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Fireground Strategies: Strategic Decision-Making

Anthony Avillo

This presentation will cover the decisions that need to be made regarding fire scene strategy determination based on the arrival and/or forecasted conditions. Strategy selection considerations, strategy modification cues, and offensive-to-defensive / defensive to offensive strategic transition will be a focus for discussion. Situational fire topics will be discussed and highlighted by case studies and lessons learned from past incidents. Areas of focus will include below grade fires, attached and closely spaced buildings, cockloft fires, exposure issues, and large area buildings. We will further discuss the recognition of when an exterior strategic opportunity presents itself, precipitating a transitional strategy as the initial fireground action. Additional insights into strategies and tactics to make a transitional attack more effective will be covered. Further, additional alarm considerations as well as the importance of standard operating procedures as the foundation of fireground control and the importance of progress reports from all operational areas as the basis of ongoing review/evaluation/revision requirements. A must for the Incident Commander.

Make the Grab, NOT Excuses

Cody Trestrail

Ladder Company Operations: Building an Operational Guideline

Jason Joannides

Ladder company functions must be performed and executed correctly on every fireground. Whether you’re an urban fire department or rural volunteer department, these tasks must be executed. Many organizations struggle to put together and build operational guidelines that flow properly with the fireground tactics. This classroom session will cover step by step, how to build, complete, and distribute a comprehensive ladder operations guideline.

First Due Tactics for the Urban Truck Boss

Sean Eagen

The class will cover initial arrival considerations (first due tactics) for urban-based company officers. The class content will cover assigning resources, managing truck company crews during emergency incidents, and debriefing calls and other major events. The instructor will describe methods for capitalizing on various experience levels within the ranks to successfully mitigate incidents and other company-related tasks and activities.

The Ins and Outs of Forcible Entry

Clay Magee

Forcible entry is one of the most common jobs for a truck company. Every day across America firefighters go to jobs with the first priority being to gain access. Many fire departments fail during recruit school to adequately prepare their firefighters when it comes to forcible entry. It is essential that truck company firefighters, as well as engine company firefighters in many departments, be proficient at forcible entry. Delayed forcible entry causes many problems including our two most important priorities: water on the seat of the fire and search. Forcible entry is a lacking skill in many areas of the country. Many firefighters rely on brute strength through methods such as the mule kick to get into houses, however such techniques will not always work at residential fires and will fail firefighters on the scene of a commercial fire. Firefighters need to be knowledgeable and proficient in use of their tools and doors/locks.
This class will cover the history of the halligan and where our present day halligans have come from, comparison of different brands of halligans, mechanical advantages, striking tips and body positioning, inward and outward swinging doors, drop bars, basic thru the lock techniques and uses, saw work, the 10% Search, and door size up. While a lecture only class, this class should serve as a building block to apply information to hands on training and the fireground. This class is the basics of residential and commercial forcible entry. Firefighters that come from strong, truck company centered departments may know much of this information, however many firefighters have been inadequately prepared to meet the challenges they will face. This class is an attempt to close the gap between the training textbooks and real world fire ground knowledge.

The Art of Reading Smoke

Rob Backer

Today’s structure fires are more dangerous than ever before. Lightweight construction, low-mass synthetics, and open space floorplans have created a perfect storm for rapid, prolific fire growth and extreme behavior. It is imperative for firefighters of all ranks and experience levels to be prepared for this new battle. The Art of Reading Smoke, developed by Dave Dodson and continued by Rob Backer, provides the knowledge necessary for first-arriving firefighters, officers, and chief officers to determine the fire’s location, progression, and future “from the seat” before seeing any flame. This knowledge ensures that the correct tactics are implemented for the best possible outcome. Through the extensive use of actual fireground videos, first-time students will develop, and return students will refine their knowledge and skills to become INTELLECTUALLY aggressive firefighters, rather than ARBITRARILY aggressive. The next generation of Reading Smoke brings new research, a new library of videos, and discussion on cancer prevention, tactics and strategies to develop the next generation of aggressive interior firefighting!

What They Don’t Teach You

Jason Liska

Becoming a Company Officer may mean different things to many before deciding to take that next step. And what is surprising to many is the amount of responsibility placed on you that you may have yet to experience in your years of preparing for your new role. This class will review the aspects of the rank of Company Officer, diving into topics such as Human Resource Management, Mentoring, Evaluating, Discipline, Crew Development, and Conflict Resolution. This 2-4 Hour Lecture Style Course is an open forum to exchange ideas and best practices in managing a fire company.

Reading the Building: Building FACTS and the Size-up on Today’s Fireground

Christopher Naum

Today’s buildings and occupancies continue to present unique challenges to command and operating companies during combat structural fire engagement. Building and occupancy profiling, identifying occupancy risk versus occupancy type, construction methods, features, systems and components require new skill sets in reading the building and implementing predictive occupancy profiling for today’s firefighters, company and command officers for effective and efficient fireground operations. Incorporating the Buildingsonfire FACTS concept for First-Arriving Construction, Tactics and Safety, this program provides an overview of the methodology and process to increase operational effectiveness and ensure critical building factors are identified, assessment and monitored throughout the incident. Focus on Residential and small Commercial occupancies.

Maximizing Our Impact

Jeremy Sanders

Making a positive impact on the fire service is something we are all constantly striving for. Unfortunately, at the same time we find ourselves confined by both internal and external limitations and some of these we never even realize. This class cuts through all the normal copouts we like to place blame on such as: bad leadership, restrictive policies, lack of time, and so on to deal with the real issues that are holding us back.

Maximizing Your Impact is about using essential factors such as Connection, Vulnerability, Respect, and Humility as force multipliers to help us reach our full potential in the impact we can have on others. We will also dig into how we can win the war within and overcome the factors in our own heads that are holding us back. To truly maximize our impact, we have to embrace the significance of our journey and the lessons that we are learning on it because it is leading us to finding the message that will help us to reach and inspire others.

The amount of positive impact that we can have on the fire service is only limited by our willingness to stretch beyond our comfort zone.

Tailboard Leadership: Leading From Bottom To Top

Ljay Geist

Tailboard Leadership:Leading From Bottom To Top is a lecture class LJay Geist created after dealing with both good and bad leadership in the fire service. What started out as a discussion with a good friend quickly turned into his first opportunity to present a lecture at the Mid America FOOLS Conference in Oklahoma City in October of 2021. Since, he has had the opportunity to present this lecture in seven different states.

This lecture and PowerPoint discusses the importance of informal leadership at the firefighter level all the way to formal leadership through Company Officers and Chiefs. It’s a great lecture to open the eyes of many departments on the importance of informal leadership,training, and equipping the future of the fire service with great leaders.

It’s up to everyone one of us to lead the way. Whether around the firehouse or on the battle ground, our mission matters. That starts with good leadership at every level within your organization. Every person of every rank is sure to take something valuable away from this class.

Hustle and Flow

Dru Goings

Hustle & Flow will take a deep dive in modern day tactical objectives for the 1st due engine company. However, before the 1st line can go to work we must address a little TLC Training, leadership, and culture and problems associated with them preventing us from putting the citizens of our communities as the top priority.

Drilling for Function

Aaron Fields

This class dives into psychomotor skill acquisition methodology and curriculum design and gives instructors insight into lesson plan, program design, and instructional techniques that build systems and algorithms rather than simply teach technique. The processes discussed are designed for firefighters working in a training capacity but are also beneficial for individual firefighters in organizing their own training.

Mind of Fire: Decision Making on the Fireground

Kiel Samsing

This class is a guide to making decisions during high-risk events. The Mind of Fire will guide you through Col John Boyd’s O.O.D.A (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loop and give you a mental model for decision-making. Drawing from social sciences and military strategy this class will lead you to make quick, rational decisions based on incomplete information and come away successful. Students will learn how to explicitly and implicitly make rapid decisions while creating novelty and reveling in ambiguity. The class partners lecture with interactive scenarios that will make firefighters comfortable with the concepts of uncertainty and tempo while reducing their reaction time, which will enable a quicker, more streamlined decision-making process.

Passion in Leading: Motivational Professional Development

Dave McGlynn

Passion in Leading is a professional development course developed through lessons learned while dealing with a diverse group of leaders. It is designed for all leaders and aspiring leaders in emergency services. Designed to motivate leaders to incorporate passion in their leadership style while inspiring their people to love the job as much as them. Passion is our fuel, it’s what makes us go where we go, unfortunately we lose that fuel and we become complacent. This course will help bring you back to that day when you first became a firefighter and remind you of that love and eliminate the complacency that has set in over the years. Passion is the difference between doing things because you WANT to and doing things because you HAVE to. The best leaders have the drive and passion to make themselves and their people better every day. Course purpose and objectives: The purpose of this course is to prepare up-coming leaders while refreshing current leaders of why incorporating passion into their leadership is important. The course brings them back to day one while covering all of the different challenges and levels of maturity you go through as you grow into a leader. It discusses team building, the importance of honesty and good communication while creating awareness of bad traits like gossip, malice and ego. It teaches you how to eliminate complacency and strive for success, how to achieve goals in both life and your career. The difference between pride and ego and most importantly the different sides of the passion sword. How using passion for good things will help you become a great leader or by using passion in a close-minded blind way will make you lose your following.

You Got Bugles, Now What? Lessons Learned as a Young Officer

Randy Feltner

I have spent over half of my tenure in the fire service as an officer at both the Company Officer and Chief Officer level. When I was given the opportunity to lead at a young age, I let my ego get in the way. I was working hard but it wasn't translating to the crews I was leading. Personal ambition got in the way of doing what I was called to do in the first place. It wasn't until I received a rude awaking and nearly died on the job that I took stock of my personal life and career where I was faced with the hard truth that I was failing miserably. I took the lessons learned over half my life from some of the best mentors both on and off the job to turn everything around. Simple actions led to personal goals and aspirations coming to fruition but also the goals and aspirations of many of my teammates. Together we all started to thrive on and off the job. My goal is to share these simple steps so that the next generation of leaders doesn't have to play catch up as they progress in their career. I wish I had listened earlier and not wasted years of not only my career but the careers of the firefighters I was given the opportunity to serve.

Gas Powered Forcible Entry

Adam Haywood

Firefighter Adam Haywood began his fire service career in 2010 and currently rides the backstep on Engine 13 for Adams County Fire Rescue in the Denver-Metro area. He has served as both an instructor and SME in career and volunteer academies around Colorado, serves in his department’s Training Division, and has delivered various classes throughout the country as the owner of Independent Fire Training. Adam is passionate about all types of entry techniques (irons, TTL, saws), has written for Fire Engineering on the topic, and has also instructed with Coastal Fire Training. He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two sons and can be found riding his Harley when the weather is nice.

Leadership From the Bottom Up!

Candace Ashby

This fun and engaging personal leadership development class designed to inspire, educate, and motivate attendees on caring for the organizational spirit! To build and/or maintain a winning organization we need everyone to bring their “A” game! Take control of the things you can change and let go of the things you cannot. It is time we all come together, shed the negative narrative, and become part of the solution. If you love the job, want to have fun, and be the change then this class is for you! You will leave fired up!

A Fire Chief's Guide to Surviving Local Politics

Jared Renshaw

Chief officers are often well versed in the strategies, tactics, and operations of their departments. In their positions, comes the added responsibility of becoming the “face” of their agency with every encounter they have. The focus is on the formal and informal politics that a newly promoted chief officer must be ready to encounter, navigate, and engage upon. These will be some of, if not the most critical relationships that must be developed for both the chief and agency to be successful. This interactive presentation will discuss how politics impact not only the internal stakeholders, but also how external stakeholders and their support are affected by it. Emphasis will be placed on the attitude, practices, and steps that the new chief can take to avoid mayhem and survive local politics.

Fire Officer Excellence

Anthony Avillo

This Full Contact Leadership / Fireground Strategies-based presentation will seek to challenge both current and prospective fire officers regarding preparation, attitude, philosophical approach, and operational and organizational skill both in the hard environment (on the fireground) and in the soft environment (the areas and time when you are preparing yourself and your subordinates for the fireground). The outcome of the 1% of the time we spend on the fireground is based on the actions, discipline, and leadership we display the other 99% of the time in the soft environment. This course will address Officer and Departmental responsibility as it relates to the Full Contact Leadership mantra: “Allow NOTHING to interfere with your ability to maintain the ready and in-service status of your Command.” We will examine foundation-level reasons for emergency ground failures and discuss organization-level controls and mechanisms to address and prevent same. Departmental and company-level expectations will be a focus of this discussion and why departments fail in the hard environment the and relationship this failure has to the soft environment. There will be a major emphasis on the importance of the "nothing showing environment" and its impact on the "something showing environment" with a “What You Permit You Promote” philosophy.

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