The Firefighter Training Podcast – Operating at the scene of explosions

This week we will talk about some of the additional basic considerations which must be factored into your decision making when you respond and operate at the scene of an explosion, regardless of the cause.

Sign up for the January training sessions here.

Contact us if you would like a speaking engagement in your area.


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Car Dealership Service Area

This week a fire at a car dealership service area.

1.) This is a relatively new building possibly, with a suppression system. Do you see any evidence the system is operating? How would this affect your decision making?

2.) What are the hazards that could be associated with this type of occupancy?

3.) What is your consideration for members operating under air? Do you train with SCBA in large open areas with random obstructions?

4.) What size attack line(s) and where?

5.) How would you tactically deal with roll up doors on both sides of the building? Attack lines from both sides? With openings that large you could maneuver without opposing lines. Is it one for attack, one for clearing smoke? How will opening an overhead roll-up door affect fire behavior?

Stay safe, and stay thinking!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Salvage Training?


Salvage training what are you crazy, we don’t do that we barely have enough manpower to stretch lines, now you want us to throw covers! I want to throw up!

Wait………Don’t stop reading yet!

Salvage is an often neglected part of our job for those very reasons….we don’t do it often enough, and we can barely have the manpower to do everything else we are supposed to do.

This week I have some random disorganzied thoughts about salvage and a couple of interesting ideas for salvage drills.

Like all the stuff on this training page, I am trying to plant the seed for a training and you need to make it grow and do something with it.

Why the hell do we always teach and say Salvage and Overhaul? One doesn’t have as much to do with the other as we would believe and before I leave the fire service we might actually separate the two!

Some occupanices might require salvage to become a higher priority: These might include libraries, churches, city and town halls, museums where records and articatcs might in fact be irreplaceable. I am not suggesting that we lose any lives for property under any circumstances but it certainly moves salvage up on the priorities in any of the above mentioned occupancies.

Think about salvage considerations when you are shoveling out people’s possessions into the front yard. That couch with the quilt on it is a smoldering wreck and it’s in your way, but to the owner that is the quilt that now dead aunt Sadie crocheted by hand.

Salvage drills mostly consist of pulling the apparatus out, showing folds rolls etc., and maybe trying to cover some furniture strategically placed in the day room. While I know most of these are necessary and are recognized as skills we need, I have yet to be able to do the “two man, inflate a throw- balloon method” that they teach in the essentials manuals. Usually I knock over a precious vase and stain and or ruin the eight foot normal ceiling that prevents me from doing that in the first place!

Train on rolls and folds that one or two people can do easily.

Empty the apparatus room / bay. Take a 10 foot step ladder and have someone stand at the top of it with a garden hose. Have other members form teams. Give them a designated task like the following: This is an overhead light fixture or pipe leak and you are unable to shut off the flow: The water must be directed out a side door or window. After the instructions start a gentle flow of water from the garden hose and let the crews make chutes, use ladders, pike poles, and catchalls to direct and divert the flow. When they are done, roughly chalk out the amount of spill that hit the floor. Start the next team as the first and chalk out their puddle. The group with the smallest amount of water on the floor is the winner. Things like this make it interesting challenging and more real life and your personnel will become very creative in their methods.

Take a garden hose, adapt it to a piece of 3/4″ copper pipe about 10 feet long. Make an irregular slice in the pipe with a sawzall or make a series of pinholes. Have personnel control water flow. By rotating the pipe in different directions the problem becomes serious.

Use sprinkler props and leaking overhead sprinkler prop pipes for salvage drills.

Using a roscoe smoke machine have two firefighters enter an area that is moderately smoky and return with simulated valuable items they can carry: Have the area stocked with wallets, purse, phtographs, insurance policy documents, business records, leger books etc.and other props that you devise., and then review what areticles they retrieve and discuss them with the group. This gets them operating under a mask as well.

We do still say we protect life and property don’t we? Well salvage is the property piece and by a little creative thinking you can do some innovative salvage drills that will make your troops at least think about it and be prepared to act when needed.

And as always if anyone else has any valuable ideas how to do salvage training safely and effectively, let me know and we will share them with others.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighter Training Podcast – Christmas Greetings and a firefighting “‘Twas the night”

A short lighthearted episode this week, with greetings from near and far, thank you to the listeners, and a firefighting version of the poem Twas the night before Christmas!

Reminder of training announcements for January. Details and registration can be found here.


Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Tactical Fire Problem – Residential

This week a residential fire. The house could be typical of a Southeastern US home.

1.) What size and where does the first line go?

2.) What is the ventilation status right now?

3.) What is the room in the large window on the left of the door?

4.) What is the most likely room in the window on the right side?

5.) Do you locate the pumper in the street or do you put the pumper in the driveway? What is your department’s SOP? Is there ever a time to use the driveway?

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Santa as a fire Officer / Instructor

Santa is an Fire Officer / Instructor !

It is Christmas and I began letting myself think of what makes Santa so magical and wonderful even as adults. As I sat sipping my egg nog (No I am not telling you if it was spiked or not!) I had some interesting thoughts.

I ask you to indulge me for a few minutes and consider the following:

* Santa is looked up to and folks look forward to him coming into their life. Be the kind of person and officer that your personnel are happy to see. Be firm and fair but don’t ever let it be said “Boy are we lucky you weren’t there Capt.” Make your troops believe in you and lead and inspire them to want to work and wait for you.

* Santa brings gifts to everyone. Bring small gifts to your personnel. Give them parts of yourself and your knowledge and experience. Allow them to make small mistakes and give them freedom to make some decisions. These are all gifts you can give.

* Santa has a list of who is naughty and nice. Evaluate your personnel on a regular basis and tell them how they are doing in meeting your expectations. Know and understand what each of your personnel’s capabilities are and their level of training.

* Santa has lots of helpers. Make sure you surround yourself with people who will help you. Do not be afraid to delegate responsibility and authority to others. No officer or instructor is an island and when you begin to micro-manage you cause more damage then you can imagine. Have lots of helpers and get out of their way!

* Santa prepares 364 days for one night’s work. I hope that you train each and every day, because tonight could be the night that impacts many many lives. It could be positive or negative, but remember…..just like Santa, everyone is counting on you! Be prepared.

* Santa is never seen out of uniform. All right enough said!

* Although there is a “naughty and nice list” everyone gets a present. be sure that you make an attempt to share knowledge opportunities and experiences with all. Even the members of your department you may not be especially close to. Give of yourself to everyone.

* Santa takes cookies and milk from lots of folks. As an officer or instructor take a little something from all of those that you interact with. Do not believe that you are the only one who can give”presents”. Lots of folks have lots to give….be sure you don’t ever believe you know it all. Learn from others.

* Santa is very good at time management. Hey you don’t get all around the world in one night by sitting in the recliner watching TV all night you know! As an officer remember to make your time on duty count for all that it is worth. Not only is Santa watching but so are the rest of the troops and they have really good memories!

* Santa feeds and takes care of the reindeer all year long even when he is not using them. Make sure all of your apparatus and portable equipment is ready to go!

* Santa has kept up with the times. Although the origin of Santa is always debated, Santa has lasted for the ages. Make sure that you remain current with all of the latest and greatest trends in the fire service. Don’t get stuck in a time warp and repeat the same year over and over again. Be timeless and ageless. Not everyone really cares “about the way it used to be”.

* Santa is most appreciated by the children. never underestimate the power you have on new members of our profession. These “young folks” look at each and every move you make and attitude you foster. Make them all really believe in Santa.

* Santa always make sure he makes it home to Mrs. Claus. Enough said about this one too.

OK, so he is a little overweight and he knows that heart attacks can kill us, and I realize that the beard doesn’t meet the NIOSH/OSHA standard for wearing SCBA…….but you gotta admit Santa has some pretty good traits for an officer or instructor, doesn’t he?

Stay Safe, take care of one another, appreciate your families and please accept from me my sincerest wishes for a safe and Merry Christmas to all!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Size up training opportunities!


Firefighter Training that allows the firefighter to review firefighting concepts, enhance size-up and situational awareness on the fireground.
Some of the topics you will learn about size up, rate of flow, building collapse, electrical hazards, Building construction and much more.
The goal of this training is to make firefighters more alert and safer on the fireground.
This program allows for a small class size that will give the student individual contact and allow for questions and answers, and interaction with the instructor.
See the website at and click the links for the current blog and the podcast archives.

REGISTER FOR JANUARY 8, 2014 HERE. 7:00 PM Eastern time

REGISTER FOR JANUARY 11,2014 HERE9:00 AM Eastern time

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013

Firefighter Training Podcast – Fire service expectations

This week we talk about expectations and how they affect the fire service and your organization.

We also announce 2 Size up training session webinars for January.

For January 8th, 2014 at 7:00 PM Eastern Click this link

For January 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM Easter Click this link

Listen to this episode here.

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013