the Crossover Show Returns May 1!

This is not a delayed April Fools joke.

The Internet’s best (and only) Fire, EMS, Police crossover podcast triumphantly returns May 1, 2015.

Your hosts, the ruggedly handsome fire and EMS expert (yours truly) and the Po-po a go-go Traffic Enforcement guru Motorcop, are still in their beer drinking, opinion slinging moods but this time with intent.

We actually started planning out shows, guests, schedules…seriously, we even wrote stuff down.

Check your itunes feed as the first 51 episodes are down to make room for the glory that is the return of the Crossover Show!

Have a listen, give us a review on itunes or whatever other podcast player you use and enjoy the hilarity that is only possible when a cop and fireman don’t have to play nice.

Details on topics, guests and overall shenanigans in the coming days, but get ready internet…

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

Write to Rufus – Share a Firehouse Story with a Retired Brother

On January 16th 2015 the folks over at Senior Wish posted an interesting request.  It seems that retired Houston Fire Department Senior Captain Rufus S (Last name not mentioned) is suffering from Alzheimer’s and he can only recall  things he reads.

According to the SeniorWish folks Rufus got a few letters from current firefighters telling stories about their careers.  Apparently Rufus reds them often, reminiscing as if he was there.

Well, time to give Rufus some reading material folks.

I challenge you to write Rufus a letter about your day in the firehouse, exciting or not and send it along to him to read and relive as if it was his own.

Rufus S at Houston Station 7, back row right

Senior Wish has included the following address for all letters:


Spread the word at morning muster and dinner, will ya?

Best Fire Department Social Media Presence?

I’m looking for someone who is doing it right.

A Department who understands the power of social and sharing media as well as its dangers and pitfalls.

Do you know of such an agency?  Mention them in the comments, I’d love to learn from their example and possibly recognize them at FDIC in April!


So, I’ll ask again:

What Fire or EMS agency is doing social media right?

The little plane that wouldn’t go to Chicago

A children’s tale.


Once upon a time there was a little plane named 757.

757 was told by the pilots that she was supposed to go to Chicago, but 757 did not want to go to Chicago.

She tried to shut down boarding by fidgeting with the gate controls, but passengers continued to board.  Soon after they were all in and she was steered towards the runway she reached out with her magic and made one of the passengers ill.

The Paramedics were there when she pulled back into the gate, pleased that she had stopped the dreaded trip to Chicago.

But what is this?  The passenger is swiftly removed and her crew is given permission to pull back out and into flow for takeoff?!

757 tried and tried everything she could imagine but a few minutes later found herself on the runway given clearance to take off.  If she didn’t do something quickly, she’d be forced to fly to Chicago.

She didn’t want to harm the passengers, but something had to be done!

That’s when little 757 got the perfect idea!

“Flight 554 you are clear for takeoff runway 99 Right, have a good trip.”

“Copy, thanks, 554.”

“Uh, 554 this is Southwest 221 directly behind you, you have an APU fire, you’ll want to pull off the runway. Tower can you send someone out here, 554 is on fire.”

Little 757 had held her breath so long and suddenly blew it out so forcefully that the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) on the rear of the plane erupted in flames.

Perfect!  The fire would mean being towed back to the maintenance facility and certainly no trip to Chicago!  Little 757 had…wait a minute, what’s that tickling?

Rescue 10 had arrived swiftly and put the fire out.  So swiftly it seems that the pilot is now comfortable returning to the gate under her own power and having the mechanics evaluate any damage.

And there almost ends the tale of little 757 and her almost trip to Chicago.

Celebrating the Voices

I hear voices.

At least I used to hear voices, before I took this desk job at Headquarters, but before that, in the field, I heard voices.

The voices woke me from my sleep and interrupted meals more often than not and always seemed to know someone was ill or injured.  Most of the time anyway.

For all my griping about MPDS, dispatchers and call takers, they still show up everyday to do a job I would fake a seizure to not have to do.

They take the confused, rambling mumblings of someone, code it, send it and away I go to deal with the problem.  So what if it’s not always what they say it is, all they’re doing is telling us what someone told them.

And many times, after listening to some of these calls for QA purposes, “told” isn’t exactly the right word.

A man is shouting to please hurry! please hurry! but won’t say why or what is wrong.  He simply says please hurry.

The woman holding the lifeless baby can’t get a word through her screaming but the voice still tries to talk her through CPR.

The whispers of the young boy hiding in the closet while someone assaults his older brother in another room are barely discernible because the call taker next to them is dealing with the screaming mother from before.

The voices belong to a group of folks who aim to bring a few moments of sanity to an insane world, and all over the phone and the radio.

Call them dispatchers, broadcasters, call takers, whatever, they still always answer the phone and will always answer the radio when you need them to.

So call up your local dispatch center and see if they have an event planned.  If not, step up and put something together.

Spring Cleaning – Empty Your Pockets

For some of you, the seasons have shifted due to an unexplained miracle (or the axis of the earth rotating, your call) and Spring Cleaning is in the air.  Your desire to open up the windows and drag a mop around the house is a good thing, not OCD.


But I want to focus on something a little more specific to you fire types:  Cleaning out your gear.

Since you’re already washing your turnouts once a month and after every fire (or else cancer is your own fault) I want to get down to the nitty gritty of what’s in your pockets.

Personal preference and jurisdiction is going to determine what you carry so don’t worry if someone tells you to carry something you’ll never use.  Figure out what you need and add it but perhaps you need some guidance on what to wear and why.

Here’s the Happy Medic’s advice on spring cleaning your turnout pockets:


You need to have a common theme between pants and jacket to start.  I like to use a Right for Fight Left for Life system so that I instinctively know what is where when I need it most.

  • Pants Left (LIFE) Hip Pocket
    • Bail out kit.  You can buy a fancy harness and lifeline if you like, but I keep a 50 foot section of 3/8″ with carabiners on a fig 8 follow through on both ends.  One end is through the bottom of the bag and is for me, the other end deploys out the top of the bag and can be quickly latched around an axe or halligan in a window sill for quick evac.  This is not a descent bag, this is a life or death hang from the window and possibly get rescued bag.
  • Pants Right (Fight) Hip Pocket
    • Cut up bleach bottle “key” for forcing metal gates and latch doors. (If you don’t know what this is let me know and I’ll post how to make and use one!)  Hydrant spanner/gas key tucked into leather work gloves.  Medical gloves.
  • Jacket Left (LIFE) Pocket
    • Flash Hood, Gloves.  Don’t store your gloves on some dinky velcro clip outside your coat, keep them safe inside a pocket.
  • Jacket Right (FIGHT) Pocket
    • Multitool Clippers, medical gloves, 2 wooden door chocks.


Anything else wandering through your gear or anything you haven’t trained on in 30 days needs to go bye bye.

I also have on my gear: A firehouse key on pants and jacket, scissor pouch on pants with pens, shears and light.  Flashlight on helmet.  On shift I always add the radio, axe on the SCBA waist strap (You don’t need a Truckman’s belt if you have an SCBA) and box box flashlight from the Engine.

Sadly, now as an RC, I still carry all the same things in my pockets, but instead of an axe I have a reflective vest.  :(


Do you carry something I didn’t mention?  Think I should?  Mention it in the comments!

Take this warming feeling to clean and apply it to your gear.  Train on the location until you can deploy anything from your pockets without having to think of where stuff is.


Top 5 Things Suburban and Rural Firefighters Take for Granted

As a rural firefighter and later a firefighter in a suburban setting there were a number of things I didn’t even realize I had, and as the old song goes, you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone.

This list is a result of my 12 years in the urban setting and constantly wishing I could have these things back:

5.  Pull through bays.

There is indeed a certain romance to backing back into the station each and every time, but late at night on a busy street, standing there blocking traffic so the engine can get back in…wears on you.  I miss the days of simply pulling around back, opening the door and pulling right through, staying nice and warm in my jump seat.

4. Large Apron

As part of my morning checks long ago, we’d pull the engine and ambulance out onto the giant apron in front of the station, fire up the generator, test the pump, give the rigs a wash, all completely pulled out of the bay and with still dozens of feet between the engine  and the sidewalk.  Here in the City we can barely get the driver’s door out of the station before it’s in the street, completely blocking the sidewalk in the process.  We conduct engine tests either double parked out front or down at the corner at a hydrant.

3.  Drive Time

When responding to a building alarm or report of fire getting dressed in full turnouts can be a challenging thing.  In my rural days I was driving alone so I just got dressed before I left.  Suburban firefighting meant I was sometimes in the passenger seat and got dressed on the way to the call.  In the City we’re lucky if we can get our coats on in time, much less full hood and gloves.  If you’ve ever seen a video of urban firefighters partially dressed in safety gear when they arrive it’s not because they’re lazy or not safety conscious but simply because they were so close there was no time to get dressed.

2.  Dinner alternatives

When we were not in the mood to cook at the fire station the suburbs had dozens upon dozens of options for the crew to wander in, radios in tow, and sit down for a meal at the Outback Steakhouse, Applebees or Waffle House.  A part of this ability was the slower call volume, being somewhat certain that your 2 hour dinner would not be interrupted.  Urban firefighters consider it an insult not to cook in the firehouse and besides, where would we park the Engine and Truck and how long would it take to get that table for 9?

1.  Parking

For the first 9 years of my Fire Service career I never parked more than 30 feet from where I was assigned to work for the day.  There was always plenty of parking spaces in front of, along the side and around back of the station.  At most urban stations there is no parking lot, no parking spaces, nothing.  In the City we have to coordinate with off going crews and swap out street parking spots sometimes over a block away.  One of our stations even had to shuttle folks to a nearby decommissioned station 4 blocks away to swap out parking spots.  Yuck.


So if you’ve got a parking spot nearby, a chance to grab a restaurant dinner, a drive to the scene long enough to get dressed, a full apron to do your rig checks and a pull through bay back at the station, take a deep breath and enjoy it Brothers and Sisters, because you don’t know how good you have it!


Coming soon: the Top 5 Things Urban Firefighters Take for Granted

Want to see me wash and wax MC’s bike for a month?

Well, Kelly informed me recently that I’m lingering in the bottom 5 of fund raisers this year and that I should be embarrassed to be associated with the organization trying a little harder to solicit donations.


Motorcop, fellow co-founder of KTKC, chimed in by reminding me that his own fund raising has put me in my little medic place and I should just curl up and cry reached ever so slightly above my own.


Was it something I said?

Something I didn’t say?


I know Kelly has a big EMS audience and MC a big cop audience…but where are all the firefighters?

If Kelly and MC out fund raise us we’ll be in third place behind the ambulance drivers and the fuzz.  I can’t accept that.




I offer a Kilted Challenge to my readers:

If I out fund raise MC I will wash and wax his motorcycle once a week for the entire month of October wearing a pink T-shirt.  MC will be allowed to photograph this event and I will post the pic in the top of the sidebar of the blog for the year.


Donate early / donate often!