite often, not fighting the types of fires that our forebears did and, as a matter of fact, we are responding to many different types of calls, altogether. Add to the mix is the fact that many people entering both the career and volunteer fire...


The Firefighter Cancer Foundation

As firefighters, we face some very difficult situations such as flammable liquids, concentrated atmospheres of flammable gas, heavy content fires, mass casualty incidents and more. Yet, many might agree that in 2018, there is one that could bring the bravest and “toughest” firefighter to his/her knees – and that is a diagnosis of cancer. Although today, more people are surviving cancer than ever before, our love for our work can often bring us together with strange, alternative forms of...


Heavy Content (Hoarding) Fires & Social Media Etiquette

Even though the premier example of “heavy content” or hoarding fire dates back to the Collyer brothers’ mansion fire in Manhattan in1947, the problem has taken on a new urgency in today’s fire service over the last decade or so. With television programs displaying various interventions for people who may be suffering from a disorder, the public has no idea what it is like for members of the fire service to battle a blaze that breaks out in a structure where extreme clutter is the norm. Our...


Are We Fighting Cancer or Our Own Egos?

We are the fire service. We’re all about fighting fires and kicking its butt. We have always believed that for most materials, we put the “wet stuff on the red stuff” and we’re done. Sure, we might catch a “snootfull” of smoke; perhaps suffer a small burn here, a steam burn there, maybe even a broken bone. Yes, we’ve had tragic losses too, from time-to-time, but those were usually the building’s fault! However, in the aftermath of 9|11, we suffered a strong dose of reality – what’s actually...


Firefighter Suicide - Stemming the Tide & Reaching Out

No one said, “Life is easy.” And for those of us who are first responders, we get to see life at its very worst sometimes. It may be just one call, or it could be several really serious ones in a row. Fires, auto collisions, shootings, tragedies involving children and more; they often seem to pile up, one on another. Add to that mix how little sleep we often get, maybe problems at home with family, money, and yes, even health, and the result is a toxic soup from which we may see only one way...


Clutter & Hoarding - Solutions Through Community Risk Reduction

If you’re a first responder, you’ve come across “heavy content” properties and homes. That’s “polite-speak” for severe clutter or hoarding. And many of us have responded to some type of call there, from a trip and fall or critical illness, to an actual working fire. All of us in fire, police and EMS want to do something about these problems in our community, but there never seems to be enough people, funding or motive to drive a solution, until sadly, it’s too late. Our returning guest is...


Tactics & Terminology

In the premier episode of Season 3 of “5-Alarm Task Force,” we are pleased to welcome back a dear friend and great supporter of the podcast, Capt. Robby Owens, Sr. (@averagejakeff) as we discuss “Tactic and Terminology.” As we have heard from other guests, especially line officers and above, no singular tactic is appropriate for every working structure fire. What almost all agree on, are the two words that they believe are appropriate, “It Depends!” The first arriving officer who assumes...