Our Riding List


Our Goal:
To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format


andyfrederickssmallDave McGrail, one of Fire Nuggets’ members coined the term “Andy’s Ambassadors” after reflecting on the loss of Andy Fredericks. Dave and others recognized that Andy was more than a firefighter in the Bronx. He was a craftsman, constantly working on education and the basics. Andy’s focus wasn’t on tradition but on being smarter, efficient and in the end, safe. It is our goal to provide you with material to make you think harder, think outside of your comfort zone. We may not be the popular eye-candy, video hyped and slammed, product hawking sites you may enjoy. We also aren’t the sites where our view is the only view. Instead, we offer you the opportunity to ask “why’ and “why not” within yourself and your department and follow-up as Andy is quoted with saying…

“Research, research, research” Andy Fredericks


Who We Are:


BioPicBill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation.com, JEMS.com, LawOfficer.com and FireEMSBlogs.com. Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George’s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on Firehouse.com, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and Tinhelmet.com. His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health has been nominated for 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.



LeBlancProfilePhotoDave LeBlanc is a Captain with the Harwich, Massachusetts Fire Department. Dave entered the Fire Service in 1986 as a Call Firefighter with the Dennis Fire Department. He worked full time during the summers in Dennis, while attending the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut. While at the University of New Haven, Dave studied Arson Investigation. He also was a volunteer with the Allingtown and West Haven Fire Districts in West Haven. He spent his sophomore year as a Live In student with the Allingtown Fire District. His education included internships with the Aetna Insurance Company and the Boston Fire Department Arson Squad.

In 1993 Dave went to work full-time with the Harwich Fire Department as a dispatcher. In 2000 he transferred into suppression and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2008. In addition to his regular duties, Dave also manages the Department’s Radio system, is responsible for conducting Fire Investigations, and assists in maintaining the computers systems.

Dave’s blog tends to focus on current day issues and maintaining a commitment to the ideals and principals that created the fire service, while keeping today’s firefighters safe.


AyotteProfilePhotoRon Ayotte Ron Ayotte is one of four Deputy Fire Chiefs with the Marlborough Fire Department, Marlborough, Massachusetts. Ron began his career with the MFD in November of 1981, was promoted to Lieutenant in November of 1988, Promoted to Captain in August of 2000 and was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2006. Ron’s responsibilities at the MFD include incident command, communications, plans review, inspections and training. Ron also works per diem in the Support Services division at the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services/Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, working support for various Academy programs, including Recruit training, Call/Volunteer training, Certification and LNG-LPG firefighting training. Ron’s writings and musings can be seen at Chief Concerns.



LloydMitchellPhotoLloyd Mitchell is a freelance photographer whose photos of firefighters at work began as a change of pace. “I started taking photography classes at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the age of 15. The camp counselor thought I was good. The rest is history. I have worked with my community newspaper in Brooklyn for the last two summers. During the summer of my sophomore year, I wanted to work on a project different from things I had worked on during the school year. So I started to photograph firefighters. I would take portraits of them after jobs. I would drop the photos off to them. I didn’t expect the project to last two more summers. The project has been of fun. I’ve met a lot of amazing and down to earth people. My purpose of the project was I want people to understand what they go through on a daily tour. I have more of an artistic feeling to my images. I want my photos to tell an overall story. I don’t feel scared behind the lens. These people aren’t scared to run into a burning building.” You can follow Lloyd’s work here and at his photography website.


BillSchnaekelBioPhotoBill Schnaekel was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, Bill is a fifth generation firefighter who has had eight other relatives in the fire service since 1898. He served as a volunteer for six years prior to getting hired in 1998 by the Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue Department, one hundred years after his great-great grandfather had joined the service. In addition to his full time career as a Lieutenant in the bustling 4th Battalion, Bill works part time as a firefighter / chauffeur with the West York Fire Department and as a State Suppression Instructor in Pennsylvania. In the past, he has served as a Battalion Training Officer and assisted in training both recruits and field personnel at the Fire and Rescue Academy. Currently, he is working on a degree in fire science through Tidewater Community College. In February of 2013, he created the Facebook Page “Holding1and1“, a resource to discuss fireground operations and firefighter interests with his friend, Lt. Mike Dowling.


Profile MikeMike Dowling has been involved in Emergency Services since the Mid -90s He started as an EMT, Paramedic and Public Safety Dispatcher in the Greater Waterbury Ct area. Mike followed his father’s footsteps to serve his community by becoming a FF, LT, Capt and Training officer for the Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect CT. In 2003 Mike achieved his goal of becoming a Career Fire Fighter when he was hired but the Prince Georges County Fire/EMS Dept. Mike was Promoted to Fire Lieutenant in 2010 is currently assigned to Paramedic Engine 842 in the Oxon Hill community. He recently returned to his small town roots serving as a Fire Fighter for the Goodwill Fire Co. No. 1 of Jacobus Pa. In February of 2013, he created the Facebook Page “Holding1and1″, a resource to discuss fireground operations and firefighter interests with his friend, Bill Schnaekel.




RicJorgeSITphotoRic Jorge has been a firefighter for Palm Beach County, Florida, since 1992. He is also Florida certified Instructor I and a Live Fire Instructor. He has taught classes on a variety of subject and his personal, passionate focus is on Stress Inoculation Training (SIT). “Instructors should be teaching our men and women how to be successful, not to settle for failure–how to live, not die. Panic and anxiety can lead to disorientation and affect the decision-making process. SIT introduces students to fire service training models that can help them manage these problems. Students are encouraged to “prepare your mind for where the body will have to go.” They were reminded that in adverse circumstances on the fireground, firefighters do not rise to the occasion but instead default to their level of training. So if the devil is in the details, learn to train in hellish conditions.” Learn more about SIT here. You can read Ric’s posts here.



Fire In The Hole Photography. Having a good photo to help illustrate an idea or lesson can make all the difference in the world between a lesson learned and a lesson passed over. The photographers behind Fire In The Hole Photography have allowed us to use their work over the many years we have been running. We’re pleased that they give us permission to share their talents with you. You can see their work here and on Backstep.



Hit The Plug. Hit The Plug is dedicated to providing quality media coverage to career and volunteer Fire, EMS and law enforcement personnel . It is also our desire to provide the general public with exposure to the sacrifice, effort and dedication of the local emergency service providers in the community. We’re pleased that they give us permission to share their talents with you. You can see their work here and on Backstep.


Others who have contributed or graciously shared their views,

Gabriel Angemi is a firefighter with the Camden, New Jersey Fire Department and author of the popular blog CMD-FD You can find his work shared on Backstep here

Mark Brady is the public information officer for the Prince George’s County (MD) Fire and EMS Department. Mark allows us to share some of his work and news from the department.

Brian Brush is a Lieutenant with the West Metro Fire Rescue in Lakewood, Colorado. West Metro Fire Rescue serves 110 square miles and over 265,000 residents in the West Denver Metropolitan Area. The district operates 15 stations with 340 uniformed members and responds to an average of 24,000 calls for service annually. Brian wrote “Scopes of Situational Awareness” and is now a regular contributor to Fire Service Warrior.

Joe Fitzgerald is a 10 veteran in the City of New York Fire Department. He is assigned to Tower Ladder Company 170 in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. His previous assignments include Tower Ladder Company 119 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Joe wrote The Pressurized Water Extinguisher aka “The Can””

Jim McCormack has been a firefighter for 19 years and is currently a lieutenant with the Indianapolis (Ind.) Fire Department. McCormack is the founder of the Fire Department Training Network and the author of Firefighter Survival and Firefighter Rescue & Rapid Intervention Teams. Jim wrote “Firefighting Back to The Future“.

Ray McCormack is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine.

Mike Walker is a Battalion Chief with the Oklahoma City Fire Department for 21-years. Prior to his promotion to Battalion Chief, Walker was a Station Officer at Oklahoma City’s Technical Rescue Station and Haz-Mat Station. He served as a Training Officer within the department for 3-years. Chief Walker is a Task Force Leader for Oklahoma Task Force-1. When not working with OKC, Walker is an Assistant Coordinator at Eastern Oklahoma Fire Training Center in Choctaw Oklahoma. Chief Walker has been a fire service instructor for approximately 18-years and has taught at FDIC, Wichita HOT and other venues. You can read Mike’s contributions here.

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1 Comment

  • mike clark says:

    Ric Jorge:

    Brother, if you could grow a mustache like mine we would look like twins. I had the opportunity to teach with Eric “Tatter”Hankins, E.J. Mascaro, Bobby Haas and Rusty Ricker. Your name came up and the success that you have realized with the SIT program and enlightenment it has provided to America’s Firefighters. Stay safe and keep up the great work you do Brother. God Bless!

    Mike Clark
    Instructor Emeritus
    NH Fire Academy

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