My Favorite Inspirational Fire Books

So this is a little separate from our normal topics, and you may ask – why the hell do I care what you read?  

  1. If you’re reading blogs like this, you’re a “fire nerd” – or at least care a good deal about the job.
  2. Everyone needs a little inspiration or pick-me-up, especially in these times when the “modern” fire service can get you down.

As such, here are a few of my all-time favorite texts (did you know I can read?)….

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Building Construction and Basement Fires

Quite often, we find websites to share with you that have some great info, which is the case with UL University. They have conducted a study on fires in Single Family Dwellings, in particular “Structural Stability of Engineered Lumber in Fire Conditions”.  I recommend that you log in and view this presentation with your shift, on your duty crew night, or just for your own knowledge. 


Basement Fires and Collapse:

One of the most compelling items I pulled from the presentation is the T.I.C. portion. If we asked 100 FF’s what they view as the most dangerous fires that they could encounter in a SFD, I would venture to say a majority would say “basement fires”. They are hard to find, they are hot, they create zero visibility, and if not put out quickly they turn into a FF’s nightmare.

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Great Forcible Entry Resource

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the “FDNY Forcible Entry Manual”…. There are some excellent tips for forcing all types of doors with all types of tools, as well as some good in-house modifications for your forcible entry equipment.

Be sure to check out some good ideas on forcing magnetic locks, which have become increasingly popular (page 85)…

FE Manual

Also check out this great in-house forcible entry prop.  This particular prop was built in the basement of FDNY’s Ladder 28 and features reusable props for conventional inward/outward methods, thru-the-lock, as well as roll-up and security gate props.  There is also some pictures of an outside prop below that could be constructed anywhere.

Though we don’t always have a FE challenge at every fire or run, when we do have one our ability to overcome it will usually “make or break” the operation.  How many firehouse basements are storage areas have you seen that are just wasted space?  These props represent an excellent heads-up use of what would have probably otherwise been wasted space – they were probably also built for almost nothing.

More Pictures of the Props

More digital radio problems…

Despite the repeated and plentiful problems with digital radios in the fire service, more and more departments are beginning to use them.  Smart, right?

A recent report by the IAFC pinpoints a new hazard that firefighters of all levels should be aware of.  Very simply – high noise has a tendency to disruption in the “audible modulation” (that’s “ability to understand” for the rest of us).  While this may sound obvious, its related attributed directly to the technolgoy in digital radios.

There are alot of implications to this, but most notably is that during “MAYDAY” transmissions or RIT deployments.  A specific finding was that an activated pass-alarm in the area may eliminate the ability to transmit a understandable message.  The take home point is:

  • Firefighters should declare a “MAYDAY” before activating their own PASS alarm
  • RIT teams should silence the downed FF’s PASS alarm ASAP so that nessecary communication can occur.

Recent testing by the Fairfax County FD as well as experience during recent RIT training in the District of Columbia have confirmed these concerns….

More information in these reports:


good ovm work…