Category Archives: Safety

Hope for the Helpful on Amazon

Hope for the Helpful on Amazon

Hope for the Helpful

Not all superheroes wear capes.

Some of them are firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, active military personnel or anyone involved in saving lives and helping people overcome tragic events.

The sad thing is that you are caught in the middle of everything. You experience so many emotions at the same time and you often have no idea how to put yourself back together. You refuse to open up, because everyone sees you as the hero and if the hero appears to be weak, what hope do we have?

This book is dedicated to our silent heroes who stake their lives every day for our sake. You don’t have to suffer in silence anymore. This book will help to open up your emotions and offer you tips on how to overcome the internal struggles in you face.

Don’t give in. Don’t give up. We’re counting on you!

Thanx all, for supporting the Amazon launch.  What started as a blog post and chapter for a buddy’s book turned into an ebook and short paperback.  It is my fervent hope that it helps someone.  Share it with you co-workers, colleagues friends and loved ones.

Stop suffering in silence.

A Conversation with Battalion Chief Katherine Ridenhour (Ret’d)

Katherine Thais Ridenhour, retired Battalion Chief, Aurora Fire Department (CO), is passionate about teaching competent and confident leadership on and off the fireground. Her classes include strategy/tactics, command, conflict solution/problem solving, leadership and promotional preparation.

Katherine’s experience spans 25 years in Tech Rescue, FEMA/USAR, EMS, Training Division, Diversity Board and past President of Women in the Fire Service. She also spent 5 recent years after retirement as a volunteer firefighter and feels privileged to understand the rural side of the fire service. Her passion for presenting exceptional teaching methodologies has earned her multiple requests to teach at various departments, and she is proud to serve the volunteer side of the fire service in that way. She also has extensive teaching at various Department of Defense bases including the United States Air Force Academy, Tyndall Air Force Base and the entire Northwest Navy Region.

Katherine has taught nationally for years at such conferences as FDIC, FRI, the IAFC Metro Chiefs, the IAFF Human Relations and Redmond Symposium, as well as various state conferences.
Despite being retired, she is an avid student of the fire service and keeps current with all the latest trends. She has mentored at least 1000 firefighters to assist them getting promoted to various positions, including Chief of Department and is still sought after for those and her teaching abilities. She is grateful to have had a great career and the opportunity to teach around the nation in order to give back to the fire service.

I had the distinct honor of talking with Chief Ridenhour about her experiences in the Fire Service.  Her work on exposing the practice of “Bullying” in our industry is well known, as she is a sought after lecturer and keynote speaker.

Take the time to listen to this in-depth episode that focuses on several issues in our workplace.

The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation

While attending the 2018 i-Women Conference, I had the most fortunate opportunity to sit down with Ms. Cindy Ell of the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation.

The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation:

Working to Extinguish Fire Fighter Cancer

Firefighters dedicate their lives to the service of others. The Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation was established in 2004 to provide international outreach, support, and resource assistance programs for firefighters and family members that are stricken by cancer. 

The Foundation is creating state of the art programs for cancer education, awareness, research and prevention to ensure the quality of life and retirement of fire fighters around  the world.

Cindy is a wealth of information and showed us many of the products and information packs that they have developed to help educate Fire Fighters and their families.   We had the chance to talk about Cancer, as it relates to the work environment and the impact it has on first responders and our families. It was one of the most uplifting discussions I have had on this subject.  Cindy is a driven advocate for healthy Fire Fighters and their families.

There was such a wide range of topics and programs that we encourage you to visit their website at:

And then donate…

Flashover in Union County

Spotted this great video excerpt on the Flashover Simulator at the Union County Fire Academy where I use to teach….

Great explanation and narration by my friend, Instructor Emmit Gardner.

…I miss my guys and gals!

The Fire Smoke Coalition


I joined the Fire Smoke Coalition years ago.  It was not until I got their information at FDIC ( 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:  for further information and resources.  Support the cause that is focused on firefighter safety and health.  We can do better!

Shawn Longerich, Executive Director
Fire Smoke Coalition
323 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Happy 65th Anniversary Gong Club


Chief Conni Spellman
Deputy Chief Pat Spellman
Treasurer Paul Schaetzle
Secretary Bob Scollan

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.

Member of Rescue One

They also respond to larger fires throughout Hudson County.

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! 


Congratulations Gong Club Chief Connie Spellman and members.

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

Fire Service Cancer Epidemic

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

The National Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Weekend 2015

34th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend: October 3-4, 2015

Every October, the Foundation sponsors the official national tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. Thousands attend the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

For additional and up-to-date information, please visit:

@NFFF thanks for all you do!

Denver: Everybody Goes Home

Denver firefighters opened their doors and their hearts to share painful lessons to help improve firefighter safety across the country and around the world.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) has released Denver Fire Department: Leadership So Everyone Goes Home, a documentary highlighting the department’s efforts to make improvements after the tragic loss of three Denver firefighters over a six-year period

SCBA Donning

Great Video by Dale G. Pekel, on YouTube, for Donning your SCBA more effectively.

Practice, Practice, Practice!