Safe Stories

My good friend and brother firefighter Angelo Rizzuto is a kid and a great storyteller.
My good friend and brother firefighter Angelo Rizzuto is a kid and a great storyteller.

I’m not sure there’s anyone more focused on the importance of storytelling in the fire service than we are (especially as a means of training our replacements) — but “How stories make firefighting safer” by my good friend Chief Tom LaBelle  is a great refresher and reinforcement of this concept.

Read his story on the importance of storytelling at

See also:



What Are You Doing To Help?

2012-06-11_08-58-16_233It’s been a busy past few months as you can tell from the lack of recent posts other than the occasional Tweet on that Twitter thing.  Currently, I’m in my last course to complete my masters degree in Public Administration.  Look out fish of Lake Erie, because I will be seeing you soon.

601559_10151490964628928_578478368_nphotoChief Schmittendorf dropped in on Huron, Ohio on his way to present at a class a few weeks back.  A group of firefighters met at a local diner with monster sandwiches.  We continued on with a quick tour of several firehouses and posed in front of the Erie bush by the county office building.

His message and ability to relate with all firefighters is a great characteristic to have.  Are you someone sought after for instruction, advice, and purposeful direction?

At the end of March, I had the chance to head to South Carolina to teach with some rescue greats.  Again, this group of seasoned veterans has an amazing ability to mentor, instruct, and train the next generation.  Are you preparing your successors to pass on the knowledge for years to come?

Hasenmeier (sans a mustache), Wilcox, Vasbinder, Burden
Hasenmeier (sans a mustache), Wilcox, Vasbinder, Burden

The second weekend of April, I had a chance to instruct at an acquired structure burn.  It really is inspiring to see the classroom knowledge of new firefighters translate to productive efforts on the training ground.  Are you teaching, being innovative, or truly inspired to make the next generation great?


Last, but not least for this quick post is short video from parts of the 2013 FDIC & NFFF stair climb that over 400 firefighters participated in.  What an awesome experience to be a part of.  Are you training your replacement for the future and teaching them about the traditions and history of years past?

 Train Your Replacement!

Rescuing the Rescuers

We all know some great minds in the fire service that have years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to pass on.  Some of these seasoned veterans are feeling left behind because of technology.  How can you help?

The flip side to training your replacements is training those seasoned veterans so they can easily pass their wealth of knowledge on in a manner that is conducive to the learning styles of the Gen Y’s, Millinials, WebGens, NextGens, Gernation “Whine”, Nexters, and Generation “I”.

Yesterday, one of the greatest rescue guys I know called and vented about his frustration with technology, especially powerpoint and social media.  Not that he disliked it, but lacked the knowledge on how to improve his presentations.  By the end of the conversation we decided to meet for some technology training that will undoubtedly help him pass the baton with a bit less stress.

This passing of knowledge is cyclical in nature.  The seasoned veterans have the knowledge, but may need a little help with this technology thing.  We can help each other build a more powerful and knowledgable force.

Reach out to Tiger Schmittendorf or Paul Hasenmeier for more on Training Your Replacement. Book now for 2013 conversations – GENERATIONS UNPLUGGED: Motivating, Training & Leading Today’s Firefighters 


Preparing Your Followership

This group of videos discusses everything from building your team, improving as a leader, motivation, to safety.  Your success is one thing, but what about preparing your followership.  You will need about 45 minutes to watch the series, but well worth the time.  We look forward to the discussion.