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The Fire Service Real World

Editors Note: This is a post from my brother Danny who serves as an Urban firefighter in the Capital City of Virginia. He has an extensive experience in working in career, combination, and volunteer fire departments. He is assigned to a Rescue Company and is a member of the Central Virginia Technical Rescue Team, along with being a medic. Simply put he gets it!

What do you get when you put 7 stranger firefighters from different areas of the country and different types of departments in one station during a busy fire season???? You get the new hit reality TV show “The Fire Service Real World.  Now of course this is totally fake and not ever going to happen due to liability issues but think of what TV gold that would be!!!!  You could take some of the greatest minds in the fire service old and young and make them rotate positions every shift I.E. driving 1 day, the next day you’re in charge, day after that you’re the nozzle guy.  Throw in an ambulance (80% of what we do), some everyday fire department living and some good fires and only then could we really see how different or how alike our fire service is.


This idea came to me after seeing all the discussion over the past week about Urban vs. Suburban vs. Rural departments and how the tactics all differ.  I myself am a mix of all 3.  Where I work is all urban, where I volunteer is both suburban and rural within a few miles of each other.  I would love to be able to just take what I learned from the suburban environment where I started and take it into the city but it just isn’t going to work.  When all I did was volunteer we went from having 2-6 people on a first out engine. At work we have 4 all day everyday.  In my first few years at my urban department I had to adjust, adapt to “their” way and come up with my new ideals on how I was going to do things.


I was always taught RECEO VS not as a list of tactics but as a strategy, they are the priority of things that should get done at every fire.  I was taught LOVERS U for Truck Company and Specialty Company TACTICS.  I can’t recollect ever being taught an acronym for engine operations, was just always told “Right Line, Right Location, Right GPM” puts out fire every time.  Now we have SLICERS and as of today we have DICERS, could this be the new way to do engine company operations it’s very possible.  Will it work in every situation? Only time will tell.  I disagree with the fact that any of these should be marketed as a “blanket solution” to today’s fire problem.  This is a disservice to all of us thinking firemen.  You have to have some flexibility built-in to any policy especially for today’s dynamic fire ground.


All of these ideas are “Tools for YOUR toolbox”.  Take what you like and what your departments do and implement them into your companies operations.  DO the research, DO the right reading, if you’re from Small Ville, USA you’re probably not going to learn much tactic based stuff from Big City Firefighters and vice versa, if you’re from Big City FD there’s not much sense in my opinion being that proficient in Rural Water supply.  Now I will say the basics are the basics no matter where you’re from but you should focus on mastering the skills that will make you the best you can be in your environment.  Make yourself what I like to call “Knowledgeably Aggressive”.  There is a big difference between being “aggressive” and knowing when and where is the right time to be aggressive; only your department, your crew, and your ability can determine that.


Bottom line is we shouldn’t be bashing each others opinions; this is a brotherhood that has always thrived in learning and listening to everyone’s opinions from the new rookie to the 30 year veteran to the retiree.  Actually we are all already living the “Fire Service Real World” reality series so let’s make this season the best yet!!!  Do your part and partake in the conversation, and stand up for your beliefs, share your opinion but in a respectable manner.



Thanks for reading and stay safe!!!!


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