Are You Building A Harmonious Team?

Wildland Fire Leadership
November 10, 2015

There’s more to it than just saying you’re a team. In complex and dangerous situations, teams have to work together, harmoniously. Like the improvisation of a jazz quartet, each member knows when to step in and when to hand it over to another. They’re connected.

Read here Pam McDonald’s take on Unity Through Harmony, or how fire leaders build cohesive teams to work in high risk environments.

5 Leadership Lessons: Leading Above the Line

Leading Blog
November 2, 2015

Leaders build trust, set clear standards, and then equip and inspire people to meet that standard.

Read here an excellent book review of Coach Urban Meyer’s new book, Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season.

Here’s a quick look at the 5 lessons:

  1. Winning behavior will not thrive in a culture that does not support it.
  2. If your habits don’t reflect your dreams and goals, you can either change your habits or change your dreams and goals.
  3. Do whatever you can to reinforce someone’s confidence by helping him to achieve small victories.
  4. When things aren’t going right, the most important thing you can do is slow down, go deep, and figure out why.
  5. You can’t lead people to a place that you are not going to as well. If it isn’t happening in you, it won’t happen through you.

Where It All Began: 6 Pioneers Of Fire Behavior

FireRescue1: Fire Chief Digital Edition
October 21, 2015

In days of old, fires were ferocious and demanded that firefighters learn on the job. There were no water systems or building codes to slow the fire to give firefighters the time to respond. Many people, including firefighters, died trying to save lives and protect property. They had to make decisions, and fast. The fire service needed pioneers to design tools and develop ways to do it better. A few individuals have stood out for their contributions to do just that.

Read here in the Fire Chief Digital Edition about where it all began.

To learn more about the history of the fire service go here to

I’m excited to be teaching Command and Control of Incident Operations at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. I’ll be instructing with my friend Terry Clements, Division Chief (Ret) from Clearwater (Florida) Fire Rescue.


Date: November 29, 2015—December 4, 2015
Event: National Fire Academy
Topic: Command & Control of Incident Operations
Sponsor: National Fire Academy
Venue: National Fire Academy
Location: 16825 S. Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
United States
Public: Private

I’ll be working with my friend and retired district chief Curtis Rice teaching at the October 2015 Officer Development Series at Palm Beach Fire Rescue. Curtis will review Situation Awareness and Reading a House and I’ll explain Command Strategies for Incident Operations. We’ll study building designs and systems, talk about some problem-solving techniques and resource management, and play a few strategic decision-making games.



Date: October 6, 2015—October 8, 2015
Event: PBCFR Officer Development Series
Topic: PBCFR Officer Development Series
Sponsor: Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Training Division
Venue: Chief Herman W. Brice Fire Rescue Training Complex
Location: 405 Pike Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
Public: Private

We remember the horror of those planes crashing, the Twin Towers falling, and the Pentagon burning. We remember seeing some of the last moments of those who died on that day. We remember their heroism.

I am excited to be speaking at the Federation of Fire Chaplains Conference this coming Fall, along with Chief Herman Brice, Chief Bobby Halton, and many others. The conference is called Leading in the Storm and will focus on behavioral issues challenging the fire service today. I hope you can join us!

Date: October 16, 2015—October 22, 2015
Event: Fire Chaplains Conference 2015
Topic: A Team of Teams: New Rules for Leading in the Storm
Sponsor: Federation of Fire Chaplains
Venue: DoubleTree Inn
Location: 4431 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.

Get Ready

If you’re going to be a leader when lives depend on it, you should “get ready.” I talk to a lot of new fire leaders, and I tell them, “You’re going to be tested soon, so get ready!” When you find yourself in the middle of a serious situation, you’re going to lose 25% of your confidence to nerves. So you better be overqualified. You better have practiced before the real event. Develop an appetite for chaos, because its either going to defeat you or it will teach you. Get ready.

I’ll be working with Riviera Beach Fire Rescue and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue teaching command and control using the recent high rise fire at the Phoenix Towers as a case study. We’ll review the building design and systems, talk about some problem-solving techniques and resource management, and play a few strategic decision-making games.

Date: August 4, 2015—August 6, 2015
Event: Command Training at Phoenix Towers
Topic: Strategic Decision-Making & Resource Management
Venue: Phoenix Towers
Location: Singer Island, Florida