By John “Skip” Coleman, Technical Editor

The question for this month’s Roundtable—“To what extent, if any, does your department use computers in your daily training?”—made me pause and think about what might have been different in my career if the Internet were available when I was a young firefighter. I can remember as a young lieutenant racking my brain trying to come up with in-service/in-station drills for my crew. Now I look at what is available online as it relates to fire service training. It is simply fascinating what you can pull up on There are thousands of articles and photos and videos to view and then dissect with your crew. Please go to the site and let us know how your department uses the Web by answering the Roundtable question.




We will have live coverage from the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana, which takes place April 19-24, 2010. Our site will feature photos and videos from the HOT sites, interviews with keynote speakers and instructors, and news coverage of classrooms and exhibits. In addition, we will have live Webcasts of both the Opening Ceremony and General Session, which take place on April 21 and 22, respectively. If you can’t make it out to FDIC this year, it’s the next best thing to being there. And if you miss the live presentations, don’t worry—videos of all the action, from training evolutions to ceremonies, will be available on our Web site at




Prior to my retirement, we in the Toledo (OH) Department of Fire and Rescue, along with most departments, were required to take the NIMS-compliant 100, 200, 300, and so on courses online. Through federal sites, the class was provided and a testing process was available to certify compliance. Now, you can receive continuing education credits from Fire Engineering University.

Check out the latest course by John Mittendorf, “Truck Company Operations: Maximizing Firefighter Safety.” Mittendorf says the importance of truck company operations (or logistical operations) cannot be overstated. He outlines the five basic rules of fireground safety and the 10 Commandments of Truck Company Operations.




In this month’s Construction Concerns columns, Greg Havel discusses a new development in C-channel truss construction. Havel also warns of precautions to take when acquiring wood-frame buildings for live-fire training: Wood I-joists and wood trusses supporting floors are a high-hazard structural feature that cannot be repaired as required by Chapter 4 of National Fire Protection Association 1403, Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions, to make them stable enough and acceptable for use in live-fire training.

There are a number of featured articles online in April. Mike Hennigan writes about officers and micromanagement in his article “Characteristics of a Bad Officer.” He looks at who is actually responsible for creating the ever-present fire service leadership trait of micromanaging.

Brett Lacey and Paul Valentine’s article “Sustaining Our Cause: Data Collection for Residential Sprinklers,” provides tips on collecting data to support our efforts in promoting residential sprinkler legislation.

Kevin Wattenberger looks at how we can help motivate and educate new firefighters in “The New ‘Old School.’ ”

You will also find a new Hazmat Survival Tips column by Steven De Lisi and a fitness column by Frank Fire Jr., who offers something for everyone—from beginners to advanced.

Plus, check out our Drill of the Week feature, from Battalion Chief Forest Reeder, director of training and safety for the Pleasantview (IL) Fire Protection District. There are numerous free training drills to download.




In “Research for the Fire Service: Positive Pressure Ventilation,” which can be found in our Fire Dynamics section, Stephen Kerber and Daniel Madrzykowski discuss the practical results of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s multiyear studies of positive-pressure ventilation (PPV) and the implications for firefighting operations. Along with that report is an article that discusses PPV in private dwellings. In “PPV in Single-Family Dwellings: Not the Only Option,” the Oklahoma City (OK) Fire Department introduced PPV during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It began removing from the apparatus old smoke ejector fans, which moved approximately 3,200 cubic feet per minute (cfm) and replaced them with new, gasoline-operated positive pressure fans that move between 15,000 and 23,900 cfm.

Check out the new Survival Zone section. Need tips on rapid intervention? Want to improve your firefighter survival skills? Learn how other firefighters have faced insurmountable odds and the tools, techniques, and gear that have helped them to survive dangerous situations.




Click to Enlarge

Name: Matt Ennis
Department: Eugene (OR) Fire & EMS
Title/rank: Training Captain
Years of public service: 23
Agency structure: Paid fire department

Visit the Fire Engineering Community. It has more than 6,400 members and is growing. Join groups and participate in discussions of interest to the fire service. Make friends, network with other firefighters from the United States and around the world, and join groups such as Pride and Ownership, Street Smart Fire Officer, and What Actually Caused the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire—or start your own. It’s a fantastic place to hone your skills and grow as a firefighter.


More Fire Engineering Issue Articles


Fire Engineering Archives


No posts to display