Category Archives: Podcast

Warren County Junior Firefighter Competition

One might wonder how a Jersey City fire fighter ended up participating in  Junior Fire Fire Fighter Competition in Warren County, North Carolina.  No wonder at all.  My Dad was born 8 miles from there in Littleton, NC.  I was invited to speak at the African American Heritage Festival last year, when they honored Firefighters.  There I met some great folks….Fire Chief & Mayor Gardner, Chief Advisor John Franks, Chaplain Stith and J. Greene.  As firefighters do, we hit it of.  I told them about my years of coming back to North Carolina and about my love for our noble profession.

They shared the workings of the various departments and EMS.  Our friendship was formed.  Firefighters are the same, all over!

What an excellent couple of days spent with the Warren County (NC) Junior Firefighters, as they hosted the 2016 Junior Fire Fighter Competition.  I want to thank Chief Advisor, John Franks for his warm invitation and welcome to share with the Juniors.  We spent a great day with them and groups from West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and neighboring areas.  The spirit of competition and camaraderie, among the groups and supporters, was a true inspiration.  I particularly liked the fact that on several occasions faster team members completed their tasks and rather than run on to complete their “personal best time”, they stayed in the zone and helped their teammates complete their task…an example for us all.

Hoseline tug-of-war competition. This was an exhilarating battle between several young teen groups.  Their perseverance and attention to details won the battle for them.  Stellar examples of  situational awareness!DSC_4334

Learned a great lesson from these young people…don’t give up and rely on your training.  There were several times that it looked like the battle would go one way. These young crews dug in and moved the barrel. I over heard a few of the coaches relate these incidents to fire fighting.  Telling them how hold the line, work the nozzle and how to back each other up.

Here is a unique chance to see teamwork and team-building, from the host group Warrenton.

There were several other events.  I’ll post more when I’m back…

 

FDIC2016: Kaizen & the 7 C’s

How do you improve on improvement? How do you make improvement part of an on-going process? This short clip is a session wrap up. It concludes with the theory of “Kaizen”; small incremental changes towards the greater good. Utilizing input from all areas.

‪#‎FDIC2016‬ Only 3 days before the largest Firefighter Conference in the world. (Over 30,000 FF’s and Instructors)

I hope you can attend but also hope you find time to stop by my workshop on Leadership. My session is April 19, 2016, 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Room 134-135 on the main floor. ‪#‎fireofficertrust‬

The Fire Smoke Coalition

smokecoal

I joined the Fire Smoke Coalition years ago.  It was not until I got their information at FDIC (www.fdic.com) and reviewed it that I found a wealth of resources that can change firefighters lives.

The mission of the Fire Smoke Coalition is to focus the required attention and resources on the deadly and life-long consequences of breathing  fire smoke by teaching firefighters and first responders how to Prevent, Protect, Detect, Diagnose, and appropriately Treat the exposure if it occurs.  The Coalition is comprised of firefighters and the medical community – all who embrace the challenge of teaching firefighters how to stay alive – and prevent the disease, illness and death associated with today’s deadly fire smoke.

This post links you to an interview I had with the organizations Executive Director, Shawn Longerich.  Her candor and passion for firefighter safety permeates this discussion.

Please visit: www.firesmoke.org  for further information and resources.  Support the cause that is focused on firefighter safety and health.  We can do better!

Shawn Longerich, Executive Director

shawn@firesmoke.org
Fire Smoke Coalition
323 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
www.FireSmoke.org

Happy 65th Anniversary Gong Club

GongClub

2015 OFFICERS:
Chief Conni Spellman
Deputy Chief Pat Spellman
Treasurer Paul Schaetzle
Secretary Bob Scollan

gongclub@comcast.net

The Gong Club is a non-profit canteen unit that provides rehab to Jersey City firefighters and those in the surrounding towns of Hudson County.  The Gong Club has also been an integral part of providing refreshment and rehabilitation to the community and Emergency Management, during a variety of events.  Their selfless acts of service and dedication are greatly appreciated by our us.

Gong Club Members
Gong Club Members

Their members are all volunteers.  They are on-call 24 hours a day and year-round.

The Gong Club responds to fires in Jersey City which are 2nd alarms or larger.

They are also their lend a hand during firefighters funerals and memorial services.

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Member of Rescue One

They also respond to larger fires throughout Hudson County.

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JCFD Members “Rehabbing” at the Gong Wago. There are mutual aid agreements with canteen clubs in surrounding counties as well. They have responded to other towns when called.

Throughout the year they also assist at several community events, such as walk-a-thons and runs, including the March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes and the Carlos Negron Run. The past 2 years they have served riders during the Police Unity Tour.

They also respond when called out by the JCPD.

During this year’s recognition of their 65 years of service, Deputy Director of the United States Fire Administration, Dr. (Chief) Denis Onieal read and presented a Proclamation from the FEMA, recognizing the many contributions of the Jersey City Gong Club.  There was also a presentation for three members, recognizing them for 25 years of continuous service to the club and fire service.

The Gong Club is a member of the International Fire Buff Association (IFBA) and and the Fire Buff Association of New Jersey.

They have been in the same address, on Bay Street, for over 50 years, but have been around for 65 years! 

GongClubPrez

Congratulations Gong Club Chief Connie Spellman and members.

We celebrate and honor our friends in the Jersey City Gong Club!

Are You Still Thinking From The Jumpseat?

Some people say that the toughest change or transition for them is from firefighter to officer; it would be the same in any profession or industry, when you move from worker to supervisor. Just as in the private sector the move and transition is task, role and responsibility specific.  In some cases it is even physical…

In most professions, a promotion is seen as a reward.  In our industry it is more function specific.

You may go from driver to the other front seat with no controls; driving in a vehicle all alone or be driven by an aide. I have ridden in all of them.  Each has its place  and each has its own unique perspective.

In my profession people say that the toughest change or transition for them is from firefighter to officer

They may be right if:

 – You weren’t serious about the job or your responsibilities, to begin with.

– You didn’t make the investment in yourself to study and become proficient

– You don’t like people (the ones you serve or the ones you serve with)

– You are one of the guys/gals and can’t distinguish between leader / follower

– You lack the courage to change yourself and circumstances when needed.

I don’t want you to think that I am bashing anyone or being cruel. I’m not.  Some Officers are honest and tell me that they went for the higher rank, solely, for the higher pay.  (To me, that’s wrong… although not criminal…and now I’m off the soap box)

There are other reasons for this.  I have had the pleasure to work with and speak to hundreds of fire officers in the last thirty years.  Each of them brings something unique to the office and many bring the same thing.  I am finding more and more that they are tool and task focused, as opposed to the overall operation or mission.

When you make the change, there must also be a transition.

You must understand your role and responsibility.

So, if you are a person aspiring to be an officer or manager:

  • Learn your job well, first
  • Study and train for the position you seek
  • Network with incumbents who have been there, done that and have been successful
  • Select and establish rapport with a mentor or role-model
  • Focus your efforts with a positive attitude

If you are already that person and not sure:

  • Perform a self-audit:“Ask yourself, am I doing all that I can?”
  • Study and train to maintain your optimal level of proficiency and knowledge

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Fire Service Cancer Epidemic

Great job Fire Engineering and especially PJ Norwood.  Stay safe!