Things I’ve learned so far at firefighter camp;
1) I really have no business writing a blog because I’m dumb.
2) I have so much more to learn.
3) Some of the people who would have every right in the world to be arrogant, pretentious jerks aren’t because they’re firefighters who love the job and love passing on their knowledge just like you and me.
4) Whudder means water when spoken by someone from Philly, or Camden.
5) With newer, more energy efficient construction a first-arriving company can pull up on a fire that is either heavily involved or has darkened down on the inside and left very little signs of active fire on the outside (which leads to a “light smoke” or “nothing showing” radio report) and as soon as you force the front door or a window fails that space will reach flashover in 60 – 90 seconds. Go to Underwriter’s Laboratories and check out the research for yourself if you don’t believe me.
6) Our tactics have to change folks. They have to. And in order for our tactics to change our thinking has to change. That’s where the hard part is. 100 years of tradition…
7) Aggressive tactics can also be safe tactics. But in order for them to be so you need to be trained and educated.
8) Operating safely on the fire or emergency scene is NOT synonymous with doing nothing, going defensive or being unaggressive. It simply means you are taking every precaution humanly possibly to minimize the risk to yourself and your crew while carrying out the tasks that need to be completed for the job you are working on. Sometimes that means saying the job simply can’t be completed.
9) Walking back and forth from the hotel to the convention center with all my gear 6 times sucks. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world for the experiences of the HOT classes.
10) Being in the room to hear Bobby Halton’s opening remarks, seeing Firefighter Larry McCormack from Chicago’s Squad 5 receive the Ray Downey Courage and Valor Award and hearing Chief Steve Kraft’s keynote address was a moving experience. I encourage every firefighter who cares about this job to do it at least once in person.
People I’ve met while at firefighter camp (and some of whom have known me too!);
1) Jason Jefferies ( Working the Job )and I finally got to meet in person. It was touching and kinda uncomfortable all at the same time.
2) Jonah Smith ( The Hose Jockey )
3) John Mitchell ( Fire Daily ) Ok, truth be told, John doesn’t really count. We used to work together but he’s way more famous-er than me.
4) Gabriel Angemi ( CMD FD )
5) Ray McCormack ( Urban Firefighter Magazine )
6) Pete Van Dorpe, Chief of Training, Chicago Fire Department
7) Robert Hoff, Commissioner (Ret.), Chicago Fire Department, Deputy Chief, Carol Stream Fire Department
8) Rhett Fleitz ( Fire Critic )
9) Willie Wines, Jr. ( Iron Firemen )
10) Paul Hasenmeier ( Paul Hasenmeier )
11) Christopher Naum ( Buildings on Fire )
These are guys that I think are some of the brightest and most talented firefighters, officers and writers of our time. And to actually get to meet them and have conversations with them, and on top of that to actually have a couple of them know who I am, was surreal and an honor. I’m really looking forward to meeting some more tomorrow and to be in some classes and learn more to lessen my dumbness, but for now I’m going to take some Prilosec to calm down the bar-b-que I had for dinner and get some rest.