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The Action Training Systems Emergency Responder Blog

onieal portraitFire Service Leadership Profiles — Dr. Denis Onieal
Guest 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 ...

scene safetyFirefighters and medics working at the scene of a motor vehicle crash (MVC) are increasingly being exposed to the risk of becoming the victim of a secondary crash. We regularly see instances where first-responders are killed or seriously injured, or their apparatus destroyed, by the reckless actions of inattentive or distracted drivers. The situation for potential disaster is only exacerbated with more individuals with more technology in their care, traveling over poorly maintained roads and highways in many areas of the country.

One of the most important responsibilities for fire officers and firefighters...

Guest blog writtn for ATS by Robert Avsec

RFPA request for proposal, or RFP, is a business tool that should be used by a fire department’s leadership to ensure that your department obtains the most competitively priced goods and services to meet your organization’s training needs. A well-written RFP can ensure that your department’s expectations are clearly understood by potential vendors. 

For potential vendors, your RFP should provide them with a guide that enables them to accurately and completely describe the who, what, when, why, and how they will meet the expectations you set...

Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

General AviationWhen we think about airports in the U.S., most of us likely think about airports like Chicago's O'Hare Airport or Dallas-Fort Worth or LAX in Los Angeles. Those vast facilities with hundreds of take-offs and landings by planes of all sizes heading to domestic and international destinations.

What you may not know is that there are over 19,000 airports, heliports, seaplane bases and other landing facilities in the United States and its territories. The large airports with commercial flight service like LAX and JFK International account for only 378 of the airports in the U.S.

Ou...

Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

Online09

On-line training and education. Buzzwords in today's fire service training circles. Fire departments, large and small, are leaping into the on-line training and education "pool" as a solution for their every-changing training and education needs for their members.

Training and Educational Needs

Many fire departments across the U.S. and Canada str...

Guest Blog wirtten for ATS by Robert Avsec

PTSD2Allow 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...

Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

Stress10In our previous article, The Effects of Stress on Our Brain and Body, we discussed how the brain processes and responds to stress and the resultant effects on our mind, behaviors, emotions, and our body. In this article, we'll discuss some of the stressors that exist for firefighters and how identifying the sources of our stress are an important step in learning to cope with on-the-job stress in a more healthy way.

Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

Much is being written about and talked about regarding post-traumatic stress and its effect on firefighters. The job has always been physically and emotionally taxing, but an increasing awareness of the adverse effects of post-traumatic stress is "shining a light" on the difficulties that many firefighters have coping with those stresses. From behavioral changes to alcohol and substance abuse to suicide, too many firefighters are unable to cope with those pressures.

How our brain handles stress

stress1

Figure 1. Source: Your Brain on Stress and Anxiety. https://vimeo.com/78895649

The amygdala or "rep...

scene safetyGuest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

In August 1979, I was a new EMT working my first job in EMS as an employee of the private sector ambulance service that had the contract to provide EMS to the city of Richmond, Virginia. On one of my first tours of duty, my partner and I responded to a reported shooting in the Fairfield Court projects in the east end of the city.

Like many urban areas in the late 1970s, Richmond was seeing the fallacy in project housing for low income families; the people were still poor, the buildings were deteriorating by the day, and the sale of street drugs was quickly becoming the #1 job in the neighborhood.

Back...

stopwatch fireGuest 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 ensur...