About countyfiretactics

Curt Isakson is a 27 year veteran of the fire service. Curt is currently a Battalion Chief for Escambia County Fire Rescue. Previously worked 9 years with the Pensacola Fire Department where he was assigned as the Company Officer on Rescue 31. Curt’s fire service experiences started at a young age as a Junior firefighter with the Midway Fire Protection District and rose through the ranks to Captain. He has worked in volunteer, career, and combination departments. Curt has held all ranks up to Battalion Chief and been assigned to operations, training, inspections, and was Chief of Special Operations for 7 years. Curt owns and operates County Fire Tactics that covers a very diverse range of fire service topics, as well as Firefighter Rescues, a site that documents rescues made by firefighters around the country. He has annual contracts with numerous departments to provide standardized monthly training for these departments that respond daily together under an automatic aid agreement. Curt teaches nationally to include; FDIC, Firehouse Expo, Firehouse World, Orlando Fire Conference, Atlanta Fire Conference, Bowling Green State University, and owns/operates the annual HROC, COBC, WOTF, CFT ODP on Pensacola Beach. He is a Florida Certified Fire Officer, Instructor, Inspector, Arson, and FLUSAR.

2022 CFT Schedule: 2022 CFT100 Release date, 2023 Future Schedule Changes, more

  • The 2022 CFT 100 Club will go on sale in May 2021 for only $1,000. This pricing represents a 64% savings off the cost of purchasing all five conferences individually. Secure your seat quickly, CF Tactics will not offer the CFT 100 Club pricing option again after 2022. The seat for each event can be used by the purchaser or given to someone else.
  • In 2022 CF Tactics will host their full conference schedule on Pensacola Beach. Now is the time to save the dates for the most engaging series of fire conferences you will attend in 2022. We will have new speakers and new programs for the 2022 conference series!
  • CF Tactics 2022 Officer Development Program (ODP) will have 5 different speakers:
    • Chief Dave McGrail
    • Chief Mike Terpak
    • Chief Scott Thompson
    • Chief Frank Viscuso
    • Chief Curt Isakson
  • CF Tactics 2022 CFT Fire School: Leadership & Tactics Conference speaker will include:
    • Chief Mo Davis
    • Chief Clyde Gordon
    • Chief Howard Rinewalt
    • Captain Kyle Romagus
    • Chief Curt Isakson
  • In 2023 CF Tactics will continue providing quality training through our conferences and seminars! There are exciting NEW things in our future! Be on the lookout for announcements as we get closer to 2023!
  • In 2023 Chief Isakson will be on the road more teaching his signature programs It’s Worth The Risk and People Before Water from coast to coast.
  • In 2023 CF Tactics is scaling back the number of conferences offered on Pensacola Beach.

Porterville California Library Fire LODD Report Released

Firefighter Patrick Lee Jones and Captain Ramon Figueroa died in the line of duty February 18, 2020 in fire at the City of Porterville Public Library.

The City of Porterville Fire Department assembled a team of multiple agencies who participated in this investigation. The team then produced a comprehensive “Multi-Agency Serious Accident Review Team Investigation Report”. The findings of this report were recently released after being presented publicly on Friday April 11th, 2021.

When a firefighter is killed in the line of duty, we must honor their sacrifice through studying post incident investigations. Reading through this report and then sharing with your coworkers is a very powerful way to honor the life of a fallen firefighter.

Take a moment of pause and reflect how this tragic incident has impacted the fallen firefighter’s families, their department and the entire community. Firefighters do not routinely respond to a call thinking they will not return home.

Below is the Executive Summary from the report.

On February 18th, 2020, a fire occurred in the City of Porterville Public Library. During the initial minutes of fire department operations, while searching for a reported victim, two members of the first arriving engine company became disoriented and tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

On April 29th, the Fire Chief issued a Delegation of Authority to a Serious Accident Review Team (SART), authorizing an investigation into the incident. The Chief stated, “It is my hope that the lessons to be learned from this incident might benefit the entire fire service and result in a safer standard of operations for the entire industry.”

The SART timeline spanned a nine-month period, utilizing over 1,000 personnel hours. The process included the conducting of interviews, analysis of dispatch audios, CAD information, helmet camera footage, body camera footage, review of policies and procedures, research of laws, mandates, industry standards, and best practices, as well as regular meetings to comprehend, analyze, organize, and assemble the data into report form.

Early in the SART process, the team became aware that a significant number of potential factors were, once again, related to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) contributing factors of Firefighter line-of-duty deaths. Consistently the top ten contributing factors, as outlined in their most recent report, are:

1. Medical screening

2. Fitness and wellness program

3. Training

4. Medical clearance

5. Standard Operating Procedures/Standard Operating Guidelines (SOPs/SOGs)

6. Incident command

7. Strategy and tactics

8. Communications

9. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

10. Staffing

While each of the previously listed contributing factors are significant, and continue to remain a problem in the fire service, the following were the most prevalent during the Library Incident: Training, Standard Operating Procedures/Standard Operating Guidelines (SOPs/SOGs), Incident Command, Strategy and Tactics, Communications, and Staffing.

As the SART began to de-construct this tragedy, it became evident that other indirect factors were at play that all Fire Chiefs and Department Administrators should be perceptive to, so as to avoid long term systemic cultural and operational pitfalls. Vigilance in continual review and comparison to industry standards, policy updates, establishing relevant and realistic training programs, adjusting emergency deployment models, and strategically planning for organizational improvement, are some examples of preventive measures to avoid cultural complacency and creating an operational road map for the future.

This report is not intended to be unduly critical of the Porterville Fire Department or to place blame on any specific person(s). Unfortunately, these issues continue to be far too common across the country to simply focus on one organization. Until all Fire Service leaders begin to resist complacency and implement positive change, we will continue to lose our valiant Firefighters. Additionally, Fire Chiefs must continually educate appointed and elected officials on the importance of sufficient apparatus staffing. To their credit, the Porterville City Council is presently taking action to increase fire department staffing, even prior to the completion of this document.

Pushing Fire – Ray McCormack

Can you push fire? Pushing fire has been a decades-long fire behavior during fire attack debate. When will it happen? How will you learn more about it? Read on and we will tell you.

Now that we have you drawn in with a slight play on words, Lieutenant Ray McCormack (FDNY) and Chief Erich Roden (Milwalkee) have recently launched a new “fire service project” entitled pushing fire, we think its a catchy title, we hope you will too.

Pushing Fire is the genesis of an entirely new place to find not just journalism, but all things content, expertise, academics and research in the fire service. We won’t refer to Pushing Fire as a “website” or “magazine,” rather, we prefer to call this a project, as we hope to see what organically grows out of it.

The article below “For Some Firefighters its Always Less Murky” has been authored and reposted with the permission of Lt. Ray McCormack. Posted under this article is even more fire service nuggets and knowledge from Lt. McCormack to include several articles he authored here on CountyFireTactics.com and his FDIC Keynote Speech from 2009.

Lt. McCormack will be presenting a keynote address at CF Tactics Water On The Fire Conference in August 2021.

Be sure to read even more on PushingFire.com and their Facebook Page.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to be around someone at a fire that is pulling in more information than you are that could be troubling. You can’t always be the one on top however some firefighters seem to excel at it. I have had the opportunity to work with many firefighters over the years that seemed to have a better vision (literally and figuratively) then me of what was or would occur.

The ability to gain understanding of what’s going on many would call enhanced situational awareness and that’s true but it more than that. Having a fire sense and knowing the environment is the key component. I’ve seen young firefighters with little experience do it. Was it just lucky? Once perhaps but consistently no, they were learning building on their inner desire to be outstanding firefighters. Some firefighters just have a knack for this job, they possess a quality that pushes them forward and squeezes all the experience out of the fires they attend.

How is it possible that some firefighters can search faster or go deeper than others to explore? Its feeling comfortable in the environment. Firefighters that feel comfortable at fires are a tremendous asset and they tend to see things first and know better what’s going on. I worked with nozzle firefighters that literally had a keen sense of where the stream belonged and what was occurring around them. I’ve worked with burn instructors who would predict exactly what would occur with a fire set (real furniture) in a home. This all revolves around people who get it, not the brotherhood theme of getting it rather the actual business of fire.

This will often translate to aggressive firefighting and that makes sense. Aggressive firefighting is conducted by people who get it. They understand what needs to occur and those insights when coupled with a sound tactics allow us to get the job done at a higher level. I was lucky to have them with me as I’m sure you are too, emulate them, become one of them. They are truly impressive and while some seem to always have it going on, you can do it too. If you desire to engage at this level start by paying attention.

Keep Fire in Your Life


FDIC 2009 Keynote Speech - Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

Articles from Lt. Ray McCormack on CountyFireTactics.com

HROC 2021 Registration Open

County Fire Tactics (CF Tactics, CFT) is hosting its annual High Rise Operations Conference (HROC) on December 7th–9th, 2021, at the Pensacola Beach Hilton Gulf Side Convention Center.

On December 6th, 2021, CFT will provide registered attendees an opportunity to attend a  Pre-Conference session at no additional cost.

Visit the High Rise Operations Conference 2021 (HROC) conference page for even more information regarding travel, hotels, dining, and the experience that awaits.

CFT is now offering an advanced registration discount for this event. Secure your seat today and lock in the lowest rate to attend — up to $225 off. CFT’s HROC is epic year after year, but we’re confident you already know !!!


CFT programs attract firefighters of all ranks who are into the job, are engaged and passionate about the fire service, and want to be here. It’s Worth The Risk to surround yourself with our culture of like-minded people. Our annual High Rise Operations Conference has brought firefighters together from all across the United States and Canada, including attendees from Alaska and Hawaii.

CF Tactics designed HROC for you because no other like it exists. Firefighters, Fire Officers, and Fire Chiefs will receive the latest tactics, trends, and lessons learned for operating at fires in both high-rise and standpipe-equipped buildings through our lecture and hands-on training tracks. Where else can attendees hook up and operate off actual high-rise standpipe systems.

Contact CF Tactics

For more information about HROC 2021, or other CF Tactics programs, please contact Curt Isakson or Jessica Isakson with the information listed below.

Registration Open – Aledo TX, It’s Worth the Risk, Gallons Per Second, Death On The Nozzle, Chief Curt Isakson

Parker County Emergency Services District # 1 will be hosting a two-day firefighting strategy and tactics seminar in Aledo, Texas, on May 26th, 2021, and May 27th, 2021, beginning at 9:00 am. The seminar will feature Battalion Chief Curt Isakson of County Fire Tactics (CF Tactics, CFT). Aledo is located in the western portion of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Over the two days, Chief Isakson will deliver highlights from several of the most passionate programs in his lecture series. He will present material from It’s Worth The Risk, Water On The Fire, Gallons Per Second, Tactics Put Out Fires, and Death On The Nozzle. The seminar venue will be located at the Aledo High School Learning Center, approximately 20 minutes west of Fort Worth, Texas.

Register as soon as possible to secure your seat. The registration link shows the number of remaining seats available.


If you need lodging, the host has arranged for discounted hotel rooms, starting at $119.00 a night at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Weatherford. The discount code is “Isakson Parker County”.

Read Chief Isakson’s Speaker Biography.

The host has indicated that registration includes lunch Wednesday and Thursday and breakfast on Thursday, courtesy of Siddons-Martin Emergency Group. For further information or questions about this event, contact the host, Parker County ESD # 1.

Continue reading

Gallons Per Second, Summit Lake Apartments, Hartland Wisconsin

Fire in Hartland (Courtesy: Andy Fallon)

An early morning multiple-family dwelling fire on Wednesday, March, 31st, 2021 at the Summit Lake Apartments in Hartland Wisconsin was punched in the throat, CFT Gallons Per Second style. The first engine on the scene in the video below began FLOWING enough water to truly overwhelm the BTUs, seeing a RAPID change in conditions.

In this video from Hartland Wisconsin, Gallons Per Second decreased significant property damage to the other homes throughout the apartment building. As discussed in a previous CFT article, Gallons Per Second also provides the best chance of survival for THEM.

Weapon selection makes a difference when taking on the enemy. Learn more about choosing the right weapon for your next fire from Chief Isakson at the bottom of this article in Brass Tacks & Hard Facts Episode #1.

Nozzle Overview: Weapon Selection with Curt Isakson – Brass Tacks & Hard Facts Episode #1

HROC December 2021 Box Alarm Member Registration Exclusive

County Fire Tactics (CF Tactics, CFT), is hosting its annual High Rise Operations Conference (HROC) December 7th–9th, 2021, with a pre-conference lecture session on December 6th, 2021.

We are inviting the loyal followers of our Box Alarm Updates to an exclusive early registration opportunity for HROC 2021. We know it’s April 1st, but this is not an April Fools Joke, we’re not foolin’.

Did you attend the last HROC? – Drift back to that time in your mind and register now.

Do you wish you attended the last HROC? – View the links below for an inside glimpse and all the reasons you need to register now.

CF Tactics designed HROC for you because no other like it exists. Firefighters, Fire Officers, and Fire Chiefs will receive the latest tactics, trends, and lessons learned for operating at fires in both high-rise and standpipe-equipped buildings through our lecture and hands-on training tracks. Be prepared to make notes, write a lot of things down, and ask a lot of questions, whether it’s in class or after class.


Contact CF Tactics

For more information about HROC 2021, or other CF Tactics programs, please contact Curt Isakson or Jessica Isakson with the information listed below.

62 Watts Street Manhattan FDNY – The Influence of Historical Fires

The influence of historical fires on modern fire operations allows firefighters an opportunity to learn from the past. A triple Line of Duty Death (LODD) fire event on March 28th, 1994, now known as “The Watts Street Fire” created several lessons learned opportunities that still apply to present-day fires. From their deaths, it is our obligation to learn from history, to prevent a recurrence of the past. After Watts Street, the FDNY made a significant operational update and overcame politics holding back necessary equipment. The fire reinforces the need for all firefighters to be combat-ready when going above the fire to perform any fire ground activities, recognize the warning signs of hostile or extreme fire events, and how actions taken in ventilation limited fires affect the whole fireground. Utilize the lessons learned by brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice to do your best to return home to your family.

Technical Data & Reports to Review

What Happened?

On Monday, March 28th, 1994 at 1936 hours, Engine 24, Engine 55, Engine 7, Ladder 5, Ladder 8, and Battalion 2 responded to Manhattan Box 308 for a telephone alarm reporting smoke on the top floor of 60 Watts Street. Following the FDNY’s standard operating procedures the inside team of the 1st due Truck (Ladder 8) operates in the fire apartment. They perform forcible entry for the Engine, and primary search in the fire apartment. The inside team of the 2nd due Truck (Ladder 5) searches the floor directly above the fire. Unknown to the first arriving companies the fire had been burning inside the fire apartment for over an hour creating a ventilation limited fire. Several updates to the building had occurred since its original construction in the late 1800s. Prior to the fire, the fire apartment had seen several updates to increase its overall energy efficiency that includes energy-efficient windows, extra thermal insulation, and new doors.

Upon arriving at 1940 hours, Ladder 8 noticed smoke from the first-floor apartment of 62 Watts Street and transmitted the 10-75. The roof firefighter from Ladder 8 entered the fire building thinking it was Exposure 4 of the dispatched address, 60 Watts Street, to get to the rear of the reported fire building. He later gained access to the roof by climbing to the roof of Exposure 4, crossing over to the fire building’s roof, and opened the scuttle above the open stairwell in the multiple dwelling to allow for the escape of heat and fire gases once the apartment door was opened.

Ladder 5 notified Ladder 8 they were going above the fire, and Ladder 8 started forcing the apartment door on floor one. Ladder 5 encountered a fortified door to the apartment on the second floor, and the additional entrance normally found in this building style had been removed by construction. Engine 55 laid out their uncharged hose line near the apartment entrance awaiting water. Ladder 8 forced the apartment door open, and smoke from the fire apartment initially pushed into the hallway and then pulled back inside. Ladder 8 was unable to enter the apartment due to high heat conditions and ordered the Ladder 8 OV to vent the front windows.

Upon taking the windows the fire began overtaking the first floor, filling the stairwell, and Ladder 5 transmitted an “URGENT”. Engine 55 began attacking the fire and the intensity had increased tremendously. The fire was filling the entire stairwell from the first-floor apartment to 10 to 15 feet above the roofline from the scuttle and skylight. Moments later Engine 55 and the Ladder 5’s tillerman discovered Ladder 5’s three-person inside team badly burned with one fatality. This hostile fire event occurred within the first 10 minutes on the scene. Firefighter James Young died on the day of the fire. Firefighter Chris Siedenburg died one day after the fire. Captain John Drennan died 40 days later from his third and fourth-degree burn injuries covering over 60% of his body.

The men of Ladder 5’s inside team experienced temperatures over 2,200 degrees for 6½ minutes based on NIST modeling that occurred as a result of a backdraft. Previous attempts to upgrade from boots and long coats to encapsulating bunker gear from Morning Pride were denied by the previous mayor (Dinkins) and the budget office as too costly. Political arguments about the survivability of Ladder 5’s crew had they been equipped with turnout gear ensued, and firefighters stood firm that their brothers may have still been injured, but survived. The newly seated mayor that took office three months prior to the fire said the city would find a way to afford the 10 million dollar expense. Mayor Guliani even took the budget office director that denied previous requests, to the hospital to see the burned firefighters and impress the need for this personal protective equipment. The goal was to provide bunker gear that would sustain a 17.5-second flashover. The FDNY also added the FAST Truck on the transmission of the 10-75.

What This Means For Firefighters Today

  • This event pushed lagging departments nationwide to move into Turnout Gear from long coat & hip boot configurations.
  • Going green, and energy efficiency building initiatives are not going away. Tighter homes will continue to increase the potential to produce hostile/extreme fire events in ventilation limited fires.
  • When operating above a fire, notify the Engine and Truck companies below where you are going. If time allows, establish an area of refuge prior to the companies operating under you opening up the fire apartment.
  • Know the location of other companies operating on the fireground, and understand the greater impact your tactical actions can have on other firefighters operating within a fire building.
  • Be prepared to protect the interior stairs in a single or multiple-family dwelling.
  • Have all your bunker gear on and buttoned up, SCBA on, and flowing air. Anticipate rapid changes in conditions when the fire apartment door is opened up, and with modern combustibles.
  • All firefighters need to understand fire behavior and reading smoke. Drivers are critical to keeping watch curbside even if an incident commander is present. If smoke conditions are not improving, hostile conditions may be imminent.
  • The Watts Street fire had a significant hostile fire and flow path event. Another significant flow path fire event killed Firefighter Mark Falkenhan, January 19th, 2011, in Baltimore County Maryland.
  • Fireground Commanders must be ready to deploy a rapid intervention team when crews are operating within the IDLH atmosphere and have an immediate plan if the first due unit is making an immediate rescue.
  • Recognize near-miss events as learning opportunities through tailboard talks and AAR’s.
  • Discuss this fire with your crew, and assess how you would operate in a similar fire situation.
  • Know the TPP rating of your PPE, know what it means, and utilize time delayed tactics if needed.

Firefighter Rescue Survey Study Concluding, Chief Brian Brush

Nearly three months have passed since the Oklahoma State University, Firefighter Rescue Survey graduate research project has been collecting data on Fire Service Wins. This is the first research project of it’s kind, a paradigm shift from our traditional NFIRS USFA data collection.

Today marks the final weekly update published from the project. The news is good, the scientific data shows “It’s Worth The Risk”, and Firefighters are rescuing significant numbers of civilians from fires in residential homes. The fire service in the United States now has a tremendous number of facts and research between this project, and the completed UL studies. Fire departments now have the ability to make data-based decisions with confidence, and make updates to standard operating guidelines if the data shows it to be necessary.

CF Tactics made an educated guess early on in this study that the results would conclude firefighters are making a significant impact on the citizens they serve. We hope you shared that same thought as a member of our like minded community of fire service professionals.

Across the United States between January 1st, 2021, and March 28th, 2021, Firefighters rescued a total of 829 civilians from 431 residential fire incidents. Of the 829 rescued 630 survived to live another day due to the heroic efforts of firefighters.

If this is your first time encountering this data, review it, and start a conversation with your fellow firefighters about your plan for encountering a victim. As referenced in previous articles about the project, when arriving on the scene of a fire we must anticipate that:

  • Single Family Home Fires will have more than one victim.
  • Multi-Family Home Fires will have nearly three victims.

Listed at the end are a number of additional articles CF Tactics has published about the Firefighter Rescue Survey project, and real life GRABS.

While the last three months served as the data collection period for this study, we look forward to the final published research project results with any additional arguments or conclusions. See additional Firefighter Rescue Survey links below the CF Tactics articles.