Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"5-Alarm Task Force" Featuring Chief Dennis Rubin Now Posted

If you've listened to the first couple of shows, you'll note that I kind of have a "bee in my bonnet" are two key issues facing the fire service today:
1. Health issues that are ignored
2. Leadership

Though I've been out of active service for over thirty years, the fire service has been and will always be, in my heart. I care too much about it not to do what I can to stir the pot, so to speak, to get others' attention.

When Chief Rubin accepted our invitation be be a guest, he asked me what topics I was interested in. I thought a moment and felt that I'd lead off with an important aspect of being a chief and that would be leadership. 

Chief Rubin laughed and said he was very pleased I chose it, as it is one of his favorites as well. He then sent me his bio and I could clearly see why. Beside his latest textbook, "It's Always About Leadership,"  (which is just now available), his other books and almost his entire career are all about leadership.

I realize that we live in a very different society these days. I refer to it as the "ME Society;" where almost every person believes that the world was created for and revolves about him/her. You know, the ones who will always bust a red light, because it's "them," and wherever "they" go is more important than anyone else. Or the one who cuts in front of you at the supermarket's "!0 Items or Less" register with 2 1/2 dozen items. and turns to you and says., "I just have to go ahead of you! I have to be someplace that's very important," as they look down their nose at you with a loaf of bread, a box of diapers, and a carton of milk! Is this the type of leader we would want?

Luckily, Chief Rubin does not see the "Me" group in our fire service these days. He sees many young men and women who are willing to do all that is necessary to be a firefighter in their communities; ready to protect lives and property. And from this group and the group before them, we are seeing firefighters who have the guts and fortitude, as well as the willingness and dedication to learn, that it will take to become a line officer or higher, in the fire service. Chief Rubin both explains to us and guides us on this journey that results in a strong and capable leader. You can take that same journey as you listen to Chief Rubin explain why, "It's Always About Leadership!"
5-Alarm Task Force 

From all of us at Dalmatian Productions, Inc., Cause & Origin, LLC, and 5-Alarm Task Force,we wish you a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy & Safe New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

5-Alarm Task Force 



That's about the only word we can say about the last couple of weeks. When we finally decided to follow the suggestion from a couple of our Twitter friends, we had no idea it would take off this quickly and more importantly, allow us to bring the number and for some, the caliber of guests, to the show. The funny thing is, I was doing something just like this 16 years ago! That's right...16 years ago; before the word "podcast" was even a spark of a thought in someone's head!

Back in 2001, we were working hard to bring our reality-based TV show to air. Titled, "America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire/Rescue," it featured real video of fire-rescue services from around the country (long before everyone had a camera in their cellphones!) and interviews with some of the first responders involved in the incidents. Now you need to remember, this was at the the time when "Reality TV" had not sunk to the slimy sewer it dwells in now. You can see that video at:


Through a mutual friend, we were introduced to a firefighter/paramedic and PIO from Boca Raton, a great guy named, Frank Correggio. We had just returned from a trip to Israel during a very difficult time there. 

So Frank gave me a call and told me he had a long-running radio/Internet show called, "Burning Issues." He had had a partner for a few years and now he was doing the show on his own. He broadcast from a small AM radio station in Boca Raton. That station was part of a network of stations around the southeast, owned by a company, and the show was multi-cast on them, as well. Moreover, he had a major apparatus manufacturer as his banner sponsor and they used a Real(R) server to broadcast on the Internet. So, Burning Issues was broadcast around the world. He asked me if I'd come on the following Sunday as a guest, and I did. 

Well, we hit it off that evening. We had a great time with the interview and swapping "war stories." Now upon my return from Israel in July, I had been invited to return to Israel's Channel 10 in the Fall, to help them produce our type of show for that station. Additionally, through the same guy who had connected me with Frank, I was asked to write a skit for children that would be broadcast in October, about fire prevention week and appear on the Rosie O'Donnell show. The first night I was Frank's guest was September 2, 2001.

Monday morning, I went back to work at our offices. On Thursday, September 6th,  I heard from the agent from the Rosie O'Donnell Show, that they liked the skit I wrote and she was having her staff meeting about in the following Tuesday morning. That Tuesday was 9|11 and everyone's plans and lives were turned upside down.

The following Saturday the 15th, I receive a phone call from Frank. He asked me if I was able to join him the following night on his show. He explained that coming from New York and knowing a lot of FDNY firefighters and many from the surrounding volunteer departments on Long Island, he did not want to do this broadcast alone. 

To say I was surprised would be an understatement. Frank had excellent contacts with the heads of Broward Sheriff's office, Broward County Fire, Boca Fire, Miami and Miami-Dade Fire, etc. Yet, he asked me to join him. I was humbled. I was sad. And I joined him. 

It was a tough broadcast for both of us. We received a couple of phone calls, including one from a long-time listener in Australia, who called to express his sympathies. He too, was a firefighter and felt the pain that the rest of us did. 

If my first appearance planted a seed between us, then the show on September 16th forged the bond of our friendship. I joined him almost every Sunday night from there on. We even flew out to FDIC 2002 in Indianapolis, which in itself, due to the tragedy of 9|11, was a  moving and very emotional experience that I will never forget. We broadcast live from the exhibition hall, both audio and video and had many, many amazing interviews.

Frank and I worked together for almost five years, when work took him on another path. We remain good friends and I sincerely hope that I can invite him to be on our podcast to talk about "Burning Issues." 

We hope you'll pause for a moment and leave us a brief comment here. Use the link at the top of the page to go to our Podcast Page and listen to the shows we already have in the can. And we hope you'll forward to more great guest and important information from some of the leaders of the American Fire Service today.

Stay Safe and let's make sure that Everyone Goes Home!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

We're At It Again - A New Episode of "5-Alarm Task Force" on Firefighter Fitness!

We're  happy to let you know that we've completed and posted our third episode of "5-Alarm Task Force." On this podcast our guest are Dan Kerrigan and Jim Moss, authors of "Firefighter Functional Fitness." You've seen them on Twitter at @firefighterffit. 

These two firefighters were hurt by and tired of reading so many LODD notices and seeing that 40%-60% of those deaths were caused by preventable health issues! How could any firefighter who realizes he/she has a health problem, ignore it, just so they do not lose their firefighting privileges? However,  none of us are ever alone when we're on the job. If something was to happen to any one of us, we become the first, in a long line of dominoes, that begin to fall.

If you get sick on the fireground, it will effect your colleagues, as they will have to pick up your tasks that you cannot complete. They graduates up to your line officers and your chief officers. You are an important part of their plan to control and conquer this fire or rescue. Worse of all, the next domino to fall is your own family! Who will tell them what happened to you? Maybe you told your spouse or significant other about your health problem, but again, failed to do anything about it as you didn't want to appear as though you were "wussing" out on your duty!

Well Dan & Jim have written this book, not just to provide you with a few regular exercises, as if you were watching a Richard Simmons or Jane Fonda video! They provide you with a complete lifestyle change and include all the information you need, from working and eating at home to working and eating on the job.

Medical conditions such as hypertension (HTN - High Blood Pressure), cardiac arrhythmia, or diabetes, can be either overcome and/or controlled. I know of what I speak. For although I've been off the job for thirty years due to my injury, I went through over five years with HTN. Yet, with specific meds and exercise, I kicked its ass and have been off all blood pressure medication for over 7 years! Add this - a retired line officer from a department here in the South Florida area, has read Dan's & Jim's book and has lost over EIGHTY POUNDS!

You have no excuse other than continued denial . Give them a listen on our podcast at 5-Alarm Task Force , and see for yourself. If you're interested, their book is available through their website or on Amazon, both as a paperback and as a Kindle book.

Our podcast is brought to you by The Firehouse Tribune. Find them on twitter at @FHTribune or their webisite The Firehouse Tribune!

Coming up...we are proud to announce that our next guest will be Chief Dennis Rubin. Make you you tune in for that one!

One last note: We know that many of you check out our blog when you receive the posting alert via Twitter. It is very important for us to be able to show the numbers and that you like what you see. To that end, please, please, please, leave a brief message or comment after reading a post. Thank you very much for your understanding and participation.

Stay Safe and Let's Make Sure That Everyone Goes Home!


Friday, November 18, 2016

New Episode of 5-Alarm Task Force!!

We're happy to announce that we finished up our next episode of our podcast, "5-Alarm Task Force," earlier than we expected! We thought we were going to be up against a turkey before we finished.

This episode features Lt. Grant Schwalbe from Estero Fire-Rescue and the fire-education company, When Things Go Bad, Inc. (www.whenthingsgobadinc.com), Grant talks about the tasks necessary to remember when conducting a primary search. He also tells us about the new program from the company called, "First and Ten." What do you need to accomplish in the first ten minutes on-scene? 

Here's the link: http://bit.ly/5-AlarmTF

We also welcome our good friends at The Firehouse Tribune as coop-sponsors to our podcast. They have been @Dalmatprod followers and supporters of our efforts and we're glad to have them with us. We hope you'll enjoy listening to Episode 2. Find them on Twitter at @FHTribune or visit their website at http://www.thefirehousetribune.com

We're also glad to announce that we have some excellent guests already lined up into the Spring of 2017, including, Chief Dennis Rubin in December, Chief (ret.) Phil Johnston (@firefaqs) in January and hopefully, Grant's partner in When Things Go Bad, Inc., Paul Capo. And there are several more in the wings.

If you would like to be a guest on "5-Alarm Task Force," drop us a Direct Message on Twitter (@Dalmatprod) or send us an email at steve@dalmatianproductions.tv.
And please don't forget - we'd like to hear from you.  Please feel free to leave your comments here on the blog or on out Podomatic page.

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. May you be together with the ones you love and care about and enjoy what all that is good that life gives us.

Till next time...

 And don't forget, pickup a copy of my e-book, "Fish Out of Water: Two Jewish Guys in a Deep South Firehouse," on Amazon Kindle at http://tinyurl.com/NCFirefighting

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Then & Now - How Do We Bridge the Chasm?

In an excellent article in FireRescueMagazine.com on the first of this month, Chief Ronny J. Coleman, a CA State Fire Marshall (ret.) and a well-experienced fire professional, brought up a topic that many avoid or are to quick to pass over, "Your Daddy's Fire."

In his article, Chief Coleman posits that in some ways, the "efforts" of firefighting today is not all that different from the earliest self-organized efforts of throwing buckets of the "wet stuff on the red stuff," from as far back as the 17th century and since. We've simply evolved different methods of doing the same thing using the methods that each time-period's technology, allowed. Of course, we have also seen that our fires today are not all "Class A," which has required fire-science experts to develop new materials, tools, chemicals, etc. to quench those fires as well.

One of the greatest aspects that I, and I believe many others, have found in the fire service, is to be a young upstart, rookie firefighter and listening to the "war stories" of those that "were there" before us. They told us of their grand exploits, running into the roaring inferno of an occupied apartment building without the benefit of a hose, rescuing adults and children alike. Or perhaps they were on the third floor and found themselves without an exit, save one window. They rigged some hose around the leg of a dresser and bailed head-first out the window. We sat there mesmerized, looking forward to our own opportunity to live the life of these heroes.

As we progress through our learning curve, we learn many new methods that have been developed to allow our generation to meet the challenges of fighting the "Red Devil." Different tactics, new combinations and yes, even safer ways to do our duty. However, as Chief Coleman states in his outstanding article, the differences and similarities converge to raise the question, "Are we teaching the past or are we teaching the present?" (Ronny J. Coleman, "Your Daddy's Fire," FIRERESCUEMAGAZINE.COM, November 1, 2016.)

He continues by stressing the need for that what was/is old to be updated to include, that which is new. However, we have to ask ourselves, "Do we do it and if so, do we do so enough?" This is an imperative if we are to be able to continue to do our duty. There can be no truer words!

By the natural "biology" of the fire service, there will always (or almost always) be a mixture of, what I will simply say as, "rookies," (0-1 year) "experienced," (1-5 years) and "well-experienced (5+ years). This can be seen both in the firefighters who enjoy the challenge of being on the front-line for their entire career and by those who yearn to learn climb the leadership ladder and rise to the higher ranks of officers.  Add to that mix are those who are retired/disabled, but still dedicated to the service, and willing to contribute what they can to help today's fire service grow into tomorrow's.

Perhaps there might be a way that departments, on their own, in regional groups or through national resources,  could bring the "old" and "new" together. This should not be seen as a "stroll down memory lane," for the "old-timers" to try and mesmerize the "young 'uns," with amazing tales. Rather, these scheduled and specifically organized events, should allow for the clear and concise exchange of information from all parties, that will benefit both those in attendance and in turn, those who will be  their future audiences, as well. Let's take Chief Coleman's words to heart and assure that we use our past experiences as tool towards providing the best possible service we can in our firefighting careers.

As philosopher and novelist, George Satayana warned, Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Stay safe and let's make sure that everyone goes home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Your Great Opportunity

You have a wonderful opportunity to save lives over the rest of this week! Do you know how? Do you know why?

Overnight this weekend, the country (most of it, that is) will again change its clocks from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. Clocks, watches, computers and more will be handled, dialed, push-buttoned, to provide an extra hour of sleep to most of the American public. It is a practice that the vast majority of us are use to, so what's the big deal?

As current and/or former firefighters/rescuers, we can use the semi-annual of time change to alert those in our communities that if they can be so concerned with their clocks, let  them also take an important interest in the simple device that may not help them sleep later, but can save their lives - their smoke detectors!

While it is true that newer smoke detectors are often equipped with newer, lithium-ion batteries that can last up to ten years, hundreds of thousands of "standard" smoke detectors are still being used all around the country. Most of those use the standard 9-volt "transistor" or rectangular battery. Those batteries are available at almost every neighborhood market, supermarket, pharmacies and "big-box" stores. Replacing them in these older models is as simple as replacing batteries in a flashlight. So what's the big deal?

The problem is that most people need to be reminded to check and/or change those batteries twice a year. in the old days, testing the battery was done by simply pushing the "TEST" button on the outside of detector. Recently though, it was determined that that test may not suffice. While a powered battery is necessary, it is more important to know that the detection chamber works flawlessly. Use a simple match (not a butane lighter!), blow it out and let the smoke drift towards the chamber. If the alarm sounds, you will know your battery and chamber are working properly.

It has been proven over and over again:
Change Your Clocks - Change Your Batteries saves lives. You still have time to organize an group effort in your department to get the word out. Notify your local radio and television stations, as well as your local newspaper. Get out on to the main intersections in your community to promote the test or to actually give smoke detectors away. 
Simply put, a working smoke detector saves lives.
And thanks to our friends at 
for all their support

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Heavy Toll of Who We Are and What We Do

September 27, 2016

Who could have known that the past seven days would exact such a toll on the Fire Service? The answer? None of us. Another answer? All of us.

As of today, we have lost six of our comrades in the last seven days, including FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, who died this morning as the result of an explosion at an apartment in the Bronx that was very likely a grow-house. The others include two firefighters from the Wilmington DE Fire Department, Lt. Christopher Leach and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes who died fighting an apartment fire early Saturday morning; West County MO EMS & Fire, Firefighter Sean McMullin who was found unresponsive in his station on Saturday; Ventura County CA Fire Engineer Ryan Osler, who lost his life in a tanker rollover; and North Belle Vernon PA Safety Officer Charles E. Horan, who died as a result of a fall at his home while responding to a call. 

As we know all too well, unlike many occupations, the loss of a firefighter is like throwing a large rock into a quiet and smooth pond. Upon impact unnatural waves are pushed up and out; their ripples continuing in every direction until finally ending on the nearest shore. Each of the losses noted above exert a terrible price on the families of those who have been lost. However, the effect moves on, spreading wider as it hits the departments these brave firefighters were members of; continuing ever outward, they hit the friends of the victims, who did not look at them as just firefighters, but simply as "buddies." Finally, the ripples spread across their largest journey, as they arrive at us, the members of the fire service across this country, both current and/or retired. Thus, in our own way, in our own place, we find our own time to mourn; we mourn comrades that we very likely did not know on a personal basis. Yet we mourn, nevertheless.

If there is anyone who still doubts that firefighters really are a family, all they have to do is drop by their local firehouse. There, they will find some representation of our connection to these six firefighters; as simple as a flag flown at half-mast, to banded badges or even black or purple bunting. They will see us raising funds or collecting items to send out to help the families or their departments, to assist in any manner necessary, to several of us in a small group, talking about Line of Duty Deaths and what we can learn from each and every one.

Our "love" exacts a terrible price from us. Yet, after each tragedy, we steel ourselves and vow to do a better job, take better care of ourselves, learn more and of course, be more careful. The sad truth is sometimes, no matter how careful we are, we can still be knocked down. Let us realize that "Everyone Goes Home," is not just a colloquialism, it is our prayer every time we respond to a call!

Let us remember these six brothers and honor their bravery and dedication. Let their souls be bound up in the Bond of Life and may they rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What Happens This Sunday - September 11, 2016?

As I am sure all of you are aware, this Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the 9|11 attacks on the United States. A great deal has happened in those fifteen years. Parents grieve for their children; children grow up without one parent. Couples were split apart, never to be together again. 

This nation suffered greatly that day. I'm not exactly sure, but I believe I heard that one out of every 6 people in this country have/had some sort of connection to the losses of 9|11. I know it was true for me in a couple of ways. We knew a family from our former synagogue whose son worked at Cantor/Fitzgerald. A very close friend of mine, also a firefighter in South Florida, knew well several of our brothers lost that day. Another person very close to me was invited to fly with a business acquaintance on the flight to L.A., to play golf together. His schedule didn't allow him the leeway and he regretfully, declined the offer. He is alive today. 

Also in these fifteen years, a new breed of Americans arose; they are the disbelievers. They claim that 9|11 was sanctioned, orchestrated and carried out by the U.S. government. They have videos that "prove" there were explosions that brought down the buildings.They heard "this," or "that," or someone told them that "this happened," or "that happened." They use the absences of certain people with government connections, as proof the government knew about this advance and also sorts of other drivel. Nevertheless, nearly 3,000 men, women and children, of all faiths, heritages, skin colors, personal beliefs, died that day, when it was supposed to be a beautiful early Fall day for all of them.

Already, there have been several television programs about that day. And there is not doubt that there will be a good number more over this weekend. It is the way that many in this country grieve; by watching these television programs, which broadcast the same videos we have all seen, many, many times. 

With all of this, how have we changed? Did we change? No, I'm not talking about the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, etc. I am speaking about us, as a people. How have we evolved.

If there is one group that stands head-and-shoulders above the masses, it is the men and women who are the first responders in this country. We are a group that lost 343 brothers that day; a group who lost members of Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services. These were the people you see running to the buildings, running to help the injured and the trapped. Not to forget the dozens of firefighters and other who spent hour-after-hour on the mound of rubble, inhaling all manner of poisons into their lungs; the poisons which led for many to various cancers and sadly, early deaths. These are the people that you want to show up at your home or place of business within five-to-six minutes of you dialing 9-1-1 or another emergency number.  These are the men and women who do not work just for their paycheck, they work to help others; to help people like you, when you call. The people who very, very, rarely hear two words when they finish their jobs at a scene. They rarely hear the words, "Thank you."

Immediately after the tragedy, firefighters were the heroes; adulation was adorned on them all around the country. Yet, just several months later, the adulation was gone; the appreciation was gone. As departments around the country began working on their budgets, often the first target is the fire service. "Why do we have to pay them so much? They sit in the firehouse most of the day and once in a while go out on a call," is commonly heard at budget meetings. Yet, no matter what we do at the firehouse if we're not on a call, we are always prepared to answer the call - your call!

This weekend as you go to shop, as you visit family, as you visit your houses of worship, try to remember the men and women who protect you day in and day out and are willing, without a second though, to give their lives for yours.

Can you do that? Would you? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Premier Podcast of "5-Alarm Task Force - News & Issues for Today's Firest Responders"


We're happy to bring you the premier podcast from Dalmatian Productions, Inc. It has taken us a great deal of time and effort to be able to create a show that we hope brings the type of information, dialogue, news, etc., that you are interested in.

And to that end, we invite you to do one or both of the following:
1. Write to us with a suggestion of a topic you'd like to hear discussed.
2. Let us know that you would like to be a guest on our show and present a topic you feel is important for first responders today.

Through the relationships we have been able to develop on Twitter, we have made strong connections with some of the best leaders and instructors in fire/rescue/EMS. Several of them have already agreed to be guests on our podcasts and we look forward to bringing you their topics.

Today's guest has become a good friend of Dalmatian Productions, even though we have not had the opportunity to meet yet! That's Captain/Paramedic Joe DeVito of the Ft. Myers Beach Fire Control District. here in Southwest Florida. Joe is in his 10th year with this department. Not only is Joe a great teacher, he is an avid learner. He is always trying to learn more so that he may always do a better job/

It's our pleasure to bring you the premier podcast here: http://bit.ly/2c87pds

This podcast is brought you by "Fish Out of Water: 2 Jewish Guys in a Deep South Firehouse," Steve Greene's autobiographical story of how he came to be a firefighter.  you can find Steve's book on Amazon at tinyurl.com/NCFIREFIGHTING and soon to becoming to all e-book retailers!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Indeed, there is an epidemic sweeping through our fire service! It is called, "Invincibility Syndrome." What is that? It's the line of thinking that too many of our firefighters have today, "I've been doing this for years. Nothing is going to happen to me!" Or, "I'm a young guy/gal. I can do all this strenuous stuff. I passed the physicals. I'm fine. Nothing is going to happen to me."

How many of you who are reading this post, have felt this way, whether you have voiced it or not? You love the rush the adrenaline gives you when the bells ring or you're toned out. You jump aboard your rig or you drive to the station to meet the equipment. The driver pulls out of the bay, your lights flashing and siren(s) screaming. You finish securing your gear, grab your equipment, just hoping this one is "worker" and you can do your stuff. Right?
Listen, we've all felt that way. I doubt there isn't a firefighter, alive or passed, who didn't have that feeling course through them when the alarm sounded. However, you're wearing an "armor" with a chink in it. And that is, underneath your armor, you have a physical body that must react in its own way.

As firefighter morbidity reports indicate, while the total number of fatalities are down, a large percentage of those fatalities are due to preventable health reasons and to firefighters below the age of approximately, 55. Why? Why are we seeing this shift in our Line of Duty Deaths.

In my mind (and I speak only for myself) it is due to the fact that we honestly don't believe anything will happen to us on a call. And all too often, internally, we define that "call" as on the actual fireground itself. However, you could not be further from the truth! Many of our health-related LODD's are occurring after the call; after you're back home or back at the station and all tucked in for the night (or so you hope!)

Imagine what it is like at a station, when, at the going off-duty roll call, one of the firefighters is not there. Someone goes back to the bunk room, finds them unresponsive and calls out for help. That is exactly the scenario that has played out several times in the last year or so.
Or, you're a volunteer/on-call firefighter and when your pager goes off, you jump in your car, hit your lights (and siren, where allowed), and head down to the station. You believe you're driving responsibly, but there are other drivers who caught up with their audio books, phone calls, email and texting. One cuts in front of you, never even realizing you have the right of way and BAM! It may not have been your fault, but the results are the same, another LODD off the fireground.

And how many of you acknowledge that you might very well have one or two health problems, but you're afraid to say anything because you'll be put on light duty or taken off duty altogether, until you bring in a doctor's note that you're fine? Maybe you need to drop 10-15 pounds; maybe your BP has been running high for the last six consecutive months; or maybe you find yourself becoming winded way too soon than you used to?

Every month in FIREHOUSE(R) Magazine, Chief Billy Goldfeder, writes a terrific column, "CLOSE CALLS." And if you're the avid reader of his column like I am, you see just how quickly "routine" turns into "crap!" Most of the time, you don't have any idea it's heading that way, until you're already involved in it. If you want to see just how fragile you are as your perform this job that we all love, make it a habit to read this column every month.

Speaking of FIREHOUSE(R) Magazine, in the August 2016 issue, Chief Marc S. Bashoor of the Prince George's County Fire Department hits home in his "Chief Concerns" column, "LODD Reality Check." It is going to happen and when it does, all of us have to deal with it! 
 The ripples of an LODD travel far; far beyond just your department. The Chief's article presents the succinct reality of the procedural structure necessary to deal with this tragedy. 

It's imperative that you remember this - an LODD is like the first domino that falls, out of thousands. The first one falls and the rest do as well. We're often referred to as the "Bravest." To be honest, we often are. We do some crazy things that other folks wouldn't ever consider, no matter the circumstances. However, being the bravest does not mean we're the absolute best and that nothing will ever happen to us. Fire history has knocked that chip off of thousands of shoulders. 

In your own mind, you may deny that you have any problems that could affect your performance as a firefighter. However, bear in mind that the man/woman in the mirror knows all and see all. Moreover, he/she never lies! You are not invincible. You can be hurt. You can die. You don't casually cross an eight-lane interstate just to get to get to the other side. do you? So why would you jeopardize yourself or your comrades, if you know you have a health problem?

Remember this, no matter how popular you are in the firehouse, no matter how popular you are with your friends when you all hang out, not one of them wants to stand at your grave. Not one!

Stay safe and let's make sure that everyone does go home!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reflections of Fifteen Years Ago - The Pain is Still There

Last Friday afternoon, as a hot sun beat down on the City of New York, I made my first pilgrimage to the 9-11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. After a car service dropped us off as close as possible (major construction in still ongoing all around the Memorial site) I saw street names that were familiar to be only by the fact of the numerous books I had read, e.g. Dennis Smith's and the late, Harvey Eisner's. We walked by the 9-11 Museum and the barn of 10 Engine &  10 Truck. From there, we entered the Memorial Plaza.

Let me add here that due to some unknown "kink" in my "armor," I've always worn my emotions on my sleeve. I cry at sad movies; I also cry at the end of happy movies. In juxtaposition, due to my long involvement with Jewish synagogues and ritual, I have also officiated at many (far too many) funerals and unveilings. Yet, I only shed tears at two; one just a month ago for one of my dearest friends and the other was over ten years ago, when I officiated at the funeral of a young man who died from the complications of AIDS. As it turns out, he was a stranger, I had never met. A close rabbi friend of mine who was ill at the time, asked to contact this young man's parent's since his demise was imminent.. 

They were lovely, warm and loving folks. We connected immediately. After a brief chat, they took me in to meet their son. This handsome young man, ravaged by this horrific disease, greeted me with a big smile as he lay in a hospital bed in his home, in the bedroom where e grew up. We sat and chatted for a while, with much of the conversation punctuated with many jokes, most by him. After sitting with him and taking notes for, what is too often referred to as a, "eulogy," (personally, I prefer "A Review and Celebration of Life), he handed me an envelope. When I went to open it, he told me to stop. Startled, I asked why. He explained that he had written the pages inside and wanted me to read it at his funeral. And, he made me promise that I wouldn't peek inside in any way, until I opened the envelope during my address. 

Sadly, he passed just two days. As I addressed the large gathering at his memorial service, I was easily able to keep my composure, even as his parents sat before me, constantly wiping away their tears. The moment to read his personal address came. At the beginning, it was strong, yet pleasant, and yes, even with a few more of his examples of his wonderful sense of humor. Then came a paragraph in which he addressed his parents. That's when my tears began to well up. To help me from losing complete control, I used an old pressure point trick I had learnt from a friend who was an accomplished user of tai chi. The sensation resulting from the pressure on the nerve was enough to allow me to finish his letter, with but a few more tears.

However, I wasn't that lucky last Friday at the 9-11 Memorial. I only had to find a few names of our brothers who died that day and whom I had read about, before the "water-works" started. Both my wife and my daughter knew this would be a difficult time for me, for I've never truly forgiven myself for not jumping in my car and driving to New York from Florida. Due to my back injury and disability, I knew I wouldn't be able to work the pile, however, I thought that with my administrative and computer skills, I could work to help keep track of those missing for those looking for them, or some such administrative tasks. Instead, I worked at our local blood bank for almost 3 full days, until we received word that there would not be a need for blood from around the nation.

Thus, standing at the first Pool and seeing such names as Judge, Ganci, Feehan, Hatton, Mojica and Downey, the tears spilled out faster than I could dab them away. And there were another 338 more. Standing there weeping, I still could not conceive the level of hatred and evil that could have generated such as acts that would ultimately take nearly 3,000 lives. 

Today, nearly fifteen years later, that hatred and evil still exists in ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, and many more. Yet, we don't have to travel to exotic places to see this evil. For all too often, we see it in our own civilized societies. Look at the shootings and stabbing in our newspapers and newscasts every day. Whatever the "reason" for taking someones life, that evil has taken hold of the perpetrator..

So, I walked around the pools, my hand touching the inscriptions on each plate, knowing that the families of each and every one of them listed here, were still missing and mourning their relative who was lost that day. 

No, not even my pressure-point trick would work this day. As I "tweeted" last Friday, standing there in the footprint of those two towers, I was standing on Hallowed Ground. 

Stay safe and let's make sure that Every One Goes Home.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

What More Can Be Said?

"Horrible?" "Tragedy,?" "Merciless?" "Terrifying?"

How are we to describe the record-setting mass murder in U.S. history? 
How do we explain this incident to our children? "He was a bad man?" "He was mean man?"
Our children, especially those aged 7+ have been exposed to both horrific news stories and news footage. Children almost always ask about what they don't know. We have to consider very carefully, how we answer those questions. So sad to think that we are living at a time, when not only our first responders suffer from PTSD, but our children may, as well.
In the meantime, no matter your faith, pray for the families that have lost fifty sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. Keep them in your hearts and n your minds. Don't let this pass through your mind as, "Just another day!"

God Bless - Stay Safe

Sunday, May 29, 2016


Where is it? Where can we find our presence that we are proud of? 
Where is our presence that we enjoy, both for its entertainment & educational values?
Oh, you mean that one show on that one network? IS that one that you would sit and watch with your kids?

CAVEAT: What I am about to say has no negative meaning or tone to our comrades who are LEO's. Please understand that.

Now, use your "TV Guide Magazine," use the guide on your satellite or cable menu, and count how many "police shows" are on American TV. Whether it's the police in a city, sheriffs in a county, state police in cold climates, wardens in woods and lakes of our beautiful country; they all deal with one form or another of law enforcement. Oh, there are more to come. Coming this week on Animal Planet will be, "Lone Star Law."

There are nearly 1.1 million firefighters in this country; active. And what about those of us who are retired or disabled? Add in spouse, children, extended family, close friends, all of whom who know that you are, or were a firefighter. You risk your life every single day that you are/were on shift or on call. You never were a "no-show" when contract negotiations broke down; no one has ever heard the term, "Red-Flu," when firefighters wouldn't show up for duty because those negotiations collapsed. You were always there. Moreover, even when you're off-duty, you will always respond to an emergency or any place where your skill, knowledge and yes, perhaps, bravery, are needed.

So, how many TV shows demonstrate those facts to the viewing public.

Yes, I'm venting! For over at least one decade, there were no shows about the fire service. OK, several years ago, the Chicago show appeared. However, I can count on one hand the number of fire, rescue and EMS people, who like it and feels it reflects positively on what we do.

Listen, when the Devil wants to "dance," he doesn't care whether you're a career firefighter, a volunteer or you work on-call. He doesn't care if your a male or a female. He doesn't care if you live alone or have a wonderful family. We step up and dance. Most of the time, we beat him. Sometimes,we lose.

With all that, how do you think the average firefighter is viewed by the public? Think of this:
1. We had a big house fire; we rescued the family, saved most of the house. ->Heroes
2. We had a huge brush fire; hundreds of us responded and pounded and cut aware through thick forest and brush, working 18 hours a day. ->Heroes
3. We responded to a call of a soft mewing sound from a drainage pipe. We responded and spent 3 hours to rescue a little kitten who had wandered away. ->Heroes
 4. At our bi-annual meeting with the city's Human Resources to discuss our next contract, we ask for a 1.2% pay increase and an additional 2% increase in the retirement account. ->LOSERS & TROUBLEMAKERS
5. At a meeting with the villages Fire Commission, we explain that our 1989 engine has become a money pit. It's old, breaks down often, and has a bad pump. It's time we replace it with a new and technologically advanced unit, to help us perform our most important job - saving lives! ->LOSERS AND TROUBLEMAKERS
6. The newspaper writes an editorial stating that we have one of the "cushiest" and easiest jobs in the country. We're paid to sit on our asses and wait for the bells to ring. We're paid to sleep on an overnight sleep, and most of the time, we knock off a full eight hours, because there are no calls. We always have our hand out for more of something. No, we don't mean when you have your "Fill the Boot" campaign for MD. We mean you firefighters are always asking for more money, when you're overpaid already. Add your extra shifts, overtime, etc. and you folks earn much more than people who work much harder than you do!

Yes, all three examples in numbers 4, 5, & 6 are true in some form. However, how aware of those views were you. Right after the horror, trauma and tragedy of 9|11, we were heroes. Yet, just a few months later, when our FDNY brothers tried to get better medical care for those suffering severe respiratory problems and PTSD, we were castigated for always asking for more. I personally saw in various publication, accusations to the effect of, "We just knew that the firefighters would use this disaster to get more for themselves."

Why? Why does the public think this way? Why? For the same reason that your six-year-old is not scheduled to perform brain surgery tomorrow morning. The answer is EDUCATION! Take the great idea of "Firefighting 101" classes that more departments are trying to promote. Bring the politicians and news reporters, dress them in our turnout gear and put them through the ringer. When they emerge, sweaty, with soot covered faces, they suddenly have a new view of our jobs.

All of the above will be integrated into our show, "CAUSE & ORIGIN." Our show is about a real, big-city fire department, not from a small, "Mayberry-type" village. Our show deals with many of the most important issues that many of us face every day, from the moment you show up as the new "probie," to trying to get accepted into this houses tight group. We deal with the stresses of our lives; not just the calls we respond to or the training we have each shift, we deal with the family crisis, a family that no longer can live like the "perfect" American life, where Daddy goes to work and Mommy takes care of the kids. Today, many of us work two, sometimes three jobs. Our spouses or significant others work at least one full-time job and often wind up picking up an additional part-time job to help keep the home on an even keel.We'll also deal with the problems of attrition and retention. Oh, and don't forget how some of the "youngsters" of this "ME"-society we now live in, just starting out, and who don't share the same work ethic. 

So, what does it boil down to? We need your voices. That's all we're asking for. Your voice. 
Start your own email campaign writing to the networks that you're tired of all the law enforcement shows, you want to see a show about firefighting.

You can write a comment here and say, "Thank you, guys. You're right!"
You can send us an email at info@dalmatianproductions.tv and we'll add that to our portfolio to show at our meetings with TV execs. 

Can you imagine us walking into one of these meetings with over 500,000 emails, comments etc.? They'd be flabbergasted. Let's do it!

We don't mind being the leaders here. We'll be the cheerleaders to! Just speak up. 

Stay Safe - Make sure everyone goes home!

Podcast coming this week!