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“Probably the most comprehensive book about the work of the engine company that isn’t a bland textbook.”

August Training Prompt

Every other month Backstep Firefighter will post a training or discussion prompt on a various subject. Rather than be instructional the purpose is to have readers reflect on new subjects or brush up on old ones. The prompt can also serve to have members discuss why it is their department does things the way it does. […]

Implications of Medical History

” If we are unwilling to require members be physically and medically fit, and we cannot provide them with to tools needed to respond to a mayday, then the mission of the department needs serious reconsideration.”

Wind Driven Conditions – Building Experiments

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The second part of the NIST Wind Driven Fire Conditions reports has been released. This part details the experiments and results from the Governor’s Island tests. The lengthy report is a must read for those who desire to better understand not just high rise firefighting, but positive pressure ventilation as well. We should also be […]

Andy Fredericks Training Days

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Andy Fredericks Training Days will be hosted annually in Alexandria to continue Andy’s legacy of excellent instruction on the basic operations of structural firefighting. This three day lecture series covering fundamental fireground operations will be delivered by friends of Andy, each of whom had the opportunity to share in Andy’s life work. Not only will […]

PGFEMS Safety Stand Down

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In review of the fireground “mayday” in Prince George’s County (MD) involving Firefighter/Paramedic Daniel McGown[1], Acting Fire Chief Eugene Jones has issued a Stand Down for Safety[2] this week. The focus of the training is to review standard fireground operations; mayday procedures; SCBA use and emergency procedures; and crew integrity. Career and volunteer members from […]

Why We Search

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The next time you run that report of smoke coming from the local Quick Mart or 7-11 will your attitude towards search be different?Do you consider such occupanicies to be ‘unoccupied’ depending on the business hours?What type of informal preplanning can reveal such conditions (i.e. medic locals, shopping for the meal) 3 rescued from fire […]

Wind Driven Fires, Houston

Some of the latest news developing from the early LODD investigation in Houston involves the possibility of high winds effecting the fire behavior. If so this will not be the first time we have heard of this regarding private dwellings.“Winds may have been factor in fatal fire“““One of the things that we’re looking at is […]


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That cheap scrap of wood may save your life. Don’t carry them just to look cool. “Close Call for Two Firefighters” Patrick Scott Pictures Photographs courtesy Nate DeMarse

Wind Driven Conditions – Lab Experiments

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released the first report from the wind driven firefighting research. “Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments“. Eight experiments focused on the effects of wind on fire spread and were intended to expose the public hallway to wind driven, post-flashover fire conditions. The use of […]

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