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US&R in Haiti: Wishing vs. Planning

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Every community must understand its vulnerabilities and the potential for disaster, and plan accordingly. The caveat to this is, that despite the presence of a written plan, you can have every contingency covered and discussed, if you don’t understand and practice the plan, it isn’t worth the paper it is written on.

Urban Search and Rescue – Rockbreaking 101

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Since there seems to be a huge lean forward right now from people who want to know more about US&R, and since US&R is (and has been) one of my main projects for over twenty years, I figure I’ll take the opportunity to point you all in some directions for information.

Vigilance and Haiti

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It is imperative that we take this opportunity to recognize that these disasters also affect our own communities, and this is the time when increased education of your customers is important: what to do if something like this happens here, who will respond, what your capabilities are and how you plan to address your needs in a disaster.

Taking The Plunge

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Happy New Year! Recently I was on my way to work and marveling at the sunrise (I get a good shot of it going over the Cross Island bridge on the way to my station) and got to remembering one call where a person dove off that very same bridge.  I was thinking, if you’re […]

Command Presents

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It’s that time of the year that we hear the word “presents” often enough to make your ears bleed, so I was wondering if my misuse of the word “presents” got your attention. Apparently it did, or you wouldn’t be reading this now.  Or maybe you didn’t notice.   If you didn’t notice, go and […]

The Source of “IT”

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I think I may have found the source of “IT”.  It is a passion, a desire to elevate whatever you do to art form.  A few weekends ago I got to see it first-hand; in the form of a fourth-generation Iranian American rug importer, a sixty-year old rock musician, and a business owner/mother of three. […]

The Thanks of a Nation

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Maybe it’s the observation that many of the politicians who are quick to take credit for the nation’s preparedness are slow to ever visit a fire station, or maybe it’s my expectation that instead of having to beg for the table scraps that our law enforcement brethren leave for us, we might also get a seat at the main table, but I just don’t see the fire service gaining the amount of respect that we deserve for the sacrifices we make.

An Atmosphere of Trust

Trust is a pretty interesting concept of its own. As a leader, you have to earn the trust of the troops. And as I pointed out, twenty years of being their buddy can go right out the window if you hose them on one thing.

Use of Faith-Based NGOs As Disaster Response Partners

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For some of the new readers here, not only is Firehouse Zen about enlightened leadership, it is about management issues and creative solutions to ongoing problems in the emergency service industry.  If you are a long-time reader, you may recall our discussions in the past regarding disaster response and credentialing, and in an effort to […]

Distance Separates Us

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Distance separates us.  Of course it does, you are probably thinking.  That’s not that much of a revelation.  But distance separates us all the more so because by being distant, or more so, by not being alike, it also indicates a schism between you and I.  The fire and emergency services are united in our […]

Science Is Your Friend

While taking Honora to school a few days ago, Bob Edwards was speaking on NPR Radio with Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, the authors of the book, “Unscientific America”.  While the book apparently discusses “scientific illiteracy”, some of the commentary seemed applicable to what we currently endure in the fire service; clinging to tradition for […]

Turtles, Circumstances, and Change

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Just this week, not only on our relatively quiet haven of Hilton Head Island, but right here in the community in which I live (Palmetto Dunes), comes a story which has become national news.  Before I knew it would be on CNN and everywhere else, I read in our Island Packet this article on a […]

Ambition

At Mass today there was a reading from the Letter of St. James that got me thinking: “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”  It goes on to say, “Where do the conflicts among you come from?  Is it not from passions that make war within your members?” It […]

Tribes

I’ve been pretty busy lately so I haven’t been able to post.  Something about the end of summer, doing deliveries and computer stuff for my wife’s company, doing the initial planning and contacts for our annual Down Syndrome Buddy Walk, and of course, getting the kids back to school.  With all of that, something really […]

Elvis, Urban Legends, Grapevines and The Firehouse

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  Elvis has left the building, in the literal sense.  Elvis Presley came to mind today because of the Facebook vote we are taking for a colleague as to whether or not he and his fiancee should elope to Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator.  But as happens with many ideas of mine, […]

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