Ben Waller's Blog (46)

Training, Luck, and being a PUPIL


Over at All Hazards Contemplations, I'm taking a look at a discussion that Capt. Willie Wines is having at Iron  Willie's excellent post on the nuances of phrasing and terminology can be found…


Added by Ben Waller on December 22, 2011 at 12:57am — No Comments

Ten Years of Remembrance



Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11/11 terrorist attacks - the worst terrorist attack in the history of our world. It is appropriate that we honor and remember the nearly 3,000 people who died.

We should remember those who died on the four hijacked aircraft. Some were traveling to take care of business or to visit family. Some were…


Added by Ben Waller on September 9, 2011 at 1:53pm — No Comments

No Blood Is Thicker

No Blood is Thicker

I was devastated to learn of the death of Captain Jeff Bowen of Asheville, NC's Rescue Company 3. He leaves a wife and three children without a husband and father. Any LODD is a terrible tragedy,…

Added by Ben Waller on August 6, 2011 at 9:00am — No Comments

You Probably Won't Die, No Matter What You Do


Does it sound crazy for a firefighter to say that?  Maybe it does, but at All Hazards Contemplations, I've pointed out that statistics show that approximately 100 U.S. firefighters die in the line of duty each year, with a smaller number of annual non-firefighter EMS…


Added by Ben Waller on March 15, 2011 at 10:39pm — 4 Comments

This is Where I Was - 20 Years Ago Today

12 Die, Dozens Injured in I-75 Fog Pileup

On December 11, 1990, I was the Chief of EMS for McMinn County, Tennessee. I was at a regional EMS meeting in Chattanooga when virtually everyone's pager alerted within a few seconds of each other.…


Added by Ben Waller on December 11, 2010 at 4:00pm — 1 Comment

The Rule of 3's

Over at All Hazards Contemplations, we're looking into the Rule of 3's. Actually, there are three different "Rule of 3's" and all three of them are important to anyone who works in Fire/Rescue or EMS.

The first one is espoused by survivalists. It goes something like this:

You can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.

While not exact, that Rule is…


Added by Ben Waller on December 2, 2010 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

Never Forget

Tomorrow is the 9th anniversary of the largest and worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Almost 3,000 people died, including many fire, law enforcement, and EMS personnel.

Take a moment on 9/11/10 to remember the victims aboard all four of the aircraft, the victims at the World Trade Center, the victims at the Pentegon, and especially the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics, and other responders…


Added by Ben Waller on September 10, 2010 at 10:00pm — 1 Comment

The Charleston 9 - Another Perspective, Part 2

On our way from the staging area to the Coliseum, one person in particular stood out from the crowd of people lining the streets. Once we exited I-526 and turned onto the city streets, I noticed a woman kneeling on the sidewalk. Her right hand was held over her heart and her left hand was held aloft giving the …


Added by Ben Waller on July 3, 2010 at 6:42pm — 1 Comment

The Charleston 9 - A Different Perspective, Part 1

The evening of June 18, 2007 will be forever burned into my memory, but the day of June 22, 2007 was the date that really made this tragedy personal for me. To set the stage, on the evening of June 18, I was at home after a pretty good day at work. Training had gone well, the weather was pleasant, and I had just finished a nice dinner with my family. I decided to watch some TV, and started the typical flipping through the channels. I usually…


Added by Ben Waller on June 22, 2010 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

Household Hazmat - Not In My Back Yard

From this weekend at All Hazard Contemplations

In the world of preventing the occurance of harmful incidents, the fire-rescue community has few peers and often excels. Innovative ways to prevent and reduce harm have included smoke detector programs, fire…


Added by Ben Waller on April 4, 2010 at 8:26pm — 5 Comments

I'm with STUPID

From All Hazards Contemplations...

We’ve all heard the stories about firefighters doing stupid things on duty or off. Firefighters committing arson, breaking and entering, driving intoxicated, failing work-related random drug screening tests, abusing their domestic partners…the list goes on and on. As one of the replies to the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association’s recent…


Added by Ben Waller on March 21, 2010 at 3:00pm — 4 Comments

The Bathtub Collapse, Part 2

Part 1 of this series from All Hazards Contemplations was an introduction to Bathtub Collapse problem identification, exterior size-up, strategy considerations and development, and safety considerations. Part 2 discusses tactical considerations, interior size-up, victim recovery, investigations, and incident termination. This article was co-authored by my friend and colleague, Jason…


Added by Ben Waller on March 8, 2010 at 10:00pm — 4 Comments

The Bathtub Collapse, Part 1

This article is co-authored by my friend and colleague Jason Walters. Jason is the Team Leader for USAR SC-Regional Response Team 4. We're discussing this topic at All Hazards Contemplations.


FEMA’s USAR system, basic firefighting texts, and other fire-rescue references describe how to recognize and respond to a variety…


Added by Ben Waller on March 6, 2010 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

What kind of foam are you?

Over at All Hazards Contemplations, we're discussing some similarities between firefighting foam and fire officer characteristics.

Firefighting foam has been around for a long time. The Navy, ARFF firefighters, and the petrochemical industry have used Class B… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on January 30, 2010 at 5:00pm — 6 Comments

Candlemoth Syndrome

How many firefighters have experienced Candlemoth Syndrome? I know I have, particularly when I was younger and less experienced. Candlemoth Syndrome is a firefighting cousin of Target Fixation, where firefighters are drawn closely to the fire in disregard for proper firefighting tactics and for firefighter safety.

The definition of "… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on November 4, 2009 at 7:33pm — 7 Comments

Brotherhood and Enemies

If there are concepts that are polar opposites, Brothers and Enemies are great examples.

Brotherhood means treating the people whom you call "brother" as if they were indeed blood relatives.

Practicing the concept can sometimes be a little tricker, as brothers sometimes engage in family fights.

I have three brothers, and when growing up, I often lost fights to both the two older ones, who were bigger and more powerful, and a younger… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on October 13, 2009 at 1:30am — 9 Comments

Ambulance Driving and Internet Credibility

Another FFN blogger recently posted this little gem "I Am Just An Ambulance Driver". I have several problems with this. For starters, the piece was obviously copied from somewhere with no attribution. I found a previous version of it with a minimal search at EMTLife forum board. Note that the comments… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on September 20, 2009 at 3:00pm — 11 Comments

Getting Familiar with Unfamiliar Dirt

I recently spent a week on vacation that included a lot of reading on the beach. I was able to complete a six-book series, the Corean Chronicles by L.E. Modsitt, Jr... an excellent read if you're into the genre. In one of the books, a group of soldiers is deployed to an area with which none of them are familiar. They're tired from traveling and just want to… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on September 6, 2009 at 12:20pm — 1 Comment

Ramp Strikes, Mom's Name, and Survival

From All Hazards Contemplations...

Although I love to read, I haven't had much reading time lately. Work and completing the edits of my chapter in Jones & Bartlett's new Fundamentals of Technical Rescue has taken up most of my spare time. I have been able to complete a book I have… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on August 30, 2009 at 9:38pm — No Comments

Mutual Dependence on Independence Day

Independence Day - July 4 - is a uniquely American holiday. Many of us treat it like just another summer holiday - a barbecue, swimming or boating, relaxing with friends, and concluding with an evening of fireworks. This year, I ask you to take a few minutes to do something a little different.

The American Revolution was the brain child… Continue

Added by Ben Waller on July 3, 2009 at 8:58am — 1 Comment

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