Not paying attention to outliers can be a tremendous cost.

L. David Marquet, former submarine commander and author of Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, suggests that when we discover an outlying position we should create a mindset of “they may be right and I may be wrong,” and then explore it.

Keep your mind open to find new opportunities, understand others, and manage uncertainty.

Embrace the outliers!

Another great learning source is Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success.

IAFC President Testifies Before Senate on Responding to New Terror Threats

February 3, 2016

As I wrote in a recent blog post on What’s next for the fire Service?, open-mindedness and a far-reaching vision will keep the fire service in the game.

After several unexpected, mass-civilian attacks on U.S. soil in 2015, the fire service will have to provide a more unified response to these new security threats. More use of a rescue task force approach combining law enforcement, fire, and EMS will be required. That means an even better relationship between those services and much more practice together to work out the kinks!

Read this article and watch the video testimony.


The fire service never leaves anyone behind. Our nation should do the same.

Congress, listen to “the people” and do the right thing!

From Paul Combs:

Daily DRAWN BY FIRE – This illustration was first published in 2010. I find it heartbreaking, discouraging, and infuriating that I can republish it today! The Zadroga Act is not a political football for the House to fumble – contact your Congressional rep and demand they stand up for what’s right. This illustration and message has been forwarded to my Congressman Bob Latta (R) Ohio.

Here are a few articles on the latest… I’ll post more as I get time.

House committee’s revised bill to renew Zadroga Act draws opposition from Democrats

This Powerful Image Shows Why Jon Stewart Is Fighting So Hard For 9/11 Heroes

Zadroga Act Adovcates Make Final Push For Renewal As Congress Deadline Looms

Be very careful what you ask for, you may get it… and get it… and get it…

Firefighters are problem-solvers; they always have suggestions. Fire chiefs need to know what’s needed on the front lines, and who better to tell them than the firefighters working on it.

How do fire chiefs get the right information to tackle the right problems?

They don’t get it from inside of a box. They get it by breaking down the walls, working across divisions, and developing true teamwork and collaboration. They build a “team of teams.”


Gallant actions by firefighters battling fire while bullets and bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor.

Official U.S. Navy photo of firefighters battling the fire on the U.S.S. West Virginia that was started by Japanese torpedoes and bombs in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.


Report From Engine Co. 82: Read The Book, Get The Shirt

Hooks & Irons Co.
November 17, 2015

Like many young firefighters, reading Report From Engine Co. 82 inspired me and helped me better understand the culture of the fire service. Many years later, as a chief officer who promoted intentional reading, I re-read it and purchased several copies and passed them on to others. I’ve also read Dennis Smith’s other books that explored the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake and fires, the history of firefighting in America, and firefighters’ lives in their own words. Who better than a firefighter to help us learn and discover the history and meaning of the fire service.

Hooks & Irons, also, is a firefighter owned company that understands the importance of knowing who we are and where we come from. Their mission is to help “celebrate the traditions and history of the fire service,” and they do that through a story-telling blog and the sale of firefighting merchandise that “reflects the beauty and history of our job”. Read their blog on Report From Engine Co. 82 – Remembering A Classic. I wear one of their hats and a couple of their shirts.

Read the book Report from Engine Co. 82 and buy the shirt Engine Co. 82 from Hooks & Irons.

Get and read other Dennis Smith books here:


What makes someone fail as a leader? Not their physical skills or their mental toughness. It’s when their EGO becomes too big.

Listen to Leif Babin and Jocko Willink explain how leaders can get control of their egos. Learn to own problems and own the solutions.

Get their book, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win and read it.

Found this video at Firefighter Close Calls.

Old school, same as new school.

So much is new in the fire service: smarter technology, stronger equipment, more efficient techniques, and safer gear. But our greatest challenge, our real purpose, remains the same: to save lives and to protect property.

Old school, it’s pretty much the same as new school.