RIC for REAL - Lessons learned from 400 Firefighters during Elevated Stress RIC Training

Instructor: Paul Strong

This class is about the detailed lessons learned from realistic, hands-on, rapid intervention training. 400 firefighters were put to the test in stressful training environments that challenged everything they have ever been taught. Firefighters were challenged in their basic skills, officers challenged in critical decision-making, and crews were challenged in their efficiency, choreography, and coordination all under realistic stress. This class provides the best practices on how to increase the possibility of a successful rescue by paying attention to the details in our training approach to RIC. The objectives for this class are to find the details that you, your crew, and your department need to pay attention to in how you train and prepare for a firefighter rescue. Seconds matter to the trapped firefighter. I'll show you how 400 firefighters from 16 departments learned how to shave valuable time by operating more efficiently. We will also discuss how to approach rapid intervention training properly and to dump old habits that are setting you up for failure.



The target audience for this class is everyone from the rookie firefighter to the policy maker. The lessons learned here pertain to basic firefighter skills, effective policies, appropriate departmental training procedures, equipment, leadership, and much more.


It’s not Rocket Science - Tactical Considerations and Actions; Understanding the “Why”

Instructor: Paul Strong

You’re riding in the hot seat and need to make effective decisions when you arrive at the fire. More importantly, you better understand why you are doing what you are doing. We’re going to discuss fire behavior / dynamics, tactical considerations, spot-on size up, and your initial actions in those first 10 minutes. This is an interactive class that requires your participation in discussion and practice with developing your initial radio reports, follow up reports, initial action plan, and putting your plan to work. We will use videos and tactical simulations in this class to support real world decision-making.



The target audience for this class is the company officers and acting officers who are showing up to the fire and expected to make critical decisions. The decisions and actions taken in the first 10 minutes will determine how the rest of the incident plays out. Attendees will walk away with increased knowledge, understanding, and confidence in their decisions made on the fire ground.

What is Killing Firefighters? Preventing Future Fatalities by Learning from the Past

Instructor: Robert Krause, Ed.D., Toledo Fire & Rescue

This program is directed at firefighters with 10 minutes on the job up to the silver-haired veterans. Focusing on the research of firefighter fatalities from 1998 through 2017, this session identifies how volunteer firefighters died as a result of traumatic fire ground deaths. Dr. Krause brings together his research of firefighter's last moments, describing in detail how they perished in service to their communities. Armed with the knowledge of how these men and women died, modifications to training programs, standard operating policies and procedures and fire ground leadership development can be implemented. Combining research and actual fire ground scenarios, attendees will be afforded the opportunity to learn first-hand what mistakes were made on numerous emergency scenes. This understanding will aid the firefighter, fire officer and fire chief to develop solutions to prevent similar tragedies in the future. Attendees will leave the session with nuggets of usable, digestible information they can immediately apply on their next emergency scene and within their respective fire departments.


Learning Objectives:

Firefighters around the country continue to perish at an alarming rate. Despite improvements in protective clothing, improved building designs and general firefighting training, firefighter deaths remain relatively consistent from year to year. Research based upon a study of 149 fatal fireground incidents involving volunteer firefighters, totaling 176 deaths, identifies seven broad categories in-which firefighters perished.

This session identifies those seven categories, breaks down the data, identifies common themes in each of the fatalities and provides realistic methods to aid in the prevention of similar tragedies in the future. Understanding how firefighters have died in the past can inform, educate and prepare fire crews from repeating similar mistakes and suffering the same tragic result. The research data clearly shows that fatal events that occurred in 1998 are continuing to occur today despite numerous firefighting improvements. So, what’s missing? This course works to help attendees learn the lessons written in the blood of our fellow firefighters. Learning lessons from our past can benefit those still serving their communities and better prepare them not to make similar mistakes that took the lives of those that came before them.


The Art of Reading Smoke - Color

Instructor: Rob Backer

The Art of Reading Smoke has established itself as one of the fire service's most popular and necessary courses for all ranks and experience levels. The ability to rapidly recognize the fire's location, progression, and future is imperative to every fireground decision maker. One of the most misunderstood attributes is that of "Color." The notion that the color of smoke tells you what is burning is just plain false. It's not true now, and it never has been true. Spend an hour with your brothers and sisters for a virtual session on all things "color." What does it mean? How does the color indicate the fire's location and progression? We will rely on actual fireground footage to aid uss in the quest to understand what actually IS happening inside a burning building - no more guessing!


The Art of Reading Smoke - Velocity

Instructor: Rob Backer

Continue to evolve your fireground understanding with The Art of Reading Smoke - Velocity. The speed at which smoke travels is key to understanding the fire's location within a building. Smoke velocity is often confused with other attributes, so it becomes extremely critical to separate and properly identify whether the smoke we see is slow and smooth, or fast and violent. This class relies heavily on actual fireground footage to show the distinctly different features of different velocities and what they indicate for firefighters and the fire within the building.


How to NOT Be There and NOT Do That

Instructor:  Mark Emery
A NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Report will be used as a Case to probe below the surface of the NIOSH recommendations. Solutions to the problems identified by NIOSH will be addressed is subsequent programs this afternoon. The Case Study package will be available for download to registered attendees (NIOSH Report PDF, Discussion Guide PDF, Instructor Key PDF, and PowerPoint presentation).


Fireground Size-Up ‘Forensics’ - Discover What You Have Been Missing
Instructor:  Mark Emery

Fire within a structure produces physical evidence of firegrowth phase and occupant survivability. This 'forensic' evidence can also be used to determine risk versus value, go or no-go. Just as law enforcement use physical evidence to determine the history of a crime, structure fire physical evidence provides a historical record of firegrowth. Fireground Size-Up Forensics will abolish the notion that a meaningful size-up can be done through-the-windshield.


How to Nail Your First-Due Strategic Responsibility, Parts 1 & 2
Instructor:  Mark Emery

Discover a simple yet powerful Four-Box progression that begins with your arrival radio report, continues with focused size-up that includes risk-assessment, identification of Big Six problems, initial action plan development, size-up radio report, achieving tactical accountability, and the establishment and management of an effective Command Post. The Four-Box progression is a structured, systematic, flexible and reliable process that will work at ‘three-in-the-morning.’ The Four Box model has been designed so that first on-scene fire officers will nail their strategic responsibility every time.


The first-due Four Box methodology exceeds performance criteria established by NFPA 1021, Fire Officer I, NFPA 1500, NFPA 1561, National Incident Management System (NIMS), and in Washington State, WAC 296-305-05000 and 05002.


The program will feature a custom First-Due Fire Officer status board and Passports provided by IMS Alliance.


Structure Fire Simulation Exercise, Parts 1 & 2

Instructor:  Mark Emery
This program will bring together this afternoon’s previous programs so that students will experience what an intelligent and safe fireground operation looks like and sounds like. Radio Communication Solutions will be incorporated into the simulation exercise.  The first-due Fire Officer is the focus of the Simulation Exercise.


The simulation exercise will feature Digital Combustion Fire Studio software.

A second Structure Fire Simulation Exercise will also feature Digital Combustion Fire Studio software.  The first-due Fire Officer is the focus of the Simulation Exercise.

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