Command Considerations–First Arriving: Part 1

Don’t over-compicate the roll of command. In this episode Chief Pronesti discusses a simple initial size up option that takes into account the building.  This is not the only option out there, just one we discussed in this particular episode.


Size–how do you determine size and define that for your crews?

Use–understand the special hazards that each use group holds for firefighting operations and the members

Type–this requires you to get out and to see buildings and to understand that what we see is not always the facts.

Era–this is a critical piece of the puzzle that is forgotten. Get out and learn about the era your buildings were built in and the characteristics of those buildings.

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Commanding the Mayday: Part 1

Nothing can be so chaotic as a firefighter in trouble that calls a Mayday.  The fire service spends a lot of time and resources in training firefighters and task level officers in techniques and methods for calling a Mayday and surviving those situations—as it should be!  However, there has been little developed and created in the way of real, meaningful training for incident commanders to hone their skills in handling a Mayday.


This podcast will discuss, generally, about commanding a Mayday.  It is part 1 of a multi-part series that will focus on the IC and his/her role in handling the Mayday for a successful outcome.  


Our special guest for this series is Assistant Chief Joe Pronesti of the Elyria, OH Fire Department.  He speaks from experiences and his in-depth training.   

Chief Pronesti will be speaking at FDIC International 2017 on 

Size-Up and Command for the Small Department: How to Avoid Being Lost in the Fog of the Fireground

on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 08:00-12:00 in Rooms 132-133.

Below are some examples of what Chief Pronesti is doing and offering.


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Columbia Memorial Stair Climb

Check out their page at Columbia Memorial Stair Climb



After you climb 110 stories you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride. Sure, you’ll be proud that you finished the climb, but more importantly, you’ll take pride in knowing that in this great country there are still hero’s that are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep all of us safe. 343 Firefighters, 70 Law Enforcement Officers, and 9 EMS Technicians died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. If you look closely, you will see that the American flag on the back of this shirt is comprised of 422 names. These are the names of the fallen. THIS IS WHY WE CLIMB!

Register to climb before 4.24.2017 and you will receive one of these amazing shirts! Go to to register now.



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Surviving the Poor Company or Department

Chief Reilly took some fabulous notes, here they are:


  1. Set your standards, your own code, and then live by them. Do not allow others to define what good or bad is.


  1. Management always has the right to manage poorly


  1. Normally bad assignments done last forever. Don’t do something that will stay with you for your entire career. One of the worst things to be labeled is a malcontent.


  1. Surround yourself with good people, positive energy comes for this.


  1. Stay in your lane. If you are a firefighter in a bad situation, then just concentrate on being the best firefighter you can. If you are a chauffeur or a company officer same thing.


  1. Your ability with two, five, seven years of experience probably is going to be very limited to influence the mind of a 30 year veteran.


  1. How many of the stupid things that management/leadership impact you?


  • “Oh that’s a stupid rule I would never do that” Well good then you don’t need to worry about it. I can guarantee you that even if you wouldn’t do that, someone else did and that is the reason why they came out with the rule!!!


  1. Don’t worry about making them look bad, let them make you look good.


  1. Remember it is still the best job in the world. If they are putting you in the position where you don’t feel that any more you might want to think about moving on.

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With or Without the Hose Line?

In the last few weeks I posted about being aggressive. In that post I mentioned that we, our department, will search without a hose line.  This seemed to raise some eyebrows and concern about what I said.

This podcast addresses what I mean by that and some ways to search without the hose line in your hands.  

We train and operate in a manner that allows our crews to search unattached to a hose line. For good reason too because we have trained and drilled and found that we are delaying one tactic or the other when we search strictly off of the hose line while making the attack.

We allow the fire to grow unchecked and we delay the search for victims when we are trying to do both at the same time.

It’s critical that you train and operate within your resources and SOG’s.


Thanks for listening and take care.

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Battalion Chief Officer Development–July 25, 2016


This class is one I’ve been asked about since rolling out the Company Officer Development Program we’ve been doing for almost two years with great success. The Battalion Chief version is the same format but it is six weeks instead of five and it focuses on issues OFF of the fire ground. Check it out, seating will be limited due to the amount of assignments involved.
Syllabus link Click HERE

Starts July 25, 2016, Six Weeks, $225 per student.

Link to register at HERE:

Take the High Road: No Gossip Allowed

This episode discusses the harm and challenges associated with speaking out of turn and partaking in the gossip that can be so ever prevalent.  Take the high road, don’t participate and get all of the facts before speaking about something or someone.  It can be harmful to the person being talked about and to your credibility and reputation.


Be a leader and stop gossip when you can and don’t participate.

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5 Common Mistakes New Officers Make

Here is a video of a recent FREE webinar about five common mistakes that new fire officers tend make. These are by no means exclusive, but from my experience are committed by many new officers.

-Don’t try to change the world
-Don’t have an authority complex
-Don’t micromanage
-Don’t be a quitter
-Don’t avoid discipline

I would welcome others that you might think of or have seen frequently.



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Bailout Basics

Bailout is a last option for us when things go bad. We can do all of the right things and still find ourselves in trouble. It doesn’t and won’t happen often when we train and operate in standard manners, but we have to be prepared.

This podcast discusses some basic concepts that we at Engine House Training, LLC teach and believe in regarding firefighter bailout.  I have a also attached the .pdf for the build out of the low prop we use for instructing and mastering our bailout skills. You don’t need a tall building.

Be sure to check us out at FDIC 2016 HOT.


Low Bailout Prop Link


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