Qualifications? Or Qualifiers?

There were a couple of things that crossed my desk last week and a couple of conversations that I had that lead me to this quick thought for the week.

One of the articles I read on The Backstep Firefighter was written by Ron Ayotte , Deputy Chief in Marlborough Massachusetts. In the article he speaks about “The job” and hinges like personal pride etc..

My thought is pretty specific and I want you to ask yourself as you go to your next shift or if you are a call or volunteer person, think about it the next time you go to the station.

When you go to the station bring all of your qualifications with you. That is remember and practice all of the skills and things you have been taught. All of that old firefighter I and II stuff and officer I or what ever training you have. Don’t do the job half way.(Those that know me real well were not expecting the word way after the word half!)

Qualification are a good thing to bring to the station, work, and “The Job”.

So what is a qualifier, then?

Qualifiers are what all human beings bring with them all day long. It is part of their everyday carry items.

” I am not going to do house duties today, because the other shift did not do it yesterday”.

“I am not going to train today because Captain XYZ does make his shift train, I worked there the other day and they don’t do anything”

“I am going to do as little as I can today because the city doesn’t care about the firefighters”

“I am not going to be nice to anybody today because……(and you can fill in the blanks here, because each of you now know what I am talking about)

I will do my job with all of these extra qualifiers which determine how well and how effective I am going to be.

I have a simple message for all firefighters and it is similar to the article I referenced earlier or a recent fire engineering article by Assistant Chief Tom Warren on a similar subject.

The fire service is the best job in the world, everyday we may be called upon to play the Super Bowl , handling an incident we never dreamed of, everyday we are thrust into people’s lives on the worst day the have ever had…..there is no room for qualifiers.

I am guilty of this same thing at many points in my career so I am certainly not without fault. I am trying to help folks not make similar mistakes that I have made in the past.

When you go on duty, bring and use all of your qualifications, but leave the qualifiers in storage where they belong!

Stay Safe and have a great week!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem 2012-02 – Residential garage with extension

Here is the problem and some thoughts for this week. Our situation is a residential garage with extension. (I have included the still photo as well as the video because I got reports some folks could not get the video working.)

1.) This appears to be a daytime situation, no cars in the driveway, what are you thinking? Empty? Stay at home mom with babysitting service in basement area? Elderly couple home alone? Hoarding?

2.) What is the fire load in a residential garage? Does your department have an SOP for a mandatory “big line” or 2 1/2″ line for attack in this situation?

3.) In your department where does the first line go?

4.) Estimate how long you will be on scene, and how much manpower this fire will take? Then do it by benchmarks…..how long for primary search and how many personnel needed? How long until knockdown and how many personnel? How long until loss stopped and overhaul and how many personnel needed?

5.) based upon the little you can see and the photo…..is the “real” or lightweight construction?

These questions are just designed to get you thinking a little. Come up with your own and drill your crew at the coffee table!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Is there an app for that? This week SIMSUSHARE.

For the past couple of years I have been presenting a program called “Is There An App For That?” I thought I would take a few of these individually and use them as posts here in the blog.

Many of the apps are for IOS and Android, and we will also discuss desktop apps as well for Windows or MacOS.

The first app I am looking at is called SIMSUSHARE and it is from Commandsim.

This app is for just about any and all platforms, IOS, Android, Windows desktop, MAC OS and even Windows 8

What is it?
SIMSUSHARE allows users to either take a photo, or use an existing photo and create realistic looking simulations using an IPAD, IPHONE, or any of the devices listed including laptops and desktops.

The interface is extremely simple and I have included some screenshots to show you what I mean.

The main screen gives you three choices, start a new simulation, edit an existing one, or simply play one that is already built.

After you import an image or take an image, you get the following screen.


Wen you hit the + button in the top right you get a list of all of the things that can be added to the sim. A click on any of these reveals another sub menu.

I have opened the smoke simulation choices just as an example.

You just drag and drop the effect that you want, where you want it. You can then resize it, change and manipulate smoke color, choose when the animation comes in, choose if it pops in or fades in, how to layer things etc..

This is not intended to be a complete tutorial but merely an idea or what I think about it, and how to use it.

Who is it for?

Certainly a great value for fire instructors everywhere.

Great for a public educator to create some interior shots, stove fires, etc. you could have your iPad with you and be able to deliver simple safety messages wherever you are.

Great for company officers to use for kitchen table talks. Go out in the district and preplan “the big one” we all talk about.

Use pictures of your last “job” and replay with fire and smoke.

All firefighters who are students of the trade.

Bottom line

This is a great app and it is available from Command Sim and I recommend it highly for its ease of use, and value.

I am in now way affiliated with these folks, but I would be happy to help anyone that purchases the software and needs some help to get started. Their website has plenty of ways to get support and help as well.

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Chicago LODD

Chicago Fire Captain Herbert Johnson LODD at a working structure fire. RIP

May he not be forgotten.

When we say the words “NEVER FORGET” we must remember,

His family, his coworkers, what he taught us as members and as people, the circumstances of how he died, and we must personally do something always to remember him even in some small way, by some small action.

See Firegeezer for more information, or Dave Statter at Statter911 for more details.

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Tactical Fire Problem 2012-01

For the folks that remember we would do a tactical you make the call problem each week. I am going to change the format a little bit and offer some questions to prompt the reader.

These are designed, just to little quick hits to get you thinking and talking. They are clearly not meant to be a complete training exercise and their value will be dependent upon the training and experience of the reader.

Obviously the time frame is extremely compressed for these short hits, but consider whatever time you like in the development of the fire.

Most if not all of these will be.mov QuickTime movies. The player is a free download if you do not already have it installed.

This week let’s look at this scenario.

1.) The mom and pop “taxpayer” store. Small convenience store at the bottom, living area or multiple living areas above.

2.) Where are the store owners children? Where do they play after school, where are they now?

3.) I see the side door just like you do. Is there an interior stairway from inside the store to at least 1 of the apartments above? Does it reach a small center hall that connects two units?

4.) What is the fire load on each of the floors?

5.) if you have any of these in your first due, go out and take a look in daylight with no fire condition. Better to see it then, then right now!

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

Time to come back…


It has been a long absence for me, but I am now back to the world of blogging for the fire service. My original website started back in 2000-2001.

I updated regularly each and every week about a variety of fire service topics including tactics, strategy, leadership, general opinion and commentary etc..

Due to some personal and professional issues I shut down the blog in June 2009 and have been dormant since then.

I want to welcome everyone back and I look forward to building up my subscriber base back to where it was.

I have continued to teach, train, and lecture wherever I can and I am available to provide classes, lectures, training a, examination prep classes, and actual examinations for departments that request them. Contact me a pete@petelamb.com for more information. I am also continuing to provide training classes that can be used as fund raisers for departments. The department sponsors a training and they use funds received for their organizational needs.

Our format will be roughly the same with weekly posts and more frequently if I can or as circumstances warrant it.

Come in, look around, go to the Main webpage and look at some of our past articles and see what you might want to use for your own department.

Pete Lamb @ Copyright 2012
For information contact pete@petelamb.com

"Changing the fire service, one mind at a time"