Coordinating the Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program, I became aware of two issues.  The first, juvenile fire setter intervention is purely a reactive program.  Second, the program does not teach much else besides, "you shouldn't have played with fire".  These are good ideas, however, they lack the power to create real change in the life of a teenager.

To fill the gaps that these issues create we (Martin County Fire Rescue) are launching a new program called, Ignite

Ignite  is open to all teenagers (9-12th grades).  It is a program that will enable, equip, and empower students to make wise life decisions, and be a leaders in their community.  Ignite utilizes fire prevention and fire fighting principles, combined with success, leadership, and decision making strategies to equip youth with the tools and knowledge necessary to lead a life of success.  This program covers topics such as discovering your passions/skills/abilities, little things matter, attitude is everything, there is no such thing as failure, create good life habits, and how to live out your passion. 

To find out more information or to register a student check out, or join Ignite on Facebook.

What are some successful programs that your department has been involved with? What worked? What didn't?

METRO Sweden

I thought this was an amazing project.  METRO group is performing full scale transportation tunnel, fire/design testing.  This 3 year project began in December 2009, and will be completed in December 2012.

METRO is a Swedish research project about infrastructure protection. The focus of the project is on the protection of underground rail mass transport systems, such as tunnels and subway stations. Both fire and explosion hazards are studied, and such aspects as evacuation, rescue operations and smoke control are important parts of the project.

The work in METRO is divided into seven Work Packages (WPs) which address different aspects of the studied topic. The seven WPs are:
 WP1 – Design Fires
WP2 – Evacuation
WP3 – Integrated Fire Control
WP4 – Smoke Control
WP5 – Extraordinary Strain on Constructions
WP6 – Fire and Rescue Operations
WP7 – Project Management


See a slideshow presentation of the project here:

Read an article concerning the METRO project in Eurotransport Magazine.

Read an overview of the project at Hemming Fire.

Martin County Receives Remembering When Award

Every year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) selects 40 community/teams to attend its Remembering When conference.  Each team consists of one fire department representative and one senior care agency.  This year Martin County Fire Rescue partnered with the Council on Aging, and is proud to announce that they have been selected for the Remembering When conference award!  On December 4-6, 2011 our team will be heading to Boston to be equipped with educational tools that will prevent falls and fires in older adults.

Remembering When presentation

Annually, Martin County Fire Rescue responds to more than 12,000 medical calls, 53% of these are to people over the age of 65.  We respond to more falls, than to any other type of medical emergency; nearly 2,500 fall responses per year.  These overwhelming statistics demanded a response.  That response has come in the form of the National Fire Protection Association’s , Remembering When: A Fall and Fire Prevention Program for Older Adults.  Partnering with the Council on Aging, and by way of group presentations and home visits,  implementation of this program will enhance the lives of older adults, promote independence, and prevent premature institutionalization.

Remembering When is centered around 16 key safety messages – eight fire preventionand eight fall prevention

  1. If you smoke, smoke outside
  2. Give space heaters space.
  3. Be kitchen wise.
  4. Stop, drop, and roll.
  5. Smoke alarms save lives.
  6. Plan and practice your escape from fire.
  7. Know your local emergency number.
  8. Plan your escape around your abilities.
  9. Exercise regularly.
  10. Take your time.
  11. Clear the way.
  12. Look out for yourself.
  13. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.
  14. Be aware of uneven surfaces.
  15. Tread carefully.
  16. Put your best foot forward.

100 Posts

I have maintained this domain/blog for over 3 years, but only posted occasionally.  As my passion for fire prevention education, customer service, and leadership have grown I decided in April of this year, to get more serious with my blogging endeavors, in order to reach more people with the things that matter.

My blog page visits have jumped from around 6 per month, to nearly 500 per month now (and growing).

In April, my goal was to post 5 days per week. I maintained this for nearly 2 months but then realized that I had sacrificed quality for quantity.  Now, it is my goal to write a few (2 per week) quality posts per month.

We recently reached a milestone, 100 posts.  Below are the top 10 posts, based on reader visits.

  1. Eating Your Own Cooking
  2. What in the HDPE is going on?
  3. Building Fire Stations
  4. PFE-1
  5. Electrical Safety
  6. A Prevention Primer
  7. Redneck Mansion
  8. What in the HDPE is going on? - revisited
  9. Fire Doors? Whats the big deal?
  10. Memorial Grilling
What is your favorite post?  What are the things that you are most passionate about?  What would you like to see more of on this blog?

Who are you listening to?

I recently saw an advertisement for the Disney Institute.  The advertisement was talking about how they can improve and help businesses to "rethink customer service".  I don't know what your Disney experiences have entailed, but some of my worst customer service experiences have been delivered at the hands of Disney.  Yet, people will pay $300 (or more) for a half day seminar from Disney on how to improve customer service.  How did Disney 'earn' this right? Being the biggest? The most money? The most visible?

I couldn't help but wonder, in the fire service, who are we listening to? 

Are we listening to the people only based on their position, title, pay grade, or status? Or are we listening to the people (regardless of any of the above) that are actively "practicing what they preach"?  If you are the one doing the talking, are you just talking, or are you eating your own cooking?


As we remember this day, consider this prayer from Max Lucado written for America Prays on Saturday, September 14, 2001:

Dear Lord, We're still hoping we'll wake up. We're still hoping we'll open a sleepy eye and think, 'What a horrible dream.'
But we won't, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream; and, dear Father, we are sad.
There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost its priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor; and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only 3 years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)
We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried; our innocence is buried, as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better, but we didn't.
So we come to You. We don't ask You for help; we beg You for it. We don't request it; we implore it. We know what You can do. We've read the accounts. We've pondered the stories; and now we plead, 'Do it again, Lord. Do it again.'
Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord. Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children, too, Lord. Do it again.
And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
You changed Daniel from a captive into a king's counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.
Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, You saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced. By dusk, heaven's sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.
But You did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, You rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.
We thank You, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what discussion could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank You for these hours of unity.
We thank You for these hours of prayer. The enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before You; and he has no idea what You can do.
Let Your mercy be upon our president, vice president, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.
And look kindly upon your church. For 2,000 years You've used it to heal a hurting world. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
Through Christ, Amen.


Disaster Proof

The September 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine contains the article, "Ready For the Worst? How To Disaster-Proof Your Business".  Below, are some interest items from that article.

Launch/Jason Lee

1.)     Back up servers in different geographic locations -- Latisys ($500/month)

2.)     Fire proof filing cabinets -- SentrySafe ($2,436/two drawer)

3.)     Re-route phone calls -- PBX Parachute ($400/year, five ext.)

4.)     Back up power -- PowerReady ($6,995)

5.)     Fireproof crucial equipment -- Firetrace ($1,000)

6.)     Ensure inventory -- BCMexperts ($4,000/six months)

7.)     Train employees -- Preparis ($250/month)

8.)    Mobile office -- ReadySuite ($495/month for standby)

9.)     Shelter in place -- Perfect Storm Shelters ($3,350/three person unit)

10.)     Maintaining crucial correspondence --  Mail-Guard ($2,000/month)

11.)     Maintain web services --  GATR Technologies ($1,000/day; inflatable antennae)

12.)     Maintain an exit strategy  --  Seatchute ($2,995)

State Fair FD

This post was provided by Roy Poteete.  Roy is a retired firefighter/emt, he blogs on fire and safety issues.  His blog can be read at

In 1962 the Missouri State Fair Fire Department was born. Like a baby it was coddled and brought to life to be a premier and elite all Volunteer Fire and EMS Department in the USA today. 

This a fully volunteer Fire and EMS Service that is staffed by dedicated Fire, Rescue and EMS Professionals. During the 11 full days of the State Fair; the work week prior to the Fair opening. Then after the fair closes these professionals do not just pack up and go home. NOPE! These professionals are still on duty for the work week after the fair closes to provide fire and first aid to the workers taking down the fair. This unique Fire and EMS Department functions with a mixture of Union and Volunteer Firefighters, Paramedics, EMT's,  who give there vacation time to staff this department. 

The State Fair Fire Department comprised of the following that is donated for use to the State Fair:

  • Fire Trucks can come equipped or not equipped
  • Rescue Equipment, fire hose, tools, medical equipment etc
  • Ambulances, basic medical supplies stocked or an empty ambulance
  • Some Fire Equipment Dealers offer tools, or other equipment for use to the fair via the Manufacture.
  • EMS Rapid response Carts

The Fair usually has about 4 to 5 fire trucks and even could have a ladder truck and or a tanker. There is usually 5 to 6 Ambulances there as well

Firefighters/Paramedics, EMT's:

These proud professionals dedicated there vacation time from there full time job to Protect and Serve the State Fair and that fair attendees. These men and women are from all over the State of Missouri. You may have Fireifghters/Paramedics/EMT from different fire departments that may take advantage of being on this elite group of professionals during the Fair. The fair fire department has about 75  men and or women will participate and sleep in the separate bunk houses.

The work week prior to the Opening Day of the Fair:

This work week is when fireifghters, staff member's arrive and open the Fire Station. The work week is just that. Cleaning the fire station, bunk rooms, getting the water turned on, making sure the ice machine works, inventorying the equipment donated. If a fire truck arrives unequipped then its there task to gather donated equipment and stock a fire truck. The same goes for the ambulances. While these proud professionals are working to get the equipment ready they are also on stand by for emergency responses to any and all calls on the fair grounds and mutual aid to the city of Sadelia, MO. As each day passes more and more fireifghters and equipment arrives. Once all the arriving crews have arrived got there assignments, trucks they get to pick out a bunk and make there bunk. 

Fair Week:

Once the fair starts the fire department functions like a paid 24/7/365 days department. They will do building inspections, fire extinguisher inspections, hood system inspections, sporting event inspections (stands, electrical, rigging) carnival inspections. They also test fire hose, scba's, and other equipment. They run actual medical calls and transport to the local hospital or call for air evac to Columbia, MO to the University Level 1 Trauma Center or to Kansas City, MO other Level 1 & 2 Trauma Centers. They also provide fire protection service and fire extinguisher training to the workers of the tents/stands to make sure that everyone know how to handle a fire extinguisher.  They provide Fire, Rescue, EMS services to sporting events, concerts, demonstrations and at the direction of the State Fair Officials. 
On Sporting events that take place you may have to watch bull riding while your friends are watching a concert like George Strait. Some may be watching a dirt track race while others are doing a demonstration at the fire station. Not everyone can work everyday so you can be rotated off the fire truck to the ambulance or ambulance to the fire truck. The only way you will be allowed to be on the ambulance is you must have a current EMT or Paramedic License. You may also have the night off and attend a concert like Wynona Judd and catch a ride to the concert in the back of the ambulance. You may be off but if a mass casualty incident arises your expected to be able to assist.

This year is the first time in the State Fair Fire Departments history that they provided mutual aid to the City of Sadelia, MO Fire Department since 1962.

Fair over and ending work week:

the fair is over you made friends, meet new people, shaked many hands received many Thank You's for your participation. Now is the time you inventory the equipment. Get the donated equipment ready to be taken or shipped back to the rightful Fire and or EMS department. Your there for the fair workers taking down the tents, stands. If there is a fire, or medical emergency your there to serve them. Once all workers are gone, the Fair buildings have been winterized it is a ghost town. Then the dreadful day comes. You wake up say your good byes to the others that have been there with you. The fair has end and the workers are gone. 

The work begins on organizing the Fair Fire Dept for the next year as soon as Command gets the date. Many man hours goes into the planning, running of the department. 

More information can be obtained from their State Fair Fire Department, Fire Fighters Association of Missouri.

Perks for being on the Missouri State Fair Fire Department:

  • 3 Free Meals a day, 
  • Clothing Provided to wear so everyone is dressed in the same white jump suites with the FFAM (Fire Fighters Association of Missouri and State Fair Fire Department Logo on the back
  • Free Concerts
  • Free admission to the State Fair and parking. 
  • The fun and joy of meeting new friends that will last a lifetime and seeing smiles on the children's faces as you allow them to jump climb on the fire trucks. 

It is believed to be the only State Fair that has a fully functional volunteer Staffed Fire Department for about 25 days a year. 

I have been personally on this department many times. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on this elite group of men and women that protect the fair, fair goers, staff and event attendees. 

Second Mile

I enjoy a good meal from Chick-fil-a.  More than the taste of the food, I enjoy eating there because of the consistent, and superb level of service that I receive.  My order is never messed up (if it is they correct it on them), I am always greeted with a smiling face and a good attitude,  I am checked on to make sure that I am comfortable and have all that I need for a satisfactory meal experience.  I can walk into any Chick-fil-a in the country (I have been in many) and can be sure to receive this same level of service.

Chick-fil-a lives by the mantra of "second mile service", which they adopted from Matthew 5:41, "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two."  They consistently go the second mile. (read more at )

How often do we have the attitude of doing the bare minimum (or less)? How often have we wanted to say (or said), "your the one that needs the inspection, not me, figure it out"?

As public servants it should go without saying that we are to go the second mile and more for those we serve.  By going the second mile, we truly provide a valuable service to our community.  In these economic times, the second mile might be all it takes to create a positive image in the public's eye.

The second mile might involve doing the "unconventional" at times, or going outside of your particular "job description",  but we must always remember that our primary job title is that of public servant.  Take this challenge from Chick-fil-a and, go the second mile.  Apply this principal to your daily life, look for second mile opportunities, and see how your community will change!