Tuesday, October 8, 2013


It has been a while since we have had a chance to post anything. Both Zach and I have both been busy with work, family, and all that comes with that. As I write this I realize that that we started this blog one year ago last week. It is crazy how an idea in your head can transform into something bigger and connect with so many people that you have never meet but share the bond of brotherhood. We are not where we want to be yet but slowly but surely getting there. On a personal note, October 1st marked my 13th year in the fire service, and I'm very proud of that.

Speaking of time and how things can change brings up something that has been on my mind for a while now, but not had the time to write about it until now. 7 months ago my department went from being a 100% volunteer department to a combination department. In a previous post I wrote about growing pains and how it was going to be a big adjustment for everyone.

In the last 7 months morale has dropped to an all time low, turnout has fallen off the map among the volunteers, and training has fallen by the wayside.  I for one, and I'm ashamed to say it, am disgruntled. I feel like those that volunteer have been pushed to the back burner and all the focus has been put on the full time guys. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way either.

As a Captain, I feel like rank and chain of command mean nothing anymore. Things that I used to take care of have now been handed off to others, and things that I should know about I find out through the grapevine. Now to be fair I will not put all the blame on others. I realize that a lot has gone into the switch from one type of department to the other and certain things need to to be done. Maybe some of the blame is mine and my disgruntledness has gotten the best of me. I feel as though mine and a lot of others hard work and dedication over the years has been forgotten.

I have been to the point where I wanted to give up rank and to the point where I just wanted to turn all my gear in and walk away completely, but my passion for the job won't let me, I love it to much. I have given 13 years of service to this community and don't want to stop. I sometimes let my emotions get the best of me, but at the end of the day I can't walk away. 

I know that time has a way of working things out. I hope so in this case. I want to see the department back the way it was 13 years ago when I joined. I want to see the morale go back up, pride, ownership and passion return. I need to be better myself. I can start with me and maybe it will be contagious and we can get back on track. Only time will tell.

Until next time,
Y'all be safe

Monday, July 8, 2013

"I Will Give My All For....."

There is a sign above the door in the University of Tennessee football locker room. The sign reads "I Will Give My All for Tennessee Today". It is the last thing the players see as the exit the locker room and enter the tunnel to take the field. All the players touch it as they go under making a promise to give there all for their teammates, school, fans, and state on any given Saturday.

As a life long Vols fan, I have seen this sign many times. I never really thought a great deal about it until I saw it on a bumper sticker sitting at a red light the other day. As I thought more about while driving behind this vehicle, this should be us as a fire service. Are we (you) giving our all for our station, department, citizens, etc?

I am not talking about giving your life, we are all wiling to do that, its a given when you sign up for the job. I am talking about giving your very best, to the best of your ability, day in and day out for the profession. Do you come in ready for work or just show up cause its your day in the barrel? Are you checking equipment to make sure its ready to go or just assuming because it was there yesterday it is there today?

Do you come in and ho hum around, no desire to train, workout, or make sure you and your crew are ready  at the drop of a hat? Do you spend the day doing recliner Olympics? If  this sounds familiar then you are not giving your all. You owe it to your family, crew, department, citizens and most importantly yourself to make a change.

I will be the first to admit that I am pointing the finger directly at myself on this one. I am guilty of not giving my all as of late. Some things have happened that left a bad taste in my mouth, and instead of working through it I just threw my hands up and sit back. It was not what I should have done as an officer, but taking a step back allowed me to see that I was failing and not giving my very best. I have changed something's both personally and professionally, not only for my benefit but those around me.

So the question is, are you giving your all or just enough to get by? If you are doing just enough to get by, maybe you need to look for something else to do, or maybe you just need to sit down and evaluate what needs to be done and work on changing it. Like I stated before, this is mainly for me and my experience but maybe it helps someone else needing a little pick me up. We should all strive to wake up everyday and say "today,I will give my all".

Until next time, y'all stay safe

Saturday, May 18, 2013

National Police Week

I know I'm coming in on this at the end of the week, but trying to play catch up on a few things. This past week was National Police Week. I know not something that you think you would see coming from a firefighting blog, but I for want to say THANK YOU to the boys in blue.

We all like to give the cops a hard time, and we have all heard or said the famous cliche`s that exist about firemen being the cops heroes and if you cant stand the heat become a cop. All joking aside, i have been on many scenes where i was glad to see blue lights coming down the road.

I have a personal stake in this as well. My youngest brother is a Sheriffs Deputy. Now you can imagine in a firefighting family that he gets picked on a lot. He was dropped on his head ,intentionally, a lot when he was a child so that could explain his career decision lol. He was a firefighter for a while but decided that law enforcement was what he really wanted to do and I couldn't be more proud of him.

I know when it comes to Firefighters and Cops that we don't always see eye to eye, but they are out there laying there ass on the line the same as us to protect the citizens in which they serve. Take the time to say thanks to your fellow law enforcement officers because whether you want to admit it or not we need them just as much as they need us. We are all on the same team.

A special thanks to Deputy Tory Womack and his
K-9 partner Trucker for keeping us safe. Be Safe
Deputy Tory Womack and K-9 Trucker visit a local school

Until next time, y'all stay safe

Monday, May 6, 2013

Great Leaders...

Hey everybody, hope you are all doing well. We are doing great here, just trying to stay dry with all the rain we have been having.

Who can be a leader/company officer? Anybody can I suppose. Just because someone is does not make them a good one though. What makes a good leader/officer? I would say that there is several characteristics, qualities, and more that one must possess to be good. Drive, attitude, heart (as we recently learned about in Captain Wines article which can be found here You Can't Teach Heart ), empathy and more are a few things I think a good leader possess. I also believe that before anyone can become a good leader that must first master the art of being a follower.

While we are on duty we expect our leaders and officers to teach us everything we need to know to do our jobs, especially after they are retired and gone. We sit around the table discussing fire this and rescue that to sharpen our knowledge to become better firefighters. They will do more than that however if you will really listen and pay attention to them. A great leader will pass things on to you that help you become a better person in your life on and off the job.

Just remember that when your leaders and officers tell you to " Take an old man's advice " you probably should start taking notes. Chances are what they will tell you won't even have anything to do with the fire service but just about life itself. Don't be afraid to ask them questions either, I bet most have been in a similar situation themselves at some point in life. If your officer is one that teaches you the things to succeed on and off the job you probably have a great leader.

Until next time, Be Safe!

New Product

Check out these new boots from Thorogood!  The Hellfire Knockdown Elite. If anybody would like to send me a pair I will gladly wear them lol. You can find more information @ www.weinbrennerusa.com

804-6389 | 14” Knockdown Elite Structural Bunker Boot


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    • Lining: StedAir® PTFE WATERPROOFBarrier, Blood-Borne Pathogen Compliant
    • Insole: Dual-Density Polyurethane Removable Footbed on Reinforced Bi-Fit Insole Platform
    • Shank: Steel Triple Ladder Shank
    • Special Features: Meets NFPA 1971, Flexible Non-metallic Puncture-ResistingTextile Insole Material, Two Row Padded Leather Top, Shaft Vapor Exhaust Vents, Wrap-around Shin Guard, ASTM F2413-11 M I/75/c/75 COMPOSITE SAFETY TOE, EH Rated, Tested For And Meets CAN/CSA-Z195 18,000 Volts Electric Shock Resistance, Rugged Pull Straps Designed To Stay Flush Against The Boot, 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material – High Visibility Piping

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Make It Work

    As I write this, I am sitting outside the school in the car line waiting to pick my daughter up. I have just awaken from a brief sleep after working a 12 hours night shift in dispatch and 3 more nights coming up. My wife is in day 1 of technical rope rescue at the academy, the calendar keeps filling up, and its only Monday! Not complaining, there is a point.

    My shift consist of 7-12 hour night shifts followed by 7 days off. My wife works 24/48 shift. Add in overtime shifts, training, and all the things we can't say no to, and time seems to fly, and this is just work related. Throw in the adult things we have to do at home like cutting the grass, laundry, dishes, cleaning, and all the fun stuff, there is no time. Now factor in our 6 year old, her school schedule and activities, t-ball practice and games, and her want to do list, and I am looking for a way to fabricate time! (I wouldn't trade it though)

    I know everyone feels overwhelmed at times with the lack of time they have. I know everyone's time is valuable and you cram the most into whatever open time you can find, trying to accomplish all your goals and all the things everyone else wants and needs of you.

    So the question is, how do we make it work? Best answer I have found is, we just do! We are firefighters, nothing we do is easy. We adapt to the situation and choose the right tactics to get the job done. The same goes for our personal lives as well. We shift and adjust things around to make things work for the good of ourselves and our families. We may miss a ball game here and there, show up late for dinner or family function, or put off cutting the grass until next week, just to get everything in and still function normally.(whatever normal is)

    Time away from work is important, but not always easy to come by. Family is the most important thing, so do whatever it takes to make the time to spend with them even when it seems there is none. Making things work is what we do no matter what the situation.

    Until next time, y'all be safe

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Get Fit, Make it Fun!

    Good afternoon, welcome back to Hooligans and Halligans. We hope you all are doing well.

    Every year firefighters die from cardiac related emergencies. Most of these deaths occur during or shortly after a fire or training event.  Heart Attack/Heart Disease is and has been the number one killer of firefighters since LODD’s started being recorded.

    We all know a lot of this is due to the stress we are exposed to. The rush of adrenaline, going form 0 to 90 in only seconds and performing at full throttle in extreme conditions with no rest for extended periods of time. All of this is done while wearing an extra 65-100 pound of gear and equipment.

    To add to this not every firefighter is in the best of health or shape. Although round is a shape it is a bad one for firefighters to be in. It is common among firefighters to not have good eating or fitness habits.  Another issue leading to bad health among firefighters is alcohol and tobacco use.

    Now I am not a health and fitness coach and I am not in the shape I want to be in… yet. I am working on that. I have only been working my present job for 6 months. Before working for the fire department I worked for my local EMS agency. It was a really busy agency and we ate a lot of fast food, was not required to do fitness so I rarely ever did and it was a really stressful place to work. I was placed on medication for High Blood Pressure about 7 months ago, just right before leaving EMS.  Since I have been at the fire department I have lost a little weight, been able to stop taking my blood pressure medication and am getting in shape. I contribute this to being required to do fitness each shift. It goes further than that though.

    Like I said, our department policy states that each shift we do an hour of some sort of PT. We have weights, tread mills, exercise bikes, etc. It was the same mundane workouts using the same muscle groups and movements. I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. However that has changed within the last month. Our department came into some money through a donation and was able to afford to send 2 firefighters to become cross fit instructors and purchase a large amount of cross fit equipment.

    Cross fit incorporates 10 aspects of fitness into one exercise. If you are not familiar with it you can research it at www.crossfit.com. Cross fit has made fitness fun. Not only is it helping us get into shape but also, it is building morale and camaraderie while allowing us to have a little healthy competition. The short burst of work at high intensity make you push yourself and your brother firefighters are there to push and motivate you as well. Along with cross fit workouts there are also some diets that are recommended to follow. These include eating lean cuts of meat, a lot of vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds. This allows you to cut out fast foods, processed foods, high sugary foods, etc. All the stuff that taste good but is bad for you haha. You can research paleo (caveman) diet, zone diet, and primal diet for more info on these. They can be hard to follow and my suggestion is to ease into he one that is best for you.

    Cross fit workouts also use a lot of the movement we are required to do on the fire ground. I believe if we train for fitness using the parts of our body like we do on the fire scene, which is every single part we were made with, then we can reduce injury. Also maintaining a healthy level of diet and fitness will allow us to act faster, safer, better. Allow us to make better, clearer decisions, and be a better firefighter all the way around. We can work smarter not harder when we are fit for duty.

    Whatever your department does or don’t do for fitness I would suggest you look into cross fit and give it a try. It will make fitness fun I promise. I also see cross fit becoming the main fitness program for the fire service as many fire departments have and are adopting it as their primary PT. A few places you can check out for more info and workouts are:

    There are also a few pages on www.facebook.com including first in, last out, health and fitness. The Internet is endless so research it, apply it, and change your life for the better.

    The main goal at the end of the day is for EVERYBODY TO GO HOME!!!!

    Brothers and sisters, be safe!