Career Success in 2022

John Wooden said, "When opportunity comes, it's too late to prepare." In order to capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves in a rapidly changing career field, we must be prepared. When the promotional opportunity opens up, it is too late to start taking the classes, or obtaining the certifications, or volunteering for additional responsibilities. We must constantly be preparing ourselves today with the necessary skills and abilities to meet these future opportunities.

How prepared are you for the next opportunity, those opportunities that 2022 is sure to bring?  What is the last conference or presentation that you have been part of? When is the last time you have polished up your resume? Who are you following on social media platforms? Are you recognized as a leader in your field? What do you plan to achieve in the next twelve months?  Your honest reflection and responses to these questions should provide an idea of where you are and where you need to be in your professional development. 

If you knew that there was one magic key guaranteed to make you successful, would you want to take advantage of it? Motivational speaker and self-development teacher, Brian Tracy says, "Here is a rule that will guarantee your success - and possibly make you rich: Invest 3% of your income back into yourself."

Outside of company provided training, every person should be investing in their own professional development. The costs associated with books, classes, conferences, and certifications should be considered an investment, not an expense. The return on investment will be realized in a renewed level of motivation, fresh and new ideas, and an expanded network of professional relationships.

With the rise of online training, webinars, and zoom meetings it seems that there are more avenues of professional development that one could ever pursue. With so many options available it is easy to get trapped by "analysis paralysis" and end up doing nothing. However, by clearly defining your career goals, a pathway of professional development can be formed. Use the following steps to create your professional development action plan. 

1.  Assess where you currently are, and where you want to be.

What are your immediate and long term career goals? What are the things that you want to accomplish? What impact do you want to leave on your community, your organization, or within your industry?

2.  Determine what training is needed to achieve that goal.

Sometimes this guidance is already provided (i.e., job descriptions, requirements for promotions, internal training), other times guidance must be sought out or self-directed. It is a best practice to schedule a semi-annual meeting with your next level supervisor to discuss your near-term and long-term career goals and professional ambitions. These discussions should be viewed as an opportunity to receive insight into areas that you may need to improve upon, and guidance on the next steps needed to accomplish your career goals. Once you are clear on thi,s then you know what certifications and classes you may need, or what knowledge,skills, and abilities need to be obtained.

3. Read at least one book per year.

Statistics show that one out of four Americans will not read a single book in a year.  The most successful people are avid readers. Reading has been shown to increase focus, develop a more broad perspective, increase writing and speaking skills, and keep you mentally fresh, educated, and informed.  Select at least one book related to your career and professional goals, divide it up into easy to read sections, read one section per day to completion (i.e., ten pages a day for one month will allow you to finish reading a full 300 page book).

4.  Attend three conferences or professional development events.

These can be single day training classes, local or national conferences, or technical code/committee meetings.  If cost is a factor, search out local opportunities.  Alternatively, if you apply to be a presenter at many of these conferences, then the registration fee may be waived.

A plan for professional development and training is essential to success in any field. Do not wait for, or expect, someone else to pay for and invest in your professional development. Take responsibility for your own success, set goals, create a plan to achieve those goals, then follow your career road map. 


Crime Prevention for Firefighters: CPTED for CRR

What is CPTED?

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is the concept of crime prevention and neighborhood safety accomplished through natural elements and structural design. CPTED utilizes four strategies that contribute to “the proper design and effective use of the built environment that can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime and an improvement in the quality of life” within a community. The CPTED strategies are natural surveillance, natural access control,territorial reinforcement, and maintenance.

Natural Surveillance. This utilizes the placement of physical features, activities, and people in a way that maximizes visibility. This is accomplished through landscape design, lighting, and elimination of ambush points. These elements all promote more eyes on the street, and within the buildings where necessary.

Natural Access Control. This means controlling access to a site by its inherent design. This is accomplished through strategic design of streets, sidewalks, building entrances, and landscaping. These design elements can ensure that entrances are visible and clearly defined, well lighted, and take full advantage of natural surveillance.

Territorial Reinforcement. This strategy appeals to peoples’ sense of ownership. This is the use of physical attributes that express ownership such as, fencing, pavement design, walking paths, signage, landscaping, and public art. Territorial reinforcement encompasses the principles of natural surveillance and access control.

Maintenance. This allows for continued use of the space, and is a critical component of CPTED. If the other strategies of CPTED are utilized, but never maintained, then CPTED will fail. Maintenance serves as an expression of territorial reinforcement by showing property ownership, it prevents reduced visibility from overgrown landscape, and obstructed or inoperative lighting.


CPTED is a largely unheard of concept to the fire service. However, it is a concept that the fire service should fully embrace. In recent years the fire department concept of Community Risk Reduction (CRR) has prevailed. This is the concept of reducing risk of all types, not just fire, within a community. CPTED ties directly into the goals and objectives of a CRR program and benefits the community, first responders, and designers. 

Understanding CPTED principles and strategies can be advantageous to the community and the fire service in a multitude of ways. Reduced crime means lower number of emergency responses. More eyes on the street and people out, means faster response when emergencies do occur.  
CPTED as part of a CRR strategy contributes to safety of fire department personnel and first responders. Maintenance of property, natural surveillance, access control, can eliminate ambush points and make areas and structures safer for first responders. 

CPTED should also be applied for the fire protection and emergency management planning and building design. A holistic approach to building design and occupant safety is not complete without taking into account the risks, and perceived risks, of crime or potential threats. Applying CPTED principles can completely change, in the best way, the fire protection design and emergency response plan.

Codes and Standards

CPTED is in the codes and standards. NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security, has a chapter dedicated to “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design”.  This chapter outlines requirements for lighting and landscape, and is referenced from other chapters within NFPA 730. Chapters 11-20 of this document cover specific occupancy types such as educational facilities, health care facilities, restaurants, shopping centers, retail, and more. Within each of these chapters is a section on CPTED as it directly relates to the occupancy type. Though NFPA 730 is only a guide, it can be utilized and implemented into a fire department's CRR and plans review process.

NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, will have its first draft meeting on January 18. At this meeting Public Input #188 will be voted on for inclusion in the document. The goal of this public input is to insert a reference to CPTED principles. The proposed language and substantiation is, as follows:

New section, 4.9 Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. In new construction and when a building undergoes renovation or rehabilitation, the principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) shall be implemented for the occupancies as described in NFPA 730, Guide for Premises Security, Chapter 8.

Statement of Problem and Substantiation for Public Input:

The intent of NFPA 101 is for Life Safety, as stated in the A1.1.8,”Life safety in buildings includes more than safety from fire...its technical requirements respond to a wider range of concerns...Code requirements...might also assist in responding to many other hazards…” Furthermore, Sections 4.2.1 and 4.2.4 emphasize the objectives of occupant protection, and physical violence mitigation. The principles of CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) contribute to life safety through a systematic approach to facility lighting, design, landscaping, and human factors planning. These contribute to the safety of the buildings occupants and to first responders. Application of CPTED principles can give the first responder an advance notice of unsafe conditions that may pertain to the facility or people around it. These principles are already a part of NFPA 730, the goal of this public comment is to put a pointer to these requirements for the user of NFPA 101.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is a strategy that can completely change a community. Employing these strategies as a component of the Community Risk Reduction program can reduce crime, reduce call volume, contribute to responder safety, and provide for a holistic design approach for buildings and community spaces.

For CPTED training and information contact Art Hushen at the National Institute of Crime Prevention.

For site assessments, plan reviews, or consulting you can schedule a free consultation with me.

Hard Code Sections [How to Understand Them]

Have you ever been reading through the code and come to a section that you just can’t understand? One of those code sections that you read, read it again, think about it, then re-read it. Only to still not understand what it is saying? I’ve been in this spot more than once. So, how do you get past it? What are some steps to understanding what you are reading?

Here are the four steps to understanding hard code sections:

  1. Annex information. Is there an asterisk by the code section (for NFPA codes and standards)? If so, refer to the annex for this code reference or section. Additionally, reading the code section before and after the problem section can help by providing context. If these sections have annex information, then review that, as well. 

  2. Other editions. Refer to past editions and future editions of the same code section or language. Sometimes the same concept is stated or explained another way in other editions. Other editions may make the concept to be more clearly understood.

  3. Handbooks. Many codes have handbooks that are published by the code organization, or even outside publishers. Refer to the code section in the related handbook for potential commentary, explanation, or illustration, for clarity.

  4. Google search. Finally, do a Google search of key phrases from the code section, the code reference, or copy and paste the entire code section into the search bar. This may produce other resources such as articles, blog posts, social media comments, and other items that may provide clarity and direction for understanding.

How do you comprehend hard code sections?