Archive for the ‘7. Everything Else’ category

1 Worcester LODD This Morning.


They are reporting one Worcester firefighter was killed this morning in a triple decker fire. They had twelve people inside the building this morning when they arrived. A wall collapsed and pinned firefighters who had to be rescued. Be sure to follow this one has more information comes out.

Fire Engineering

Motivation By Action


If you haven’t seen on our Facebook Page yet, I was asked and honored to write an article for the guys over at Fire Service Warrior. It is a great website that is rapidly growing in popularity. It has multiple different authors and contributors that write on fitness issues, mentality and mindfulness and provide some great training articles and videos.

I am not much of a creative writer which is why on this website  I typically stick to the technical type articles. I put it off for a while but finally accepted the challenge and wrote an article on mentorship and motivation. Thanks to Brian Brush and Chris Brennan for the challenge.

Here is a look at it for anyone that is interested.

Never Forget…Not Just One Day a Year.


Never Forget….You hear it so often that it starts to become more of a slogan than words with meaning. Sometimes we say it, write it, tattoo it but not really remember the true meaning of “Never Forget” and what it represents.

Every year I remember September 11th 2001 and the 343 men that died doing their job that day. Do I only remember once a year? Not a chance. However I specifically take that day each year, to reflect on the men who died and how I remember. The way I Never Forget comes in a few different variations.

If I am off duty I take part in the annual stair climb at the Qwest building in Downtown Denver.  I, along with my crew and hundreds of others, bring all of our gear and hike the 55 floors of the building twice to accomplish the 110 stories of the towers. This is a very personal way to Never Forget. You are assigned a picture of one of the men that died, it has their name and company to which they were assigned. The meaning becomes more powerful when you put a face to the number,  you begin think about them when your legs become unsteady and breathing becomes more difficult. Mentally it makes you stronger than you ever would be while hiking those stairs any other day.  For me personally I have no excuse to think about the pain, the fatigue, or the doubt (of finishing) that may cross my mind.  For a short hour I feel fatigue that is only the smallest fraction of what they must have felt. I hike in conditions that are perfect compared to those stairwells, and the only thing that I realize is that I do not have the slightest clue of what it was like to be one of them.

That’s what is great about remembering them in this fashion, it humbles you which gives you respect. It brings fatigue and stress which lets you remember physically and it brings emotion by having you climb for a specific man who died that day. Thank you to those that organize these climbs across the nation, you are living up to our vow.

If I am scheduled for duty I don’t take a trade to do these other events.  I feel honored to work that day and have my own way of remembering. For me it is a good reset button, a day to forget any of the politics, or parts of our job that bring us down. A day to forget the things that don’t matter and focus on the very basics, culture and tradition of our trade. To think about the word brotherhood that is so commonly thrown around without the action that it takes to support it. What  can you do to make yourself and the others on your crew better, and how can you support them.  Ask yourself if you are combat ready, if you do not who will? Without these questions and actions, we will become complacent. To me this is honoring and remembering what they lost their lives for. They were center stage that day representing the entire American Fire Service, and they put on a perfect show. They accomplished the greatest interior search and removal of citizens that has ever been done. All of this while knowing this could be their last march up a stairwell, and not hesitating because of the belief in our core mission of removing people from harms way. By remembering them, I challenge myself  to try and be a good tradesman for my small part of the Fire Service.  

The discouraging part about these beliefs is the realization that  I will take grief and some ridicule for believing in them. Why would I say that? Because it already happens. Either verbally or through actions towards me it is usually made clear who does not believe in representing or remembering our fallen in this way or supporting the culture of brotherhood. This only makes me more thankful to those that have mentored me through their actions and taught me why it is important that we remember our fallen, focus on our basics, and protect the important culture of our trade.

I will be flying out to NYC tonight to remember 9-11 and the 343 in a different way this year. This is my ramblings on what remembering does and means to me. What does it mean for you?

Never Forget

New Place to Follow IRONS and LADDERS


We finally took the dive into the Facebook world and created a page for IRONS and LADDERS LLC. We are still getting the hang of things but it should be a good avenue for us to post short trainings and updates on classes. Take a look and if you want to help us and follow along with more articles, “like” us at 

None of the owners actually have Facebook pages so we have no easy route to suggest this page to friends. But with your help we should have the word spreading around shortly. We just posted some recent photos and have been receiving a lot of feed back from our last class.  Thanks for your help and continued interest in our training blog and hands on classes.

San Francisco LODD


The San Francisco Fire Department lost two members in a fire June 2nd 2011. Initial reports are saying they may have been caught in a flashover. Both were pulled from the fire and transported to the hospital with CPR in progress. Take a minute and listen to the audio along with watching the news footage of the fire building.

They arrived at this fire with light smoke showing and ended up having zero visibility conditions on the interior. Lt Perez died the day of the fire while Firefighter Valerio died today as a result of the injuries received on the 2nd.

More coverage of this fire can be found on all the major fire news sites.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

SAN Francisco LODD, posted with vodpod



Upcoming Classes and Training


We wanted to catch everyone up on some class and training opportunities from around the area.

First the Two Knuckleheads have their next presenter only a few weeks out. On May 16th John Ceriello will be presenting a class on “Todays Fire Attack and Ventilation”. This should be a great class that brings a good mix of street experience mixed with research findings on some of the most highly discussed topics in the fire service. You can visit the Two Knuckleheads website ( ) to obtain more information about this class or the others that these guys have planned. A job well done by these guys that have put a lot of their own time, energy and money into making these classes happen. You can also read more details or feel free to print off the flyer for this class found below. All registrations or further questions should be directed to the
                                                        May16 Flyer[1]

We here at IRONS and LADDERS LLC also have some more hands on forcible entry classes scheduled and in the works. We just finished a successful conventional forcible entry class at Pikes Peak Community College where we were able to run their entire Firefighter 1 Academy through the full day course.
We will be visiting Cripple Creek, Colorado on June 12th for a full day hands on forcible entry class as well. This is a closed session course for their Academy of new recruits along with some current firefighters.
Keep your eyes open for a date to be set in the Teller County, Colorado area for this summer. This will be an open enrollment class for that area hosted by the North East Teller County Fire District. We will have more information, a date and sign-up information for this class within the next week or so.
We also have two other classes in the works and will release the information on them once we get final commitments from these departments.
Thank you all for your support.

RIP Ed Stringer and Corey Ankum


My Union and my Fire Department in the years past have started a tradition that I would encourage everyone to consider for their own area. When multiple firefighters die in the line of duty, our Union pays to fly and lodge two of our members to the represented city. Our fire department supports us by allowing guys the time off which is very helpful considering we fly out within days of the LODD happening. So a Thank You goes out to both of them.

I have attended my fair share of fire department funerals just in my own state, both multiple firefighter deaths from fire scenes and single non fire related deaths. Whatever the scenario, it does not matter. They all died from something related to our trade, and they all left families behind. When you have hundreds or even thousands of firefighters show up from around your state you can see the impact that it has on the families. You can see the realization that their husbands were part of something bigger than those families may have ever been aware of. The realization that firefighters would travel from around the country to honor someone they never knew simply because we shared the same beliefs of our chosen trade. Something discouraging however is the relatively small representation of firefighters that show up, compared to the thousands of them that are within a few hours driving distance to the services.

It was a good turnout in Chicago, I would guess each funeral had 1500 to 2000 show up just from the City, and another three or four hundred from out of town. I met some great guys from Chicago and around the country. In between the funerals we had a chance to talk a fair amount about the fire that killed these guys and some topics that arise with fires involving LODD’s.  I want to say thanks to Nate Demarse for taking time out of his day to drive us around the neighborhood and for taking us by the scene of the fire. It was a good reminder that things are not always as they appear. The fire building was much smaller than I had pictured by the photos. There was very little signs of smoke or fire damage in the back of the building where the collapse occurred. The front of the building looked no more run down or dilapidated than most of its surrounding buildings, or for that matter every other building on that street. 

Where am I going with this? Well I don’t get into a lot of my own opinion on this website and stick mainly to basics of our craft. However it’s getting hard to swallow the amount of people I hear, or see commenting online about this fire with no other intentions then saying they were wrong to go in that building. With no depth, or facts on their side they simply slander the names of these two by repeatedly saying to others “They shouldnt have been in there”. How can anyone throw that out there, especially if you were not at this fire?

On my way back to the Hotel in Downtown Chicago I had numerous homeless people yell “Thanks”, “Thanks For Caring” or “I’m Sorry” as I walked by. All they saw was what my Class A uniform represents, they had no clue I was from out of town. But what one of them specifically did know was the fact that the Chicago Firefighters would search for them, the homeless, the class of society that many may ignore. He had heard that the FD had gotten reports of squatters in the building, and was taken back by the fact that they would try to come in and get them. They were searching for them the same way they would search for an upper class family in a 5000 square foot mansion, or a blue collar family in a middle class bungalow.

Driving around the neighborhood of the fire made it very clear to me that there was a huge population of transient people in the area, and to go along with them there was hundreds, or more likely thousands of boarded up buildings. This was a “norm” in this area. Boarded up or vacant buildings is a normal part of the landscape in this part of Chicago. What will you find in them?  Homeless people lighting warming fires in the winter to survive. When this argument comes up I have heard people claim that these squatters are in there illegally in the first place, to me this is not a valid point. We don’t have the privilege of deciding who is in the right and who is in the wrong, that is why the FD has such a great love from the citizens. Because everyone is equal when the bells go off and we try to search for someone. It doesn’t matter if you are trespassing in a vacant building, or illegally have 12 people living in a 2 bed apartment, or your running drugs out of your house. Everyone is equally as important, which is why the original point is not valid. 

I am not writing a long winded article on what we should search, when and why. But I am saying I think it is horrible how fast “our own” will second guess, and monday morning quarterback our fallen without good intent. I say good intent because there is a difference in someone who wants to learn as much as they can from these fires and learn from others experiences as compared to someone who knows just enough about the fire to say I can’t believed they entered a vacant.

To wrap this up I think it is ironic how it seems most of the people that constantly have stuff to say about the faults of our fallen firefighters tactics and are quick to question the actions of every LODD fire are typically not found at these funerals in support of the department who has just lost them. So in honor of the ones of who have gone before us, I would hope you would try to make the next LODD death that is in your area, and to remember that we don’t know what happened at these fires strictly off news reports and online commentary.

Here is a brief news article on a fire in Chicago involving homeless that were rescued. This occurred very shortly after the fatal fire.      News Link


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