Firefighter or Employee?

“The five steps in teaching an employee new skills are preparation, explanation, showing, observation and supervision.” -Bruce Barton

“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.” -Bob Nelson

Is it safe to say that a fire goes as the first line goes?


Who are our managers, or senior men? How did they get to be in that role, and who are they leading? Are you an employee, or a fireman? – Thats a new catch phrase around my job but is very much right on if you search it out.

As a boss, are you instructing your people to handle business appropriately? Or are your people dictating what your limitations are under any given circumstance. Understandably, theres always going to be a company limitation of some sort, but when do you concede to this notion as a supervisor, and when if ever is it OK that you realize you can not get the proverbial blood from a given stone?
When do you push the envelope as far as a persons retention and skill set go? Are they unaware, unwilling or unable to perform? How many opportunities does one get to prove some semblance of reliability?
If your mindset is that of privilege, meaning you are union protected or that your relation/nepotism clause covers your position in a paid or volunteer aspect, then do us all a favor and beat it.

We all need to work hard every day to earn our positions. Regardless of if your position is 75K a year or totally for free, make sure a 15 year old explorer nearby isn’t going to make you look like a total idiot when you need water from a hydrant. If you are an elected volunteer officer, please understand that lives hang in the balance just as they do for the career guys.
Excuses are for PU^^#@’s, no matter what your role is.
If you are not fulfilling said role to the greatest of your ability, then don’t put your pissy pants on when someone better calls you out on it. We will all s#@t the bed on occasion, but when is enough enough? We need more operational pride these days, not operational indifference.

Officers typically try as they might to instill company pride. “Whatever company your in, is the best company there is” says a good friend… But after repeated attempts and training sessions it may become clear that lost causes can & do still exist.
How is it that you may be assigned to a unit with a company logo and that logo is not on your Class A or Class B attire after even the first day your assigned to that particular company?
When these issues are the case, administration can’t hold fast to the company line of “it’s your responsibility to train so-and-so to the level you feel comfortable with. “Thats pure S H ! T to quote Charles Bukowski.

If so-and-so doesn’t understand that his gear should be set up and ready to go on the rig prior to his first load of laundry in the firehouse washing machine or the vacuuming-out of his personal vehicle in the firehouse parking lot, than what can one really do to instill pride and ownership in him? The point becomes more moot than moot can moot.

Excuses aside, theres a right and wrong way to do everything as a fireman, no matter how many ways there are to skin a cat, so pick one and get your function handled appropriately please.

If your fireman liable, please understand that your mindset must have it’s priorities straight, and that the greater good is the most good. Its about we, not me. So to quote Jim Malone “what are you prepared to do.”

We are labeled a Fire Company for a reason, so that we can rely on one another to be in the right place, at the right time, ready and willing to handle our business. Minimum manning isn’t in place or an NFPA standard so that two or three guys on a rig can do the work while one or two guys are spectating like a fraud, in constant battle with a mask problem or a phony injury.

Take a look at this photo… do you think this Ladder Company is prepared to handle business, or blow it?
The trash man isn’t surprised when he turns the corner onto a new block in the AM and sees trash out for collection. Why are our people surprised when they turn the corner and theres fire venting from a structure?

SFFD Photo credit: Joe Aguirre

Gabriel Angemi


Live-Fire Training Camp “The Original FDTN”

The Orlando Fire Conference is huge this year. Will be a Great three days of training, with a few hundred firefighters from all over. Most of the classes are SOLD OUT!! Hopefully we will see you there. OFC attendees also get the chance at FREE ATTENDANCE to FD TRAINING NETWORK Live-Fire Training Camp.

YOU MUST ENTER THE PROMO CODE: OFC2015 during the checkout process.

You will be entered to win, if you renew or join FDTN before the drawing Saturday at 4 pm.. If you have never been to the FDTN training facility, you are missing out. I always tell firefighters, it is where I will send my kids, if they decide to be firefighters. By Far, the best training facility in the country.

check out

Check out this link to the Live-Fire Training Camp FDTN_Training_Camp

FD Training Network is a huge supporter of HROC 2015 and the mission to train firefighters. Check out for more info on Great Training.

FD Training Network is a huge supporter of HROC 2015 and the mission to train firefighters. Check out for more info on Great Training.


Don’t be a Poser


Growing up on the Gulf Coast, and in particular a surfing town, I am well aware of what a poser is. A poser is someone that wants to be a part of something, or is viewed as part of something without the full commitment. See you have true surfers, the ones that get up before dawn when it’s 30 degrees outside and the water temperature is below 70, just to catch a few waves. You also have the ones that carry a board on top of their car 24/7, but that board rarely sees time in the water. The board is for looks, and lets all around you know you are a surfer. By now, you must be thinking… does this relate to the fire service? We have more fire posers than the world of surfing has surf posers. The other issue is, surf posers don’t ever get financially compensated unless they have truly arrived. They have only arrived because of significant dedication to the art of surfing. See, I was a poser for short time. Yes, I owned boards, both a skateboard and a surfboard. I wore the clothes and hung out on the beach. The issue was, I didn’t really have the passion or desire to become good enough to really enjoy and master surfing, and surely not when the temperature was below 80 degrees. I would not commit to checking the weather or getting out to size up different breaks, or see where the latest break was.
I have been in the fire service for a while now, and I realize there are way more posers wearing fire t-shirts and hauling gear around with them than there are posers in the world of surfing. My issue is this, posers in surfing will most likely not hurt anyone but themselves. Yes they may need assistance getting back in if they go out on a good day. But, a poser in the fire service is not only a danger to themselves, but to all those operating along side of them.
This job takes teamwork, dedication, and passion to master, not to mention the countless hours of training and studying. To have that passion and desire to become good enough to really enjoy and master this craft, one should be immersed in firefighting, not merely posing with your shirt and gear. Are you a poser, or are you committed to doing what it takes to be the real deal?

Curt Isakson

On-Duty Checklist “The IDIOTS of the Fire Service”

When reporting to the firehouse, are you ready for a shift change FIRE? Have you prepared for the FIRE that will happen just as you relieve the off going firefighter? We must look at a Tour Of Duty/24 Hour Watch in the firehouse like a marathon. We must show up READY! You just don’t wake up one day and say, I’m going to run a marathon today. No, you train, train, and train some more. You prepare and plan out all 26 MILES, just as you should be training for the marathon that will happen while On-Duty. It doesn’t happen every watch, but it does happen, and usually on a  day when you least expect it.

photoAre you ready for the early morning/shift change fire? Are you scrambling when the tones drop? Do you put your gear next to the rig first thing? This could be your first call of the day….

You walk in the door and tell the off going firefighter sitting at the kitchen table  “I Got Ya”, and a minute later you get toned out for the worst fire of your career. The question is, did this firefighter already store his or her gear away in their locker, and have you even gotten your gear out of your locker before saying “I Got Ya”?  Are you ready for the early morning/shift change fire? Are you scrambling when the tones drop? Do you put your gear next to the rig first thing? This could be your first call of the day…

This job is for REAL, and is not very forgiving when you fail to prepare and take it seriously. You must respect your fellow brothers and sisters, and the civilians that are relying on you to be READY! Being ready to be On-Duty, starts before you arrive at the firehouse, it starts when you decide to be a firefighter, and chose a career to SERVE OTHERS!!

On-Duty Checklist for 2015

1. Do you eat properly the night before your watch?

2. Do you properly hydrate?

3. Do you get a good nights sleep or were you up all night at your SIDE JOB?

4. Do you shower and shave before leaving the house?

5. Do you show up in uniform, or get to work early so you can be in uniform?

6. Do you go straight to your gear and put it next to the rig?

7. Do you ask for a proper pass down before you say “I Got Ya”?

8. Once you say “I Got Ya” do you start checking the rig or eat breakfast first?

9. Do you confirm your SCBA is FULL and READY?? Actually turn it on and breathe from it?

10. Do you confirm your 911 System works?? That would be your portable radio!

The above 10 steps should be completed before the off going firefighter even leaves the firehouse..

If you are a Firefighter and you are overweight, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT??
We do not care about EXCUSES….. Manage what you eat and burn more calories.
I have watched the BIGGEST LOSER, and it can be D O N E!!!  If you are overweight, everyone sees you and wonders if you will be able to get the job done at crunch time. The majority of LODDs are from firefighters being overweight and out of shape. If you are overweight and are spending you’re time talking about those that are trying to make the fire service better, you are an IDIOT!!  The definition of IDIOT is a person considered stupid, foolish, or ignorant.

If you are in shape and take this job seriously, THANK YOU!

The link below is an article I wrote a while back. I am very proud that I did not succumb to the IDIOT mentality.  If you are a young firefighter and love this job, please do not give up. Do not let those that view working at the Fire Department as JUST a JOB keep you from training and doing the right thing. Just because they come in to work with a three day beard and sit at the kitchen table for hours before putting their gear next the rig, doesn’t make it right. Even if they have 20 years on the job, it just means they are a 20 year IDIOT. If you are a firefighter and your Company Officer doesn’t wear their gear, or gets off the rig on fire calls without an SCBA, they are an IDIOT. You must make a mental note of all the IDIOTS you work with for your own SAFETY.

Curt Isakson

Command Officer Boot Camp

BCCommand Officer Boot Camp 2015

Command, Control, and Leadership Conference

May 5, 6, & 7, 2015

Pensacola Beach

How do you carry? Do you always have it? Do you carry extra battery on you? See how the RIT OFFICER has it Hanging Ready to go.

Front Yard Leadership and How to Lead High Performers!


Chief Todd Edwards will cover Situational Awareness

Lost and found

The term Situational Awareness is so often used, that it has almost become a “catch phrase”, rather than skill that should be practiced and trained upon. The fire service and the fire ground are ever changing and the need for both our Company Officers, as well as our Chief Officers to learn and maintain Situational Awareness is critical to success and in some cases our survival!

This course is designed to provide all students a different perspective of what Situational Awareness is and how it applies to more than just the “Big Fires”. Students will both learn and experience that when Situational Awareness is lost, the effects can be devastating! Students will be involved in open and frank discussion, case studies with radio traffic, and be provided a common sense approach on how to develop an overall skill that can be applied each and every shift. This class includes an in depth look at how we can develop these skills, a simplified size-up approach, and training aspects that any Firefighter, Officer, or Chief can utilize.

About the Instructor: Todd Edwards is a 33 year veteran of the fire service. Starting at 16 years old in Mad River Township, Ohio as a Cadet. Todd was hired by the Atlanta Fire-Rescue Department in 1988 and worked his way through the ranks. Todd is currently a Battalion Chief, assigned to Battalion-3, covering the entire Downtown corridor. Todd has always been actively involved in all aspects of the departments training and is the lead instructor for both the Acting Officer in Charge Program, as well as the Battalion Chief Command School. Todd is the lead Instructor for the Walton County Fire-Rescue Department, a combination department covering over 300 square miles east of the city. Todd also provides training throughout the state of Georgia and serves as an adjunct instructor for the state fire academy. Todd holds numerous state and national certifications and continues is education today.

This three day conference will cover: from the firehouse to the streets of your district and how to command the most efficient crew or battalion. What does an Officer and/or Chief really need to focus on to succeed in today’s Fire Service? We will cover and discuss these topics and much more in a three day Boot Camp to help even the most experienced Fire Officer and/or get the most recently promoted Boss off to a Great Start!


  1. Fire Service Leadership
  2. Setting Standards early on and building on them
  3. Training “Real World Company/Battalion Training”
  4. Building Command Presence and Respect
  5. Understanding the Battle Field in Command Terms
  6. Understanding the Enemy and how it effects Strategy
  7. When should you SWEAT the SMALL stuff?
  8. How to build your own Rules of Engagement
  9. Mentorship “Up and Down”
  10. The other Company/Battalion and how it relates to you
  11. Commanding the 1st Alarm and Greater Alarm Fires

Multiple Speakers over the three days.

Chief Todd Edwards, Atlanta Fire

BC Curt Isakson, Battalion Chief  Escambia County

BC Shannon Stone, Battalion Chief  Fort Walton Beach

Fire Chief Rick Talbert, South Walton Fire

Fire Chief Jonathan Kanzigg, Midway Fire

Fire Chief Ken Perkins, Fort Walton Beach Fire

We have two other BIG Speakers that will be announced at a later date.

Numerous other Guest Speakers that will not disappoint…

Register for Command School at  under links or

The Courage to be I N S I D E! “What are your Priorities?”