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Guest blog written by Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.) For only the second time in its 121-year history, the National Fire Protection Association is preparing to publish a new standard, NFPA 3000: Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events, with provisional standard status. Provisional standards are developed when there is a serious life safety concern that warrants an abbreviated standards development process. Active shooters and hostile events It's no secret that in the U.S. we're besieged by an epidemic of gun-related violence. Regardles
Guest blog written by Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.) Firefighter training is not a synonym for testing.   We’ve all been a part of such an exercise, either as a student or an instructor or both. The 
Fire Service Leadership Profiles — Burton ClarkGuest blog written by Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.) After writing the first leadership profile of Dr. Denis Onieal, the subject of the next article in that series immediately came to mind. Dr. Burton Clark, Ed.D., was a natural choice because he’s had a tremendous impact on my fire service career and likely hundreds of thousands of my colleagues over the years. Dr. Clark has been many things over the years, but his LinkedIn Profile says it all: He lists himself as a Member of the Fire Service for more than 47 years.
Fire Service Leadership Profiles — Dr. Denis OniealGuest blog written by Battalion Chief Robert Avsec (Ret.) The recent passing of fire service legend Fire Chief (Ret.) Alan Brunacini was followed by an incredible outpouring of condolences for the Brunacini family and the fire service around the globe. The posts on social media and on fire service websites provided an incredible array of stories, reminisces and a genuine love for the man who taught us how to be a fire ground commander and he also introduced us to "Mrs. Smith." And he took the title of "King of the Hawaiian Shirt" away from Tom Selleck, aka, Magnum, P.I. In this first installment of Profiles in Fire Service Leadership, I've been given the opportunity to acknowledge and celeb
Guest Blog wirtten for ATS by Robert Avsec Allow me to begin by saying that this article is not focused on treating any individual who is having negative responses to post traumatic stress (PTS), especially those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those folks need the treatment and guidance of mental health professionals and others far more knowledgeable on the subject. Many people have many opinions about why fire and EMS personnel are being exposed to more on-the-job stress (career or volunteer, you’re still on the job when providing service), but there seems to be general agreement that they are. So, if we know that stress is to be expected, shouldn’t we prepare ourselves to minimize the risk? We know the risks involved in
Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec What's one of the most critical operational issues that many volunteer fire departments struggle with? Knowing who's available for emergency responses and knowing who's actually responding when a call for service comes in. Volunteer fire departments have historically relied on sign-up sheets or boards located in the fire station; ad hoc scheduling at its best (or worst). And not always accurate as plans change for individual members, changes that too frequently don't get made on the schedule. In this article, I'm going to explore some options that volunteer fire departments can use to better ensure that they have the people they need when someone in the community needs their fire department. What is NFPA 1720? NFPA 1720 is the Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fir
Guest Blog for ATS by Robert AvsecThe training of firefighters and officers has come a long way since I began my career in 1981. Back then, 8 mm movies, 35 mm photograph slides, and transparencies (or overlays) were the only off-the-shelf training products available for instructors. And training had to take place in a physical location, such as, the fire training center or the fire station. For ad hoc "graphics" in the classroom, the instructor's options were a chalkboard or clear vinyl sheets (transparencies) that the instructor could draw or write on and have it projected on the screen on an overhead projector (Google the names for those pieces of equipment to see what they looked like). Today's Classroom Today, with computer technology the classroom can be anywhere: the fi
Guest Blog for ATS by Robert Avsec"Training teaches what Operations does, and Operations does what Training teaches." That's the Training and Safety Division's motto for the Chesterfield County (Va.) Fire and EMS Department where I served for my entire 26-year career. The motto is on a large banner that hangs in the main hallway of the Fire Training wing of the County's Eanes-Pittman Public Safety Training Center.From my experiences, which included serving as the Chief of the Training and Safety Division for 3+ years, such a motto should be the starting point for any fire chief that wants to have a successful training program. For too long, too many young firefighters have heard this (or something similar) from senior department members and