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The fire service is a profession built on tradition, hesitant to change. Many of the things we do today are because “that’s the way we always did them.” From strategies and tactics to washing the wheels of the apparatus when backing into the station, we are rooted in the past. Although tradition and history are important, to improve our safety and services, we need to be willing to change within our organization. In any organization, consistency can be the cause of stagnation but the goal of success. To take a deeper look, consistency depends on what area of the organization...

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A firefighter joining the fire service enters the profession with minimal understanding of the day-to-day reality of being a firefighter.  Firefighters often learn their craft through observation and practice, eventually imitating those in charge.  Shift after shift and call after call, their knowledge and experience grow exponentially until they eventually are promoted and placed in a position of leadership and mentoring.  Promotions in the fire service lead to more responsibility, but the essentials of being a successful leader develop and emerge years before a promotion. How does a firefighter prepare for the responsibility of leadership? The foundation for becoming a...

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When I look back on some of the events that occurred in the fire service during 2017, my mind immediately goes to the countless number of devastating fires that have occurred in large wood-frame buildings under construction, or as Fire Engineering Technical Editor Glenn Corbett likes to call them, “toothpick towers.” Buildings under construction are some of the most challenging fires we face and, depending on the amount of passive and active fire protection that has been installed or is operational, it can be a losing battle from the start. In this article, we are going to look at one aspect of...

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Editor Note: The mechanical advantage of a Halligan has been a recent topic on some training forums. A friend of mine decided to sit down and put on paper what many of us explain when teaching the use of the Halligan. Before you read this I would like to start by saying this is an article for firefighters that like to keep working towards a better understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it. Does a firefighter need to know the complete break down of mathematics regarding the leverage of the Halligan to force a door correctly?...

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This video describes fire behavior in ventilation limited structures using live fire demonstrations, computer fire modeling (Fire Dynamics Simulator) and ATF field testing. The vast majority of fires encountered by fire investigators and firefighters are ventilation limited, meaning that the size and location of flames are regulated by sources of ventilation.  

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