Combustible: The MAFFC Podcast - Metro Atlanta Fire Fighters Conference
Summary: Conversations with firefighters, for firefighters.
On this episode we attempt to tackle the very prickly topic of breaking your department's rules for the sake of "doing what we took an oath to do." We're not sure we provide any real answers for our listeners here, but we hope that at the most basic level, we show that the simple act of discussing these topics is beneficial in itself. If a single listener takes something from this podcast and it prompts a kitchen table discussion at the firehouse, well, then we've done our job here. We originally had a guest lined up for this discussion, but that didn't work out. So what you get is a gathering of the usual suspects. We also take time to answer two listener provided questions. And if you have a question for us, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every good series has an origins episode. Our origins won't involve altering time or the story, but it may answer some questions about how this whole thing came to be. Tom Hancock and Keith Schneider are two of MAFFC's founding members and they sit down with us to discuss just what it took to start a firefighter conference, what it takes to keep going, and where we hope the conference will go from here.
Steve Kerber and Dan Madrzykowski of Underwriters Laboratories are the most famous guests we have had on Combustible. They both have been on the forefront of research into some of the fire service's most deeply held beliefs about how we fight fire. Wind driven fires. Positive pressure ventilation. Flow Path. Sound familiar? During this episode we talk to them about What you do when you don't get the results you were expecting The nature of presenting "controversial" findings to a very traditional group of people Why you go to Sweden or New Zealand to get a doctorate Just what it means to be an Honorary Battalion Chief with FDNY Why research matters to the fire service And as always, we have a war story or two and then unleash our Pivot questions on them and get some truly surprising answers. Please subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes or whatever app you use to listen to podcasts to ensure you don't miss an episode. And if you have an idea or comment, email us at email@example.com.
When we here at Combustible asked Frank Martinez why he didn't discuss his cancer during the last podcast episode, he answered in a very Frank manner, "Because you didn't ask!" Fair enough. With newly published figures on firefighter cancer putting our risk of developing cancer at 68%, we really wanted to talk with Frank about his diagnosis, his outlook, his work on HB 216, and his advice for all of the rest of us. This podcast is a special edition. Special because it doesn't follow our normal format, and special because Frank opens up to us about what is understandably a very personal issue for him and his family. Admittedly, cancer is a subject most of us would rather not talk about, or for that matter even listen to others talk about. But do yourself a favor and listen to Frank. During the episode, it is suggested that we start to encourage each other to get tested, screened, and checked for cancer. We should all be the example for those around us. And when you do get checked, encourage others by posting to social media with the tag: #BecauseOfFrank. Do it for you and your family. And do it #BecauseOfFrank.
Frank Martinez is a to-the-core backstep firefighter. He has spent a large part of the last fifteen years on one of the southeast's busiest technical rescue teams. And as Frank says, he's been slayin' it. For this episode of our podcast we talk to Frank about what he feels is most important about being a tailboard firefighter and whether spending a career perfecting your craft on the tailboard (and not promoting) is an acceptable goal. Our jumping off point for our discussion with Frank is "What do new firefighters owe the fire service?" As is our normal mode of operation, the conversation flows wherever it wants to go after that. We talk about: Why We Hesitate to call MAYDAY, The Benefits of an Informal Critique, The Best Advice Frank Ever Got, Proving Yourself and Being Worthy, and Being Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself. Frank answers our Pivot questions and gives us, what we now consider to be, our favorite war story so far in the short history of this podcast: The No Mas Cantina Fire.
When Rick Meyers pounds his fist on an iron table, the table sits up and listens. And you should too. For this episode of Combustible, we sit down to talk to retired Captain Rick Meyers, who has taught Forcible Entry almost every year at MAFFC as a co-founder of East Coast Rescue Solutions. Captain Meyers, who may have retired from riding rigs, maintains his passion for the fire service by teaching firefighters at conferences across the country. During our conversation (the longest yet for our young podcast) we talk with Rick about: Being a Boss, Working Outside of Your Comfort Zone, The Importance of Having a Trade, Education vs. Experience, Credibility and Endorsements (Getting The Nod)
For this episode, we sit down with recently retired Assistant Chief Marty Greene. In his 28 years he served on some of DeKalb's busiest engine companies eventually promoting to run an entire shift. Our jumping off point for this conversation is the question, "What would rookie firefighter Marty Greene think of Assistant Chief Marty Greene?" From there we talk about flipping the light switch, the political dangers of equipment testing for your department, the easiest decision for the incident commander, and daring the fire gods. We throw in a war story or two and end with our firefighter version of the Pivot Questions.
A few years ago, Captain Troche participated in a military style endurance challenge and from that saw an opportunity to make the fire service stronger by adapting it for firefighters. From that starting point we talk about the topics of quality people, individual vs. team training, the fire service as a "forced marriage," firefighter addiction, PTSD, and the organic nature of a class. And like most good conversations, at the end you find yourself wondering how you ended up where you did.
In this first episode we ask Assistant Chief Shane Dobson and Battalion Chief Mike Hatcher if they could turn back the clock 24 years, what would they tell themselves as a rookie firefighter? The conversation evolves from there covering plugging people in, the nature of promotions, luck on the fireground, and wherever else the conversation goes.