Mike Ward's Blog (14)

Career firefighters next Tea Party target?


Added by Mike Ward on March 22, 2010 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Firefighter "AIG" Problem

For the second year, taxpayers are screaming about the end-of-year bonuses provided to Wall Street executives.

While the pile is money is much lower, career firefighters are encountering taxpayer anger. Let's look at two issues:


In the last half of the 20th century, some IAFF locals and state associations were successful in reducing the time required to qualify for a pension. Part of the argument was the punishing work conditions as a city… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on December 31, 2009 at 11:40am — 3 Comments

Just Enough Leadership

Henry Mintzberg is not a fan of the “American” style of leadership.

In the July-August 2009 edition of Harvard Business Review, writing in Rebuilding Companies as Communities, Mintzberg asserts:

"They sat in their offices and announced the goals they want others to attain, instead of getting on the ground and helping improve performance. Executives did not know what was going on, and employees didn’t care what went on. What a monumental failure… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on September 6, 2009 at 12:17pm — 6 Comments

Professional Development gets an FRI Push


He is the architect of the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) initiative started 12 years ago at the National Fire Academy (click HERE for related article). He has encouraged, cajoled and conceptualized the concept of linking training with academic achievement and… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on August 30, 2009 at 5:28am — No Comments

Idiot Replacement Theory

We were about 2/3rds through our career when Eddie described his Idiot Replacement Theory (IRT). For every old-school idiot, jerk or loser who retired, our generation would provide an equally inept replacement. I was shocked when he originally made that statement and wondered if it still was true.


We were part of the hundreds hired thirty years ago as a collection of rural VFDs grew into an urban county fire department. Our first line… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on August 2, 2009 at 5:55am — 5 Comments

It is ALWAYS Political

A COMMON WHINE FROM FIRE OFFICER CANDIDATES IS THAT FIREFIGHTERS ARE NOT POLITICIANS. A "real" firefighter is good of heart, focused on saving those endangered by fire and righteous in suppression skills. That is all that is needed.

Only in the movies ...


Dave Statter posted a video showing Engine 848 (West Lanham Hills #2) arriving at a well-involved garage fire (… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on July 1, 2009 at 8:30pm — 1 Comment

Killing the Messenger and Missing an Opportunity

STUDY FAILS TO ESTABLISH LINK BETWEEN CANCER AND FIRE FIGHTING was the attention grabbing April 16 press release from the National League of Cities. The angry response from both the IAFF and IAFC was fueled by this statement:

< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

“While we depend on firefighters for… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on June 1, 2009 at 1:00pm — 2 Comments

Dear Editor Halton and Lt. McCormack …about your FDIC presentations

I was a late commentator on the FDIC big room presentations this year, posting my impression ten days ago (HERE). I shared my opinion that Halton likes to force us out of our comfort zones and that I was more comfortable with McCormack’s personal opinion on fireground risk analysis.

I am in the process of editing the second edition manuscript for… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on May 20, 2009 at 10:30pm — 1 Comment

How Aggressive Suppression?

Fire Engineering editor Bobby Halton makes statements that force us out of our comfort zone. My first encounter with this was reading the December 2006 editorial about fire-based ems. Flying out to a January conference in Phoenix, here was the opening paragraph of a letter-to-the-editor I was writing:

I was left with a queasy feeling while reading Chief Halton’s December editorial “Rampart, This is Squad 51.” I understand the issue of protecting the fire service… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on May 10, 2009 at 7:11pm — 12 Comments

Bright Lights, Big City: Fire-Based EMS

A decade ago it was accurate to consider large non-fire ems 9-1-1 services as the best examples of high performance systems, utilizing innovation and technology to improve both patient outcomes and system efficiency. Fire-based systems were struggling with unfilled paramedic positions, shot-gun mergers, and unsophisticated administrators.

Wake County (NC), SunStar (FL),… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on March 29, 2009 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Brittle Towers

Last April the Institute of Medicine released Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce. This report points out that there are not enough specialists in geriatric medicine.

There is insufficient training, the specialists that do exist are underpaid and Medicare fails to reimburse for the team care that many elderly patients need. This will affect the 78 million… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on March 5, 2009 at 4:30pm — No Comments

It is a Labor thing ....

There are over a million individuals who identify themselves as firefighters. Almost 350,000 make firefighting a career, 292,000 of them are members of a local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters.


Two-hatters are IAFF members who volunteer at another department that is represented by another IAFF local. The conflict is about the activity of a trade union member in… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on February 7, 2009 at 5:00pm — 15 Comments

Outrage at Public Safety Pensions

A hostile feature article in Forbes magazine about public safety retirement and the DROP program:

Don’t let anyone tell you the American dream has faded. the truth is the U.S. is still minting lots of millionaires. Glenn Goss is one of them.

Goss retired four years ago, at 42, from a $90,000 job as a police commander in Delray Beach, Fla. He immediately began drawing a $65,000 annual pension that is guaranteed for life, is indexed to keep up with inflation…

Added by Mike Ward on February 3, 2009 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

It has nothing to do with Mrs. Smith …

. . . and everything to do with local political power

A guaranteed groaner when teaching a fire officer course is to talk about “Mrs. Smith” or The Phoenix Way. Firefighters are quick to point out that they are not in a retail trade. Users of 9-1-1 are called victims or patients,… Continue

Added by Mike Ward on January 5, 2009 at 8:00pm — 7 Comments

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