By John F. “Skip” Coleman, Technical Editor

A topic that can cause huge legal concerns is driving fire apparatus. As Deputy Chief Billy Goldfeder from the Loveland-Symmes (OH) Fire Department reminds us, all too often, firefighters are involved in accidents while operating fire department apparatus. Often, these accidents result in serious injury and death to civilians and firefighters as well.

There are certified/accepted courses designed to properly train firefighters on driving fire apparatus. The use of these courses by certified instructors can reduce not only the frequency and severity of accidents but also the subsequent legal liability to the driver, officer, department, and municipality.

Roundtable question: Does you department have a certified/accepted drivers training program? To post your comments, go to fireengineering.com/roundtable.html.


Join us for monthly Webcasts featuring the best of Fire Engineering authors and FDIC speakers. On February 21, Battalion Chief Anthony Kastros, from the Sacramento Metro (CA) Fire District, presents “Leadership and Succession Planning in Today’s Fire Service.” Webcasts are free, but you must register.



Try Rip Esselstyn’s E2 Almighty Healthy Wrap. He writes about the recipe at www.firelife.com: “Our very own Station 2 won the 2003 Austin Fire Department’s Healthy Wagon contest with this very healthful and tasty lunch/dinner wrap. The judges included three experts-the Fire Department’s in-house health specialist, a local representative from the American Heart Association, and a member of the Mayor’s Council for Physical Fitness.”

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Indianapolis (IN) firefighters arrived at a two-story residential structure with fire and smoke showing. While establishing a water supply, they noticed a residential structure on the next street with heavy smoke coming from the second floor. (Photo by John Buckman http://ifdphotosbyjohnbuckman.shutterfly.com.) See more photos at http://www.fireengineering.com/photo-of-the-day.html. Send your Photo of the Day submissions to Peter Prochilo (peterp@pennwell.com).


David Werner, firefighter, Gantt District (SC) Fire Department, writes in “Being the Underdog”: “With fewer people on the fireground, we need to be more creative and proficient in what we do. We must be fully confident and prepared to tackle all of the tasks on the fireground with just a handful of people. We need to increase our level of situational awareness, communicate what we see, and recognize dangerous situations. We also need to be prepared to cross over and accomplish tasks that would otherwise be performed by another company.” (http://bit.ly/UHw5WM)

P. J. Norwood, deputy chief/training officer, East Haven (CT) Fire Department, writes in “Leadership Lessons from the Streets”: “This article is not going to discuss the leadership traits listed in the management books. I am going to discuss real-life issues that happen in firehouses across the country that many officers need to learn from.” (http://bit.ly/VDg45x)

Gregory Havel, retired deputy chief/training officer, Burlington (WI) Fire Department, writes in “Our Lady of the Angels School Fire, Part 1”: “Saturday, December 1, was the 54th anniversary of the fire at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School in Chicago, Illinois. Three of the sisters who taught at the school and 92 children died. Many more were injured by heat, smoke, and jumping from windows to escape the fire. The school was overcrowded, with about 60 students in each of the 24 classrooms.” (http://bit.ly/UHv3u7)

Peter Bryan, retired chief, Norco, Monrovia, Rancho Cucamonga, and Wheatland (CA) fire departments, writes in “Revenue Change-Based Negotiations”: “Perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to consider negotiations based on a concept of ‘revenue changes’ similar to how we address operational costs. In good years, we generally increase our budgeted expenditures in an effort to match demands for service to the needed resources and to improve service. In difficult fiscal times, we reduce our operational costs to a level where the expenditures do not exceed projected revenues.” (http://bit.ly/UEcfy0)

In “Leadership in the Fire Service: Rated ‘PG’ for Parental Guidance,” I write: “I have had the good fortune to read a lot of management and leadership articles over the past 17 years. Most of these are very cognitive and filled with theories and litanies of dos and don’ts and steps required to attain the perfect fire company. But let’s simplify things. Leadership in the fire service in its simplest form is like a parent/child relationship. It’s truly a family affair.” (http://bit.ly/VECWkE)


Name: Gary Stevenson.
Department: Clark County (NV) Fire Department.
Title/rank: fire instructor.
Years of public service: 9.
Agency structure: combination department.
Top issues in your department: develop/deliver training to 27 paid and 13 volunteers stations.
Professional qualifications: fire officer II, fire service instructor III.


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