- The “great leadership of Fire Chief John Vance and Operations Chief Timm Schabbel of the Clay Fire Territory in South Bend, Indiana. “They encourage me and allow me to do the things I do,” he explained, “and they usually don’t say no to any of my crazy training ideas.” Kazmierzak also recalled that Assistant Chief Terry Byrne ”believed in me when I was a young cadet firefighter in the early 1990s.”
- Involvement with the day-to-day operations of www.FirefighterCloseCalls.com for five years for enabling him to have an impact on firefighter safety nationwide. He expressed his gratitude to Chief Billy Goldfeder and Captain Gordon Graham, owners of the site.
- The Brunacini Family (Alan, Nick, and John)” for allowing him to be part of the Blue Card Hazard Zone Management System www.BlueCardCommand.com, “which has the ability to change fire departments and truly make the fireground a safer place through simulation-based training”.
In an interview previously, Kazmierzak noted that the greatest need in today’s fire service is realistic structural fire training:
It seems as if we have forgotten about the basics. We have spent so much time on EMS, hazmat, and so on that we have forgotten about structural fire training. Ask yourself, ‘When has the last time your training program had you stretch the initial attack handline, don an SCBA, perform forcible entry or ventilation, or something as mundane as making a hydrant?’ Some of these activities may not seem very exciting in a training environment, but they can make or break you on the fireground. After we complete the skills training, then we should put it all together in some scenario-based multicompany training. If done appropriately, we should start to see some changes on the fireground.
Kazmierzak has been with the Clay Fire Territory since 1994. He serves as division chief of training and safety. He is also the MABAS Division 201 Tactical Rescue Team Task Force leader. He serves as director of operations for www.firefighterclosecalls.com. He is a lead Blue Card instructor, Train the Trainer instructor, and a program contributor for Version 2 of the online Blue Card program; he is also a Peer Assessor and Team Leader for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He was the recipient of the 2006 F.O.O.L.S. International Dana Hannon Instructor of the Year Award and of the 2008 Indiana Fire Chiefs Training Officer of the Year Award..